|Elbow Reef Lighthouse at night, after being light by Sam|
Sam, a second generation lighthouse keeper, used to climb the steps as a very young boy with his father as he watched and learned how to manage and maintain this historic lighthouse. We were lucky enough to spend an evening with Sam, who demonstrated the process of lighting the light. First, he preheats the gas mantel with a cup of burning alcohol for 10 minutes. Once hot, the pressurized kerosene mixture can be turned on, and with great skill and caution, the flowing gas is lit. With a loud pop and then a rushing, blow torch sound, and next a hissing and roaring, the lens is quickly filled with the incredibly bright light of the lit mantle! This is all happening while Sam is sitting INSIDE the Fresnel lens, adjusting the gas flow and pressure, making sure that the light is burning properly.
|Sam, a second generation lighthouse keeper|
It was a true honor to see this process and to hear Sam tell of stories as a child working the lighthouse with his father. Elbow Reef Lighthouse is a world treasure and will soon be the last non-automated lighthouse on earth. Thank you, Sam, for your passion and your love of the Lighthouse....it was an honor to see it with you!
|Walking up the hill from the harbor to the lighthouse|
|One of the keeper's house on the right at the base of the lighthouse|
|The sign over the door with lighthouse facts|
|Looking up into the center of the lighthouse at the spiral staircase|
|Halfway up, the views out the window over the harbor are beautiful|
|Two tanks of fuel and two tanks of pressurized air send the fuel to the light above|
Note the hand pump on the right side that adds pressure to the air tanks!
|Looking into the Fresnel Lens, the bearings and oil cans help it rotate|
|One of 5 lens that flash in a pattern of 5 flashes then a steady light in 15 seconds|
|The gears and steel cables that are wound and drive the rotation of the lenses|
|A daytime view over the harbor from the outside walkway that circles top the light|
|Sam (on the left) inside the lens, pre-heating and burning a cup of alcohol fuel under the mantle|
|Sam taking a match and moving the flame up to the now flowing gas|
|The flowing gas is visible here! Sam preparing to light the gas, all while INSIDE the lens!|
|POP, the gas ignites, the roar is heard and the lens is illuminated!|
Note the chimney above the burning mantle
|A view looking out on the night harbor|
Note the reflection of the lenses in the glass