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Lighthouses In The Bahamas

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The Bahamas are made up of several small islands spread out through a wide expanse of ocean. In the early days of the European settlements, the lighthouses served an essential purpose, guiding ships to shore in the darkness. During night storms when the overcast sky was unable to be used as a navigation tool, the lighthouse was what brought the ships in, sometimes meaning the difference between life and death for the ship and its crew and cargo. Some of these lighthouses still remain and can be visited today.

One of the best known of these lighthouses is found in Hope Town, on Elbow Cay, which is part of the Abacos of the Bahamas. This lighthouse is a remarkable red and white structure, and was opened in 1863. It is one of three lighthouses in the world, all of which are found in the Bahamas, that still operates in the old-fashioned way. The light is powered by kerosene and run by hand. The lighthouse keeper must adjust the cables and weights that keep the kerosene flowing properly. Due to the special lens inside, the light from this lighthouse can be seen up to 17 miles out into the ocean. Visitors are welcome to make the 101-step climb up to the top to admire the view.

Andros, of the Bahamas, is home to the Bird Rock Lighthouse, known especially for the ospreys that make their homes there. It began its operation in 1876, built by the British. It was run by hand, withstanding storms, hurricanes and even tidal waves. But, it did not withstand progress. In 1978, it became automated, ending its near century of continuous occupation. Soon, even the light was gone. However, in 1999, the light was relit and the restoration of this landmark lighthouse became a project of local interest and importance. The end result of the restoration efforts is a fascinating guesthouse that also houses a small museum devoted to the history of the area.

On the northern part of San Salvador, another island of the Bahamas, there is another of the rare kerosene lit lighthouses. The light at Dixon Hill Lighthouse was first lit in 1887, and it continues to be run by the manual efforts of its keepers. It is 83 steps to the top of this lighthouse, and visitors are welcomed.

Yamacraw Point, which is on New Providence Island of the Bahamas, is home to another lighthouse. The location is notable for its beautiful view of where the sky meets the sea, and the equally lovely beach that makes it possible to contemplate that distant meeting point in complete comfort and peace.

Lighthouses once were a vital part of the seafaring life. The lit beacon allows ships to find land in difficult dark weather, as well as prevented them from running aground upon a tiny island in the middle of the night. They remain an important part of nautical history, standing as a reminder of those brave travelers, who navigated the seas with simple tools and their knowledge of the sky above. Lighthouses throughout the world are being restored with loving attention, but the Bahamas are home to most those that are still run the old-fashioned way. Visiting one of these fascinating historical landmarks adds a nice touch to any Bahamas vacation.
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