The Swallowtail lighthous
The Swallowtail lighthouse as viewed from Pettes Cove
The Swallowtail Lighthouse This lighthouse is famous the world over and is photographed by photographers from around the world. It has become a passion of many to capture that perfect picture. I have managed to take more then a few of my own pictures. If you have ever wondered what it's like to be a lighthouse keeper on a remote point of land and you're fit enough to take a bit of a hike and walk down long staircase,plan to go the island and take a tour of the area around the lighthouse. ( You will want to visit the whole island , there is much more to see) The lighthouse and foghorn is automated now but the sights, smells and sounds are unbelievably beautiful. The Bay of Fundy looks different every day. From the rocky cliffs where the lighthouse is perched you look down into herring weirs which attract seals, seabirds, eagles (bald eagles can be seein in July), dolphins, porpoises, and whales. You can also see and hear minke whales. I asked around for a little bit of history about this lighthouse .Swallowtail Lighthouse is located in the community of North Head and can be seen from the ferry crossing. It was established in 1860 and although refurbished in 1980, still maintains its original tower. At one time the lighthouse had a lot of windows, and it contained furniture and was open to the public. It has been closed for many years, which is indeed our loss.I spoke briefly with a lady in our community Laurel H. who grew up in at lighthouse.She was two years old when she and her older brother moved to the lighthouse keepers cottage in 1961. She lived there until she graduated from highschool in 1978. Her family stayed on until her father retired in 1986. Growing up in the lighthouse was not without its challenges. Life was not particularly private. Often visitors to the lighthouse would stop in, asking directions and for glasses of water. Daily they receiving phone calls from island residents asking if “ the ferry was coming yet “ ( The ferry arrives around the point of the lighthouse ) I guess If the ferry was late people got a tad impatient . I asked Laurel what it was like to hear that fog horn blow. She said that after awhile they got used to it and it didn’t even hear it after awhile. She said that they would have to stop and listen to see if it was actually blowing One of the duties her parents had was to call in the weather twice a day .This lighthouse was a 2-man lighthouse since of course they had to be on duty 24 hours a day . A family by the last name of French lived in the duplex on the other side of them. I have visited the lighthouse and it is not an easy place to get to . you have to drive up the lighthouse road and once you reach the top of the hill you have to park your car. Then it a trip down 54 stairs, across a wooden footbridge and then up a 1000' path.
The steps down to the bridge that goes across to the lighthouse .
The footbridge from the side. (sorry I do not have a clearer picture)
A view of the lighthouse and the lightkeepers house and the barn.Note the boat is leaving North head for the mainland .
A Closeup of the lighhouse keepers cottage and barn.
In 1986 the light house was automated . For a few years after that a family took over the house and operated it as a bed and breakfast . They stopped operation in 2003 I believe. It was a charming placeBut not feasible to run because of the weather . A warning on an old brochure explains it all .“One thing you should be aware of... we are located at a lighthouse that is fully operational so depending on the weather the foghorn may be blowing” And of course are sitting in fog . I have had family visit the island but we could not take them sight seeing because the entire island was shrouded infog. . These days they lighthouse is looked after by the island and the Rotary Club volunteers .They painted the lighthouse and the lighthouse keepers cottage in 2004 Presently the village is considering tenders for people to operate a bed and breakfast once again .
Some details about the lighthouseTower Height:53Height of Focal Plane:122Characteristic and Range:White 4-second flash every 6 seconds; visible for 12 nautical miles.Description of Tower:White, octagonal wooden tower with red lantern.This light is operationalOther Buildings? :Keeper's house.Date Established:1860DatePresent TowerBuilt:1860Date Automated:1986Fog Signal:Automated horn, ne 2-second blast every 20 seconds.Current Use: Active aid to navigation, bed and breakfast inn.Open To Public?Inn and grounds.Directions:
From Highway 1 between St.Stephen and Saint John, take the road to Blacks Harbour and the ferry terminal. For ferry schedules, call (506) 662-3606. As you approach Grand Manan you will see the inn and lighthouse on the right. When leaving the ferry area on Grand Manan, turn right on Pettess Cove Road, then left on Old Airport Road for about 0.5 miles; turn on Lighthouse Road and follow to the end. It is a 10-minute walk to the lighthouse, including about 52 steps down to a wooden footbridge that crosses the chasm that separating the "mainland" from the rock on which the lighthouse stands.
There have been hundreds of photos of the lighthouse , but this is a personal favorite of one that I took myself.