As long-time Lighthouse Digest subscribers and lighthouse lovers from Minnesota we have had the opportunity to visit over 350 lighthouses! Our most recent lighthouse adventure was to see the six lonely Florida Reef Lights that marked the hazards of the sea from Cape Florida down to the Dry Tortugas. With only very distant views of a couple of the lights from shore, we had to make the decision to hire a private seaplane to see and photograph the lights from Key West to Cape Florida. This was one of the best lighthouse adventures ever for us! Flying at about 500 feet above the multi-colored sea below, we saw turtles, sharks and of course those six saviors of the sea. The reef lights we flew over were Sand Key, American Shoal, Sombrero Key, Alligator Reef, Carysfort Reef, and Fowey Rocks.
We had a fantastic pilot who had made this trip many times and was very knowledgeable about the lights. In addition to the six reef lighthouses, we learned about, and viewed, what I call the “mini” lights. These minis were brought to our attention by the pilot and we got to experience something we never knew even existed in those waters. These mini lights, which were never staffed, average about 50 feet high, with fifteen feet buried in the Atlantic, compared to the average 150-foot-tall reef lights. It was unbelievable to learn how very swallow the waters were that all these lights marked. The mini lights that we photographed were Tennessee Reef, Molasses Reef, and Pacific Reef.
We also had the opportunity to fly over two private lights, Westinghouse and Faro Blanco Lights. Then, there were the stilt houses that harbored the drug smugglers in days gone by. This was absolutely a wonderful trip with Captain Nick of Keys Seaplanes out of Key West. We also gained lots of good information about these lights from Eric of the Florida Keys Reef Lights Foundation. Eric and the gang are working hard to try and get these wonderful lights off the Doomsday List!
This story appeared in the
Jul/Aug 2021 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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