Thursday, June 25, 2009

Keeping the Lights Lit on Ocracoke Island

Inside the Ocracoke Lighthouse
Today was my training day to open the doors of the Ocracoke Lighthouse. I am enjoying volunteering in different areas all over the island...the museum, turtle patrol, and now the lighthouse. There were four of us in training and we met with Jessica, who is totally in charge of us, at the lighthouse around noon today. We had to fill out federal forms, inform them of next of kin in case....in case what, I wonder?
We also had to get fitted for those shirts, you know the ones I mean, the ones without pink or purple!! I get a hat, a badge, a name tag...well, just about everything.
We were taught how to unlock the old door, put the signs out...all the practical things.
Then Jessica told us we needed to climb to the top of the lighthouse. The Ocracoke light house is open only at the base, not to climb up due to the steepness of the steps, the rustiness of the steps, the tall steel ladder that goes through the hole in the top where the lanterns were lit. I was thrilled and scared all at the same time!! Only two of us went up, my friend James who is working on his PhD this summer. We are always at the same programs and events! The other two claimed knee problems or something.
I took a deep breath and up I went. By the time I was at the steel ladder, my hands were soaking wet from being nervous and the heat. But to the top I climbed. It was the most gorgeous site of seeing the village from this viewpoint. I could not help but think of the lighthouse keepers who carried whale oil and kerosene nightly up those steps and cleaned windows and kept the ships safe in the night. What powerful and wonderful men those were.
James had his camera and took photos which I will post at a later date!
We finally climbed down and had more training. I have been reading about the light house ever since I started coming here to spend summers with Philip. I can't wait to get my badge and start telling stories of this beautiful light house!!
Lou Ann