What IS this?


If you guessed the inside of the 4 ton Fresnel lens that sits at the top of the landmark Hopetown lighthouse, you are correct.


Officially named the Elbow Reef Lighthouse, it is one of the last manually operated lighthouses in the world.


Its completion in 1864 provoked outraged protests by wreckers, sea salvagers and plunderers.


The light rotates once every 15 seconds and can be seen for 17 miles.  During the day, as above, it is shrouded to prevent sun damage to the lens.

Here are the storage tanks, on a platform about halfway up the lighthouse, which hold the pressurized Kerosene it burns, with a wick and mantle, (made by Coleman, the camping equipment manufacturer).


A lighthouse keeper must wind the weights every two hours to keep it working.


The light is 89 feet off the ground.


And 120 feet above sea level, as it sits on a hill.


The inside is pink, with green stairs that spiral up the inside walls,


creating a nautilus effect.


There are windows along the staircase.


The last 20 steps are up a ladder.


And then you sort of limbo out a small, low opening onto a deck that rings the lighthouse just below the lens.


Look at this beautiful doorhandle for that little door.


A climb up its101 stairs is rewarded by a panorama of magnificent views.  On the east side is Hopetown, its harbor, and, beyond that, the Atlantic Ocean:


The harbor entrance is to the north and east:


And to the west is the Sea of Abaco:


The top of the lighthouse is a popular photo op:


8 thoughts on “?????

  1. Couldn’t identify the photo myself but showed it to Bill and he knew immediately what it was. He says to tell you they did an interview with a couple sailing from the Chesapeake to the Bahamas this morning on Metro Connection on NPR (I didn’t hear it)), and it was nowhere near as interesting as your blog, which I often read to him. Glad you’re having such a good time in what looks and sounds like Paradise to me. Hope Goldie’s recovered from your bike ride through the Bahamian Alps.

    • Thanks so much for your comment – congrats to Bill. Love hearing from you. If you and Bill were to fly here for trivia night at Cap’n Jack’s, you would ace it and win free beer. And it would be great fun. Today is cooler and cloudy – a good day for reading and knitting.

  2. Dan and I recognized the picture as we have been in a couple of light houses. We are both sitting here, trying to remember the name of the last one we toured….on the Pacific coast a couple of years ago with the Miller siblings on Miller Fest. It’s a bummer when you get old and can’t remember things! It’ll come to us in the middle of the night, likely! Fabulous pictures; thanks for sharing so much info too!

  3. I really enjoyed this lighthouse visit. They really are fascinating and the fact that it is still manually operated is wonderful. Imagine hiring people to do meaningful work rather than build a machine to do it. They might be on to something here. You should send this to Mr Obama .
    The west coast lighthouse mentioned above may be the Big Sur Lighthouse. We`ve seen it too but it`s not manual any more.
    Great photo of the staircase spirally up.
    hope to see you soon
    George and Jackie

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