Saturday, October 3, 2009

Point Arena Lighthouse

This morning we set off to go tour and see the Point Arena Lighthouse and Museum. It is the tallest Pacific Coast Lighthouse at 115 ft. built in 1908 and has over 100 steps that we all climbed to get to the top. The first lighthouse was built in 1870, but was damaged so bad by the April 1906 earthquake it was rendered unsafe. It used to hold a 1st Order Fresnel Lens, that's over six feet in diameter that weighs more than six tons. The lens is made up of 666 hand-ground glass prisms all focused toward three sets of double bulls eyes. It is these bulls eyes that gave the Point Arena Lighthouse its unique "light signature" of two flashes every six seconds. Before electricity, the lens had to be rotated by a clockwork mechanism. The Keepers, or "wickies" as they were called, had to hand crank a 160 pound weight up the center shaft of the lighthouse every 75 minutes to keep the lens turning. Light was produced by a "Funks" hydraulic oil lamp, that needed to be refueled every four hours, and whose wicks would have to be trimmed regularly. Later, two 1,000 watt electric lamps were installed to replace the oil lamp, and a 1/8 horsepower electric motor was installed to replace the clockworks. The view from the top is amazing and was extremely windy today, so windy we could not go on the outside of the glass. They said it would have blown us off .We could see where the beautiful, but treacherous waves crash into the coast and has been eroding the land around the lighthouse. We got a great view of what devils punch bowl looks like now and the air strip where the plane landed from the movie Forever Young. We all really enjoyed taking a guided tour to the top of the Lighthouse and learning the history of it. After our tour we ate pizza at one of our favorite spots at the Point Arena pier. Noah treated us all to some yummy ice cream afterwords. As we got back to our cabin the girls talked us into renting a 4 seater bike that we squeezed Aubrey on. We got an hour rental for $10. It was a lot of fun! I would have payed money to see Noah and myself struggle to pedal the girls all around the KOA for the hour. Towards the end we let the girls pedal the bike and ride around. They had a blast.

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