The “Unusual” Skunk Bay Lighthouse

Skunk Bay Lighthouse

Skunk Bay Lighthouse seems to have had an unusual beginning, unlike the main reason lighthouses are constructed. It was not originally built out of the needs of a dangerous area as an aid to navigation. Instead it was built by a local maritime author, and a former lighthouse keeper, Jim Gibbs, seemingly for personal use and as a memorial light.

Skunk Bay Lighthouse

As my husband and I drove north on the Kitsap Peninsula in Washington State passing the nearby Point no Point Lighthouse and the town of Hansville, we knew we were looking for a lighthouse that is privately owned and that we would not be able to go into and tour, but we would just be able to view it. Driving down Twin Spits Road, at first we could not find Skunk Bay Lighthouse, but then we realized it must be the place which had the red, white, and blue Coast Guard sign out in front of it, even though the sign contained no words.

Skunk Bay Lighthouse

In 1965, using plans based on the Mukilteo Lighthouse (where my husband and I were married!), Jim Gibbs constructed the Skunk Bay Lighthouse using the lantern room from the Smith Island Lighthouse before it eroded. Jim Gibbs also used a real Fresnel lens.

My husband and I parked our car off the side of the road, and walked right up to the fence where there was a “No Trespassing; Private Property; Admission Beyond This Point by Permission Only” sign. We managed to take some photos from various angles as we peered over the fence. Through the bushes, we were able to see part of the Skunk Bay Lighthouse.

Skunk Bay Lighthouse

Originally only for personal use, Mr. Gibbs would occasionally flash the light for brief instances. But one night he turned on the light for a friend who was guiding a cargo vessel, but then forgot to turn it off. The next morning, the Coast Guard paid a visit to Mr. Gibbs and the lighthouse due to complaints of an unauthorized beacon.

After a lighthouse inspection (which was typical back in the days before lighthouses were automated), Mr. Gibbs was told to either leave the light off or he could operate it under Coast Guard rules and regulations for private aids to navigation. Mr. Gibbs passed inspection and the Skunk Bay Lighthouse became fully operational.

Skunk Bay Lighthouse

Since 1971, the Skunk Bay Lighthouse has been owned by a group of people known as the Skunk Bay Lighthouse Association, and is now a private time-share. They did some remodeling, adding more rooms to the house, making the room from the original lighthouse into a kitchen.

As my husband and I peered over the fence and took our pictures, we really hoped that someone might be around to give us permission for admission and let us in so we could look inside Skunk Bay Lighthouse. But alas, that did not happen.

Sweet Travels!

Disclaimer: Due to the limited information about Skunk Bay Lighthouse, much of this blog is paraphrased from Lighthouse Friends-Skunk Bay, WA.

Information also from:
Northwest Maritime Heritage-Skunk Bay Lighthouse
Lighthouses of the United States: Washington

Today’s Ediz Hook Lighthouse

Ediz Hook Lighthouse

This summer my husband and I went on a sort of “treasure hunt” to try to find several lighthouses in Washington State that are not quite like the typical lighthouse one thinks of when thinking of a lighthouse. This first one, Ediz Hook Lighthouse, is currently located in a residential area of Port Angeles as a private home, and having its light tower removed, looks like a normal house if you did not know it used to be a dwelling for a lighthouse.

Ediz Hook Lighthouse

This dwelling, along with its octagonal shaped light tower, was originally located on the three-and-a-half-mile sand spit, Ediz Hook, which protects Port Angeles Harbor. The tower was completed in 1908, and the dwelling was added in 1909. Today you can see the engraving of 1908 on the front door.

Ediz Hook Lighthouse

Going back in history, located at the far end of Ediz Hook, the original way the sand spit was protected by a “lighthouse” was that “driftwood was burned atop a tripod by private enterprise as early as 1861 to provide light for navigation.”

Prior to the 1908/1909 lighthouse and dwelling, but replacing the burning driftwood, the first lighthouse located on Ediz Hook “resembled a country schoolhouse, consisting of a two-story dwelling with a short, square tower protruding from one end of its pitched roof. A fixed, fifth-order Fresnel lens…was first shown from the lantern room on April 2, 1865.”

Ediz Hook Lighthouse

This original lighthouse was in use for over four decades until the 1908/1909 replacement became necessary, as over time the original lighthouse and dwelling was in need of repairs, but was replaced instead.

The original 1865 lighthouse was torn down years later in 1939. In 1946 a modern beacon on top of a control tower at the Coast Guard Air Station located at the end of Ediz Hook replaced the 1908/1909 lighthouse and dwelling. After seeing nearly four decades of use, the 1909 dwelling was sold and relocated to its current location as a private residence.

Ediz Hook Lighthouse

My husband and I drove down to near the end of Ediz Hook spit, which has a well-established road as well some industries, where the Coast Guard Air Station is located to see if we could see the modern beacon, but we could not get into the property as the area is secured from visitors. Today, there are also beaches and the Ediz Hook Reservation for Native Birds on the spit.

Located on the corner of Albert and Fourth Streets in Port Angeles we were, however, able to take pictures of today’s Ediz Hook Lighthouse dwelling from the outside of the fence. I happened to notice when I took a picture of the front door that there is a lighthouse etched in glass in the window next to the door!

Ediz Hook Lighthouse

Sweet Travels!

Quotes and information for this blog from Lighthouse Friends-Ediz Hook, where you can also view historical pictures on this website.

Lighthouses on the South West Coast Path

St Anthonys Lighthouse South West Coast Path

I love walking. I also love the ocean, the coastline, and beaches. And I love lighthouses. Put all three together for me and you have one happy camper. Such was the case for me as I walked with my husband for 100 miles along the South West Coast Path. From Carbis Bay to Falmouth, our travels included walking, the coast, and in that 100 mile stretch, we experienced no less than nine lighthouses on the South West Coast Path. Whether seeing the lighthouses up close, from a distance, through the fog, or by taking a tour.

St Anthonys Lighthouse South West Coast Path

St Anthonys Lighthouse South West Coast Path

St. Anthony’s Lighthouse, as depicted in the pictures with the sail boats and a fishing boat, was actually seen on our last day, our 16th day of walking on the path, just before walking our last mile and three quarters into Falmouth Town. We were sitting eating a snack at Pendennis Point looking across the Falmouth Harbor at this lighthouse near St. Mawes. It was a beautiful scene, and a great way to end our walk.

We saw the Pendeen Watch Lighthouse twice. Once at the end of our second day as the sun was setting. We visited again the next morning with the bright blue sky, white clouds, and turquoise waters of a new day. Although we didn’t stay in them, the keepers’ cottages of this lighthouse are available for holiday rental.

Pendeen Watch Lighthouse South West Coast Path

Pendeen Watch Lighthouse South West Coast Path

Pendeen Watch Lighthouse South West Coast Path

Lizard Lighthouse was the only lighthouse we were able to take a tour of inside, and even climb the tower. Shining its light for over 260 years, it is located at the most southerly point in England, Lizard Point. The Lizard Lighthouse Heritage Center has an interactive learning center as well, interesting to people of all ages.

Lizard Lighthouse South West Coast Path

Lizard Lighthouse South West Coast Path

Lizard Lighthouse South West Coast Path

Lizard Lighthouse South West Coast Path

A relatively new lighthouse, The Tater Du Lighthouse, was built in 1965.  It is not accessible as there is a fence surrounding it, but it can be seen from a variety of angles as we walked by it on the path. Some lighthouses, including this one, are actually visible for sometimes miles ahead as you approach them, and as you leave them, if you look back, you can also see them for miles behind.

Tater Du Lighthouse South West Coast Path

Tater Du Lighthouse South West Coast Path

Tater Du Lighthouse South West Coast Path

Tater Du Lighthouse South West Coast Path

There are a few lighthouses, such as the St. Ives Harbour, Penzance Harbour, and Newlyn South Pier, that I consider as “harbour” lights because they help fishing and other boats guide their way past stone walls, breakwaters, into the entrance of a harbour, rather than being directly on the coast as most other lighthouses.

St Ives- arbor Lighthouse South West Coast Path

Penzance Lighthouse South West Coast Path

Newlyn South Pier Lighthouse South West Coast Path

Newlyn South Pier Lighthouse South West Coast Path

When we arrived at Land’s End, the most westerly point in England, it was all foggy and could not see either of the two lighthouses on the rocks miles beyond. At least the next morning, still through a bit of clearing of the fog, we were able to catch a glimpse of Longships Lighthouse, but never did see Wolf Rock Lighthouse.

Longships Lighthouse Lands End South West Coast Path

Longships Lighthouse Lands End South West Coast Path

Going back to our first day, from a view from our window from our bed-and-breakfast, we were able to just barely see Godrevy Lighthouse out on a rock.

Godrevy Lighthouse South West Coast Path

I believe that there are no less than 15 lighthouses along the entire 630-mile South West Coast Path, and perhaps even more.

Sweet Travels!

For more scenic pictures and stories of our trip on 100 miles of the South West Coast Path, here are a few more posts:
The Ups and Downs of the South West Coast Path
Fishing Villages of the South West Coast Path
A Walking Meditation on the South West Coast Path

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.

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