Point Sur Lighthouse

Last night we went on a moonlight tour of Point Sur Lighthouse in Big Sur. They do the nighttime tours once a month or so, to coincide with full moons.

You can’t make a reservation. Instead, you park just off Highway 1 on the west (ocean) side of the road near the gated entrance, each car lining up after the one that arrived before it. Forty-five minutes before the tour starts, they open the gate and let in one car at a time to drive the narrow, rutted road to the base of the large volcanic rock where the lighthouse and other buildings sit. There’s little room for parking, so they limit the tour to 40 people. If you don’t make the cut off, that’s a sad drive back to wherever you came from.

We arrived 30 minutes before the gate was scheduled to open and an hour and 15 minutes before the tour was to start, and we were maybe the 10th car in line. When we saw there were five or six people in the vehicle ahead of us, we worried we might not make the cut. So you can imagine the expletives that flew when we saw a couple of cars zip past the line we’d been sitting in for 20 minutes to circle around and start their own line on the other side of the gate. Oh hell no! They aren’t even facing the right way on the road! This will not stand! If they get in and we don’t, Imma flip my shit! Etc.

Lucky for us, the dudes running the show are hip to that little trick. When they opened the gate, they let in those of us facing south first. Kudos to the lighthouse volunteers for getting it right.

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the drive in from the gate to the lighthouse
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the walk up is less than a mile with a 360 foot elevation gain – not too strenuous because the volunteers stop pretty regularly to share interesting information – be warned that the wind is eye-wateringly strong in a few places, so in addition to dressing in warm layers, a hat or scarf that covers your ears is highly recommended
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the first peek of the lighthouse (center of photo)
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the entire property is being lovingly restored by a group of volunteers –  tours and purchases in the gift shop help fund the process, though right now they need to raise about $3 million to restore the last building (the big one in this shot) – it’s a triplex that once housed three lighthouse-tending families (a ghost in a blue jacket with gold buttons hangs out there now – not sure what he thinks about the restoration)
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as with most of the coast around here, there’s a fairly steep drop-off and rocks waiting below
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the lighthouse
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going
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going
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gone
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James and a sunset captured twice
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inside the lighthouse, first floor
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second floor of lighthouse – prisms for light (and visual awesomeness)
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this all looked very astronomical
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sometimes tour groups get to go up and outside the light – not at night, though
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the light, after taking a long flight of stairs to the top of the rock
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a juvenile blue whale washed up on shore below the lighthouse – this is its jawbone (hard to see because we were down to a few flashlights at this point and the full moon was mostly hidden by clouds)
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nice touch in one of the renovated buildings – though James and I often fantasize about living in Big Sur, we agree we wouldn’t make it very long as lighthouse keepers – a cold, lonely and windy existence that might make one cray-cray (redrum)