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Ups and downs of lighthouse keeping

Randy Ansley

People indicate that being a lighthouse keeper is one of the most wonderful jobs in the world. Living right on the ocean one has a wonderful view and breathtaking sunsets. But, there is a down side.

Living on an island, at least twice a day, the access to the lighthouse is limited. For this reason there are many things that are unavailable to the lighthouse keepers. For example you can't get a pizza delivered. For that matter you can forget home delivery of any kind. With the local newspaper the paper boy may be a great baseball pitcher but, he can't hit the front porch with the paper. Fast food takes on a whole new meaning when you need to wait six hours to go out for a burger. And what about going to the movies? By the time the tide goes out the snack bar will be closed! If you want to go bowling you can only do eight frames before you have to rush home to beat the tide.

Shower in your clothes

How about privacy? There you are sleeping in on a Saturday morning when a tour group walks into your bedroom. You try to ignore them but the little kid offers you a lick from his all-day sucker and now you have a sticky pillow. Even the bathroom is on the tour so you learn to shower with your clothes on. You hope that they did not find that piece of pie that you had hidden behind the left over corn beef hash in the refridgerator.

Then there is drift wood in the front yard as far as the eye can see. There are all shapes and sizes of wood piled up trying to keep you from reaching the parking lot. You try giving the wood away to out of town visitors but, just when you think you are making a dent another storm comes through and brings you a fresh supply.

Pumping rocks

Then there is the problem of sneaker waves! The cat was walking along the back yard when a sneaker wave crashed on the west side of the island and drenched her. She came into the house, soaking wet, with a kitty look on her face that said, "That's not fair!"

What about going out jogging? Being on an island you can go just so far and with the rocky cliffs you end up running around the house like a raccoon in low gear. You can't pump iron at the lighthouse because it would rust so you pump rocks. And, the incline treadmill is made out of concrete and is called a road.

All in all, living at the lighthouse comes with many challenges. One must be flexible and conform to a new lifestyle and adjust to new ways of doing things. But, with all that said it is still a wonderful place to live.

Randy Ansley, the Battery Point Lighthouse keeper, can be reached at This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it


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