The most critical duty of a lighthouse keeper is to observe and report a marine weather forecast* every three hours. It is human eyes and ears, that experience standing beside this Pacific sea, and record it for the benefit of all who use this “whaleroad”. Some keepers also observe the skies and provide aviation reports much needed by pilots. Etched up and down the west coast of Canada from Victoria to Alaska, we are a scattered chain of observers, linked by Coast Guard radio.
As I listen to the other keepers report, I am always curious. No two of us ever give the same report; in fact, the weather is often vastly different. The nearest station to us may report visibility of 15 miles, while we are obscured by fog, or it may be raining there, while I am basking in starlight. This is why human observation at lightstations is critical.
Winter Solstice occurs in Vancouver, this Saturday, December 21, 2013 at 9:11am PST. It is the longest darkest night of the year, and therefore a fitting time to celebrate with light.
*The Marine Weather Forecast includes: sky state, visibility in miles, wind direction and speed in knots, and sea state (wave size and swell).