What Do You Do On a Lighthouse?

Exotic woods

Besides the usual question Don’t You Get Bored?, the next question “What do you do on a lighthouse?” also needs to be answered.

What do you do in your house? TV, video games, go to a show, eat out?

We did not have those luxuries, so we worked with our hands as they did in the early days.

Some people liked knitting, crocheting, or sewing; drawing, painting, or designing; writing; photography; and . . . woodwork! Now there was one I liked.  Continue reading

Fishing in the Fog – Pulteney Point c. 1970s

The following story came to mind when a friend of mine from Victoria made a comment on this website.

The water on the Inside Passage called Queen Charlotte Strait is know for its enveloping fogs which cover all land and sea, sometimes for days at a a time.

Pulteney Point (top middle) and Kluxewe river (bottom middle)

In the early 1970s I was stationed at Pulteney Point Lighthouse – my first appointment to the lightstation service. What a delightful place it was, and the keepers, Walt and Joyce Tansky were the best  to have for a person starting on the lights.

One summer’s day my friend Rich was visiting for a few days salmon fishing. I had a fifteen (16) foot (5 meter) canoe. I was very familiar with it, but Rich still had to learn. Continue reading

Sisters Island Fog Horn & Light c. 1927

– Elizabeth Kate (Stannard) Smithman (Wife of Henry Herbert Smithman who was Senior Keeper at Sisters Island 1927 – 1929). Story donated by her grandson Allen Smithman. 

Sisters Island c. 1927 - photo Allen Smithman

The fog alarm has to be kept going when it is foggy or snowing a blizzard. This alarm is also used when it is smoky in summer from forest fires. 

In the fog alarm building there are two big Fairbanks-Morse gas engines. It only takes one to run the fog alarm but when one breaks down the light keeper has to get the other one going. He then must fix the one that broke down in case the other fails, for the fog alarm must be kept going when it is foggy.  Continue reading

Life on a Lighthouse by Grandma Stannard c. 1927

– Elizabeth Kate (Stannard) Smithman (Wife of Henry Herbert Smithman who was Senior Keeper at Sisters Island 1927 – 1929) 

Ballenas  and Sisters  Islands 

I thought you might be interested to hear about “Life On a Lighthouse”. 

We lived on them for about 5 ½ to 6 years and I guess we would have stayed and made a lifetime job of it but Bert [my husband] got very sick and had to be taken off to hospital where after a lingering illness he passed away. 

Well some folks think it must be very lonesome life but there’s too much to do to get lonesome and besides, it’s a wonderful, interesting life. 

We were on two different lights. The first one was the best as it was a bigger island and we could have a garden and there was lots of room for the children to play, however I took sick and as we thought lighthouse life did not suit me, Bert asked to be replaced by another light keeper. 

We moved to Parksville, [Vancouver island, BC, Canada] where we had been getting our mail, etc. 

Anyway I was no better (for awhile anyway) but after some time I improved but we had learned that it wasn’t being on a lighthouse that caused my sickness so we put in for another.  Continue reading