Point Conception and the Gaviota Coast from the air, looking SW. Lighthouse is visible in blowup (click) at top left center. To left (west) is Government Point, which partly encloses Cojo Bay. The Santa Ynez Mountains extend east (left) towards Santa Barbara.
Aerial photo of lighthouse, looking toward the northwest, taken 4pm 3/5/09
Point Conception was first noted by Spanish maritime explorer Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo in 1542 and named Cabo de Galera. In 1602, Sebastian Vizcaíno sailed past again, renaming the protruding headland Punta de la Limpia Concepción ("Point of the Immaculate Conception"). Vizcaíno's name stuck, and was later anglicized to today's version.
The Chumash people of the region have traditionally known Point Conception as the "Western Gate", through which the souls of the dead could pass between the mortal world and the heavenly paradise of Similaqsa.
Courtney Milne, Sacred Places in North America: A Journey into the Medicine Wheel (New York: Stewart, Tabori & Chang, 1995).
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