Lighthouse Treasure Trove

The night the moon was full from dusk to dawn, the ocean seemed black as coal and restless as a cat. Across the bay an amber-tinted beacon of light on Ninini Point flashed methodically, enough to mark the coast for the landing strip at the edge of the cliff. On the ground two or three sets of faint headlights indicated a road must lead to the old lighthouse. The next afternoon we were on a quest to find out. Like a treasure hunt, signs promised shore access to Ninini Point. However, at the end of a paved road the trail became difficult to navigate. Pick-up trucks and SUVs climb over the rough terrain with ease. Not so much the rented Mustang convertible. Clay ruts and lava boulders made the ride bumpy at best. Around each impassable turn I wondered what lurked beyond the thick wall of yucca spikes and swaying grasses that smacked against the car door. At the end of the road, we finally arrived in one piece. Finally. With the lighthouse towering above us, an unexpected eerie feeling crept in. At the foot of a low gnarled tree was a collection of memorial paraphernalia including beverage bottles, dried flowers, good-luck charms, and religious statues. Messages scrawled on a broken surfboard, suspended across a tree branch, indicated heartache and loss of love. Such a tragic sight to behold. I wondered what other disappointments this old lighthouse had witnessed. Life could not have been easier to face in 1897. An isolated existence of lighting the lamp daily and maintaining the structure against nature’s ferocity had to prove challenging. In time, the government would intercede and rebuild the current seventy-two foot concrete tower, dated 1932. Like others, Nawiliwili Lighthouse became automated. A cliffside view of the cobalt waters and crashing waves afforded us the perfect spot for whale watching, six-man canoe races, swirling water spouts, and landing planes. A treasure trove, indeed. 

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