Sunday, August 7, 2011

To the lighthouse!

Tammy Burnham and hound.
I was not invited on the boat ride to the Wood Island lighthouse off Biddeford Pool, so, pouting, I took the opportunity to catch up on some much needed sleep.

"It was a good thing, too," said Dad, eyeing the narrow, high, half-mile boardwalk that leads to the light.

Perhaps he recalled the day I nimbly leapt off the boardwalk flanking the northern part of Lake Waban, without quite thinking how I would get back up.

Pets of Wood Island Light.
Though I was not allowed, pets have been an important part of Wood Island history. Mom focused on photos of the hound cuddling with little Tammy's fog Burnham, herself the subject of a fascinating survival tale, and a pup, aptly named Sailor, who rang the lighthouse bell (and was pictured negotiating the swirly tower stairs). See pix of Sailor and read more about the light's history here.

A story of another talented pup is told in Lighthouse Dog to the Rescue by Angeli Perrow, about the springer spaniel of Maine's Owls Head light in the 1930s. Spot is credited with rescuing a mailboat by ringing the fog bell in a fearsome storm.

Thank goodness there are no lighthouses in Swellesley, because I just couldn't live up to such expectations. After all, I most likely would get wet in a storm, even equipped with a sou'wester, and that would be tragic.

P.S. Info from the Friends of the Wood Island Lighthouse, a super group who run tours and raise funds for the site's restoration. Check it out.