Lighthouses are special! Why is it that so many people are drawn to lighthouses? Perhaps it is that they are now a tradition which is quickly vanishing from our society in this age of technology. I lived at a lighthouse for over twelve years, until the government fully automated it and gave my huband the "golden handshake", early retirement, after serving for thirty-two years as a keeper at four lighthouses on the east coast of Canada in the Bay of Fundy.
There is really something special about living at a lighthouse. There are no near neighbours. There is a large beam of light that swings in through your bedroom window all night long every night. There is a loud screaming noise of the foghorn for hours and days on end in the summer, until after awhile you don't even hear it until it turns off. There is the Coast Guard helicopter that lands on the helicopter pad, on a hill about 20 feet from your bathroom window, usually just as you are getting out of the bathtub. There are places in the woods just down the road that you explore when you realize it was cleared by the first keeper in 1880. There are paths along the cliff to take your dog for a walk at anytime. There is the tourist whose dog fell over the cliff and is still alive at the bottom and you lower him on a long lifesaving rope 230 feet to get his little pooch and pull him back up on a hot August Sunday afternoon. There are many, many memories even though the station is now devoid of any human beings.
There is today only one lighthouse still manned in the Maritime Provinces, Machias Seal Island, about thirteen miles off the coast of Grand Manan. There are 26 lighthouses manned in Nfld. and 27 in British Columbia. There is one lighthouse open in the United States, Boston Harbour Light.
What tales these stations could tell, if only they could talk. Instead they sit silently beaming their lights across the bay twenty four hours a day. No longer do they have a keeper shining the lens daily and lighting the lamp at dusk. A 1000 watt lightbulb is all that is required now. They stand lonely and forlorn, with only distant memories of caring lightkeepers and families who made them seem alive in bygone days. Many men worked at these lighthouses over the years on Grand Manan and I have attempted to recreate some of the life that they knew here. In my links I have attempted to tell some of the history and show some of the beauty of these lighthouses of Grand Manan Island.