Tag Archives: Maine lighthouses

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:
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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.

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.

Flyin’ Downeast

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Look at her fly!

Good morning everyone. We had a fabulous past couple of days sailing. Sunday night’s rain broke into a sunny Monday. The fleet left their respective harbors and away we all went…downeast. Which of course means down wind and headed east. Remember that Maine trends east and west from Penobscot Bay, not north and south. Just check the compass next time you are aboard.
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Bear I. Light, at the entrance to Northeast Harbor, is one of my personal favorites

Northeast Harbor, a new anchorage for me, was where we went ashore for walks before dinner. 44 miles, 6.5 hours, 1 amazing sailing day. This being our last 6 day trip of the season I was quite aware that I would be leaving Mt Desert astern for the last time this year.

Yesterday afternoon we anchored with the fleet at Great Cove, Brooklin, Maine for the Maine Windjammer Association’s annual Wooden Boat Rendezvous. Dancing to steel drum music, steamed mussels, the Wooden Boat School to tour, a fabulous sunset and a star-filled sky. What else could anyone ask for?

Have a great day. Be well. Do good.

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Leaping for joy!