Lighthouse Tour of the Gulf Coast 2011

Photos were contributed by Skip & Mary Lee Sherwood, Bill & Judy Newbloom, Bill Wainscot, Dot Scott, Nancy Dillon, Ken Mulder and Dimitri Margaziotis.


Group photo in front of the base of the soon to be restored Round Island Lighthouse in Pascagoula, Mississippi




The Hibernia Bank Building in New Orleans when it was built in 1921 was the tallest building in Louisiana. As such, it once served as a navigational beacon for ships on the Mississippi River.




A unique Welcome Dinner was held on the paddlewheeler Creole Queen complete with sightings of the Gretna Light, Governor Nicholls Light and sounds of Jazz.




Wanda, Skip and Nancy take in the cool breezes of the Mississippi.




Our first "pressure stop" at the Venice Marina. It was a slow day for the general store until we showed up!




The Sea Hawk crew boat provided a unique ride out to the Mississippi Delta Pass lighthouses.




The Sea Hawk captain even let Glen take a turn at the wheel.




Judy and Judy wave from the "hold" where part of the group was required to ride since being out on the back deck while the boat was moving was verboten.




Amy, Judy, Bill, Marge, Laurel and our new friend Catherine Lynch from the Lake Pontchartrain Basin Maritime Museum take their turn in the "hold" of the boat.




"Okay honey, you really need to be smarter than the life jacket in order to make it work!"




Judy Newblom makes a fashion statement in her newly acquired life jacket.




Armed with cameras and all wearing life jackets, everyone was able to photograph the rarely seen lights of the Southwest and South Pass.




From their Southwest Pass Pilot Station, the Branch Pilots move inbound and outbound ships through the pass between the pass entrance and Venice. At Venice, the Crescent City River Pilots navigate to and from New Orleans.




While certainly in danger of being lost, this SW Pass light has been standing for over 170 years!




Southwest Pass light built in 1871.




Southwest Pass Entrance Light was referred to by our captain as a "lightstick!" It replaced a Texas tower type light in 2007.




After spending a half hour in the open waters of the Gulf, the Port Eads (South Pass) lighthouse greeted us at the entrance to the South Pass.




An Osprey with its lunch in tow.




Our first lighthouse, Port Pontchartrain, one of only two still standing on Lake Pontchartrain.




Board the SE Louisiana State University research vessel for a trip out to Tchefuncte River Lighthouse.




Ruth, Norma, Outre and Skip relaxing on the Tchefuncte River.




Tchefuncte River Lighthouse and range marker.




Waiting to climb the Biloxi Lighthouse, the only lighthouse in the country in the middle of a four lane highway.




Storm surge lines show just how high the water line was inside the Biloxi Lighthouse tower. Katrina topped out at 21.5 feet above mean sea level - equivalent to the height of a two story building!




Ann grins after she climbs the Biloxi lighthouse - her first!




Dianne poses with the original fifth order lens in the Biloxi lighthouse.




In addition to the Biloxi Lighthouse the median along US 90 also contains tree-truck carvings that were created from the stumps of oak trees destroyed by Hurrican Katrina. One of these trunks was turned into dolphins.




All that remains of the Broadwater Beach Hotel and Marina is the lighthouse that once stood over the 150 slip, state of the art sail marina that offered shore-to-ship maid service and room service to those docked.




Arriving in Pascagoula to view the base of the soon to be restored Round Island Lighthouse we were surprised to find the mayor and other dignataries on hand to greet us. Our greeting committee consisted of (Left to right) Frank Corder & Joe Abston, Councilmen; Liz Ford, Preservation Committee; Mayor Robbie Maxwell; Bruce Knott, Human Resources Director; Harry Schmidt, Director of Community Development; Joey Duggan & Dan Estes, Compton Engineering.




The group received a briefing on the plans for the Round Island restoration. The lighthouse base was moved from its original location in December, 2010. About 2/3rds of the original bricks have been recovered and will be used in the restored structure. You can help support the restoration by buying engraved pathway bricks - visit the following website for more information:




Outre, our tour mascot, provided some entertainment along the way.




After switching to a boat that could navigate in the fog, the group boards the "Escape" for the trip out to Sand Island.




Shannon, Patt, Shirley, Dot & John hoping the fog will clear when we get to the lighthouse at Sand Island.




The Sand Island Lighthouse appears out of the fog.




For a short time while we were viewing the Sand Island Lighthouse, our tour guide asked the fog to lift so we could get some better pictures.




Our first attempt to reach Middle Bay started with Captain Carol announcing our departure by blowing a couch shell.




As we left the Clear Point Marina, we knew our chances of reaching the Middle Bay Lighthouse were in jeopardy.




After aborting the Middle Bay trip, the fog followed us to the Pensacola Lighthouse.




At Pensacola we were greeted by Jeremiah Pelican who was designed by FLA member Gordon Levi to commemorate the 170th anniversary of Pensacola's first lighthouse. Named after Jeremiah Ingraham, the first lighthouse keeper to serve on Florida's Gulf Coast, he has the first lighthouse pictured on his right wing, with the present Pensacola Lighthouse pictured on his left wing.




Fog didn't stop this group of lady wickies from climbing the 177 steps to the top of the Pensacola Lighthouse.




Inside the first order lens at Pensacola.




Despite the change in plans, we had a great time at the Original Oyster House in Mobile.




How many waiters have a tattoo of a lighthouse on their leg? We know of at least one!




The Joshua heads out into the fog for a second time seeking the Middle Bay Lighthouse.




Everyone kept waiting for the Middle Bay Light to appear in the fog.




There it is! Finally!




Not only were we able to get a decent view of the Middle Bay Lighthouse, we were very happy to see that work was being done to restore it.




Kathryn and Sylvianne leaving the Joshua after a successful voyage.




St. Joseph Lighthouse - without the lantern room (see next photo).




St Joseph Lighthouse only a few days after our visit received its lantern room after 43 years in the making! (Photo from the Panama City News).




Cape San Blas Lighthouse, our last lighthouse of the day.




Waiting to climb Cape San Blas.




Cape San Blas restored keeper's houses.




The most photographed event of the entire tour was not a lighthouse - it was our time in the sand box!




Saved by Taylor Towing!




If we had not been stuck in the sand we would have never seen this beautiful sunset.




The beautifully restored Cape George Lighthouse




One of the most common sights on the tour - waiting to climb!




Crooked River Lighthouse where our friend Lesley Cox made all the arrangements for us to tour, shop, climb and eat lunch.




Glen and Ken on the gallery of the Crooked River light.




Marge & Laurel regressing to their childhood at Crooked River.




Relaxing on the porch of the keepers house at Crooked River.




Thanks to the government coming to an agreement about the budget, we were able to visit the St. Marks Lighthouse.




Andy and Mike, the St Marks Lighthouse Keepers provided us with a historical perspective.




The St Marks Wildlife Refuge was our mascot Outre's favorite stop on the tour! Here you see why!




Everyone got a chance to pose with the lighthouse keepers at St Marks, including Dimitri and Val.




Mama's Italian Restaurant in Perry, Florida rolled out a special welcome for the group.




Our adventure out to Cedar Key was lead by Patt, Shannon and Jay who rode in a skiff with our local guide Fred.




The really smart folks all climbed on Skip's boat!




"Where is all that water coming from?"




"…for a three hour tour ..a three hour tour."




Captain Bill proved to be a worthy opponent in the race to the island.




The bird nesting season was in full swing, so we had to settle for photos of the top of the Cedar Key Lighthouse.




Another shot of Cedar Key.




The ships return to port from our trip to Cedar Key.




A friendly pelican posed for the group at the marina in Cedar Key.




The Pink Ladies at Cedar Key (Wanda, Linda, Patt, Ruth & Norma)




On the Anclote River we encountered a male Osprey guarding its nest.




Lining up for photos of the Anclote River Lighthouse.




The Friends of Anclote Key provided the group with a very warm welcome at the lighthouse.




Our reception at Anclote Key included a great cake which we happily helped to consume.




There is an area next to the lighthouse where people donate to the lighthouse and in return receive an engraved brick. The Society purchased a brick that read "US Lighthouse Society Gulf Coast Tour 2011." Look for it the next time you are on the island.




On our return trip from Anclote Key we observed the same male Osprey, but this time we saw what he was guarding.




The newest of the Florida Lights - Tampa Bay Watch.




John & Dot with their new turtle friend at Tampa Bay Watch.




While we thought we might get wet going to Egmont Key, the tides were in our favor and we never needed the water shoes we were told to bring with us.




Volunteers from the Egmont Key Alliance and Ranger Tom Watson greeted us at the lighthouse for a ½ climb!




Nancy "nicks" a cupcake from the lighthouse tier display.




This Egmont Key Gopher Tortoise attracted a lot of attention and posed for photos.




Thanks to Sharon R. McKenzie, Executive Director of the Barrier Island Parks Society, who arranged for volunteers to shuttle us to the Port Boca Grande Lighthouse Museum for tours and our final lunch.




The Coast Guard opened up both the Port Boca Grande and Boca Grande Rear Range light for the group to climb.




Bill, Judy, Bill, Peggy and Mary Lee were left behind when we came up one vehicle short to return to the bus.




Coast Guard personnel followed us to Sanibel Island where they opened the tower - our last lighthouse of the tour.




John Kennedy of the Florida Lighthouse Association met us at Sanibel to stamp our Passports. Here Lisa and Mac wait to get the stamp.




Sanibel Island Lighthouse and the two keepers houses.




Darlene performing the well known Sanibel Island "stoop." Due to the orientation of the island (more east and west than north and south like the other barrier islands on Florida's west coast), it is one of the best shelling locations around.




Society friends John & Kathy Kennedy. John is personally responsible for making sure that as many of the Florida lighthouses as possible have stamps for the Society Passport books.




Outre, our tour mascot, says goodbye at the farewell dinner.




Shannon and Patt enjoying the farewell dinner - Shannon cleaned up very well after his courageous attempts to dig the bus out of the sand at Cape San Blas.




Despite a number of adventures and challenges, everyone was still smiling at the farewell dinner.




At the end of the tour and the end of the day, Team Sherwood finally were able to relax!



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