2020 Lighthouse Lecture Series

A big Lighthouse Thank You to Kitty Wolfe for putting together the fantastic 2019 Lecture Series slate of presenters and for coming up another stellar line up for 2020!  Topics will be added as the presenters provide their information.

Please note that due to the COVID-19 situation we have cancelled the lectures scheduled for March through August.  Depending on how the Mendocino County Health Department Orders are updated we may have to cancel the remainder of the Lecture Series.  Kitty will be working with the cancelled presenters to re-schedule in the future.  

Saturday, January 18 – Marlene “The Elusive Rutabaga” Padilla on A Solo Adventure Down the California Coast Trail – Presented
Saturday, February 15 – Robin Joy Wellman on Siberia – The People, Their Traditions and Their Connections to Our Coast– Presented
Saturday, March 21 – Sara Bogard on Harbor Seals and other Inhabitants of the Point Arena Lighthouse and the Stornetta Public Lands – Cancelled
Saturday, April 18 – Scott Mercer on The Ecology of the Southern Sea Otter – Cancelled
Saturday, May 16  – Michael Combs on Logging Town – Gualala – Cancelled
Saturday, June 20  – Richard Sequest on Hell Ship or Angel of Mercy: The First Shipwreck at Pt. Arena – Cancelled
Saturday, July 18 – Katy Tahja on An Eclectic History of Mendocino County – Cancelled
Saturday, August 15 – Mark Hancock on 5 Years on the Light Station – Cancelled
Saturday, September 19 – Eric Wilder – Topic TBD
Saturday, October 17  – Scott Sewell on Point Arena and the Mendocino Coast: How to See and Shoot the Coastal Landscape
Saturday, November 21  – Lauren Sinnott – Topic TBD
Saturday, December 19 – Merita Whatley on Saving a Lighthouse and a Landscape

Spotlight On Our Next Lecture

The Saturday, June 20 at 5 p.m. lecture by Richard Sequest,  “Hell Ship or Angel of Mercy: The First Shipwreck at Pt. Arena” has been cancelled due to the COVID-19 Shelter in Place (SIP) order from Mendocino County, and out of concern for our staff and guests.   The desctiption of the lecture is below, and we will be adding a video that Richard planned to use in his presentation in the near future.

This presentation will review the history of the IL’mena, formerly the brig  Lydia out of Boston, highlighting  her role in the emergence of a global trading system which impacts our economy still today. In addition, we will review the status of Dr. Jim Allan’s search for  the IL’mena which many believe is  buried in the sand in the surf line on Manchester Beach.  The timeline of this ship will be reviewed and her story told through her involvement in  seven historic events:

  • Designation as the “Hell Ship” Lydia  (1804)
  • Rescue of the American Ship Boston (1805)
  • Relay of Lewis and Clark’s  Letter to Jefferson (1806)
  •  Rescue of the Russian Ship St. Nikolai (1810)
  •  Massacre of the Nicolenos (1814)
  • Service to the Russian American Company (1820)
  • A Local Connection – The Indians at the Ross Settlement (1820)

Richard will detail some of the  people involved in these events and the overall history of the IL’mena.  This will include:

John Jewitt

Chief Maquiinna

John Jewitt, who was a survivor of the ship Boston massacre in 1803 and was held captive by local natives for two years before being rescued by the Lydia in 1805.  He later  wrote a best seller of his experience.

Chief Maquiinna, who led the attack on the Boston and was Jewitt’s slave master during his captivity.  He was himself later held captive on the Lydia in a prisoner exchange for John Jewitt.

In 1805, anchored twelve miles from the Lewis and Clark encampment on the Columbia River, the Lydia received a request  from the explorers to relay a letter to Thomas Jefferson to let the president know they had reached the Pacific.

Purchased by the Russian American Company and renamed the IL’mena, the brig was a workhorse for the company until it went aground at Point Arena in 1820.

Over the past 10 years Richard Sequest has produced a number of documentary shorts on climate change and homelessness.   In 2012 he became involved in the bicentennial celebration of the founding of Fort Ross and produced a short film, “Grounded”,  on the loss of the Russian American Company brig IL’mena, the first shipwreck at Pt. Arena.

Future Lectures

On Saturday, October 17 at 4 p.m. Scott Sewell will present “Point Arena and the Mendocino Coast: How to See and Shoot the Coastal Landscape as part of the Lighthouse Lecture Series.

Scott Sewell is a photographer in love with the Pacific Coast, the High Sierra and Black and White photography. He is a fourth generation Californian whose grandfather was a forest ranger in the Central Sierra during the Great Depression. His mother, who grew up there, introduced him and his siblings to the natural beauty of the California mountains and coastline through years of family vacation travels. He has been hiking, riding and shooting both as an amateur and a professional for most of his life. His work is on sale at Point Arena Lighthouse and on his website. This presentation will detail the many facets of photographing the rugged and beautiful Northern California coastline, including:

  • Introduction: a fantastic and unique landscape
  • Shooting conditions and tools: the weather, sun, tides, waves and apps to gauge them
  • Where to shoot, how to get there and what to expect
  • Your Eye: the keys to good landscape photography
  • The Finished Product: how to improve your shots after you’ve taken them