Thursday, January 31, 2013

California - Point Pinos Lighthouse and Tide Pools

The oldest continuously operating lighthouse on the West Coast, Point Pinos Lighthouse, was next on our list to see.  It's still in operation and only open for tours a few days out of the week, so we had to plan around that.  Not a big deal,'s only a short drive from our campground.  I just want to say, there is so much to do and see in the Monterey Bay area and all within about thirty minutes of driving.  Lovin' that!

Our schoolwork took longer on the day we had planned to go to the lighthouse.  So long that we almost didn't go.  I could have just said forget the school (hehehe), let's go, but they really needed to get it done.  SO, we headed over later than planned.  We only had about an hour to take the tour, but really that was just about perfect.  It all works out :)

an anchor from an old shipwreck off the point

Anyway, we arrived at the lighthouse and followed the path up to go inside.  It was so cute!  Like a little cottage by the sea that just happened to be a lighthouse :).  The admission to enter is a recommended donation of $2 for adults and $1 for kids.  Well worth it!  We put our donation in the box just inside and visited for a minute with the super nice lady that was running the little gift shop.  She told us that her husband was down in the basement giving a tour and that we could just go on down whenever we were ready.  So that's where we started.

He was just as nice as she was and really gave us a thorough tour of everything down there.  All kinds of neat things...a foghorn, Fresnel lens, various mechanisms that were/are used in the operation of the light, buoys, marine charts, shipwreck information, just tons of great information.  He was really patient with the kids and let each of them try out the different things and get a hands on experience.  Kids always love that :)

beautiful wavy glass :)

We spent most of our hour downstairs and I didn't get a single picture.  It was so interesting that I simply forgot about my camera :).  We quickly toured the main level and then the upstairs, too.  The main level had a room that was set up as it was 100 years ago by the female lightkeeper, Emily.  The story told to us was that she was a socialite that threw great parties and kept poodles at the lighthouse.  Ha!  How fun is that!

Upstairs was a room set up as it was during World War II.  The lighthouse was used during that time as a military command post.

The grandfather clock on the main level chimed to let us know it was 4:00 and time to leave.  We didn't want to make the nice couple have to stay late, so we thanked them for the tour and hurried on outside.  I didn't mention, but we were the only visitors there that last hour.  It made it so nice, we could just walk around freely and see what ever we wanted.  With five kids, that made it really nice :)

When we left the lighthouse, we decided to go back over to the tide pool area along the coast.  We went farther south this time to the Point Pinos Tide Pools, also known as the Great Tide Pool and supposed to be "one of the richest tidepool habitats in the world".

We had the best time...scrambling from rock to rock was fun.  Add to that the little creatures we saw and it was awesome.  The hermit crabs were there along with some little fish, some bigger crabs, sea urchins, various little plants things, and some small jellies.  We saw some of the prettiest little shells along the shore, but we didn't touch them.  The tide pools are strictly for viewing only :) (and yes, I had to keep reminding my kids of that).

It felt like we were on the edge of the world...

As the sun started to set, we walked across a small beach to some bigger rocks with nothing but the ocean in front of us.

The light was so beautiful.  It made us all happy :)

We found a nice spot to enjoy the show

It was probably the most beautiful sunset I have ever seen.  (Do I say that every time?  hahaha)

So thankful :)

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