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  • Writer's pictureMark Robinson

Our Visit to Yerba Buena Lighthouse

Updated: Apr 23, 2018

My son and I frequently visit lighthouses (being one of his great passions). If you speak with lighthouse experts from around the world, one of the most coveted lighthouses to visit is the Yerba Buena Lighthouse.

The lighthouse sits on the southern tip of Yerba Buena Island. Most of the southern end of the island is encompassed by the U.S. Coast Guard and is off limits to civilians. This means there is no view from Yerba Buena Island…unless you spend four years writing letter after letter to the Coast Guard asking for permission to visit the light.

This is something you do as a parent to convince your child (and yourself) that persistence can pay off. I will admit that after the first three years of sending letters each week…I was starting to have my doubts. Then one fine day, we were told that we could visit the lighthouse as a guest of the admiral and his wife who lived there.

One May 16th 2016, we were warmly greeted by Chief Petty Officer Batlik below the gates of the base. We were escorted onto the grounds where we were given a spectacular tour of the lighthouse, the fog signal building and ultimately the keepers house which was, at that time, the residence of Vice Admiral Charles Ray and his family.

This is the view from the back of the keepers house which includes the lighthouse and the beautiful backyard.

There is an amazing trail at the south end of the property that leads directly to the lighthouse.

We had a great time on the balcony of the lighthouse looking out at the keepers house.

The light flashing over the bay with the foghorn building below. What an amazing view!

A great shot of the foghorn building. You can see the old fog horn to the right on the patio in front of the building.

What most people do not know about the lighthouse is that several of the staff from the Coast Guard have put together a private museum in the fog horn building. If you have a chance to go in look at who signed the guest book (above my son's hint. He was the President!)

Here is a small collection of images that we captured:

We originally planned on staying for an hour or so but after we were given the tour, we were invited to the keeper's house and given a private tour by the Admiral's family.

What an amazing way to spend an afternoon!

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