Monday, August 4, 2008

Mark Abbott Lighthouse,Santa Cruz

It was a beautiful Saturday morning, I set off to meet my brother in San Bruno. This day we where not sure if it was going to be Point Reyes in Marin or Mark Abbott in Santa Cruz. I arrived at his house around 10:30 AM accompanied by my daughter Lydia. She decided on staying and visiting with her cousin Laura.

We had a new traveller with us today Bryana, she is Catherine's friend. We where now up to 6. Loaded with our picnic basket, full of soft drinks, sandwiches, cookies and coffee, we headed off towards Santa Cruz.

These journeys are as much about the adventure as it is about the lighthouse. So we took the scenic route, 92 to Half moon Bay and down highway 1. A journey full of beautiful scenery and interesting views. As we drove the coast highway we could hear the joyful laughs and songs of the children in the seats behind us. Age does not discriminate who is a child. But it is the innocence and joy of the heart.

We came upon Pigeon Point and we of course had to stop. We took a break for a cup of coffee and a fag for Eddie. The kids managed to get to the beach and Jamie picked some shells from the beach. She has collected shells from every beach that has a lighthouse. I took some more photographs of this lighthouse and I suppose I will take more.

From there we headed on to Santa Cruz, I had a vague idea of where I was going. I knew we had to turn right on Bay Street and at some some stage Right on West Cliff Dr. Our navigational system was not much help, so Catherine phoned Barbara and we got directions. It was as I had figured out. But better safe than sorry.

We arrived at the lighthouse. It is a beautifully located lighthouse. Located on the beach and within viewing distance of Walton Lighthouse. The Boardwalk is situated between both lighthouses and is most scenic. It is very postcard scenic, sail boats, kayaks, surfers, trees, pelicans, seals, blue water and blue skies.

The Lighthouse stands on the West side of Santa Cruz harbor. North of Monterrey. The lighthouse was built in 1869. It's light came a fifth order Fresnel lens, and was first on December 31. The light was changed from white to red to differentiate from the neighboring community lights in the vicinity. Today the original lighthouse is gone, In 1878, the lighthouse was threatened by the decay of caves underneath the lighthouse, so it was moved 300 feet inland. It was moved by placing the lighthouse on rollers. 1909 the lens was replaced by a fourth order lens, and again 1941 by an automated system. During the war, the lighthouse was used as a lookout post. 1948, the lighthouse was torn down, an automated wooden tower was left.

1965, a young surfer Mark Abbott died while surfing near Lighthouse Point. His family erected the brick lighthouse in honor of his memory. the lantern room houses a working optic with a red tint. Today the lighthouse houses the surfers museum. Like many lighthouses it is threatened by corrosion and it would be a pity to lose a beautiful landmark.

The area is beautiful, we drove up the West Cliff Dr, and enjoyed the great homes and the coast lines. We finally drove to the harbor near Walton's lighthouse and had lunch. We stayed for a few hours on the nearly deserted beach within view of the Boardwalk. Children where left to themselves as they frolicked in the water and played in the sand. Visiting lighthouses is not just the lighthouse but the area surrounding, it becomes the adventure of discovery. Collecting little artifacts along the way, observing animals, birds and the environment. Finding the story behind the lighthouse itself. Who where the keepers and why. Why was the lighthouse built, did it have fog horns, I could go on and on.

So to finish we took the scenic route home and caugth the sunset on pigeon point. It was stunning and it brought a beautiful finish to my days. It also brought a quandry to my mind. I want to photograph these lighthouses at dawn, sunset and night, summer and fall. Some I will, but sadly not all. 3 lightouses, 2 beaches, a harbor, seals, pelicans and a sunset, now how cool is that.

Please join me on my next adventure.
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