Part of the lighthouse routine includes feeding the two cats and Jonathan, our adopted seagull. From time to time, the raccoons that live under the boathouse can be seen foraging for some vittles in the back yard, and then there are some crows that hope to find a meal of some sort. Down on our beach we occasionally see a small crab looking for lunch while avoiding becoming dinner for some other fellow.

During the winter months we see whales swim by and you know they are following something to eat. But not all critters are looking for vittles; we occasionally find a furry fellow sunbathing on the rocks in the back yard.

A close encounter

Last week we had a seal perched on a large rock down near the water's edge on the west side of the island.

At first we thought he may be in trouble and need some help from the North Coast Marine Mammal Center. As we watched him carry on a dialog with Jonathan the seagull, it looked more like he was there by choice and not by misfortune.

We took a few photographs from a distance. A visitor to the lighthouse came along to enjoy the sunset, one of our favorite pastimes, and enjoyed this bit of nature that most people never get to see. After a little while, as the tide crept in, the little fellow jumped back into the water and was on his way.

Blessings of small-town life

North coast life is grand, and we who live here are some of the luckiest people on earth. While the people in the big cities put up with heavy traffic, bad air and in general a cranky disposition, we have the giant redwoods and the tiny critters to keep us company.

The sound of the surf along the rocky shore sure beats the endless sounds of the police sirens, fire engines and the sounds of screeching tires from people driving too fast and too close to vehicles in front of them.

At the lighthouse, we meet people from all over the planet and they all leave with a smile. This week we have had people from Germany, the Netherlands, Canada and many other countries visit us.

They acknowledge that we are in sort of an out of the way place, but they all say it was worth coming here. They just get a small glimpse of the small town flavor, the nature and natural beauty we could easily take for granted if it were not for this feeling of just how good life can be here.

People are friendly, even after hearing a really bad joke! There are no strangers in a small town, and it is really kind of special when you can go to the store or a local restaurant and have someone walk up to you and introduce themselves.

Don't ever lose the charm; this is a special place.

Randy Ansley, the Battery Point Lighthouse keeper, can be reached at