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Sunday, July 14, 2013

Hand-Cranked 1870s Lighthouse Keeps on Keepin’ On


Great Inagua’s lighthouse: 
clean, simple and easily
accessible. Looks pretty good
for nearly 150 years old!
“Every household needs a good phallic symbol,” quipped a friend, responding to my compliment on her cool Chrysler Building model.

It would seem that most Bahamian Islands of any stature do too, in the functional form of a lighthouse.  In the Bahamas and elsewhere, I rarely pass up the opportunity to scale these eyrie perches.

Wayne, of, course, would more likely accuse my fondness of lighthouses as yet one more devious plot to torture him by finding the tallest point and cajoling him up it.  He’s partly right; I’m just a sucker for a killer view, and love sharing this literal highlight with the man I love.  Is that so devious?
Spartan yet attractive “lobby”
welcomes DIY lighthouse vistors.

The lighthouse in Great Inagua was one of many highlights in our all-too-brief stay (click here and here and here for more about Great Inagua; and watch for at least one more retrospective Great Inagua post). The lighthouse was much welcomed as a highly visible landmark to us, sailing in from our 4 ½ days sail from Puerto Rico.

Getting up high in such a narrow
space requires steep steps.
It’s a brief walk to the lighthouse from Great Inagua’s Matthew Town and a self guided tour.  No personnel, no signs, no fuss, no muss.  Of course, while I’d like to learn more about the lighthouse’s history, I love the price for the tour:  free.
My "lighthouse green" Crocs view give
a little more perspective on
the step steepness.

The lighthouse is still operational, its kerosene-fueled light requires hand-cranking.  I wondered if a lighthousekeeper, responsible for handcranking the light, inspired Lost’s DHARMA initiative button-pushing subplot (click here for more about that).  Regardless, in Great Inagua’s small and lovely but not oft traveled part of the world, I’ll bet it still saved at least a few lives in its 143 years.
Still working lens in the Great Inagua lighthouse.


Ceiling of the Great Inagua lighthouse tower.
Yes, the rails are this vividly red, all the more so contrasting
against Great Inagua’s gorgeous aqua seascape.
The view:  the perfect reward for a short, steep climb.
For more on Bahamian Lighthouses, click here and watch this space for a post on Culebrita’s far less pristine, but gloriously decayed lighthouse.

Note:  This is a retrospective.  At the moment, we're replenishing our cruising kitty and upgrading our boat while we wait out hurricane season in Florida. There's lots more retrospective and current posts coming, now that my Mac is back from the shop, at long last.  While here, my tentative plan is to post about 2-3 times a week, based on some survey feedback*.

*What would you like to see? Please consider offering your input on Galley Wench Tales blog site.  Click here to link to the survey.  And, thank you for helping make Galley Wench Tales a better blog.