Day: February 3, 2019

662. Sunday 3rd February 2019. Hot days and lighthouses of PEI…

Monday 28th January

Another hot humid day.

Yesterday my cousin Vicki called. She is on the Gold Coast to celebrate her sister Lyns 70th birthday. Lyn has dementia and she would have struggled understanding I am her cousin. Vicki will have lunch alone with her today. I arranged to collect her from the Miami motel where she was staying and have coffee at the North Burleigh Surf Club. I decided we would walk from the motel. It was a wise move. There was no parking at the surf club (it is the Australia Day Holiday and last day of school holidays and perfect weather for the beach the coffee shop is underneath the club so the high ceilings and totally open entrance meant the ocean breeze kept the area nice and comfortable, I could have stayed all day.

On the drive home I saw thick smoke across The Broadwater. There was a big bushfire in the native bush across from Sea World. The fire brigade had the fire under control within a few hours but people at Sea World and it accommodation were evacuated and people at the north end of The Spit were to leave and the road was closed.

The rest of the week was the same, weather wise. Humidity of around 90% and 31° temperature. I had a full blood test carried out as I have not been feeling well for some time. I also had a skin check and the doc took a biopsy on something on my arm.

For Christmas, Alecia gave me a book called Lighthouses of Atlantic Canada.

victoria seaport
Victoria Seaport Range Light. This is an unusual lighthouse for a number of reasons. It is built across the road from the open ocean. It is a range light, that is it has two lights built into the single structure. It is also a lighthouse museum. Built in 1879 and became a museum in 1990. As this is a frigid part of Canada the opening hours are limited during summer months and totally closed during winter. It is well maintained.

I have only had a chance to read some of it but I thought this has been a slow week and I can share photos of lighthouses.

seacow head PEI
Seacow Head lighthouse serves a dual purpose as a typical lighthouse and as a lead range light.
seacow head PEI 1
Seacow Head Lighthouse and range light. Used to guide seacraft into the town of Summerside.

One of the first things that stood out in the book was a comment how many lighthouses became de-staffed and automated, many were taken over by local interested persons or groups or historical societies. That sentence went a long way towards explaining for me why so many of the lighthouses are in such poor state of repair or maintenance.

rustico PEI
This lighthouse at Rustico Harbour appears well maintained. It is stark contrast to all the other buildings around the harbour which all look like they need replacing.

Although the lights still operate automatically only that maintenance which is vital to the operation of the lights is still carried out by the appropriate authority. Maintenance of the building, especially timber structures became a local responsibility. Often those communities are small and with scattered houses often in the middle of potato fields. There is little or no community spirit or money.

new london PEI
This maintained lighthouse at New London sits slightly below the sand dunes in a swampy area filled with bulrushes.

I looked at a number of lighthouses on Prince Edward Island and Nova Scotia.

Indian Head PEI
UIndian Head Lighthouse PEI. Maintenance is not an issue. It simply is not maintained. It is in the bay where the second largest town of Summerside is located. It is quite a large community.

The best lighthouse by far was one at Cape George in Nova Scotia and it probably had the smallest and most scattered community. The building was in immaculate condition and had a brass plaque installed by the proud community.

cape george nova scotia
Cape George Lighthouse. It is a credit to the tiny isolated local community as it was probably the best presented of all the lighthouses we saw.

The worst kept lighthouse was in a small scattered community called Cavendish on Prince Edward Island. Pieces of the timber structure had simply fallen or been blown off in the potato field.

cavendish PEI
This poorly maintained range light is at Cavendish Prince Edward Island. Most of PEI has a brown or reddish soil and sand. Cavendish has a freaky white sand beach.

Considering the terrible weather conditions on this Arctic windswept island it is easy to understand why the timber structures do not fair well in the face of snow, ice and screaming winds blowing in, unopposed from the Atlantic.

Often there are two lighthouses and these are known as range lights. They are used by boats and ships and skippers line up the two lights to enter a harbour or passage.

fort amhurst PEI
Lead light at Fort Amhurst PEI
fort amhurst PEI 1
The second range light sits high on a hill at Fort Amhurst PEI.

There are 35 lighthouses on Prince Edward Island and we did not have time to visit them all.

At Wood Islands there are three lighthouses, all operational.

wood islands PEI 1
Somehow the tiny third lighthouse is part of a range light for ships coming from the sea.
wood islands PEI
The first of three lighthouses at Wood Island was built in 1876. This is the departure point for car ferry from Prince Edward Island to Nova Scotia. In conjunction with another structure they also operate as a range light.
wood islands PEI 2
The largest of the three Wood Islands Lighthouses. This one also includes a museum.

From here the ferry service goes to Caribou in the Province of Nova Scotia. The ferry service only charges a one way fare…off the island. Coming to the island is free. The ferry shuts down services during winter months and does not re-open scheduled services until 1st May. The only way off island in those winter months is by the 13 Klm bridge and in high winds and snow and ice conditions that becomes a bit risky.

borden PEI
Borden Lighthouse is still operational and reasonably well maintained. This location was also a point where the railway finished and goods leaving the island, including cars went by ferry to Cape Jourimain on the mainland. That is until the 13 Klm bridge was built.
borden PEI 1
Borden lighthouse with the 13 Klm bridge in the background. The toll is $47 per car to leave PEI and to travel to the Province of New Brunswick. There is no toll to travel on the bridge TO PEI.

For the same reasons airline flights in and out during winter are a hit and miss situation.

pictou ns
Purely a decorational light to house a clock in the seaside town of Pictou Nova Scotia.
pictou 1
I am unsure if this is a functional range light in Pictou Nova Scotia. The paperworks across the bay is now the main focus of ships coming into the bay.


Sunday 3rd February

Donnis arrived today after a few failed attempts ate getting flights to line up with Errols work schedule as a pilot. The only way Donnis can get to the airport is when Errol is rostered on as a pilot departing from Melbourne and when his work day starts in the morning. Donnis cannot get flights when he is afternoon or evening shift as most flights are booked out.

On our way home we stopped at Palm Beach Surf Club for a cold beer and to just sit in the shade, listen to the music, feel the ocean breeze and enjoy the beautiful sun drenched scenery.