Refuelling a Lighthouse

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photo credit Ron Amundsen

British Columbia (BC) lighthouses mostly have diesel generators unless they are close enough to a large town or city to allow a power cable to run to them.

So how does one refuel a lighthouse as most of them are sitting fairly high above the water line and very distant from a local gas station?

Well, thanks to the lighthouse keepers at Scarlett Point lighthouse and Ivory Island lighthouse for giving me permission to use their photos, I can now show you. 

Scarlet

Scarlett Point lighthouse – Google Maps

Ivan Dubinsky at Scarlett Point lighthouse, north of Port Hardy, BC has been photographing anything that moves and does not move at his lighthouse with his new camera and posting them on Facebook. He now has quite a few followers admiring his photos.

OK, back to the refuelling. There are many ways that I have seen it done. From most to least expensive we have helicopter slinging in fuel drums or bladders, hovercraft carrying fuel in it’s tanks, and Coast Guard ships pumping it into a fuel barge and moving it to shore.

           CG253_Ivan_DubinskyRefuelling Entrance_Ivan_DubinskyCCGS Bartlett_Ivan_Dubinsky Continue reading

Forward

Aside

lighthouse database symbol

DATABASE

This website is dedicated to the lighthouse keepers of British Columbia, Canada, and for the general public who want to learn what life was/is like on a lighthouse. This site also supports the fight against the automation and destruction of ALL lighthouses and the environment surrounding them.

Also available here is a large database (db) of names of British Columbia (BC) Lighthouse Keepers – past and present.

Plus, I will toss in anything lighthouse that seems interesting – such as Coast Guard, ships, helicopters, hovercraft, personnel, changes, weather, museums, paintings, websites, catalogs, art, toys, drawings, videos, books, manuals, music, poetry, etc.

I would also like to include environmental issues that affect the lands and oceans on the BC coast such as pollution, garbage, possible oil spills, shipwrecks, etc. as these are all part of the role of the lighthouse keeper who sees and knows everything on the coast.

Everybody that likes lighthouses likes lighthouse information and memorabilia! Make sure you check out my Facebook page too.

For earlier notes or suggestions, please see QUICK INFO in the header bar above.

Please use the INDEX, also in the header bar above or try the Google Search box (top upper right of page) for locating stories. 

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Updates

lighthouse-clip-art_422123_sm_6-150x106As most of you know, and I keep reminding people, this lighthouse website began as a simple list of lighthouse keepers after I retired from 32 years of lighthouse keeping in 2001. I created the first website for historical and genealogical purposes. After a few years, and much help from the public, it developed into this second website.

The database listing all the keepers resides on my personal computer and is updated on the website whenever I get more information. From the database I create a printout of the information and post it on this site. Last time I checked I had . . .

. . . collected 1129 British Columbia (BC) lighthouse keeper names on 96 different lights, for a total of 1922 changes / moves / appointments.

One of the lesser-known bits of lighthouse information is that lightkeepers did not always reside in a lighthouse – notice the term lightkeeper rather than lighthouse keeper. These men kept a light burning for mariners but lived on the land rather than maintaining a lighthouse. Most probably they held day jobs as well, as the only duties for the mariners was to row out to their light before dusk and light the lamp, and then row home. Just after sunrise they would row out again, extinguish the light, refuel the lamp, and clean the lens in preparation for the evening lighting. It was not a hard job except in stormy winter weather.

Not many of these men are remembered but I have managed to record a few in the database. If interested read near the bottom of the database page for my request “I need your help“.

Just recently I received an email from a Ms. J. Milton about Channel Rock Light which I had not been able to locate. Here is the information I now have on this light:

  • Channel Rock*……………- This was a light in Uganda Pass between Cortes Island and Shark Spit on Marina Island. One of the keepers was John Poole, followed by Alex McKee – I don’t know the exact dates.
    A writer, Gilean Douglas, moved to Cortes Island in 1948, to the property homesteaded by John Poole. That property is known as Channel Rock. – thanks J. Milton for the information.Unknown location could it be LL 258, on N. end of North Channel Islands, near Saltspring Island, chart 3478? (1914 – 1943){/private]

Please, if you know some information about any of these unknown lights or their keepers please pass it on to me. Thanks – retlkpr

 

Trial Island Lighthouse

A lot of people who visit Victoria, British Columbia (on the southern tip of Vancouver Island) never get to see Trial Island lighthouse as it is not visible from the town core. One must travel to the Oak Bay waterfront to see the lighthouse.

Trial Island_Doug Clement

Photo credits – © 2013 Doug Clement Photography

 

Photo credits - © 2013 Doug Clement Photography

Photo credits – © 2013 Doug Clement Photography

Although it is only about half a mile from Oak Bay, most people see only the radio station antennas of BC TV on a black rock be it day or night.

An interesting article on the web is Trial Island Lighthouse & VE7DQA – describing the life of a Ham Radio operator living and working there.

Trial Island is NOT an isolated station compared to West Coast Vancouver Island lightstations like Carmanah Point, Pachena Point and Cape Beale, but it is an interesting place to work.

Google Interactive Map showing the location of Trial Island.

Light at the End of the World

Light at the End of the World
Three Months on Cape St. James, 1941

by Hallvard Dahlie (orig from Raincoast 18, 1998) with notes from Jim Derham-Reid (last keeper on Cape St. James before automation)

Image1A strange interlude in my brief seafaring life took place in the fall of 1941, when I signed on as assistant lighthouse keeper at Cape St. James, a light perched on top of a three-hundred-foot rock at the very southern tip of the Queen Charlotte Islands. I had quit school earlier that year, at the age of sixteen, and found a job on the CGS Alberni, a lighthouse tender operating out of Prince Rupert. But when she had to go into dry dock at the beginning of September for a new wartime grey paint job and a bit of refurbishing, I chose to take a stint out at the lighthouse rather than scrape barnacles and paint for three months. Continue reading

What a Nice Christmas Present

What a nice surprise! Today on Facebook the lighthouse keeper, Colin Toner, who is residing at my old workplace at McInnes Island posted a fantastic video of the lighthouse. Please watch in full screen to get the full effect.

Watch as the MBB105 helicopter approaches the island in the rain. You can see the rain striking the windscreen on the front of the helicopter.

Later get a tour of the light and a walk around the island in the stormy weather. Take note of the heavy seas. That is life in winter on the west coast of Canada.

Thanks Colin for the memories, and special thanks goes to Tineke Veenhoven for creating the film!

For a larger and higher quality version please go to Youtube. I had trouble getting it to embed here.

Book – Facing the Sea: Lightkeepers and Their Families

Facind the SeaFacing the Sea: Lightkeepers and Their Families
By Harold Chubbs and Wade Kearley
Foreword by Lorne Humphries
Genre: History: General
Imprint: Flanker Press
Format: Hardcover, 132 pages, colour photos and illustrations
Pub Date: October 2013
Price: $34.95
ISBN-10: 1-77117-301-7
ISBN-13: 978-1-77117-301-8
Shipping Weight: 0.9 kg

About this Book
In Facing the Sea, authors Harold Chubbs and Wade Kearley have captured an important era in the maritime history of Newfoundland and Labrador. These tales of rescue and tragedy, of love lost and redeemed, describe first-hand what life was like for lightkeepers and their families in twenty-five light stations along the exposed and often inhospitable coast of Newfoundland and Labrador. Most of these stories are told here for the first time in print, and each story is rich with new details and insights from the perspective of these remarkable men and women. Order Now!

 

A Wolf at McInnes

A friend, Brian Waddington (aka Gups-Y-Bees) and I, he an ex-lighthouse keeper from Ivory Island many years ago, have a common friend on my old lighthouse at McInnes Island.

The friend is Colin Toner and he has been on McInnes for a few years, but the following experience as related below and the same on Brian’s website butterfliesdragonspeace  (Part 1 and Part 2) was a different day in the life of a lighthouse keeper!

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Lighthouse Keepers Life: Colin And Family have A Special Guest At The McInnes Island Light-Station

wolf

wolf on McInnes

cropped wolfColin Toner looking out the kitchen window I see my dog lounging in the sun then it occurs to me this one is grey and mine is inside – beautiful grey wolf swam all the way here to visit .
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Light-house keeping is a fine career if you are the light-house keeper type. Rarely boring, always useful, fits right into Buddhist beliefs about what makes a proper job and you just never know who is going to show up for coffee and company.
 
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This Wolf seems to want to be allowed to join the human pack on this new island.
Time will tell.

More photos in Colin’s Wolf Diaries and Wolf Diaries Pt. 2 on his Facebook page.