Night Light of the North Coast: Houda Beach Cave (a Different Vision)

Post by David Wilson

cave near Trinidad

Inside the cave from the deep interior. it may look low at the camera’s end, but it was tall enough for me to stand next to my tripod. That’s my brother and me down there, our shadows complementing the ceiling’s great cleft. Camel Rock is lit up red outside the entrance, illuminated by the headlights of a car up on the cliff behind us.

It is strange how something so interesting can hide itself for decades, virtually in plain sight. I’d been to this beach many times in daylight over the years, thrown many a frisbee beside the giant, brush-covered rock into which this cave penetrates, yet somehow I had never walked around to the far side and seen the mouth. I had never even heard about it… unless I had, and I simply wasn’t ready to hear. I’m not really sure anymore. I’ve been to it twice at night in the last month now. On September 28, 2018 I made it back to the cave for my second nighttime visit.

It’s a pretty large beach cave; all the more amazing that I hadn’t seen it until a year ago. A school bus could fit in there, though you might have to bend it a little (of course you shouldn’t try this at home). Near the entrance the walls are covered in growing things, with a few crabs and other critters taking cover from our lights. We tried not to blast them much. Farther back the walls and ceiling are smooth, glossy with moisture. A large cleft down the center of the cave’s roof extents from the mouth all the way to the back, and is visible on the outside above the cave’s entrance as well. Is this a single rock splitting in two?

I suppose a lot more folks will know about this cave now. That bothers me a little, for the knowledge can generate more traffic. But I think that those who can appreciate the world’s beauty the most will be the most careful of it. And I console myself with the thought that this cave is only accessible at very low tides, while at medium and high tides it’s completely awash, so it will always be possible to make the first tracks if one’s timing is good. I was hoping for such a pristine floor this time, but when we arrived after dusk my brother’s flashlight found a few faint footprints already in the cave’s sandy mouth. Oh, well, people are part of the planet, too, right?

Local color: after sharing these images on my Instagram account, a viewer commented that she’d been there earlier that very night with her grandson and stood in the cave’s entrance for the sunset. The footprints we’d seen were hers and her grandson’s! One of the wonders of online sharing these days is that it is sharing; stories go both ways, and I enjoy it either way.

To see previous entries of “Night Light of the North Coast,” click on my name above the article. If you’d like to keep abreast of my most current photography or peer into its past, you can follow me on Instagram at @david_wilson_mfx . I update my website mindscapefx.com less frequently, but you can contact me there.

The cave mouth, with the lights of Trinidad and surroundings in the distance. Note the cleft in the rock above the mouth. It is also plainly visible on the inside all the way to be back. It was a cloudy night. I’m usually looking for the Milky Way in a sky, but this cottony substance covering the view had its own charm. [All photos by David Wilson]

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10 comments

  • Beautiful work! And thank you so much for showing this cave I would never have seen otherwise.

  • Thank you 🙂

  • It’s a cave that shrinks and opens back up as sand fills and empties. I’ve been there when it was too low to get barely into and then again when it could be walked way back. I’ve also had to make a run past it in tigh deep water when exploring north and not keeping an eye on the tide. It’s a wonderful area to explore at minus tides. The sand must be washed out right now. A good time to go for sure.

    Anyway those are lovely photos.

  • Mrs. Wendell S. Truggmann III

    Beautiful shots of special places we grew up with on this coast! So glad that the grandmother and grandson who visited left only footprints, and experienced the sunset. All of you recent visitors to Houda Cave have disproved Richard Bach’s (tongue in cheek) quote: It was inevitable: “Civilization wrecks the planet from seafloor to stratosphere.”. You wisely said that people are part of this planet too…entropy happens.
    Thank you for your soulful artistry!

  • Wow! A hidden gem of a place. Wonderful image!

  • There were some “Fire Dancers” to the north of the cave along the beach that looked very cool in the dark. It was too dark to tell for sure as only the flames were visible, but it looked to be two people twirling 2 balls of flame each, either on a string, or a baton with flame on each end. Very neat neat looking and a great addition to another beautiful night at Houda Beach!

    • I thought about approaching them to see whether they wanted to collaborate on an image, but… well, we didn’t. Could have been neat. I sort of wish we’d approached them.

  • There is a second cave… on the next rock further out.

    You go in from the west… and the cave climbs out on top of the rock.
    Have to reach it on summer, ‘big time’, minus tides.

    It has been 50 years since I was out there, hope it’s still accessible.

  • Great stories! I love reading about others’ experiences in these places. We all live here, and every time someone visits them there is a new adventure. Thanks for your kind words about the photos.

    Here it is in a ::cough:: daylight ::cough:: photo from last March, scouting it out. It’s a phone📱 photo. Look how much lower the sand level was then. You can really tell by the large rocks at front right.

  • Wow, beautiful images, beautiful place, nice story. Thanks for sharing.

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