I didn’t realize it, but lighthouses — functioning ones, at least — are the ultimate examples of transitions in technology. Here you have this ancient building (relatively) made of stone that has withstood decade after decade of storms and passing meteorological trauma in the most basic of fashions.
At first, whale oil to feed an actual flame would have been hauled up through the innards of the structure via this pulley. It’s amazing that our forefathers figured out how to magnify the light from what amounted to a candle to such an extend that it could be seen far, far out to sea.
Now, as with so many things, the drama inherent in that scenario — lugging flammable liquid up four stories, dealing with a very extinguishable light source — has been replaced by modern efficiency. This little bulb is all that’s needed now. If you look closely at the first photo above, you can actually see it inside the globe, magnified by the glass around it.
You’ve got to respect the lobstermen who work these waters. A bay this is not — we’re talking about open ocean, with all the attendant hazards. I don’t really know how you keep your feel while wrestling bait into a trap in rough conditions, but I bet the dudes on this boat are tired when they get home at the end of the day. They’re out there all winter, too, banging around in open cockpits, getting soaked and hauling bugs.
Best ladder ever. Hands down. Some day I’ll have a key hole like this in my house.
And then down and around you go. This the what the stairs look like from above — equally impressive.
The back side of the island is pretty much all cliffs. Excuse me, I meant “spooky” cliffs. Sheesh, you could really set a scary something or other out here, although it’s probably a totally different deal all together when the sun’s out.
At the tail end of a quick 24-hour visit, like almost everyone who sets foot on Monhegan, I headed for home on the Laura B. This boat is the real deal, an all-wood tender salvaged from the Navy after World War II. For more than 60 years she’s been hauling people and the occasional pickup truck back to the mainland.
The seas were pitching pretty good this day — nothing major, but a decent toss-around was in order. I couldn’t believe no one was hurling, mustn’t have been a landlubber among us.
In all the time I’ve spent on the water in my life, I realized I had never been on an entirely wood-hulled boat. The difference is huge — those wooden boat builders are really onto something. While a fiberglass hull tends to slap and pound its way through swells, the Laura B. seemed to work with the ocean a little more.
Personally, I planted my feel and enjoyed the ride. Blocked from the following wind by the wheelhouse, the warmth of a perfect fall day penetrated the salt air as we rolled our way back to Port Clyde’s sheltered harbor.
I’ll say. Nice knowing you, Laura B.
© 2013 Wool Wood & Whiskey | Theme by Eleven Themes