Lighthouses Visited from the Schooner Zodiac

Patos Island Lighthouse

Considering myself a pharologist, one who has a strong interest in lighthouses, I was thrilled when I was able to see eight lighthouses while sailing with the Schooner Zodiac on their four-day Spring Lighthouse Tour around the San Juan Islands in Washington State back in April. Here are some of my favorite pictures of six of these lighthouses taken during this exciting adventure.

Patos Island Lighthouse

Patos Island Lighthouse

Patos Island Lighthouse (above).

New Dungeness Lighthouse:

New Dungeness Lighthouse

New Dungeness Lighthouse

New Dungeness Lighthouse

Lime Kiln Lighthouse:

Lime Kiln Lighthouse

Lime Kiln Lighthouse

Lime Kiln LighthousePoint Wilson Lighthouse:

Point Wilson Lighthouse

Burrows Island Lighthouse:

Burrows Island Lighthouse

Burrows Island Lighthouse

Burrows Island LighthouseTurn Point Lighthouse:

Turn Point Lighthouse

Turn Point Lighthouse

Turn Point Lighthouse

You may read more about my exciting sailing adventures with the Schooner Zodiac on my previous three blogs:

Sailing with the Schooner Zodiac and their Spring Lighthouse Tour

Learning Some Sailing Skills Aboard The Schooner Zodiac

Kayaking, a Cat, and a Few Other Random Schooner Zodiac Photos

In addition, you may read more about these lighthouses from my previous travels to them, including walking 10 miles round trip to the New Dungeness Lighthouse, Christmas at the Lime Kiln Lighthouse and volunteering in the restoration of Burrows Island Lighthouse. (See, I am a pharologist!)

Patos Island and Turn Point Lighthouses
Point Wilson Lighthouse
New Dungeness Lighthouse
Lime Kiln Lighthouse
Burrows Island Lighthouse

Sweet Travels!

I was provided this excursion courtesy of Bellingham Whatcom County Tourism and the Schooner Zodiac, but all opinions are my own. For more information about sailing with the Schooner Zodiac, please visit their website, www.schoonerzodiac.com, which includes a list of all upcoming cruises from now through October, from their day sails, to their three day trips, to trips of longer durations, from the San Juan Islands to the Canadian Gulf Islands. The ship carries up to 26 passengers on overnight cruises in berths or private rooms, and up to 49 passengers on day sails.

Kayaking, a Cat, and a Few Other Random Schooner Zodiac Photos

Schooner Zodiac Kayak

Not only did I get to see eight lighthouses in the San Juan Islands of Washington State from the point of view of the seas, and not only did I learn some sailing skills that I did not have before, I also had a chance for a brief kayak one evening just before the sunset hours during the Schooner Zodiac’s four-day Spring Lighthouse Tour. We were anchored in the very still waters of Hughes Bay at Lopez Island, so my husband and I put on life jackets and went kayaking around the peaceful bay. These are a few photos I took of the Schooner Zodiac during our paddle.

Schooner Zodiac Kayak

Schooner Zodiac Kayak

For sleeping, my husband and I each had a berth (like a bunk bed) in a room that could sleep up to eight. This room was also used as a reading room, sitting room, and a dining room. There were berths in other areas of the ship, as well as private rooms.

Schooner Zodiac Interior

Schooner Zodiac Interior

This is a photo of another dining room.

Schooner Zodiac Dining

And this is the galley, where our delicious meals were prepared.

Schooner Zodiac Galley

On board the Schooner Zodiac was Abby, the resident cat, who decided she liked to sleep in my husband’s berth or against his backpack during the day. (My husband is a cat person, and loved this!)

Schooner Zodiac Cat Abby

Schooner Zodiac Cat Abby

When the Schooner Zodiac is not on one of their sails, they are docked at the Bellingham Cruise Terminal.

Schooner Zodiac Bellingham

A big thank you to the captain and the crew of the Schooner Zodiac for making my sailing experience a wonderful one!

Sweet Travels!

I was provided this excursion courtesy of Bellingham Whatcom County Tourism and the Schooner Zodiac, but all opinions are my own. For more information about sailing with the Schooner Zodiac, please visit their website, www.schoonerzodiac.com, which includes a list of all upcoming cruises from now through October, from their day sails, to their three day trips, to trips of longer durations, from the San Juan Islands to the Canadian Gulf Islands. The ship carries up to 26 passengers on overnight cruises in berths or private rooms, and up to 49 passengers on day sails.

Learning Some Sailing Skills Aboard The Schooner Zodiac

Schooner Zodiac

From someone who tried to take a sailing class back in college, but did not succeed at it, I must say that in four days’ time aboard the Schooner Zodiac, I learned more about sailing and navigation and ships and weather from the perspective of the seas than I personally ever have in my life. I think my favorite part about it all was seeing the majestic white sails of the Schooner Zodiac breathing in the wind against the baby blue skies, that I helped hoist.

Schooner Zodiac

When the calls “all hands on deck” and “prepare to make sail” were issued, there was a flurry of activity, under the direction of a crew member. We were on our four-day Spring Lighthouse Tour in the San Juan Islands in Washington State, and we were getting ready to hoist those majestic sails. All of us passengers had each been given a “sailing station” when we first boarded the Schooner Zodiac, so we reported there first. My station was the “staysail,” a single triangular sail towards the front of the ship. My instructions from the one crew instructor that I was teamed up with had to do with untying a line, pulling the line to raise the sail, and belaying the line with a locking hitch to complete the process. Well, there was more to it than that, but for my first time doing this, and with a lot of good guidance and assistance from my crew instructor, and from me asking a lot of questions, and from having my crew instructor double and triple check my work, I was able to raise the staysail!

Schooner Zodiac Sails

Schooner Zodiac Sails

But not before the majority of passengers and crew participated in the hoisting of the “mainsail.” We teamed up together on one of two sides of the ship, the “peak” and the “throat” sides, which correlated with the “port” and the “starboard” sides of the ship respectively. Each team had a thick line (halyard) to pull, which upon command from a crew member, raised the heavy sail up into the wind. Sometimes the peak side pulled, other times the throat side, other times both sides pulled. It was tough to pull that line, so I can see why many people were needed.

Schooner Zodiac Sails

At one point, I asked my crew instructor how many people minimum have they ever hoisted the sails with? He replied that they once did it with five people! I then asked him, “and what is the ideal number of people?” To which he replied, “Everyone!” There must have been at least 20 of us hoisting the sails this time.

Schooner Zodiac Sails

Once all four sails were hoisted, the jib, staysail, foresail, and mainsail (although I think we only raised three), and the excess lines were coiled and neatly put away, we were all then told, “all hands stand down.” I asked my instructional crew member well, I have always either stood up or sat down, but I had never stood down before. So what did that mean? It meant that I could go back to doing whatever I was doing before the call was made for “all hands on deck.” So I usually returned to taking lots of photographs, staring in awe at the raised sails, relaxing, or going back to my one of four “watch rotations.”

Schooner Zodiac Hoist Sails

Schooner Zodiac Hoist Sails

Schooner Zodiac Hoist Sails

All passengers also had the opportunity to learn a lot more about sailing other than hoisting the sails through four voluntary “watch rotations” of a half-hour each. These rotations rotated throughout the passengers and over the four days, so each of us had several rotations of the watch rotations in order to keep building our sailing skills. Our first rotation was a navigation lesson in the chart room with a crew member. I was taught navigation skills about charting (maps in nautical terms), use of latitude and longitude, and figuring out how long it takes to get somewhere using the formula I learned back in grade school of “rate times time equals distance,” using a Nautical Slide Rule. I learned that buoys have different colors and flash patterns, just like lighthouses. I learned that 1 knot is about 1.1 miles per hour, therefore 10 knots is about 11 miles per hour. I learned that one fathom is six feet. I learned about the use of a compass, a caliper, and a simple number 2 pencil. To some, this might be basic knowledge, but to me I found it quite interesting to gain some good understanding about sailing that somehow I didn’t quite get back in college.

Schooner Zodiac Navigation

Schooner Zodiac Navigation

Schooner Zodiac Navigation

When the navigation lesson was over, I had a turn at our second rotation, steering the helm. Aided by the captain or a crew member, I learned how to use a landmark when the weather was clear to steer by, and by using a compass when there was fog. I learned that it is not quite like driving a car. Yes, to go left, you steer left, and to go right, you steer right, but a 160-foot ship is much bigger than a car, and it takes time to respond, and then it over responds, so corrections need to be made to bring the ship back to sailing straight ahead. I’ll admit I was a bit nervous about doing this, being responsible for making sure I was on course, but of course they weren’t going to leave a beginner like me alone at doing this, so I felt at ease when the captain or another crew member was nearby.

Schooner Zodiac Helm

Schooner Zodiac Helm

Doing a bow watch from the front of the ship looking for debris, logs, crab pots, kayaks, other boats, whales, or anything that might be in the way, was our third rotation. It was quite a different experience doing the bow watch if the skies were clear and you could see quite a lot ahead of you versus if it was foggy, and you couldn’t see much. In either case, if we spotted something we were to whistle into a brass tube at the bow of the ship which was connected to a brass tube near the helm at the aft of the ship.

Schooner Zodiac Bow Watch

Schooner Zodiac Bow Watch

Schooner Zodiac Bow Watch

Schooner Zodiac Bow Watch

Then the quarterdeck messenger, our fourth rotation, would answer the whistle, and then the two would communicate the message, informing the person at the helm. It was kind of like that telephone game you played when you were a kid with two cans at each end of a rope. Of course, it really wasn’t a game, and was quite useful, especially because when you are standing at the helm, with the 160 feet of ship in front of you, you really can’t see what is directly in front of the ship.

Schooner Zodiac Messenger

Another lesson that all passengers contributed to were the preparations of getting the Schooner Zodiac ready in the morning for the day. This included cleaning the deck, wiping down the wet sitting areas (that was my job), and polishing the brass. It was a lesson to show how much dedication and care is needed to make sure the ship stays clean and looking sharp, and everyone on board is comfortable.

Schooner Zodiac Brass

Schooner Zodiac Brass

Now I know I have a lot more to learn about sailing, but what I learned in four days aboard the Schooner Zodiac on their Spring Lighthouse Tour, I felt was a great foundation. Much, much more than an entire class in college. Whether you are an experienced sailor, or a beginner like me, I would recommend a cruise with the Schooner Zodiac not only to learn some sailing skills, but to also travel to some great destinations!

Schooner Zodiac

Sweet Travels!

I was provided this excursion courtesy of Bellingham Whatcom County Tourism and the Schooner Zodiac, but all opinions are my own. For more information about sailing with the Schooner Zodiac, please visit their website, www.schoonerzodiac.com, which includes a list of all upcoming cruises from now through October, from their day sails, to their three day trips, to trips of longer durations, from the San Juan Islands to the Canadian Gulf Islands. The ship carries up to 26 passengers on overnight cruises in berths or private rooms, and up to 49 passengers on day sails.

Sailing with the Schooner Zodiac and their Spring Lighthouse Tour

Burrows Island Lighthouse Schooner Zodiac

I have a strong fascination for lighthouses and the people that cared for them, with their unique and romantic, sometimes tragic, lifestyle and history. In fact, not only did my husband and I get married at a lighthouse, but we recently completed my Bucket List item of touring all the lighthouses in the State of Washington that you can visit. However, it wasn’t until just recently, that I had the opportunity to see some of these scenic lighthouses from the point of view of the sea, and from the perspective of the sailors who had relied upon, and continue to do so, these important structures for navigation and landmarks. From aboard the impressive 160-foot sailing vessel with four majestic sails, the Schooner Zodiac, on their four-day Spring Lighthouse Tour, I gained an even bigger appreciation for the powerful lights beaming from the legendary lighthouses, and for the sounds of the mighty fog horn. Even with the modern technology of radar, GPS, radio communication, and even apps on cell phones, lighthouses are still essential at night, in the fog, or in inclement weather.

Burrows Island Lighthouse Schooner ZodiacIt wasn’t just the lighthouses though that made my excursion on the Schooner Zodiac memorable around the San Juan Islands in Washington State. It was the historic Schooner Zodiac itself. It was her people, her educational aspect, her history, and her grandeur that were evident from the time I boarded, to the couple of times we hoisted the 127-foot tall, 7,000 square feet of sails, to the restful nights being lulled to sleep by the gentle rocking of the ship. (Although one of the nights it was a bit rockier due to some windier conditions.)

New Dungeness Lighthouse Schooner Zodiac

New Dungeness Lighthouse Schooner Zodiac

New Dungeness Lighthouse Schooner Zodiac

In our four days on the seas, the Schooner Zodiac took me, my husband, other passengers, guests, and the crew to see eight lighthouses and light stations, three of which we were also able to visit on land via their Zodiac Tender, a small motorboat, where we donned lifejackets to make it to shore. We sailed from picturesque island to picturesque island by day, and anchored at peaceful secluded coves by night, including Hughes Bay at Lopez Island, Port Townsend, and Prevost Harbor at Stuart Island. When the weather was clear and warm, and the skies and water were both a rich blue, we had glimpses of Mount Baker and the Olympics Mountains. Even when we were greeted by the fog in the mornings, and the wind was stronger and the air was colder, all the realities of sailing made my four days on the Schooner Zodiac an exciting adventure. We also had a few chances to kayak, we stretched our legs for an hour at Roche Harbor, we saw a pod of porpoises, a convocation of eagles and seagulls feeding on fish, and enjoyed the ability to see abundant stars at night. (We unfortunately did not see any whales this trip, but that is a certainly a possibility in these waters.)

Point Wilson Lighthouse Schooner Zodiac

Point Wilson Lighthouse Schooner Zodiac

It was also the people, all of us in fact, crew and passengers alike, that added to the ambiance of the journey. From the helpful and hospitable captain, to the talented cook, to the knowledgeable volunteer crew. There were even a couple of people aboard the ship who work closely with lighthouses as volunteers and were able to provide us with deeper information about the lighthouses. The passengers were fun group, too. With the age ranges of both the crew and passengers from their 20’s to their 80’s, we got samples from fun and laughter, to hearing sailing stories of the wise and experienced.

Lime Kiln Lighthouse Schooner Zodiac

Lime Kiln Lighthouse Schooner Zodiac

Lime Kiln Lighthouse Schooner Zodiac

We passengers had the opportunity to learn about sailing and to participate in what it takes to make the Schooner Zodiac sail. In four half-hour shifts, each passenger had a “watch rotation.” One rotation was a lesson in navigation through charts, radar, compass, and other means. We each got a turn at steering the helm, sometimes using a landmark when the weather was clear to steer by, other times by using a compass in the fog. Doing a bow watch from the front of the ship looking for debris, kayaks, other boats, whales, or anything that might be in the way, was our third rotation. And being a quarterdeck messenger between the bow and the person steering and navigating at the helm was the fourth.

Smith and Minor Islands Schooner Zodiac

Smith and Minor Islands Schooner Zodiac

Each passenger also had a “sailing station” when it came time to “prepare to make sail.” When they called “all hands on deck,” we made our way to participate in something that, from someone who had never done this before in her life, I thought was amazing, and gave me a rush of excitement. My sailing station was the “staysail,” where with one crew member, he instructed me on when to pull the line to raise the sail, and how to belay and do a locking hitch of the line to complete the process. All passengers participated in raising the “mainsail,” by teaming up together on one of two sides, pulling a thick line, heaving the heavy sail as it rose in the wind. This took my breath away, both literally from the hard work it was to pull that heavy line, and figuratively from seeing the white sails breathing as they rose in the wind against the blue sky.

Turn Point Lighthouse Schooner Zodiac

Turn Point Lighthouse Schooner Zodiac

And when they called “all hands stand down,” I asked my instructional crew member, well, I have always either stood up or sat down, but I had never stood down before. So what did that mean? It meant that I could go back to doing whatever I was doing before the call was made for “all hands on deck.” So I usually returned to taking lots of photographs.

One morning all passengers were able to contribute to the preparations of cleaning the deck, polishing the brass, and getting the Schooner Zodiac ready for the day. I must say that in four days’ time, I learned more about sailing and navigation and boats and weather than I personally ever have in my life. Even all of the words and terminology I just described, I have never written before. Very educational.

East Point Lighthouse Saturna Island Canada

East Point Lighthouse Saturna Island Canada

The Schooner Zodiac itself was originally launched in 1924 in Maine as a private luxury yacht for the heirs of Johnson & Johnson. The Zodiac’s history also includes coming in fourth place in the 1928 Transatlantic Race for the Kings Cup, and sailing off the Golden Gate in San Francisco for 40 years as a pilot schooner. She was retired in 1972, but has been lovingly restored to its majesty of the 1920’s, with its intricate mahogany, oak, and teak wood detail both inside and out, along with modern conveniences, including showers, and delicious food prepared by the previously-mentioned talented cook. Sailing out of Bellingham, Washington, the Schooner Zodiac was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1982.

Patos Island Lighthouse Schooner Zodiac

Patos Island Lighthouse Schooner Zodiac

Patos Island Lighthouse Schooner Zodiac

My fascination for lighthouses continues. And thanks to my sailing with the Schooner Zodiac’s Spring Lighthouse Tour, it has now grown with appreciation to include not only seeing the lighthouses from the sailor’s point of view, but also from gaining some skills and knowledge of what it takes to be a sailor on a ship out on the waters that also seem to have its own unique and romantic, sometimes tragic, lifestyle and history.

Sweet Travels!

I was provided this excursion courtesy of Bellingham Whatcom County Tourism and the Schooner Zodiac, but all opinions are my own. For more information about sailing with the Schooner Zodiac, please visit their website, www.schoonerzodiac.com, which includes a list of all upcoming cruises from now through October, from their day sails, to their three day trips, to trips of longer durations, from the San Juan Islands to the Canadian Gulf Islands. The ship carries up to 26 passengers on overnight cruises in berths or private rooms, and up to 49 passengers on day sails.

List of lighthouses in the order of my pictures above, with the number of pictures of each lighthouse:

Burrows Island Lighthouse (2)
New Dungeness Lighthouse (3)
Point Wilson Lighthouse (2)
Lime Kiln Lighthouse (3)
Smith and Minor Islands (2)
Turn Point Lighthouse (2)
East Point Saturna Island Canada (2)
Patos Island Lighthouse (3)

Point Wilson Lighthouse and Marrowstone Point Lighthouse near Port Townsend

Point Wilson Lighthouse

I love the mini-staycations that my husband and I have been taking a couple times a year in our home state of Washington. From beach walking trips to backpacking to visiting lighthouses. On a 3-day staycation we took last September, we went to the Port Townsend area and not only visited Point Wilson Lighthouse and Marrowstone Point Lighthouse, but we also did some walks, hikes, tours of forts, had great food, and slept at a restful Bed and Breakfast.

Point Wilson Lighthouse

Point Wilson Lighthouse

On our first day, we drove around the Tacoma way heading north towards Port Townsend, and spontaneously stopped at the Chimacum Corner Farmstand, a local grocery store, for some delicious lunch and snacks. After deciding we wanted to come back here, we drove on to Fort Worden State Park, the location of the Point Wilson Lighthouse. We walked along one corner of the beach to reach the lighthouse, which was open for tours, went up the tower, spent some time around the lighthouse, and walked back along the other corner of the beach.

Point Wilson Lighthouse

Point Wilson Lighthouse marks the “western side of the entrance to Admiralty Inlet from the Strait of Juan de Fuca and is an important landmark for vessels traveling to and from Puget Sound.” Interestingly, historically, “this critical turn was first marked by a church bell.” In 1865 a ship’s bell was donated to St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Port Townsend “with the condition that the bell be rung on foggy days.”

Point Wilson Lighthouse

Point Wilson Lighthouse

When the lighthouse was built originally, it was located on top of the lightkeeper’s house at a height of 46 feet. This light first beamed on December 15, 1879. Completed in 1914, the current lighthouse is a 49-foot octagonal shaped tower. “The light still shines from the fourth-order Fresnel lens, sending forth alternate red and white flashes every five seconds.” It was automated in 1976. The Point Wilson Lighthouse is open for tours every Saturday from 1-4 from mid-May through mid-September.

Point Wilson Lighthouse

After our time at the lighthouse, we walked around Fort Worden (something my husband enjoyed) and the State Park area. We happened upon a military car show so we also looked at some classic old cars, also something my husband enjoyed.

Point Wilson Lighthouse

The second day of our mini-staycation began with a good breakfast at our Bed and…Breakfast. We drove from Port Townsend onto Marrowstone Island, the location of Fort Flagler State Park and Marrowstone Point Lighthouse. As we entered the State Park, we went into the Visitor’s Center building to find out more information, and found out about a couple of guided tours of the fort that interested my husband. The first one was scheduled soon after we got there, so we took a 2 hour tour of the fort.

Point Wilson Lighthouse

At the end of the tour, we walked along the fort and down to the beach to look at Marrowstone Point Lighthouse located at the eastern entrance to Port Townsend Bay. Marrowstone Point was “first marked by a lens lantern on a pole on October 1, 1888.” “Contractors finished a one-and-a-half-story, six-room keeper’s dwelling with an attached fog-bell tower in March 1896, and the fog bell was placed into operation on April 7, 1896.

Marrowstone Point Lighthouse

Marrowstone Point Lighthouse

In 1914, Marrowstone Point received a new fog signal and light, and again in 1917. Both the 1914 and 1917 structures still stand, with a flashing white light exhibited from the top of the 1917 structure, but the fog signal is no longer in use. The shoreline around the Lighthouse is open, quite popular for fishing, but the buildings and dwelling are closed to the public.

Marrowstone Point Lighthouse

We took a second tour at Fort Flagler of an old 1905 hospital. I found this kind of spooky, but my husband thought it was interesting.

After all this activity we wanted to walk more, so we drove to nearby Anderson Lake State Park and took a 4 mile walk around the lake.

Anderson Lake

And then we were quite hungry, so we headed back to the Chimacum Corner Farmstand.

Chimacum Corner Farmstand

On the third day of our mini-staycation, we not only had another good breakfast at our B&B, but we stopped in Chimacum yet again, as we were heading on our way home and needed food for the road. We also decided to stop for a five mile hike at Green Mountain.

Green Mountain Hike

Green Mountain Hike

We took the Southworth to Fauntleroy ferry home.

And yes, as you can see by the pictures, the weather did change that much in a matter of three days. Our first day had blue skies and sunshine and warmth, the next day was cloudy and rainy and cold, and our third day was back to the blue skies and sunshine and warmth.

Sweet Travels!

Quotes and information from:
Lighthouse Friends – Point Wilson
Lighthouse Friends – Marrowstone Point