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Five Fingers Lighthouse


By Jill K Quaintance, expedition leader, Safari Explorer

Five Fingers Lighthouse in Frederick Sound is the oldest lighthouse in Alaska. Its helped guide the way in Frederick Sound and Stephen's Passage since 1902.

Built on a small rocky island in the Five Fingers Islands group, we often stop by to view this scenic lighthouse while we are searching for wildlife in Frederick Sound. Occasionally, if we have both the right weather conditions and tides we can go ashore for a tour of the lighthouse. This week was one of those weeks.

Five Fingers Lighthouse

We went ashore and had the chance to meet the colorful caretakers and researchers spending the summer in the Lighthouse. We talked with Dr. Fred Sharp of the Alaska Whale Foundation, who uses the island to listen to whale sounds underwater with a hydrophone and do whale surveys. We also met Dawn who was doing a three month internship with Dr. Sharp. As it turned out, Austin, one of our guests on board, had gone to school with her (small world)! As part of their research, Dr. Sharp and Dawn listen in on whale "conversations" from both the lighthouse tower and by boat just off the island.

Dr Sharp

Learning about whale research from Dr. Sharp

Leaving the whale observations to Dr. Sharp and Dawn this afternoon, we took some time to investigate this rocky block of land for ourselves by walking around the little island. Among the many things we observed were an eagle's nest as well as pigeon, guillemonts, and oystercatchers. And climbing the steep spiral staircase to the top of the lighthouse, we got to see the Fresnel lens and the incredible view!

The Safari Explorer seen from the top!

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