Notes to Self: On Becoming Lighthouse Innkeepers

We wanted to peer if the lifestyle of a lighthouse innkeeper is probably in our destiny. We organized for a go-to East Brother Island and its popular light station placed just half-hour from San Francisco. Join us; this is probably your cup of tea.

Where are we

East Brother Island is in San Pablo Bay, which connects to San Francisco Bay. East Brother Light Station is controlled using a Richmond nonprofit preservationist organization, which in 1980 obtained permission from the Coast Guard to renovate and preserve the lively light station. The organization has many volunteers to assist with the consistent upkeep and pay most of the bills by renting out the island’s 5 bedrooms, 4 days per week.

Getting to the island

After a chain of electronic mail communications, we arranged to satisfy and interview the lighthouse innkeeper couple on East Brother Island. On Monday morning, we had been ready at the less than steeply-priced Point San Pablo Yacht Harbor when our Captain/innkeeper pulled as much as the dock within the island’s aluminum soft.

Before we may want to board the boat, the Captain first assisted the guests leaving the island. The site visitors ought to have loved their island experience due to the fact they have been all giggling and carrying on as if they had been antique pals. After introductions, our host started the engines and headed out of the harbor for a short 10-minute journey to the island.


He straight away gave us a briefing approximately what to expect whilst we arrived dockside. He described how we might be required to climb a totally vertical stainless steel pool kind ladder that extends from the boat deck to the landing pier that is joined to the island. Depending on the tide, the climb can be as tons as 12 feet. Think about that earlier than make reservations if you aren’t physically capable of climbing a ladder. Also, the island is unluckily now not capable of be ADA compliant.

Buildings and facilities at the island

The one-acre island has two antique homes in addition to an 1874 Victorian Lighthouse. The antique workshed has been converted right into a relaxed innkeepers’ cottage, and the alternative out-building houses the equipment vital to energy the working foghorns.

The island has electric energy provided through an underwater cable from the mainland. A self-contained water device holds about 90,000 gallons of rainwater saved in a white-clad underground cistern and an above-ground redwood water tank.

Because of the ever-gift chance of water shortages within the Bay Area, there are not any showers to be had for guests staying most effective one night. No one seemed to mind the inconvenience. After collecting our photograph gadget and taking walks up the steep ramp among the pier and the island, the Captain gave us an excursion of the first construction we encountered, which houses the equipment to function the foghorns. He cranked up the diesel generator and gave us a stay overall performance of the horns for our benefit.

Becoming an Island Innkeeper

We soon determined that our hosts had simplest been lighthouse keepers for ten weeks, and as of this writing, they’ve already moved on to their subsequent journey. Lighthouse retaining is a laugh but annoying paintings, and the turnover is pretty high, but it truly is seemingly not a large hassle for the stakeholders.

How many parents would really like to run a Victorian Bed and Breakfast on a small island in California, complete with awesome profits, room and board, seals, pelicans, and a 5-famous person view of the San Francisco skyline? Lots, it’s what number of.

We are instructed that the wide variety of candidates for the job is generally huge. However, there are severe knockout factors within the innkeeper software. One of the applicants must be an amazing cook and capable of getting ready and providing meals for a table of ten. Another qualification is that one of the candidates must have a Coast Guard industrial boat operator’s license. Lastly, each of the prospective innkeepers needs to be charming. Now we have become somewhere.

About the work

In East Brother Light Station, the island is open for enterprise 4 nights in line with the week starting on Thursday.

Prepping for the visitors

On Wednesday morning, the innkeepers are on land shopping for up to forty visitors (5 rooms x 2 visitors x 4 nights). They pick out the menu items, select up the mail, laundry, gasoline, and anything else they may want for the approaching week on the island.

On Thursday morning, the boat returned to the island with the substances, unload their cargo right into a large cord cart ready at the pier, and winch the cart up a steep ramp that connects the pier with the island. They sell off and store the resources and get the island geared up for traffic.

A day with guests

On Thursday afternoon, promptly at 4 pm, the special Captain/innkeeper returns to the jetty dock at Point San Pablo Yacht Harbor to board the visitors for Thursday night. Upon arrival returned to the island, the hosts provide a tour, hors-d’oeuvres with champagne and display the guests to their rooms. The visitors then have enough time to discover the small island and revel in the seabirds, animals, and appropriate views earlier than dinner.

At dinner, the site visitors are served an exquisitely prepared multi-path meal of the best sparkling substances. All the visitors are seated at one large desk, making for a convivial ecosystem and an opportunity to socialize. Friday morning could come all too quickly, but a luxurious connoisseur breakfast would look forward to all guests. Pity the one’s one-night time guests who should now head lower back to the mainland to resume their ordinary lives. After moving the guests and their baggage to the mainland dock, the captain returns to the island to assist his associate smoothly and prepare for brand spanking new guests on Friday afternoon.

Saturday and Sunday are a repeat of Thursday and Friday. After bidding farewell to the final guests for the week on Monday morning, the innkeeper’s heads returned to the island and the chores that could not be completed for the workweek duration. Later in the day, the innkeepers load the laundry alongside the empty bottles and trash into the island cord cart. The cart is pulled to the island’s opposite give-up and hooked and diminished through winch right down to the island’s ready boat. The innkeepers depart for the harbor, sell off the shipment, and begin a properly-deserved Tuesday day of relaxation.

It’s not for everyone.

East Brother Light Station innkeepers live a romantic lifestyle full of guest kudos, clean air, sunshine, seabirds, and seals. There are possibly numerous of our readers that could exchange places if they might. Life is brief; you may need to offer it a try! However, we determined not.

Happy travels!

Wayne and Judy Bayliff are photojournalists who travel the world looking for awesome excursion getaways. The photograph and write approximately romantic, luxurious, particular, historical, and exclusive lodges, accommodations, eateries, cruises, and airways. Their subjects are every so often unusual but always amusing.

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