the light at the end of the tunnel


the light at the end of the tunnel

I have been known to not play pool and do things like visit the occasional lighthouse.


    The Pigeon Point Lighthouse, built in 1871, is the tallest lighthouse on the west coast (well, technically it’s tied with another one — Point Arena). It was named for a ship, the Carrier Pigeon, which wrecked on the rocks in 1853.
The lens of the lighthouse is a first-order Fresnel lens which is the biggest of the many types of Fresnel lenses. It was originally from the Cape Hatteras lighthouse on the North Carolina coast.
    The lighthouse buildings (with exception of the lighthouse itself) are leased to Hostelling International and can accomodate up to 50 people.


    After seeing the lighthouse, we hiked down some limestone cliffs…
    …and across some abandoned railway tracks…
… arriving at the following view.




But, not our objective.

After some additional wandering about, we found it — the way into Mordor the tunnel. (Shut up, Gollum.)

This an old (but not ancient) tunnel cut straight through the limestone.


The water flowing through it was fresh and not at all salty. It was right out of a bottled water commercial (sans plastic bottle) and easily the best water I’ve ever had (protozoans and all). Yes, even better than the Magic Water at that Korean BBQ place in Las Vegas.

My brother and I decided to walk through the tunnel (before the tide rolled in) to see what was on the other side. The water was SUPER DUPER BLOOPER cold but we went through it barefoot because there was no other way.

  The view towards the tunnel entrance was lovely…
  …and the view to the other end was intriguing.

After enjoying our walk in the dark on sharp-ish rocks in crazy-cold water, we popped out on the other side.


The water here did not have as strong a current as that inside the limestone tunnel, but it was deeper. The earthen sides of this — place — were covered in moss and other waterlovin’ plants.


The concrete tunnel had a date of 1933 molded into its archway.

We were not properly outfitted for further exploration so we regretfully turned back before we succumbed to hypothermia.

  Back to stumbling around in the darkness…
  …and continuing towards the light.


  Eventually, we returned to Earth.
  Dude, that was fun.


(I would have taken a much lovelier and highly poetic panoramic of the river but there were two morons jousting with driftwood in front of where the waters met.)


  We headed next for the mussel beds.

Wild mussels (in season from November 30 to May 1) are f#cking delicious. Having eaten these since I was a child (my brother and I were adventurous even then), I can never go back to the bland, farmed versions. A good comparison to how wild mussels taste compared to farmed mussels would be the difference between pork and wild boar. Not all people like the “game” flavor, but those that do, love it.

Low tide here had uncovered huge swaths of mussel colonies engaged in their eternal turf war for space versus their main enemy the gooseneck barnacle.

That up there is a little sculpin we saw in a tide pool.

We ran into several other mussel connoisseurs who were going to make cioppino with their haul and had a nice time discussing food and local history. After having gathered enough (the daily limit is 35 pounds), we headed back.

  Look! It’s A Big Rock.

If you look close, you can see people on the mussel beds digging for dinner.


At home, I cleaned the mussels by scraping off barnacles and scrubbing them under running water. After they were clean on the outside, I put them in a bowl of cold tap water with a quarter cup of flour.

The mussels will strain the water and when they encounter flour particles, they will spit them out. When they spit out the flour particles, they also tend to spit out any sand they’ve accumulated inside. I was inducing these mussels to vomit. Delicious thought, I know.

After they had sat around puking for a half-hour or so, they were ready for their final ascent to heaven. My mother fired up her crazy-ass industrial strength burner and sauteed some garlic. She threw in the mussels.

She added some green onions, some spices, a little sauce, and a little wine.

Then, she covered the wok and shook it to settle the mussels and let them steam for a little bit.

While the mussels were steaming, we got my sea monster serving platter out.


The finished product.

Now you know — when I say I’m foraging for dinner, I mean it!





I think this video clip is hilariously cute.

I was hibernating from pool (and blogging) for a little bit, but now I’m good to go.


Just send it!

11 Replies to “the light at the end of the tunnel”

    1. Aww, thanks! Lighting was good that day! You’ll have to post pictures of your garden once it starts blooming. 🙂

  1. I think this may be my favorite non pool related post, except of course for my all-time favorite of subduing the groper and getting him arrested.

    Nice pictures and the mussels look wonderful. I had no idea there was a place anyone could just gather them so easily for free.

    I’m a nature lover, hiker, spelunker, and adventurer from way back. Can’t get out as much as I used to and I miss it. Also, I don’t know people anymore that I can join for the more epic adventures we did in college. Did do two pretty major and sweet hikes on my honeymoon in Hawaii in 2009 though.

    1. Here on the west coast, you can collect mussels because they’re not a protected species. As long as you are not in a designated wildlife refuge or park area, you’re good to go! Of course, you do have to make sure the area has clean water. Bays and harbors are generally polluted, so I recommend open coast with good wave action.

      I love nature and doing adventure-y things. I don’t get out much anymore since I’m usually in a pool room, but Nature is great when you need to get away from people. 🙂

      Spelunking is something I’ve always wanted to try but I imagine you need a lot of equipment for it.

  2. Great pictures!!! You make me wish I lived on the west coast.
    And the mussels!!! Yummmmmm! I love mussels. 🙂

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