Saturday, September 10, 2016

Day 9.244: Maine Open Lighthouse Day: Bug Light

The kids had quite a lot of homework to do in this first real weekend of the school year, so we didn't push it with a big outing, but we wanted to take advantage of Maine Open Lighthouse Day, so we headed off to South Portland to visit Portland Breakwater Light, universally locally known as Bug Light, although no-one seems to know why.

The breakwater used to be a third of a mile long and "nearly under water at high tide". Quite a walk for the lighthouse keeper on a stormy night. Eventually there was a house constructed at the end next to the light itself which overhung the breakwater on both sides!

Later, the shipyards expanded alongside the breakwater, shortening it almost to nothing. That area is now a park and the breakwater is just a hundred feet long. All this history and more can be read at the New England Lighthouses page about the light.

The building itself is about as short as a three storey* building could be (24 feet) and is made of cast iron. The light has just a 9 watt bulb, with an automatic changer in case of a failure all powered by a 12 V battery which is charged by a small solar panel.

Here are some pictures from our visit today - including the queues of visitors seen from inside and outside the tiny tower.

* Nearly ten years in I'm still discovering quirks of the two English languages - in US English they use "story/stories" instead of "storey/storeys" although they are more often called floors or levels in practice.

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