Mount Desert Rock Lighthouse, Maine   Leave a comment

The only way to photograph Mount Desert Rock Lighthouse is to sail 26 miles out into the Atlantic from the nearest harbor in Maine.  The lighthouse and dwelling first commenced operations in 1830, and the rock on which the lighthouse sits is about 200 yards wide and 600 yards long.  Think about that — living in the Atlantic beyond the sight of land on a tiny rock devoid of any vegetation.  Boring in nice weather and absolutely terrifying during storms.  And yet that is exactly what dozens of keepers did from 1830 to 1977.  The longest-lasting documented keeper was there for 6 years.  Most resigned in two years or less despite the extra pay that the government offered to keepers willing to take on the risk and boredom.

Today, Mount Desert Rock serves as a whale watching station for the College of the Atlantic.  We sailed a complete circle around the tiny island on The Heritage wooden schooner, and yes we saw several whales while we were out there.  It is a humbling and somewhat unnerving experience to be on a 90 ft. long wooden ship beyond the sight of land, but at least we knew we would sleep securely in a coastal harbor that evening.  I simply can’t imagine living on a small rock far into the Atlantic, particularly after the sun sets.  It took a level of courage that is hard to comprehend.


Posted September 8, 2011 by ~ Bruce in Seascapes

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