the stairs at Point Conception.
BEHIND THE GATE WITH SEVEN LOCKS
Point Conception Lighthouse in Southern California stands
high on a bluff above the Pacific Ocean. It is on an isolated
promontory far from civilization. It is locked away from
civilization also, as a gate with seven locks stands across the road
to the Point Conception lighthouse.
The lighthouse is on the grounds of a
large ranch, and as well as being protected by the seven locks, it
is protected by security guards. It was through one of these guards
we were first able to visit the lighthouse. We had contacted the
firm that owned the lighthouse, to no avail. They would not allow us
on the property. The Lighthouse is still an active aid to navigation
and is maintained by the Coast Guard. They are allowed to drive the
road to the lighthouse. We then contacted Coast Guard Headquarters
in Long Beach, and we were told that a Coast Guard Aids to
Navigation Team would take us in.
Well, we drove the 65 miles from Santa
Barbara to Jalama Bay to meet the Coast Guard Crew. They did not
appear at the appointed hour. We waited and waited for several
hours. We were several miles from the little restaurant at the State
Park at Jalama Bay. Finally I left Bob standing at the gate, out in
the wind and hot sun, waiting for the Coast Guard, and I drove to
the Jalama Bay and called them. The Coast Guard Officer in Charge
came on the line, and just told us he would not allow his crew to
take us there, "that they had better things to do with their
time." There have been only two times in all our quest that the
Coast Guard let us down and this was one of them. Dozens of
other times, our experiences with the Coast Guard have been
Anyway, discouraged and disheartened over
coming so far and failing, we stopped at the Jalama Bay Cafe for what we now
know as the famous Jalama Burger. (it was great, and ONE was enough for both of
us.) The proprietor listened to our story, felt a little sorry for us and called
his son in law, who was one of the security guards for the ranch. At first the
son in law was a bit annoyed at being bothered on his day off, but his father in
law pleaded for us. He finally agreed to take us to the lighthouse AFTER he
finished a project he was working on. So, we stayed at Jalamla Bay all day,
walking the beach, looking at shells, and many odd rocks that had holes in them.
The roar of the surf calmed us. Bob, who enjoys tidal pools was in his element.
Finally at about 5 PM (the light fading and a bit of
rain sprinkling) the guard showed up. After his initial irritation, he turned
out to be a very nice man, who went out of his way to show us the lighthouse. He
couldn't believe the Coast Guard had left us sitting way out there waiting.
The area is such a lonely desolate
place. The wind blows, the surf pounds. The lighthouse sits on a bluff, but it
is lower than the road, so we had to walk down steps to get there. It's a lovely
lighthouse, with many of it's original fittings. A millionaire would have to pay
dearly for a view like the one from
Point Conception Lighthouse.
We took photos of the lighthouse from every angle we
could reach, and maybe some angles up on the cliff we shouldn't have
reached. One slip, and one of these lighthouse photographers could have been
We were told that Point Conception is one of the
places where the Indians believe some of the power of the Earth comes through
the crust. Even to folks like us, who know nothing about these kinds of things,
we could feel it all around us. It was almost eerie, a feeling of being alone
with the powers that be.
Several years later we were out there and the head of security gave
us the key to the gate and asked us to wait for him inside.
Before he got there, the same Coast Guard team that had not been
allowed to meet us before showed up and were amazed that we were
allowed inside, and apologetic that they had not been allowed to