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Read the tide tables before you pay a call.

On stormy nights at the Battery Point Lighthouse in northwestern California, the eternally restless spirit of a worried light keeper is said to wander. Whether you are a ghost hunter, maritime buff, or picnicker, you'll find this 19th-century beacon and museum near Crescent City worth exploring. Now through October 31, you can visit the 1856 lighthouse and climb up the spiral stairs to the glassed-in tower to take in sweeping views of the ocean and coastal town.

High in the 77-foot tower, you won't find the original Fresnel lens that once guided gold rush-era ships with its flashing whale-oil beam. Instead, a powerful new electric light beams from sunset to sunrise. You can see the beautiful old lens in the lighthouse museum, along with shipwreck artifacts and other memorabilia.

Visiting the lighthouse requires careful timing: you must cross at low tide on a 200-yard sandy spit that is covered by water at other times. Depending on the ocean surf, you have about an hour before and after low tide to make the crossing. Good weekend mornings to visit this month are May 5, 6, 19, and 20. For tide time information, call the lighthouse at (707) 464-3089 or consult the tide tables in the Del Norte Triplicate newspaper.

You can visit the lighthouse between 10 and 4 Wednesdays through Sundays. Admission is $1; children under 12 are free. To get to the lighthouse from downtown Crescent City, turn southwest on Front Street, and follow it 1/2 mile to the end. Turn left on A Street; continue 2 blocks to the parking lot and the island access.

For information on lodging, write or call the Crescent City Chamber of Commerce, Box 246, Crescent City 95531; (707) 464-3174.
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Date:May 1, 1984
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