I recently posted about Arena Cove’s past, expressing my hope that it might still be somewhat rustic. One day last week, after work, I thought “I really have to figure out where Arena Cove is.” As I left the school, I considered heading north on Highway 1 but had a feeling that wasn’t the right direction. That goes to the lighthouse and the casino. So I drove my usual route, south through town, toward home. As I reached the south end of town, I decided to turn right on a small residential street I hadn’t yet explored.
When I’d gone a little way, I turned right, seeing another small street with housing, wondering how it connected to town. As I reached the next streeet, a small sign at the corner caught my eye. “Arena Cove/Port Rd.”, with an arrow. Nothing about the area suggested a road leading to the cove and port.
I turned around and drove back to the original road. Another similar sign, equally unobtrusive, pointed right. My heart raced, loving how the town had made this process of discovery so satisfying.
It raced more when a decrepit fishing boat appeared, perched off the side of the road. I actually imagined it may have survived the storm of ’86.
As I approached the small port area, I felt relieved that all was not polished and built up with brand new hotels. The parking lot looked used, a weathered warehouse had streaked paint. A long, two-story wood building contained an inviting pizza pub and chowder house.
Cliffs rose, remarkable, to the left side of the cove, white like the Cliffs of Dover. I pictured customers of the old Arena Cove Cafe watching storms carry waves crashing against the dramatic sides of the cove.
How did I end up driving there on the very day I’d wanted to find the cove? That little road has never prompted me to think it led to the port. I expected it might go a short way into countryside, leading toward the sea.
A few days later, I went into our school district office for some paperwork and the receptionist mentioned reading on the Point Arena Update about a protest. Business and council members have made a decision to “improve the area” with large walls against storms. Naturalists object that spawning fish will be affected. Fishermen and many others were scheduled to protest that very evening!
I drove back down and saw the backhoe, about to begin digging, changing the landscape, making it safe for humans’ buildings.
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