In 2004, Eshaness Lighthouse once again took part in the International Lighthouse/Lightship Weekend. We found out half way into the planning for the event that Eshaness Lighthouse would be losing its attendant keeper and the public would not be allowed to visit the lighthouse tower. This led to a lot of creative thinking on everyone's part to develop some activities that would compliment the amateur radio broadcasting and bring lots of visitors. Our answer was to have the theme “Eshaness Lighthouse Takes to the Air” which would include new airborne activities such as kite flying and fireworks.
Kite-flying for All Ages
The first step in our preparation was for some of us to get kites to fly since none of us had flown since childhood. Mine was a handsome six-foot dolphin that soared well in the strong winds around the lighthouse. Tom Williamson, the Accommodations Caretaker, got a delta kite shaped like a fish that turned out to be the highest-flying of all the kites. One of our radio broadcasters got a stunt kite that turned out to be our biggest challenge since it had two lines to be controlled. I practiced as much as I could with my dolphin that I named Surf just so I would not look like a total fool during the weekend. The weekend weather was not good for kites on Saturday, but Sunday turned out perfect. We had all kinds of kites being flown by people from senior citizens to small children. It was really fun and we look forward to doing it next year.
We were concerned all-day Saturday because of the high winds, so we were not able to have the fireworks. The wind speed decreased in the evening and we were able to set off the fireworks that started promptly at 10:00 pm. It was amazing seeing the beautiful colourful stars shower, bursting above the revolving beacon of the lighthouse. It was a very special moment for Dean and I as we watched our beloved lighthouse home illuminated spectacularly. Our only disappointment was none of us was able to capture the fireworks on film.
Soaring Beyond the Towers
To round off a perfect weekend, the broadcasting crew was able to contact 49 lighthouses (67 counting duplicates) from a total of 626 contacts in 64 countries located in all six continents, even though the conditions were not particularly good. Notable contacts were Algeria, Barbados, Egypt, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, Lebanon and Suriname – most were a first time from Eshaness. Fifteen contacts were with the USA but only two lighthouses – Buffalo New York and Fort Gratiot Michigan. Farthest lighthouse was El Morro Fortress, Puerto Rico, which was 4,200 miles away.
We had been troubled that without tower tours the weekend might be poorly attended and people would be disappointed. What we learned was people love lighthouses not just for their towers but because they are wonderful places set in an environment where kites and fireworks will soar and people of all ages can have a fantastic time.
This story appeared in the
October 2004 edition of Lighthouse Digest Magazine. The print edition contains more stories than our internet edition, and each story generally contains more photographs - often many more - in the print edition. For subscription information about the print edition, click here.
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