Tuesday, June 17, 2014

The Sights Of Crescent City

The economy of Crescent City is pretty depressed but it's still easy to fall in love with this place. The people are friendly and welcoming, the weather is perfect in our estimation -- daytime highs in the low 60's -- nightly lows in the low 50's. We are enjoying our time here.

On Saturday, we loaded into the car to see a few more local sights. Getting back to normal after their visit to the vet, Lexie and Ozzie were excited at the prospect of Wayne's question, "wanna go for a ride in the car?" Of course they did.

This is how we spent about 4 hours that day.  First stop...

Castle Island Preserve

A National Wildlife Refuge, Castle Island rises about 335 feet from the Pacific ocean. It is located 1/2 mile off the coast of Crescent City and totals about 14 acres of rock.  Difficult to see in my picture,below, but easily seen from the coastline, a large swath of sloping green meadow grows on the island. Castle Island is off limits to the public. It is one of the most important sea bird sanctuaries on the California coast with as many as 150,000 birds (and forty-one species) nesting and breeding here.
Castle Rock is an important sanctuary for Aleutian Canadian geese and other nesting seabirds.
Sea lions and seals are sunning themselves on the rocks at the base of Castle Rock.

Then on to...

Brother Jonathan Cemetery and Memorial

A small city block near the coastline in Crescent City serves as a cemetery and memorial to the steamship Brother Jonathan.  Buried in this place are the 19 survivors of 224 total people who were aboard when the Brother Jonathan struck an uncharted rock while trying to enter the harbor at Crescent City during a summer storm in 1865.

Wreckage of the Brother Jonathan steamer would not be located for a hundred years.
The steamship sank in water over 250 feet deep.  Gold, camels and china were the main cargo.
Bodies and cargo washed ashore for months afterward. 
And then to...

Saint George Reef Lighthouse

The picture to the right is of Saint George Reef Lighthouse. In the picture below, I've indicated the location of its silhouette in the far coastal distance.

Saint George Reef Lighthouse is one of the world's greatest lighthouses and a marvel of 19th century engineering. It can't be seen in my photograph and that's too bad, but we could see it only through binoculars. The Saint George Reef Lighthouse is perched on the "Dragon Rocks" about 6 miles offshore, a bit north of Crescent City, near the Oregon state line.

Construction of this lighthouse was a direct result of the sinking of Brother Jonathan. Building cost $700,000 and took ten years to complete.

It was the most expensive lighthouse of the 19th century.
We were standing at a viewing point across the street from the Brother Jonathan Memorial.
Saint George Lighthouse was called "the rock" and it was the most dangerous service location of all lighthouses. Four lighthouse keepers died and many others were injured during crew transfers from the huge boom that had to be used to offload people and supplies. The lighthouse was decommissioned in May 1975.

From there we saw...

Battery Point Lighthouse

Perhaps the most scenic lighthouse setting, in my view.  Visitors can access the island and go inside the lighthouse -- but only at low tide. The walkway is underwater at other times.

As the photo shows, except at low tide, the walkway is under water.
And then to...

Crescent City Harbor

Left to right, the next picture captures a Coast Guard Cutter, Battery Point Lighthouse, Crescent City downtown and a floating section of dock that serves as a platform for seals and sea lions.

Tough to see in the picture, but at least one dead mammal is on the platform.
A group of buzzards stand on the opposite end. 

And then to the local municipal marina.


The marina at Crescent City Harbor was almost completely destroyed by the 2011 tsunami that resulted from the earthquake off the coast of Japan.  Rebuilding is almost complete now. We're told by local fishermen that monthly marina slip costs have more than doubled.  

By the time we finished looking around the marina, it was lunchtime, so we headed to a harbor favorite:

Chart Room Restaurant

Waterfront dining in Crescent City is best at this "locals favorite" where a wait to be seated is almost always required.  The Chart Room is open for all three meals and the local folks especially like the big seafood breakfasts including cod and eggs, crab and/or shrimp omelettes.

Seafood combo. Cod, prawns, scallops, fries, slaw and garlic bread - $12.99 (fried or broiled)

To offset the mouthwatering effect of lunch picture, I offer the next one:

Life Cycle

Seeing all the seemingly healthy sea lions and seals, I rarely think of how they might die.  But they do and when it happens, there's another group of wildlife that tends to the cleanup.

A sea lion carcass is cleaned away by local citizens.

Staying on

Today marks the beginning of our third week here in Crescent City. We stopped in for an overnight, stayed a week, then a second and now a third.  Village Camper Inn RV Park is convenient, well designed, quiet and reasonably priced. Perfect weather is tough to leave too. It's on our short list of "favorite" campgrounds.


  1. It was really cold when we were in Crescent City so we didn't do much exploring. It's been on my list to return to for a long time and after reading your post it makes me want to go back even more.

    1. I know what you mean about the cold coastal towns along the Pacific. Same thing happened to us at Coos Bay. The cold, damp, wind and fog caused my memory of the area to be less than perfect, for sure.

      I think we've been lucky to have had so many beautiful days here in Crescent City. Good temperatures and NO WIND! Another factor might be that we really like the campground. It's about 3 miles from the coast and that makes a difference, I suppose, in wind.

  2. Looks like a place for us to visit! Love harbor towns.

    1. We are loving it! The weather's been unseasonably dry this spring -- we've had one half day of drizzle in over three weeks and that probably influences our judgement.

      Yesterday we found a nature lovers hideout that I'll write about in the next post. When you get to Crescent City, I urge you to see it.