Earthquake faults and oysters…interesting and beautiful Tomales Bay

When I made a request for a few days visit to Pt. Reyes in California’s Marin County, my son suggested we contract with VRBO (Vacation Rental by Owner) and rent a house. In addition to making it possible to cook our meals and share the intimacies of a home rather than a hotel, we could also bring Obi, their lovable and very active Vizsla.

We settled on a wonderful home in Inverness, located on the southwest shore of Tomales Bay.


 This photo was taken at daybreak from the deck of our vacation rental, and it was an added thrill for me to realize that we were staring right at Elephant Mountain.

I didn’t know Elephant Mountain was visible from Tomales Bay, but I did know it was in Marin County. I know more useless trivia!


I had this album at one time, and here we were! The Youngbloods were really only known for their 1969 “Get Together,” but I had this album. And everywhere we went, Elephant Mountain followed us.

The serenity is unmistakable, but it’s also an area of great seismic activity. Tomales Bay has an interesting relationship to the San Andreas Fault. Californians know the San Andreas fault.

The San Andreas is a crack in the earth’s crust separating the North American plate and the Pacific plate. The 1906 great San Francisco earthquake was centered at the end of the bay.


The bay supports a very large bird population year round,  and is also an important feeding ground for migratory birds. I found a notation that in January 1987 a rare Siberian brown shrike was spotted on the bay and bird watchers came from all over the U.S. to observe the bird.


Oyster farming is a major industry on the bay. I must admit that oysters are “not my thing,” but I was more than happy to accompany the other members of our party while they had their fill.

The Olympia oyster is native to Tomales Bay , but small and slow-growing it isn’t usually considered a commercial success. Eastern or pacific oysters were introduced to San Francisco Bay in 1896 and the oysters grew and multiplied. Japanese oysters were introduced in 1928 and only a few years later introduced to Drakes Estero.


The water in Tomales Bay and Drakes Estero is too cold for any but native oysters, but oyster farming is supervised by the Department of Fish and Game, and Kumamoto, Euroflat, Atlantic or Eastern and the Olympia oysters are  successfully grown in Tomales Bay.


Along the bay and adjacent the highway little shacks and small eateries serve fresh oysters as eager diners sit outdoors enjoying the peaceful environment. I enjoyed watching other people enjoy the oysters, and all I needed was a nice glass of wine, some crusty bread, sunshine and the bay…perfect!


There are other stories worth telling, but I need to hold back and save some for next time. And there will be a next time. We will undoubtedly be making our way back to Marin County at least by early summer. I didn’t get my fill.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

There’s a lot to see in this part of California. Next week I’ll share just a few photos taken in the little town of Nicasio. We stopped for breakfast–not at  Skywalker Ranch, but George Lucas has his home in this quaint little town.

DSC_1923 I have a lot more exploring to do!