Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Point Conception

Monday we came around Point Conception, the place where the California coast turns from a north-south direction to an east-west direction. Although this point is notoriously rough, we encountered it on a calm, sunny day, and we continued on to Santa Barbara under sunny skies.
Talk to anyone who has traveled south along the Pacific Coast, and you will hear that everything gets better after you have rounded Point Conception. Everyone agrees that the weather gets warmer and sunnier and the sea calmer once you are south of Point Conception. After three perfect days in Santa Barbara, we are believers.

Point Conception is also the "place of beginning", the point where the US government survey of the west coast began. The first group of surveyors camped on Point Conception in 1850 to determine exact latitude and longitude with sightings of the sun, stars and moon. Because of the frequency of fog, it took them 50 days and nights to get the exact location fixed, and all future surveys and sightings refered back to the baseline shown on this map, running from the top of Cape Conception down to what is now known as the Coho Anchorage. How different for us today, with the GPS updating the latitude and longitude every few seconds.


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