Robbinston, ME Day 4 West Quoddy Lighthouse and Canada

July 13, 2023 It was another beautiful, sunny day. To start out, our temps were in the mid-60s, but it would get warmer later in the day. We planned out our day to head south on Highway 1 to 189. We wanted to visit the West Quoddy Lighthouse on our first stop. Mary, Randy, Bob, and I were on the road again at 10:00. John decided to hang back. He over-exerted himself golfing yesterday and needed to take it easy. We arrived at West Quoddy Lighthouse around 11:00.

I was excited to finally see it. A friend bought me a replica of a lighthouse years ago and until recently, I didn’t know it was actually the West Quoddy Lighthouse. It lies within the Quoddy Head State Park. The name “Quoddy” means “fertile and beautiful place” and comes from the Passamaquoddy tribe of Native Americans. Commissioned by President Thomas Jefferson, it was first built in 1808. The present tower and house date back to 1858. It was originally fueled by sperm whale oil and later by lard oil in the 1860s. It later changed to kerosene and finally electricity in the 1890s. It contains a third order Fresnel lens that is 5.5 feet tall. The 15 red and white stripes make the lighthouse more visible in snow and fog. The stripes were added after the original stone tower was replaced by brick. On a clear day, you might be able to spot minke and finback whales offshore.

We parked and walked down to the lighthouse. The fog came and went and at times obscured our view, but up close we had no problem seeing it.

We spent some time inside the museum learning about its history.

Outside, I walked around the entire area to get a view of it from every angle.

Looking out over the water, I could barely make out a commercial lobster boat in the fog. I heard it before I saw it, and then I could hardly see it at all. Can you see it?

Later, the fog lifted and I could see the jagged, rocky coastline. No wonder they needed a lighthouse here. The black cliffs date back 420 million years when volcanic magma rose up from under the ocean floor intruding between the existing rock layers.

We spend quite a bit of time at West Quoddy Lighthouse–the easternmost point in the U. S.

From there, we headed back to the main highway which would take us into the city of Lubec. We could see it across the water from us. It was a quaint, little seaside town.

Along the way, we spotted the Lubec Channel Lighthouse–called the Spark Plug. You can see why. As we traveled along the water, we got clearer and clearer views of the “plug”.

We took Washington St. along the shore into downtown.

What a pretty view we had of the islands and the colorful fishing vessels floating in the harbor.

We followed the road until we came to our lunch destination–Fisherman’s Wharf Restaurant.

We ended up sitting inside which was good because, even though it was sunny, the breeze off the water was cool. Randy and I shared a lobster roll. Mary had seafood chowder. Bob had a haddock sandwich. It was all very good.

On our way back through Lubec, we stopped to get a picture of Mulholland Lighthouse across Cobscook Bay in Canada. Mulholland Lighthouse, a wooden octagonal tower standing 44 feet to the vane on the lantern, was completed in 1884.

We also stopped for a picture of the Lost Fishermen’s Memorial.

It was a wave sculpture and a beautiful tribute to those fishermen lost at sea from 1900-present.

Driving back through Lubec, we could take a better look at the shops in town.

We saw this cool piece of artwork standing on the sidewalk. It was made with beach trash and sea junk.

From there, we took the Roosevelt Memorial Bridge across the bay that would take us into Canada.

From the bridge, we had more great views of the Mulholland Lighthouse. It was a beauty standing on Mulholland Point overlooking Lubec Channel!

We stopped at the border crossing to check in. We lost an hour with the time change.

We had our passports ready and no illegal items with us, so the check-in was fast and easy. As we made our drive up Highway 774 on Campobello Island to the Northeast tip, we saw these unusual looking circles out in the water. They were fish pens where they grow adult fish from fingerlings. There were quite a lot of them around. From an aerial view on Google Maps, it looked somewhat alien.

Low-lying fog was hanging around in some areas making it eerie-looking.

We took the 10-mile drive to the end of the road to see the Head Harbor Light Station, also know as East Quoddy Lighthouse. This is the oldest surviving lighthouse in New Brunswick and one of the oldest in Canada. It is a 51 feet high, all wood lighthouse built in 1829. It has a distinctive St. George red cross day mark on it.

Unfortunately, the light station was engulfed in fog and barely visible behind the trees at the top of the rock.

On a normal day, you could see it from land, but it is better to take the stairs down to the rocks and seaweed on the sea floor, cross the bar at low tide, and climb the stairs to the rocky island to see the lighthouse.

It is open to visitors only during the 4 hours surrounding low tide.

For over 200 years, the lighthouse had guided ships entering Passamaquoddy Bay through the Head Harbor Passage. The light and foghorn, which we could hear, is operated automatically. The fog alarm building was built in 1914-15. We decided not to pay the money to walk over to the lighthouse because of the fog. It would have been something to see on a clear day. We might have even been able to see whales and porpoises in the area, but it wasn’t meant to be. We left there somewhat disappointed, but maybe we’ll be back another time to see it on a good day. We took a short side trip to this large wharf of commercial fishing vessels which are part of the Head Harbor Wharf at Wilson’s Beach.

The tide was definitely out at these docks. This is considered the off-season for lobstering.

We returned to the border crossing and waited for these 3 cyclists to cross the bridge so we could return to the U. S. Once it was our turn, we had no problems there.

From the bridge, we could see how far the tide had gone out. The tall, log pilings can be seen on the herring smokehouse. From 1890-1991, there were 30 herring smokehouses and 20 sardine canneries in town.

We left Lubec and started our drive back. We stopped at Friar’s Bay to see what these guys were doing driving out on the ocean floor with their vehicles.

On closer inspection, we could see they were clamming.

It was a quiet ride back. I think we were all tired. We got back to the campground around 3:30. We had planned to try and see Old Sow–the largest whirlpool in the western hemisphere and the second largest in the world–second only to the Maelstrom Whirlpool of Norway, but the timing wasn’t right. To really see it, we had to be there three hours before high tide which was 8:00 tonight. That would mean we would need to be there at 5:00 and that just didn’t work out in the plans. It will be another “next time” event for the bucket list. Once we got back to the campground, we put some things away and hooked up the Jeep for our departure tomorrow. We will need to leave by 9:00 to get Randy to Portland for his 5:00 flight back to Colorado. I sat out with Auggie as I usually do every afternoon when we return from our day’s events. It gives me a chance to unwind and write my blog. Auggie gets a chance to spend some time outside. For our last dinner with Randy, Bob made steak and lobster with asparagus, corn on the cob, and apple pie for dessert. It got cool as the sun started going down. Auggie and I took our walk and we watched a movie after dinner. We went out to see if we could see the Northern Lights tonight at 10:30, but the fog had set in and it was not to be. Tomorrow we’ll have one more chance.

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