Sister’s Island c. early 1950s

Here is a continuance of the tales of Juanita (Swanson) DuLong. Somewhere around the early 1950s, probably after a year at Fiddle Reef lighthouse the family was moved to Sisters Island. Juanita says:

Sisters Island

Fiddle Reef’s plumbing was a cistern and hand pump. Cold water only. 

Sisters was a little tamer and had a bathroom. When we arrived we found the tub full of coal. The running water was cold only . A reservoir on the wood and coal stove heated enough water for small tasks.

At that time  the lighthouse tenders also burned coal. The smoke could be seen well off.

While on the subject of heat, Dad nearly took a finger off chopping kindling. Mom patched it up, and a doctor later told her he “couldn’t have done it better himself”.

Here there were more and bigger buildings. I actually had a bedroom instead of my little pallet in the angle of the hallway (on Fiddle Reef). I cannot remember much about the day to day station workings, but I do remember the foghorn had a very brassy sound. Continue reading

Surviving on Fiddle Reef Lighthouse c. 1950s


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On January 21, 2012 I wrote about a family that lived on the lighthouses in the 1950s up to the 1960s, all in the days of no electricity – only kerosene lamps. I now have another installment from Ms. Juanita (Swanson) DuLong. She was only four years old at the time on Fiddle Reef, but memories are hard to erase – especially Lighthouse Memories!

List of Lights #215 - Fiddle Reef Sector

The map above shows the location of Fiddle Reef (1898 – 1978) just off Oak Bay, Victoria, BC. The lighthouse was on the rock under the green arrow. The lighthouse is long gone and is replaced with a white cylindrical tower with a white light and a red sector. Continue reading

Life on the Lighthouses c. 1950s to 1960s

Nootka light

I receive links to lighthouse stories in the most unbelievable ways. This one arrived in the middle of an email addressed to someone else, which was then passed on to me.

After contacting this first writer I was passed on to another. To keep track of all my contacts I think I will soon need a secretary!

The first writer was Ms. R. Dawson, and her grandparents were on five British Columbia lighthouses for a total of twenty plus years staring in the 1940s. Ms. Dawson describes herself as an activist and I believe she is onboard with the lighthouse keepers against automation as she says: “Lighthouses have been under attack for decades by federal government politicians who have no idea as to their worth and see them as an easy target.”

After contacting Ms. Dawson, I was told that her Aunt Juanita was older and had more stories to tell, and that Aunt Juanita is the sole surviving child of Ms. Dawson’s grandparents/Juanita’s parents. So, Ms. Dawson contacted Aunt Juanita, and I then received an email from Juanita’s husband Roy DuLong. Continue reading