Historically, the sailing conditions were challenging in this area of the St-Lawrence river; the currents were strong and the many small islands were difficult to see in the night and thick fog. Shipwrecks were far too common, so the construction of several lighthouses was commissioned. The Brandy Pot lighthouse was built in 1862 on the same rocky promontory where it proudly stands today. For 102 years, six keepers took turns enduring the harsh winters, strong winds and unpredictable weather. They committed their lives to the daily upkeep of the lighthouse, to shining its light through each long night, and guiding ships to safety. What an honor it must have been to be a lighthouse keeper, and what a privilege to have this grandiose view to call home.
The aged Brandy Pot Lighthouse was renovated in 1989 according to its original architectural plans and fitted with a new lantern. What helped raise funds for its restoration was the Duvetnor organization's collection of down from the nests of the island's eider ducks each spring. The coveted down from these nests was exported to Europe where its value soared. To ensure the sustainability of these conservation efforts, the Government of Canada recently acquired the island from Duvetnor, though the non-profit organization continues to receive visitors in the three rooms of the historical lighthouse, as well as on the neighboring Hare Island (Ile aux Lièvres). Duvetnor's excursions and lodging serves their primary goal of wildlife conservation.
I woke up to join the seagulls at 5am to welcome the sun. I have only caught a handful of sunrises in my life so far. As I'm not a morning person, witnessing sunsets is a much more realistic goal! But what a treat, a feast for the eyes and ears, as I stood there feeling totally undeserving of that miraculous view, watching as the seagulls loudly celebrated the promise of a brand new day.
If you do book a stay on these islands, here are 7 things you may want to pack:
- Your camera
- Your childish enthusiasm
- A battery pack (to charge your phone at night without electricity)
- Something to read
- Hiking shoes
- A windbreaker and/or hoodie
Have you been here or somewhere similar? Leave a comment! I would love to hear from you.