suburban sea-caving

Point Loma Sea Cave Exploring

video and frame images by Reviewer Rob

Did you ever get the feeling that the world was sometimes a place of almost invisible magic and adventure? That just maybe, if you looked a little harder, you’d find hidden treasures that had been overlooked and passed by, and that there was an undiscovered realm right under your feet?

Yesterday I went my the beach on my way home to check the waves as the sun set and noticed a crowd gathered by the cliffs with several lifegaurd and police cars parked in the lot by the big bird rock near Reviewer’s world headquarters in Point Loma. So I walked up closer investigate. This area often has cliff rescues by lifegaurds using their boom truck and rappelling gear but that’s usually when the waves are huge and people get trapped in a pocket cove and can’t get out or climb the cliffs to safety.

The crowd was watching a young guy being pulled out of a hole in the rocks by the officers (see photos/frame-grabs below). Once he was safely out, then up came another, and another. A group of about 10 or 12 young people were caving inside a sea-cliff cave that I park above, and was unaware of, on an almost a daily basis. The police and lifegaurds began trying to figure out what to do about this since, according to one of them, it’s “technically” frowned upon.

Then I recalled stories and historical photos that depict a Point Loma of 100 years ago that was a sort of ocean theme-park, built up with a wooden boardwalk, bridges and other pedestrian enhancements.

Above three images were found by Google on, wherein this was posted: “Permission to use these images is granted provided it is attributed as follows: Copyright © 2007 Ronald V. May and Dale Ballou May, Legacy 106, Inc.,”

Underground passageways

Time and tide has washed them all away, I had been told, except for occasional concrete ruins which can be seen clogging the rock rubble below the cliffs are the remnants of the stairs and bridge footings of the park setting.

Or had it completely disappeared? These guys seemed to have found a secret link to Point Loma’s resplendent past.

Click the images below or watch the video on YouTube for the story to begin to unfold.

~Reviewer Rob

Below: 16 frame grabs from the YouTube video.

These photos: above, Point Loma then, and below, now.

Historic Sunset Cliffs, San Diego, California
The ocean park that almost was

The two photos above and story below were found on ~

Sunset Cliffs Park was originally landscaped in 1915 by sporting goods magnate Albert Goodwill Spaulding at the cost of two million dollars. It was to be given to the City of San Diego with the provision that they maintain it. This bequest consisted of landscaped walkways along the cliffs with rustic railings, pebbled steps and stairways, palm thatched shelters with benches, Japanese-style rustic arched bridges, caves with stairway access, even a 15 x 50 foot saltwater swimming pool carved into the natural rock that cleaned itself with every high tide. This was a major tourist attraction of which there are many postcards from the time around today that attest to its popularity.

The city did nothing to maintain the park and the land reverted to the new property owner, developer John P. Mills. In 1924 Mills refurbished the park and gave it back to the city, again with the provision that they maintain it.

In 1928 Mills requested that the city return it if they were not going to keep it up as agreed. The city’s reply was that the deed was vague and ambiguous, and continued to do nothing to maintain it. Quite the opposite, they allowed it to deteriorate and then claimed as an excuse for not maintaining the park that it was eroded and unsafe and then removed most of it.

As you can see by present day photographs all of the footings and cobblestone anchor for the bridge and handrails are still in place. Don’t always believe what you’re told, this historic site still exists. Instead of eroding away here, the reality is, that tons of fill dirt was dumped by the city on top of the site. This park is a San Diego treasure that would have been private yards as in La Jolla if not for the foresight of the Spaulding and Mills Families.

Currently there is a new plan to develop the park and some of the historic elements should be incorporated into this plan. It is the right thing to do after all these years. It is time for the city to honor its agreements.

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