Sunday, September 22, 2013

Manchester Beach to Stewarts Point

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Manchester State Park/Beach is just north of the City of Manchester, a town of 200 people which was established when the post office opened in 1871.  It is part of the Point Arena State Marine Reserve & Point Arena State Marine Conservation Area.  You can see the north side of the Point Arena Lighthouse from the road just west of the KOA leading to the State Park and the Beach (both of above pictures were taken yesterday).


It would cost $7.50 each to get closer than this….a few we sure didn’t want to pay.  Marcia could not go up the stairs to the top anyway, and from what I observed, 80% of the cars that got this close stopped, took pictures, and turned around.  If California lowered their rate to $2.00 per person, a reasonable fee, and got 80% of the people to pay that fee instead of turning around, they would be making more money….just think of how much money they are losing at the gift shop there!


We had a good rain during the night, and especially this morning, and the clouds were still coming in from over the ocean to the north.


It sure made for a nice blue sky, and great background to go with the waves along the rocks below.  This spot was so great, Marcia walked out on dirt, uneven ground just to look over the view…. something she rarely does.


The lighthouse is on Point Arena, which was first discovered by Spaniard Bartolom√© Ferrelo in 1543.  Given many different names, it, and the town just south of it, took on the permanent name of Point Arena, which means “Sand Point”.
These two pictures (above and below), is the view to the south.  The waves were just rolling in and rolling in, making for an impressive view even in the far distance.


We were told that there were seals out in the kelp beds, but I just could not confirm that…it looked to me like it was just kelp bobbing up and down in the water.


But as we headed back to highway 1, we passed this group of trees, and I just had to stop and add it to Marcia’s collection of trees.

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Further south down highway 1 we came to a turnout which offered a nice view of the north.  On the furthest point there was this man admiring the waves coming in.  I think if he was to stay there very long, a good size wave would get him soaking wet.


And even further south another view towards Point Arena.


Further down there is a beach access sign pointing along county road 526.  Here is the beach, a nice small, secluded beach with only a handful of people down there.  It is protected from the wind unless it is coming directly off the ocean, and this one does allow dogs.


We finally made the 30+ miles to Stewarts Point, which is the furthest north that we made it last year on a day trip we took out of Napa when we drove over to Bodega Bay and up to Stewarts Point.  Today we turned back toward Manchester KOA, and found this nice turnout to have lunch at.  There were no other cars when we arrived, but by the time we left there were three cars, and one more had arrived and took off.  It was a wonderful day trip, traffic was light for a Saturday, and we only ran across one rude driver…sometimes I think some Californians just don’t like Florida plates.  Tomorrow we are off to church in Fort Brag, and if the weather holds, we should have pictures from Fort Bragg to Manchester.


As the day was coming to an end, I thought it would be a great night for a sunset.  So Skruffy and I head out to find it.


The best place I could think of was at the lighthouse….so off we went…


Of course, Skruffy insisted on having a prime seat for the big event.


My focus was at the sunset, but I saw some others with their cameras pointed downward….and there they were, a bunch of seals….about five times that which is shown in this picture, but the lack of light did not allow the camera to get a good focus on them all.


The sunset was not as colorful as I had hoped for….that cloud cover out there was just too thick.


The best color was off to the south, but even it was not what I had hoped for, but it will do for now.


  1. Beautiful!

    We hate those day fees too especially when all we want to do is stop for a few little bit to see the view or eat lunch.

    It looks like you're having a great trip!

    1. Yes, we are having a great time. Thank goodness there are many parks which are free, but it is frustrating that "we" who cannot enjoy the full benefits of a park have to pay for the full price just to get a glance.

  2. Magnificent photography, Dave. What kind of camera?? but I know it's the photographer too! Pleasant travels.

    1. We have a Panasonic FZ60, have had it since very early this year. It has very good "auto" settings, but also the ability to adjust accordingly. Still learning it a bit, but for the most part have it down pretty good. Marcia does take some pictures, but I do take most of them.

  3. Dave, your photos today are exceptional. The waves are so realistic and that blue water is gorgeous.

    The last picture of the lighthouse with a hint of the setting sun looks like a painting.

    1. After the first "sunset" picture, the sun did drop under that cloud and really lit things up. I immediately looked north to the lighthouse to see what it did there, and saw what it did to the cliffs and to the lighthouse itself and nearly died...hurried up and took a few shots because that light only lasted a few minutes and it was gone. Thanks for your comments, I sure appreciate them.


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