Notes to Self: On Becoming Lighthouse Innkeepers

We wanted to see if the lifestyle of a lighthouse innkeeper could possibly be in our long run. We organized for a stop by to East Brother Island and its common mild-station found just 30 minutes from San Francisco. Be part of us, this just may be your cup of tea.

Where by are we

East Brother Island is in San Pablo Bay, which connects to San Francisco Bay.

East Brother Mild Station is managed by a Richmond nonprofit preservationist group, which in 1980 acquired authorization from the Coast Guard to renovate and preserve the energetic light-weight station.

The firm has quite a few volunteers to enable with the regular maintenance, and pays most of the payments by renting out the island’s 5 bedrooms, 4 times for every week.

Receiving to the island

Soon after a collection of e-mail communications, we organized to fulfill and interview the lighthouse innkeeper couple on East Brother Island.

On Monday early morning, we had been ready at the less than magnificent Stage San Pablo Yacht Harbor when our Captain/innkeeper pulled up to the dock in the island’s aluminum tender.

Prior to we could board the boat, the Captain first assisted the friends that were leaving the island. The site visitors should have relished their island encounter because they have been all laughing and carrying on as if they were outdated good friends.

Immediately after introductions, our host started off the engines and headed out of the harbor for a brief 10-moment journey to the island.

He promptly gave us a briefing about what to count on when we arrived dockside. He explained how we would be needed to climb a quite vertical stainless steel pool style ladder that extends from the boat deck to the landing pier that is joined to the island. Depending on the tide, the climb can be as considerably as 12 toes. Consider about that in advance of you make reservations if you are not bodily able to climb a ladder. Also, the island is sadly not ready to be ADA compliant.

Properties and amenities on the island

The a person-acre island has two vintage buildings in addition to an 1874 Victorian Lighthouse. The previous do the job shed has been converted into a cozy innkeepers’ cottage, and the other out-creating residences the equipment required to electrical power the functioning foghorns.

The island has electric powered energy equipped by an underwater cable from the mainland, and a self-contained drinking water technique that retains about 90,000 gallons of rainwater saved in a white-clad underground cistern and an above-floor redwood h2o tank.

Mainly because of the ever-present risk of drinking water shortages in the Bay Area, there are no showers offered for guests being only one night. No a person appeared to head the inconvenience.

Soon after accumulating our photo machines and going for walks up the steep ramp amongst the pier and the island, the Captain gave us a tour of the initial setting up we encountered, which residences the equipment to run the foghorns. For our benefit, he cranked up the diesel generator and gave us a reside functionality of the horns.

Becoming an Island Innkeeper

We shortly uncovered that our hosts had only been lighthouse keepers for ten weeks, and as of this creating they have by now moved on to their next adventure. Lighthouse holding is pleasurable, but demanding operate, and the turnover is fairly superior, but that is evidently not a significant issue for the stakeholders.

How many folks would like to operate a Victorian Mattress and Breakfast on a modest island in California total with a fantastic income, room and board, seals, pelicans, and a five-star check out of the San Francisco skyline? Tons, that is how many.

We are informed that the amount of applicants for the task is commonly significant, but there are significant knockout variables in the innkeeper application.

A single of the applicants will have to be an superb prepare dinner and capable of getting ready and presenting food items for a table of ten.

Yet another qualification is that 1 of the applicants will have to have a Coastline Guard industrial boat operator’s license.

And finally, both equally of the prospective innkeepers need to be charming. Now we are finding someplace.

About the do the job

In the circumstance of East Brother Light Station, the island is open for enterprise four nights for every week beginning on Thursday.

Prepping for the attendees

On Wednesday morning, the innkeepers are on land searching for provisions for up to 40 friends (5 rooms x 2 company x 4 evenings). They choose the food items for the menu, decide on up the mail, laundry, fuel, and something else they will have to have for the coming week on the island.

On Thursday early morning, they boat back to the island with the provides, unload their cargo into a large wire cart ready on the pier, and winch the cart up a steep ramp that connects the pier with the island. They unload and keep the supplies, and get the island ready for site visitors.

A working day with visitors

On Thursday afternoon immediately at 4pm, the selected Captain/innkeeper returns to the marina dock at Place San Pablo Yacht Harbor to board the attendees for Thursday night time.

On arrival back at the island, the hosts give a tour, hors d’oeuvres with champagne, and show the company to their rooms.

The site visitors then have enough time to check out the little island and delight in the sea birds, animals, and fabulous sights right before evening meal.

At evening meal, the people are served an exquisitely ready multi-course meal of the greatest fresh components.

All the attendees are seated at 1 substantial table, which helps make for a convivial environment and an opportunity to socialize.

Friday early morning would occur all as well before long, but a sumptuous connoisseur breakfast would await all friends. Pity all those 1-night visitors who should now head back to the mainland to resume their day to day life.

Just after transferring the company and their baggage to the mainland dock, the captain returns to the island to enable his husband or wife clean up and get ready for new company on Friday afternoon.

Saturday and Sunday are a repeat of Thursday and Friday.

Right after bidding farewell to the very last company for the 7 days on Monday morning, the innkeeper heads back to the island and the chores that couldn’t be done in the course of the workweek.

Afterwards in the working day, the innkeepers load the laundry alongside with the vacant bottles and trash into the island wire cart. The cart is pulled to the opposite close of the island and hooked and lowered by winch down to the island’s waiting boat. The innkeepers depart for the harbor, unload the cargo, and start off a effectively-deserved Tuesday day of rest.

It can be not for all people

East Brother Mild Station innkeepers dwell a intimate existence complete of guest kudos, contemporary air, sunshine, seabirds, and seals. There are in all probability several of our audience that would trade locations if they could. Existence is short, you could want to give it a try! Even so, we made a decision not.

Joyful travels!