Point Reyes Headlands Winter Shuttle Bus System
On weekends & holidays, Sir Francis Drake Boulevard is closed beyond the South Beach Road junction from 9 am to 5:30 pm during favorable weather conditions. Bus service to the Lighthouse & Chimney Rock is provided from Drakes Beach. More »
2014 Harbor Seal Pupping Season Closures
From March 1 through June 30, the park implements closures of certain Tomales Bay beaches and Drakes Estero to water-based recreation to protect harbor seals during the pupping season. Please avoid disturbing seals to ensure a successful pupping season. More »
Operational Changes Took Effect on May 1, 2013
The Lighthouse Visitor Center is now only open Fridays through Mondays; closed Tuesdays through Thursdays, including Thanksgiving. The Kenneth C. Patrick Visitor Center is open on weekends and holidays when shuttles are operating. More »
Update on Drakes Bay Underwater Research Project - October 22, 1997
Contact: John Dell'Osso, 415-464-5135
The project undertaken by the National Park Service (NPS) last week has provided researchers at Point Reyes National Seashore with valuable information on the locations of submerged cultural resources within Drakes Bay.
Marine archeologists have determined 20 clusters of anomalies with a high potential for shipwreck material during their week of dragging a sidescan sonar and magnetometer at the bottom of Drakes Bay where over 25 vessels have historically sank.
Many state-of-the-art techniques were experimented with during this project including a specially designed shark net which has shark repellent devices from Shark POD, Inc. These PODs (protective ocean devices) emit an electrical impulse which a shark will immediately retreat from. The protective net for the divers has the PODs strung along the side to protect sharks from the net. A shark cage was also deployed and divers within the cage utilized a tool to move some bottom layers of sand to reveal anomalies.
Personnel from several NPS sites including Point Reyes, San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park, Channel Islands National Park, and the highly specialized dive team from the Submerged Cultural Resources Unit in Santa Fe, New Mexico have joined in a partnership with staff from the Gulf of the Farallones National Marine Sanctuary, the California State Lands Commission, Sonoma State University, the Western Maritime Institute for Archeology, and the Drake Navigators Guild.
The weather during the first week was calm and warm which allowed the magnetometer equipment to give precise readings of anomalies. During conditions when there is considerable wave action, the "noise" from the wave action can cause false readings from the magnetometer.
This first phase of the project will be completed by Friday but it will take researchers several months to analyze all of the data and make some specific recommendations to staff at Point Reyes National Seashore. The project could then be revisited next October for additional underwater work.
Did You Know?
Harbor seals (Phoca vitulina) are present in the waters of Point Reyes year round. Every spring, approximately 7,000 harbor seals, or 20% of the mainland California breeding population, haul out on the beaches of Point Reyes. Look for them in the esteros and in Tomales Bay and Bolinas Lagoon. More...