Carmanah Point Light, Vancouver Island

The Carmanah Point Light Station is on the southwest coast of Vancouver Island near the entrance to the Strait of Juan de Fuca. The original combined lighthouse and dwelling was built in 1891, and it was 173 feet (53 m) above high water and visible for nineteen miles with a distinctive signature of three white flashes each minute. This was replaced in 1922 with the current concrete tower, and over time additional structures were added including three residences, plus generator, fog alarm, and radio buildings. In addition to its navigational aids, Carmanah Point also served as a traffic control center. Flags were first used to communicate with offshore vessels, and then in 1896, a steam whistle, separate from the fog alarm, was established so messages could be exchanged via Morse code even in foggy conditions. Using the station’s telegraph, the lightkeeper could then relay important messages and notifications of ship arrivals to Victoria. The lighthouses at Cape Beale, Carmanah, and Pachena were linked by telegraph and trail to Port Renfrew. The trail was often used to rescue shipwrecked crews, and today thousands of hikers walk the renowned West Coast Trail. The beaches along the coast were piled high with wreckage and nearly every point, reef and beach bears the name or tradition of a shipwreck, but many more remain unknown and unrecorded. Read more here and here. Click here to download the CoastView app and explore more of Carmanah Point.