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The Salvages, NS  Lighthouse best viewed by boat or plane.   

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The Salvages Lighthouse

The Salvages are a line of rocks, nearly three kilometres long, situated at the southern side of the approach to Negro Harbour. Locally, the rocks are known as The Halfmoons, due to the crescent-shaped arrangement of some of the rocks. Eastern Halfmoon, Western Halfmoon, Flying Rock, and Northeast Rock are names found on a map of The Salvages.

Historic view of The Salvages Lighthouse
As the southeast side of the rocks are steep-to, approaching them at night or during thick weather was a dangerous undertaking. In 1915, a fog alarm was built upon a rock near the southern end of The Salvages that rose roughly three metres out of the sea.

Given its exposed location, the fog alarm building was built of concrete, with walls forty-one centimetres thick to withstand the pounding of the North Atlantic.

Jesse Obed was hired as the first keeper of the station's diaphone fog alarm at an annual salary of $992.50.

Victor Crowell served as keeper from about 1945 to 1964, when he was transferred to Baccaro Point Lighthouse after suffering a heart attack. Kathie Crowell MacDonnell was introduced to The Salvages, along with her twin sister, when they were just two weeks old. “There wasn’t a blade of grass on the entire island,” Kathie recalls. “Actually, it was one big rock with all kinds of beach rock and would take no more than a half hour or so to walk the perimeter. There was a long walkway up to the doorway as the house was so high in order to protect it from the waves. I remember one storm the walkway was washed away and waves sprayed on the kitchen windows, and we had to get out of the house with a rope ladder. The foghorn was also VERY loud as it and the engine room was house in the same building that we lived in. No one wanted to sleep in the bedroom on the other side of that connecting wall!”

A light was finally established on The Salvages in 1965, and Gaza Soltesz was appointed its first keeper.

When Jim Guptill was assigned to the station in 1978, two teams of two lightkeepers each were responsible for the station. One team would staff the station for twenty-eight days, and then have twenty-eight days ashore while the other team took their turn. Jim Guptill was paired with Stan Matthews, and Bill Horne and Bob Croft were the other team.

The Salvages was de-staffed on September 11, 1987, but an automated light and horn still warn mariners away from the treacherous rocks.

References

  1. Correspondence with Kathie Crowell MacDonnell.
  2. Lighthouses & Lights of Nova Scotia, E.H. Rip Irwin, 2003.

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