Limantour Estuary, Drakes Bay

Limantour Estuary, Drakes Bay

by | Dec 3, 2020

Limantour Beach is a long narrow spit in Point Reyes National Seashore between Drakes Bay and Limantour Estuary, about 15 miles (24 km) northwest of Bolinas and 6 miles (10 km) southwest of Point Reyes Station, California. The beach and estuary are named after Joseph Yves Limantour, a French merchant whose schooner, the Ayacucho, was wrecked on Point Reyes in October 1841. Although much of the cargo was saved, Limantour was stranded in California with no means of transport and sold his cargo for cash and credit to local landowners.

Drakes Bay is an embayment on the south side of Point Reyes named in 1875 for Sir Francis Drake. A portion of the coastal area of Drakes Bay is archaeologically and historically important. It is believed to be the site of Francis Drake’s 1579 landfall on what he named New Albion. The bay is also the location where a Spanish Manila galleon sank during a storm in 1595. Both Drake and the Portuguese commander of the galleon, Sebastião Rodrigues Soromenho, interacted with the local Coast Miwok. There are 15 archaeological sites on the bay of Miwok settlements where European trade goods have been found, including materials that the Miwok probably recovered from the wrecked galleon.

Drakes Bay is fed by Drakes Estero and Limantour Estero, an expansive estuary system on the Point Reyes peninsula. The estuaries are protected by Estero de Limantour State Marine Reserve and Drakes Estero State Marine Conservation Area. Point Reyes State Marine Reserve and Point Reyes State Marine Conservation Area are also within Drakes Bay. Read more here and here. Explore more of Limantour Estuary here:

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