Chimney Rock, Point Reyes

Chimney Rock, Point Reyes

by | Jul 24, 2023

Chimney Rock is an islet that lies off the eastern headland of the Point Reyes Peninsula, connected only at low tide, about 3 miles (4.8 km) east of the Point Reyes Light and 10 miles (16 km) southwest of Inverness, California. The headland separates the western and southern shores of Drakes Bay from the Pacific Ocean.

During the winter, northern elephant seals use the narrow rocky beaches on Drakes Bay. Elephant seals are large, oceangoing earless seals that were both hunted to the brink of extinction for their oil-rich blubber. One bull elephant seal would yield nearly 25 gallons (114 l) of oil. By the end of the 19th century, there were that fewer than 1,000 northern elephant seals. In 1922, the Mexican government banned hunting, followed shortly thereafter by the US government. Since then, the population of northern elephant seals has recovered at an average rate of six percent per year. Today, thanks to government protection and the seals’ distant lives at sea, the worldwide population has grown to an estimated 210,000 seals.

Point Reyes Lifeboat Station is a historical Coast Guard facility located on the Drake’s Bay side of Point Reyes. The station was built in 1927 by the United States Lifesaving Service and is one of the best-preserved rescue stations of that period on the Pacific coast. It is now a historic property managed by the National Park Service as part of Point Reyes National Seashore. Read more here and here. Explore more of Chimney Rock here:

About the background graphic

This ‘warming stripe’ graphic is a visual representation of the change in global temperature from 1850 (top) to 2022 (bottom). Each stripe represents the average global temperature for one year. The average temperature from 1971-2000 is set as the boundary between blue and red. The color scale goes from -0.7°C to +0.7°C. The data are from the UK Met Office HadCRUT4.6 dataset. 

Credit: Professor Ed Hawkins (University of Reading). Click here for more information about the #warmingstripes.

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