I have talked about many of the critters that visit the lighthouse from pelicans to whales and seagulls to seals, but Sally had a night of conflict with some unexpected visitors.
A short time ago, she could not get onto the island until late at night because the tide was in. At about 10:30 p.m., she donned her headlight (a small LED light on an elastic headband) and she started to walk up the road to the lighthouse. As she started up, she saw four pairs of eyes coming in her direction.
In a controlled panic she turned around and without hesitation went back up to the parking lot and the safety of the van. After about a half-hour, she decided that the intruders were gone and she started home again. This time she made it as far as the beach and once again she encountered those little pairs of eyes.
Again she went without haste to the parking lot to avoid the intruders. By midnight, she was starting to worry about the tide coming in again. She decided to take the long walk around by the jetty and maybe she would miss whatever it was that seemed to be dogging her footsteps. This time she encountered no eyes in the night and made it to the roadway up to the lighthouse. When she looked back with the help from the glow of the tower light, she could see her adversaries for the first time. What she encountered was a family of raccoons that live under our boathouse. The raccoons were out for their nightly stroll between the island and the parking lot looking for food.
We have never gotten to know these neighbors very well. We keep the cats inside at night to avoid any fights, although we've been told that cats and raccoons are not natural enemies. Just the same, we will continue to keep the family of raccoons outside if for no other reason than to keep the food in the lighthouse from going missing.
On that note, I would also like to request that some of our two-legged visitors try to be a little more respectful of the lighthouse and Battery Point Island. The last few weeks we have had graffiti painted on some of our signs and someone has been interfering with the construction of the new fence on the lower part of the island. Remember that this is your lighthouse, and it is the pride of the city and county. Vandalism and defacing things serves no one. There is nothing to be gained with this type of behavior and we hope the offending individuals will find a more productive way to utilize their time.
Randy Ansley, the Battery Point Lighthouse keeper, can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.