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Why is it called Whale Rock Reservoir?

Post Date:03/10/2017 3:04 PM


Every year, staff at Whale Rock Reservoir receive questions about the origin of the name “Whale Rock.” While the identity of the person who coined the reservoir’s name appears to be lost to history, we have heard two stories about the origin of the name that now represents one of the few surface water reservoirs on the Central Coast.

 According to local legend, located just to the North of where Old Creek meets the beach at 24th Street in Cayucos, is a cluster of rocks exposed to the ocean’s kiss of wind and tide. One of the rock forms, when viewed at lower tide, exhibits the profile of a whale and local lore provides us with the rock’s name, “Whale Rock.”

 To find the original “Whale Rock,” follow Old Creek, which is the outfall of the reservoir, to where it meets the ocean. The proximity of the rock structure to the lake may have been observed by the person/people who selected Whale Rock Reservoir as the moniker for the lake. Take a look at the included image or take a walk on the beach Northward from 24th Street beach access during low tide to see it for yourself. The namesake for our Reservoir will be there and evident to viewers who are looking for it.

 The second commonly referred to story about Whale Rock Reservoir’s origin, was featured in a recent Tribune article. In this article, tribune writer David Middlecamp explains that the origin for Whale Rock’s name may have come from a site that whalers used to spot cetaceans swimming through Estero Bay.  Regardless of the origins of the name, Whale Rock Reservoir has long been a local attraction due to its proximity to the ocean and its beautiful turquoise water.  To learn more about Whale Rock Reservoir, and the City’s other drinking water sources, check out our water sources webpage.


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