View from the island

A storm cloud rolls southward across Black Bay with Turtle Head (Pie Island) seen on the horizon.

It seems like today we are offering small animal and bird rescue services, as a baby seagull and squirrel appeared to have become disorientated in the recent storms.

Feeding the small seagull a few cornflakes has energized our feathered friend to pay us back with some signature droppings on the dock.

The lighthouse operation has been busy this week with over 30 visitors coming to look around and learn more about the island and its habitat.

Porphyry Island Lighthouse is one of three lighthouses operated by the Canadian Lighthouses of Lake Superior, based in Thunder Bay.

The non-profit organization, now in its eighth year, serves to connect these government leased lighthouse sites for the public good.

Today the homesteads and outbuildings are no longer needed because of automation. Why not connect tourists with their need for places to visit while creating regional economic development?

Department of Fisheries and Oceans, Canada recently signed a deal with the Silver Islet Harbour Association for the group to take over the operation of the docks that have been there to serve the public since the late-1800s.

With the recent reopening of the Silver Islet General Store, people are now more than ever able to access the history of the area, including Trowbridge Lighthouse close to the toes of the Sleeping Giant.

In William S. Piper’s book, The Eagle of Thunder Cape, published in 1924 and now available at the Thunder Bay Museum Society gift shop, more details are coming out about Porphyry Island and the area.

The book gifted to our library shelf by Foster Gauley, speaks to times many years ago that brings to our minds-eye the opportunity to imagine what life might have been like for our First Nations family.

Imagine being battled everyday by the elements of sun, water, wind and waves? The strain light keepers must have felt, since 1873, making sure the shipping channels remained open and operational.

Our leisure fisherman brave the waters around these Superior islands to catch something for their table.

A few weeks ago in Black Bay in an annual occurrence, the water turned upside down with cold water coming to the surface while warmer water was sent to the depths below.

This causes the fish to migrate to the temperature that keep them happy but as the waters of Black Bay reaches 65 F. fisherman now can be seen beyond at Pt. Porphyry’s Reef in deeper and cooler waters more amenable to our finned friends.

Thanks to Archie’s Hoogsteen as we are fortunate enough to try out his catch occasionally with lake trout and salmon being served. This helps us as our food rations are starting to dwindle as the season winds down.

Paint pots and brushes are back out to dab worn spots on walkways, paths and steps all receiving the standard battleship grey, while whitewashing walls and painting the red trim helps freshen things up for next season.

The weather tonight is calm and the boats are settled in at the harbour. It’s a time to reflect on the past weeks, continue to digest the summer events, and start to plan for next year’s adventures.

See you in a week as we continue to uncover the history, the beauty and the area’s gems that many are just finding out about or some have already explored.

Paul Morralee is the managing director of the Canadian Lighthouses of Lake Superior. He’ll be sharing stories from Point Porphyry Island Light Station throughout the summer.