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Tuesday, June 21, 2011

The East Quoddy Lighthouse

JUNE 21 (Summer  start)

Lightstation at low tide
When the Canadian Coast Guard gave up ownership of the East Quoddy Lightstation in 2006, it became the property of the Friends of Head Harbour (another name) Lightstation Inc., which is a non-profit, charitable organization based on Campobello. 
At that point and time in 2006, the buildings hadn't been touched by a paintbrush for more than 20 years, and everything was boarded up.

After 5 years of work, done by volunteers, it looks quite different today. The group is able to acquire government grants for the restoration and maintenance. The lighthouse has become a beacon for the tourism industry of Campobello and New Brunswick. Matter of fact, when we were out there today for doing some painting, tourists from Spain and The Netherlands were visiting the Lighthouse.

The lighthouse tower was built more than 51 feet high in 1829, but at first with no keepers house. The keeper was simply living in very sparse accommodations in the tower. 
Tower and Keeper's House

The lighthouse had a very important function as it marks the entrance to the inner waters of the Passamaquoddy Bay and Head Harbour. Even though the Lighthouse is now owned by a private organization, the Coast Guard is still running the light in the tower and the fog horn.
When service on these features are needed the Coast Guard comes with their helicopter and services the facility.
The lighthouse can only be reached by foot under low-tide. It is remarkable that an entire family with children once lived here. 
The history of the lighthouse is full of stories where storms have been pounding the rocks, with waves reaching up to the windows of the buildings. It is told that in one such stormy night the wild waters crashed through the windows and the entire family was huddled up in the tower fearing that the whole building would be washed out into the North Atlantic.

Luckily, all 5 buildings are constructed with strong materials and anchored to their foundations. 

It is a sight of beauty when one comes over the last rock and the white and red complex of buildings are coming into view, standing in a stark contrast to the deep-blue waters of the sea. 
Walkway to the Lightstation
Another reason why people are visiting the Lighthouse is  for being close to the huge whales which are feeding around this area.

An advice for visitors: When you come, please observe that there only 4 hours around the point of low tide, where you can actually enter the complex and go back.
As soon as the sandbar is covered in water no attempt of crossing can be made! The tide current is a very strong one as the tide comes in at the tune of 5ft pr.hour.

From the moment you have left the main island, Campobello you are entering private and protected property. Everything you carry onto the Lighthouse-Island must be taken back the same way. There is a fee for entering East Quoddy Island of currently $5.00. Lighthouse Tours are available during the summer. The fee for a  tour into the tower is $10.00. All income is directly applied to upkeep and maintenance of the facilities.

And when will YOU be coming to Campobello and the East Quoddy Lighthouse?

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