Lobsterman and Lightkeeper
While traveling down the coast of Maine, Jenni and I had a quandary. Should we drive a good hour-plus out of the way to see Pemaquid Point Lighthouse?
We were at the stage of our trip where we were pretty much making our travel itinerary the night before each day. We had just finished a somewhat frustrating day of searching for lighthouses, with many of them only visible from a boat or blocked by private residences. To drive an extra hour to see ONE lighthouse was pushing even my boundaries.
I tried looking at pictures online of Pemaquid to help make the decision but it still wasn’t a clear choice. Late that night (before 9pm), I made the call that we WOULD go to see Pemaquid Point Lighthouse. Jenni was not surprised.
The next morning, about 30 minutes into the drive, the decision gained ground when we happened upon a bakery called Sweet Cheeks and were able to not only grab Second Breakfast for us in the form of a pecan (they say it wrong here) sticky bun, but also enough selections for dessert that night and First Breakfast the next morning. In case you’re wondering, First Breakfast and Second Breakfast are becoming a common occurrence on this trip.
Anyway, we arrived at the lighthouse just a few moments after they had opened the gates. The woman at the gate booth should either work for the Chamber of Commerce or run for political office. She was so friendly and chatty. Her male co-worker spotted Annie on her front seat perch and handed over one treat for right then and a second for later! After our brief visit with these friendly Mainers we moved into the parking lot and I got busy taking pictures from various perspectives.
After almost an hour on the grounds, we put Annie back in Wanda for a siesta and went to tour the Fisherman’s Museum. It was four rooms of the old lightkeeper’s living quarters.
As we entered, a short, elderly gentleman rose from a chair and welcomed us. He seemed genuinely happy we were there and proceeded to point out different objects in the room including the Fresnel lens. He seemed to enjoy our questions, or the ones he heard anyway. I noted he was wearing a US Navy cap for the USNS Waccamaw. We said we used to live near the Waccamaw River in Conway, SC. We pronounced it as “Wok-a-maw”. He corrected us with “WHACK-a-maw”, but then said we probably knew better since we lived near it!
The ship was an oil refueler commissioned in 1946. It was my assumption that this sweet man was old enough to have served on it in WWII. (I found out later that his name was Kendrick and that he was 92 years young, so he did indeed serve in the same war my father had.)
The next room was all about the tools and equipment of the lobster fisherman. There was a large selection of old wooden buoys hanging on the wall, each with a different paint scheme. We asked our new friend about that and he explained each fisherman had his own colors. He said his was white with two black stripes which we saw on the wall. I asked him how long he fished and he said he fished for lobster before he went to war and then when he got back. He retired 12 years ago.
The educator in Jenni was impressed by all the efforts to keep young children engaged in the museum, from books about lobsters and boats to a giant sandbox.
Our guide wanted to stick with us, but he had to keep going back up front to welcome new visitors and click his headcount device. Then he would hurry back to us, which normally would have driven me CRAZY and sent me out of a museum, but this was different. This was history standing before me, sharing first-hand knowledge.
I asked if the lobster population was decimated by large numbers of fisherman because we saw their cages EVERYWHERE. Kendrick laughed and said that the size restrictions on what you kept meant that the fishermen were actually FEEDING the lobsters. The lobsters over the size limit could enter a cage, eat, and then be released to do it all over again!
At that point, another half dozen visitors arrived and my buddy was busy again so we thanked him and said goodbye. He grabbed his counting device and gave it a good 5-6 clicks.
We could have waited around another hour and a half for the park to open the lighthouse for visitors to climb the stairs for the view, but at that point we felt like we had just experienced the best part of the park and there was no need to try adding to it.
Blessings come in many shapes, sizes, and ages.