Point Reyes is a prominent cape and popular Northern California tourist destination on the Pacific coast of northern California. It is located in Marin County approximately 30 miles west-northwest of San Francisco. The term is often applied to the Point Reyes Peninsula, the region bounded by Tomales Bay on the northeast and Bolinas Lagoon on the southeast. The headland is protected as part of Point Reyes National Seashore.The cape protects Drakes Bay on its southern side. The headland is largely drained by Drakes Estero. Drakes Bay and Drake's Estero are named after English seafarer Sir Francis Drake who possibly hauled his ship, the Golden Hinde, up onto the beach for repairs in June 1579. Inverness Ridge runs along the peninsula's northwest-southeast spine, with forested peaks around 430 meters. West of the ridge, the land flattens out and the vegetation turns to scrub. The Mount Vision fire in 1995 burned part of Inverness Ridge.Point Reyes lends its name to the town of Point Reyes Station, California.The point may once have been known as Lobes Lighthouse by the sailors of clipper ships on the meat trade.Point Reyes was originally named Punto de los Reyes by the Spanish explorer Sebastián Vizcaíno as his ship, the Capitana anchored in Drakes Bay on the Day of the Three Kings on January 6, 1603.Beginning in the 18th century Northern elephant seals were hunted extensively almost to extinction by the end of the 19th century, being prized for oil that could be made from their blubber, and the population may have fallen as low as 20. In 1874 American whaleman Charles Melville Scammon recorded in Marine Mammals of the Northwestern Coast of America, that "the elephant seal...known to the Old Californians as Elefante marino had a geographical distribution from Cape Lazaro in the south to Point Reyes in the north".They were thought to be extinct in 1884 until a remnant population of eight individuals was discovered on Guadalupe Island in 1892 by a Smithsonian expedition, who promptly killed seven of the eight for their collections.The elephant seals managed to survive, and were finally protected by the Mexican government in 1922. Subsequently the U.S. protection was strengthened after passage of the Marine Mammal Protection Act in 1972, and numbers have now recovered to over 100,000. The first breeding pair was discovered on a sheltered beach below Point Reyes' Chimney Rock in 1981 and has multiplied at a remarkable 16% per year to the present population of 1,500 to 2,000 individuals each winter.