Sunday, January 24, 2016

Point Bonita Lighthouse

Point Bonita Lighthouse – After the Rain Stopped

The wind was blowing hard and it had rained on and off – but the hourly weather forecast indicated a mostly dry afternoon later on, so I ventured out north to explore a not so well known lighthouse on the Western tip of San Francisco Bay.  On my way to Marine County, I had the windshield wipers going intermittently, the wind was hauling when crossing the Golden Gate Bridge and questioned myself whether my plans were foolish?  But nothing ventured, nothing gained – and so I drove on.  As I was parking at Battery Alexander in the Golden Gate National Recreation area close to Point Bonita, another squall came through and I quickly went back into the car to stay dry.  After the rain stopped and bundled up in a heavy rain jacket and wool hat against the wind, I grabbed my camera bag and tripod and ventured out.

Point Bonita is a narrow promontory on the western tip of the Marine Headlands, and is part of the largest urban national park in the United States, the Golden Gate National Recreation Area.  A secret jewel of the Bay Area, the Point Bonita Lighthouse, built in 1855, was the third lighthouse built on the West Coast and help shepherd ships through the treacherous Golden Gate straights.  The waters are treacherous and many ships did not survive the stormy waters.  The small museum at the lighthouse shows a map of around 15 that went down in the 19th century.

Today, the lighthouse is still active and is maintained by the U.S. Coast Guard.  The National Park Service provides access to visitors.  Point Bonita Lighthouse is reached by a half mile trail that is very steep in parts and leads through a tunnel and over a bridge to gain access to the small lighthouse, built on a very narrow rocky outcrop. 

Most impressively, the gale winds were whipping up the ocean, forcing me to hold on to, and steady my tripod as I was capturing the boiling waves below.  

As photographer I know that the time after a storm can be rewarding with beautiful cloud formations in the sky.  And I was not disappointed as the sky varied form minute to minute with occasional sun peaking through.  

I often say, there is no bad weather when properly prepared.  My multi-layers kept me warm and dry, and the weather provided beautiful photos that I am sharing with all of you here.

The Lighthouse Promontory breaking the Waves

View to the Northern Coast

Boiling Sea

Bridge to the Lighthouse

More Rain to the North

One last look at the lighthouse with the the Cliff House and Seal Rock on the far side of the San Francisco channel int he mist.

My further exploration of some of the World War II structures will be the topic of my next story. This last image of the lighthouse was captured from Battery Alexander, one of the many batteries sitting high on the Marine Headland, built for the protection of the entry of San Francisco Bay.

For now,
and til next time,