Category Archives: lighthouse tours in Maine

Multi-Tasking

lighthouse tours, windjammer cruises, Maine sailing vacationsI was pawing through some images from last summer and found this one of Eagle I. Lighthouse. Being the keeper of a lighthouse was no easy feat during the 1800s. The pay was minimal, food was not included and the seclusion of some lights meant homeschooling, if a keeper’s family could be together, was a necessity. Many keepers fished, kept gardens, really lucky ones might have a milk cow and basically lived off the land and sea with only a few chances to get provisions like flour and lard. That a few keepers, like Howard Ball at the Eagle I lighthouse, managed all of this and also acted as Audubon wardens is admirable to say the least.

First lit in 1838 with oil lamps and reflectors this light happens to be atop a large cliff (80’+/-) and lies at a tight little passage where Isle Au Haut Bay meets East Penobscot Bay. The tidal current really hums between Eagle and the largely inaccessible Hardhead I. It wasn’t until 1858 that a fourth order Fresnel lens was installed in the lantern atop the rubble stone tower. Today the light flashes white every 4 seconds with a luminous range of 9 miles.

Keeper Howard Ball, an Audubon warden, who served the light from 1898 to 1913 is quoted twice in the 1909 ornithological journal The Auk:
Audubon, Maine lighthouses, lighthouse tours, Eagle I Lighthouse, schooner Mary Day, maine windjammer, windjammer cruises
Maine Lighhouses, Eagle I lighthouse, lighthouse tours, maine windjammer, windjammer cruises
Keeper Ball’s brief notes are interesting to see given what was already on his very full plate. I can only guess that he must have made these observations while tending lobster traps since both Channel Rock and Sloop I Ledge are on the opposite side of Eagle I than the lighthouse. I have noticed abundant terns around neighboring Grass Ledge over the past several summers which makes me wonder if the terns hop from one nesting place to another to avoid overuse of particular nesting sites.

Eagle I. with its year round community would have been a more socially forgiving place to tend a light. The one room school house still stands on Eagle I. The east facing meadow around the light would have provided some garden space although the larger south facing meadows around the neighboring Quinn house would have been more suitable. As I have been working these past few weeks getting in firewood I am amazed by the challenge it must have been for Keeper Ball to keep his family warm and fed through the long winter months in addition to the many other responsibilities he would have had to manage. I have no complaints in comparison.

Have a great day. Be well. Do good.

A Friend of a Friend

schooner Mary Day, maine windjammer, windjammer cruises in maineA friend of a friend snapped this image of Mary Day passing by the Rockland Breakwater Lighthouse during a recent lighthouse tour. The light in the sails is particularly pleasing to me eyes. The creation of “Oceanus” synthetic canvas by Nat Wilson and North Sails has had a dramatic effect on how the windjammer fleet is portrayed. These sails are not only lighter, stronger and more powerful they have created a new way of imaging Maine windjammers. “In the old days” light didn’t filter through cotton canvas quite the same way. I know the magic of digital imaging has changed the way we portray reality but just the same, as our imaging guru Jim Dugan would point out, light can make a huge difference in any image. Backlighting sails didn’t exist until 20 or so years ago. And now that they are here we have a whole new range of imaging possibilities. How cool is that? So there you have it. The law of unintended consequences, the law of unforeseen collateral damage so to speak, is proven out by the friend of a friend. Thanks Nat. Thanks North Sails. Thanks Sheri. And thanks to her friend whose name we don’t know but whose eye we surely do appreciate.

Have a great day. Be well. Do good.

 

Miserable Beauty

Saddleback Ledge Lighthouse, windjammer, schooner Mary Day,  lighthouse tours in Maine Saddleback Ledge Light as seen from the schooner Mary Day during a recent windjammer lighthouse tour in Maine.

Good morning everyone. I am back ashore for the winter. The schooner is under wraps (more on that later). Autumn is descending on the Camden Hills in all its glory. And now I have a few moments to sift through my laptop folder titled “Unedited Images”. Most of it is junk but the memories stirred of one of the best summers of my life will keep me warm all winter.

Pictured above is the present day Saddleback Ledge Light built in 1839 and automated in 1954. At the outer edge of Isle Au Haut Bay in eastern Penobscot Bay this rock and its lighthouse have always captured my imagination. How miserable a place to be stationed  and at the same time how awesome and beautiful it must have been to live and work there. Imagine the energy of the entire North Atlantic knocking on the door in a southeasterly gale. Imagine a family of nine living in such cramped quarters. And you thought the schooner cabins were a little tight? The image below shows the vastly expanded living quarters added on to Saddelback Ledge Light at a later date.

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Pharologist Jeremy D’Entremont has some great information about the Saddleback Ledge Lighthouse that is fun to look at.

Have a great day. Be well. Do good.