Trip Report and Photos
Pt. Fermin Lighthouse, Terranea Resort,
& Nudibranch Hunting on Foot
June 13, 2009

Story and Photos © Elaine Jobin, or Ross Overstreet, may not be reproduced in part or whole without advanced written permission.

Sue Shaw made advance reservations for a private small group tour of the Pt. Fermin Lighthouse. It is located at 807 W. Paseo Del Mar, San Pedro, CA. I have driven past this lighthouse many times and often viewed it from the ocean, but, never been inside. (I pulled my camera straight out of the housing with the wide angle 16mm lens for the tour. The Lighthouse stands straight and beautifully cared for and restored, so, please ignore the optical distortion from the lens. Also, a few pics were made with an 80 - 200 lens).

Whale in the San Pedro Channel
Pt. Fermin Lighthouse

We parked our cars and met up with David, our tour guide, outside the beautiful white picket fence that surrounds the lighthouse with a delightful rim of wood trim and flower garden.

Photo by Elaine Jobin
Photo by Elaine Jobin
Phill, Merry, and Sue at the Lighthouse
David our guide
Bottomscratcher Dive Boat, Photo by Elaine Jobin
Photo by Elaine Jobin
Fence and Surrounding Garden
Learning about the Lighthouse

The Lighthouse was built in 1874 in Victorian "Stick Style". Restorations have maintained the original architectural materials and details. Some original parts remain. In looking at the picture of the door below...I wonder if the door used to open to the oposite side?

Photo by Elaine Jobin
Photo by Elaine Jobin
Victorian "Stick Style:
An original entryway
Photo by Elaine Jobin
Photo by Elaine Jobin
Looking up
The window shutters
Photo by Elaine Jobin
Photo by Elaine Jobin
Oceanside Entry
Storm Cellar

There was no electricity or indoor plumbing. Water was collected from the roof gutters and channeled into outdoor cisterns. Its first keepers were two sisters, Mary and Ella Smith.

Photo by Elaine Jobin
Jeff Shaw inspects a cistern

With a few exceptions, pictures were not allowed on during the inside part of the tour. The inside is beautifully restored and it is a cool home in which I'd love to live. The lens has been removed from the lighthouse tower but is on display in one of the downstairs rooms. The trip to the top up the narrow winding staircase ends with beautiful views and the enjoyment of cool ocean breezes. The actual glass enclosure where the lens resided is a little wam however - the lensroom windows don't open..

Photo by Elaine Jobin
Trying on the lighthouse keeper hats
The top of the lighthouse

After the tour we made a visit to the gift shop and met Beth and Mia O in the garden.

Captain Greg Prepares the Dingy, Photo by Elaine Jobin
Captain Greg brings back my full tank, Photo by Elaine Jobin
Mia O. visits the Pt. Fermin Lighthouse

We were hungry after our tour and decided to make the trek up to "Old Marineland" to check out the new Terranea Resort and Nelson Bar. This was one of the "Grand Opening" Weekends.

I was stunned by the size of the Terranea Resort complex, and, by the boxy building designs that stand in contrast to the surrounding landscape. It looks like they took a design from Palm Springs and plunked it down on the Coastal Cliffs.

Catalina Hyperbaric Chamber, Photo by Elaine Jobin
Catalina Hyperbaric Chamber, Photo by Elaine Jobin
Terranea Resort
Inside the "Check In" Building

We wound our way through the urban complex to the "Nelson Bar"in search of a late lunch. The inside of the "Nelson Bar" had a TGI Fridays atmosphere with pictures from "Seahunt" on the walls. One look at the prices on the menu and we quickly decided "forget this".

Karl and Tom come down for a visit, Photo by Elaine Jobin
The "Nelson Bar"
Menu: Beer $6, Wine $13, Pretzel $10

The Nelson Bar sits on the path up from the beach. I think dreams of an after dive social site have been replaced with a gulp from the water fountain.

Water Fountain outside the "Nelson Bar"

The new spa overlooks the trail to the beach. If outdoor hiking and beach diving isn't your thing - I guess you can watch it all from a beachfront stationary bicycle.

The "Spa"

Cliff view whale watching and ocean side pool services are also offered

Ship Rock, Catalina Island, Photo by Ross Overstreet
Ship Rock, Catalina Island, Photo by Ross Overstreet
Pathway to the Ocean
Picnic Tables Along the Way
Ship Rock, Catalina Island, Photo by Ross Overstreet
Ship Rock, Catalina Island, Photo by Ross Overstreet
Educational Sign
View for a Quarter
Ship Rock, Catalina Island, Photo by Ross Overstreet
Ship Rock, Catalina Island, Photo by Ross Overstreet
Oceanside Pool
Guests Only

We checked out the "Post Dive Shower" and headed back to the car. Lunch at Acapulco in "Ports O Call" San Pedro would be more reasonably priced. An entire meal there costs less than a pretzel at Terranea.

Ship Rock, Catalina Island, Photo by Ross Overstreet
Jeff checks out the shower

An unexpected treat did await us on the trail back to the parking lot. A man had been hired to keep the seagulls away from the resort. A hawk stood on the back of a golf cart and seemed to be quite effective - we had not seen a seagull at Terranea. The entire resort had seemed void of life except for a swarm of humans and seeing anything that was "wildlife" was a joy and relief.

Ship Rock, Catalina Island, Photo by Ross Overstreet
Ship Rock, Catalina Island, Photo by Ross Overstreet
"Natural" Seagull Repellant

A young Eurasian Eagle-owl was also present in training. Incredibly tame and human socialized - this owl stole our hearts.

Ship Rock, Catalina Island, Photo by Ross Overstreet
Ship Rock, Catalina Island, Photo by Ross Overstreet
Eurasian Eagle-owl
Sue pets the owl
Ship Rock, Catalina Island, Photo by Ross Overstreet
Ship Rock, Catalina Island, Photo by Ross Overstreet
Vermin repellant
Sweet!

Well, Terranea may have blown the wonderful atmosphere of its coastal location and lost the incredible history of its site, but possibly it can make a small save with an onsite exotic bird farm. Native seagulls - passe'.

After a good and reasonably priced lunch at a harbor side table in San Pedro we made a stop at our top secret topside nudibranch hunting site. Here, we found lots of Lion Nudibranchs, some actively reproducing in large groups - ie: 6 or more.

Ship Rock, Catalina Island, Photo by Ross Overstreet
Ship Rock, Catalina Island, Photo by Ross Overstreet
Lion Nudibranchs in San Pedro

Thanks to Sue Shaw and Jeff Shaw for a great topside day on our coast!