Drive south from Tofino and you come to the wonderfully named town of Ucluelet. There are some great trails near the town that take you around the coastline and one of them goes past a lighthouse. The Amphitrite Lighthouse is a great looking lighthouse. In the days of modern navigation techniques, the concept of lighthouses seems a little out of date but they still serve a purpose and they do provide a nice focal point to a view of a rocky coastline. The lighthouse was one of the first things to see on the trail we took and I should probably post some of the other views in another post at some point. In the meantime, here is the light to keep you going.
I have walked across the bridge at Deception Pass before and that appeared in the blog in this post. We headed back to the area one weekend recently and stopped to cross the bridge again. The narrow sidewalk on the edge of the bridge is ideal for someone with my lack of enthusiasm for heights. It also isn’t a good place to loiter to try and get shots because there are always people crossing and it is hard to squeeze by in some places.
However, you can get a really nice view of the pass itself and the bays alongside it. There is also a fair amount of wildlife that inhabits the area. We saw seals frolicking in the waters of the pass and a bald eagle flew by and perched in a tree top near the car. Some kayakers were enjoying the waters too. I actually could have done with a wider lens than I had but that was back in the car so 24mm was as wide as I could go.
Mukilteo Light Station is a small lighthouse located (not surprisingly) in Mukilteo. It sits in a small park right next to the ferry terminal for the crossing to Whidbey Island. I had been wondering about checking out the park and the light station for a while after noticing them on Google Maps but I had never got around to doing so. Then I found myself on the ferry to Whidbey with a buddy of mine when I looked back and saw the light in some lovely early morning sun. Too late but something to remember.
I didn’t have long to remember though. I was back at the ferry a few days later. This time we arrived just a little late to get the first ferry so had to wait for the second. This gave me a chance, albeit a short one, to have a quick look at the light. It isn’t the most impressive structure you will see but it is a nicely kept lighthouse on a nice promontory.
Our Bainbridge trip included a bonus element. I had been advised how busy the ferries could be on nice summer weekends so we headed out early anticipating some long lines to get on the boat. We got to the terminal about an hour ahead of when we were planning to sail, bought our ticket, drove straight on to a boat and it sailed a minute later! This was a pleasant surprise. However, it did mean we were on the island a lot earlier than our planned first stop was open. We needed to kill some time.
Nancy did a quick search and came across a place called Fort Ward. We put that in the GPS and headed off. Fort Ward is an area of the coastline that used to be part of the protection of the approaches to Bremerton naval shipyards. It was given up by the military a long time ago and now sections of it are rather nice housing and more of it are a state park. In the early morning, walking along the shore through the park was a very pleasant way to spend some time.
Our trip down the coast included some driving down the Pacific Coast Highway. This is undoubtedly a gorgeous place to be. Each turn in the coast brings with it another lovely view of rugged cliffs and crashing waves. Add some sun and it really is wonderful. There is little point in saying much more. Instead, here are a few shots to show just how great it is.
A weekend day had us over in San Francisco having a mooch around some places we haven’t visited before. I had been reading something online about Sutro Heights and wanted to check the place out. This is an overlook up on the cliffs that had been the home of a guy called (unsurprisingly) Sutro. He had built a large house on this land and added gardens around it that included statues and artworks that were available for people to visit.
The house is long demolished but the gardens have become a city park. We stopped off to look around, enjoy the view and use the place as somewhere to have our lunch. The view down to the beach below, while rather hazy when we were there, was still rather nice. You could see plenty of people having fun down on the sands. The gardens themselves were rather relaxing. You could climb up onto the area where the house had once stood and try to imagine what it had been like. A few signs included images of how things had been laid out. Given how close we were to the Cliff House, the baths and the trails, it was a little surprising how few people were there. However, it isn’t heavily signed so maybe it is easily missed. If I hadn’t read about it, we would probably never have known either.
While watching the waves come rushing in to the Santa Cruz shore, I saw something floating on the surface just a little way out. It appeared to be seaweed but that wasn’t all that was there. A look through the longer lens confirmed that a sea otter was sitting out there enjoying the ride. The clump of weed was drifting closer in so, when the waves started to break over the top, the otter would dive underneath and pop back up once the turmoil had passed. The current was taking him along the shoreline over time so we lost track of where he ended up but he seemed to be enjoying the ride quite a lot!
Do you ever see an advertising image of someone doing something artistic outdoors and you think to yourself, “No-one ever does anything like that. It’s so contrived.” How about a guy standing on a rocky outcrop above the pounding surf playing the trumpet? That is exactly what we came across on the shore in Santa Cruz. This guy was just standing out there playing his trumpet. What a strange thing to see. It did sound pretty good though. He was a pretty decent player!
When my mum was visiting, I thought it would be a good idea to take her to Devil’s Slide to walk along the coastal trail. We drove out there and, coming across the bay we went into some pretty thick fog. I was tempted to bail on the plan at that point but we decided to keep going and see how things were. Even as we were on Highway 1, it was still foggy. It really didn’t look like a good idea at all. The best bet for turning around was at the parking for the trail so we went there anyway. It still looked bad but we got out and decided to take a look. The sun felt like it was trying to poke through the overcast so we took a chance.
Turns out we were lucky. As we walked along the trail, the sun was burning through and the view was opening up beneath us. There was still a lot of cloud around but it seemed to be receding from us as we walked. Equally importantly, the conditions meant there was little wind unlike my previous visit when I felt like I could get blown off my feet at some times.
We walked most of the trail and then headed back. It was a great time to be up there and the waves crashing below us looked great. The whole time, I was only shooting with my phone. I hadn’t anticipated the walk working out so I had left the main camera in the car while we checked things out. Instead, we kept going. I was shooting in RAW for the first time on the phone and that will get a post of its own in due course. It turned out our timing was really good. Once we were back and driving up the coast, the cloud started to drift back in again. I think we got rather lucky.
I have been to San Diego a few times but one area I had never explored before was Cabrillo National Monument. Head out through Point Loma to the end of the peninsula and you enter the national park area. It was getting towards the end of the day when we got there so the visit was a little truncated. First we went to the tide pools. The signs said they would be closing first, hence the decision.
Of course, why would the tide pools be closing first? Because the tide was coming in. By the time we got there, the water was already starting to get close to coming over the rocks. Nevertheless, there was still a chance to have a quick wander around by the water. What was probably nicer was the view along the shore. The trails along the cliff tops provided great views of the ocean and the coast off into the distance. If we had been there earlier in the day and had more time, this would have definitely been a place to explore further.
We then headed back up to the top of the ridge and the visitor center. Here is the statue of Cabrillo himself as well as a great view across the whole of San Diego. With Coronado Island in the foreground including NAS North Island and the Hotel Del Coronado and then San Diego’s city center rising behind it, the whole bay area looked great in the gradually lowering evening light. Of course, the late arrival did mean that we were coming up on closing time so it wasn’t long before they announced it was time to go.