The stratum of Yehliu is mainly composed of sedimentary rocks; the formation of sea bays is due to the impact of sea erosion on softer rock layers, while those hard and solid ones may therefore turn into sea capes eventually.
The prospect as presented from a long distance view of Yehliu Cape is like a turtle crouching down by the sea; therefore, the cape is also called “Yehliu Turtle”. In the olden days, Yehliu was a key channel of the trade route between mainland China and Keelung harbor. Yet, the waters around the area were torrential and dangerous, and often caused serious shipwrecks. A legend was told that once a turtle elf was making trouble in the sea. A fairly was dispatched by Jade Emperor to tame the turtle elf. The fairy was riding an elephant with a sword in her hand. When she arrived, she yelled at the turtle and said, “What a naughty turtle; how dare you do such evil things and kill so many innocent people. I, bestowed with the power of this holly sword, shall punish you and you shall have no way to escape.” The turtle elf was serious hurt then. After that, whenever the weather changes, people may notice a strand of smoke permeating through the air at Yehliu Cape. And that’s when you’ll hear local people say. “look, the half-dead turtle is making its last breath again”.