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North Jetty

North Jetty

If you enjoy cruising around the Dunes, check out the historic North and South Humboldt Jetties. These jetties protect the entrance channel, which is over 100 years old, and maintain their “historical integrity.” jetties are constructed of dolos, designed after a goat’s ankle bone by Engineer Orville Magoon. Their first use in America was here in Humboldt. Before Magoon’s innovation, the jetties were falling apart. Initially constructed in the 1890s, the Corps of Engineers piled 5,000 42-short-ton dolos around the jetties’ heads and, in 1977, named the two structures a historical civil engineering landmark. In 1985, the Corps dropped another 1,000 dolos on the jetties.

The North Jetty is located in Samoa, the northern peninsula of Humboldt Bay near Eureka, and the South Jetty is located via Loleta, about 15 miles south of Eureka. Experienced surfers tend to get frothy at the mouth in winter when the waves in the channel sandwiched between the two jetties are the cleanest and meanest. Warning: These waters are sharky. Surf it an hour before and up to an hour after low tide only, or get sucked out to sea. If you surf it on an incoming tide, you’ll continually get sucked toward the bay, and the Coast Guard will have to come to the rescue because you will be in the impact zone of every set—don’t be that person and know your limits. Both Jetty locations are popular with experienced local spearfishers; the rocky crevices are a lingcod and rockfish favorite hiding spot. Or play it safe: anglers can fish from the concrete structure (FYI: you don’t need a fishing license to fish off a “public pier” in Humboldt).

While walking along the rugged Jetty, watch your step and be weary. Never turn your back to the sea. Sneaker waves can claim lives.

The jetties provide recreational endeavors like fishing and surfing and yield economic benefits, including boons to the lumber industry, various export/ import businesses, and waterborne commerce. As such, the region’s financial stability has depended upon continued maintenance and design improvements to the Humboldt Bay jetties.

WHERE: at the end of the Samoa peninsula for the North Jetty. For the South Jetty, use the Loleta exit and follow the road to the end.

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