Point Lobos, Carmel Bay

Point Lobos, Carmel Bay

by | Apr 18, 2019

Point Lobos is a headland at the south end of Carmel Bay on the central coast of California. The bay is about 4 miles (6.5 km) long between Cypress Point and Point Lobos, 1.5 miles (2.4 km) wide, and bisected by the Carmel Canyon. The City of Carmel, formally “Carmel-by-the-Sea”, adjoins Carmel Bay, and the coastline includes Carmel City Beach, Carmel River State Beach, and the Carmel Bay State Marine Conservation Area.

The point has a rich history of occupation. The Ohlone people harvested shellfish including abalone from the waters around Point Lobos. A historical village named Ichxenta was located adjacent to Point Lobos indicating about 2,500 years of habitation. Spanish explorer Sebastian Vizcaino or some of his soldiers likely camped near the mouth of the Carmel River in 1602-1603. In about 1770, Spanish vaqueros from nearby Carmel Mission ran large herds of cattle in the area. In 1851 a Chinese sailor ran aground at Point Lobos and was rescued by members of the Ohlone tribe. In 1862, Antonio Victorine, a Portuguese whaler from the Azores, arrived at Point Lobos and started a small whaling station at Whalers Cove. In 1897, Alexander MacMillan Allan, an engineer from Pennsylvania, was hired to improve a nearby coal mine operation. When the coal mine proved unprofitable, he purchased 640 acres (260 ha) of Point Lobos from the Carmelo Land and Coal Company. During World War II, from 1942 to 1944, Whalers Cove was the site of an Air Force Long-Range Radar facility.

The Point Lobos Ecological Reserve was created in 1973. In 2007, the ecological reserve was expanded and renamed The Point Lobos State Marine Reserve and Point Lobos State Marine Conservation Area. A no-take zone was extended from the east side of Monastery Beach to the mouth of Malpaso Creek. These were 2 of 29 marine protected areas adopted during the first phase of the Marine Life Protection Act Initiative, a collaborative public process to create a statewide network of marine protected areas along the California coastline. Today, the Point Lobos marine protected areas conserve a wide range of plants and animals from the shallow water nearshore reefs to the deep waters of the Carmel Canyon. Read more here and here. Explore more of Point Lobos here:

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This ‘warming stripe’ graphic is a visual representation of the change in global temperature from 1850 (top) to 2019 (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. 

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