Delaware River And Bay Lighthouse Foundation Tour

Harbor of Refuge light, delaware, cape henlopen, national harbor of refuge,inner wall, sussex county, lewes, delaware bay, the point, the angler, pirate king, the indian
Harbor of Refuge light

The other evening I took a lighthouse tour with the Delaware River And Bay Lighthouse Foundation  which was founded in 1999 by Bob Trapani who in 2005 became the exec. director of the American Lighthouse Foundation in Maine.  Our tour guide was Red Moulinier who now runs the foundation.

 In 2003 the foundation received the lease for the Harbor of Refuge light and in 2004 they gained ownership of the lighthouse.  Thanks to the lighthouse act, they were able to apply for ownership which took about a year and a half.  Before all of that, in 2002 they started the restoration process.  The first step was to take the lexan covers off the windows.  The light was removed in 1973 and automated with the light we see today.  The covers were put on the windows, and left the lighthouse in total darkness until 2002.  It is still an active lighthouse today used for navigation in the Delaware Bay.

outer wall, harbor of safe refuge, delaware breakwater light, lewes, cape henlopen, sussex county, the point, anglers fishing center
You can see the difference in the rock where the gap was filled in the 1880’s

The restoration process started with removing the lexan covers so they could see what they were doing.  The foundation did a general clean up of the lighthouse and then a general assessment of maintenance needs.  They came up with a punch list of sorts and got to work.  

The biggest issue has been the dock there, every year it gets torn off by storms and has to be rebuilt.  They used a Federal grant from Sandy relief funds for historic properties.   This is administered by the Delaware cultural and historical affairs.  Recently the Army Corp of Engineers added stones around the base of the light but several have already washed away.  One thing these lights have become is the subject for many photographers around the world that visit our area.  Sunset shots in particular are amazing.

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Delaware Breakwater East End Light, delaware, sussex county, lewes, cape henlopen state park, national harbor of safe refuge, delaware bay,
Delaware Breakwater East End Light

Everyone loaded up on all of the Anglers Fishing Center’s boats, the Pirate King, the Angler, and the Indian.  Then we headed out into the National Harbor of Refuge.   Around the inner wall, and the Delaware Breakwater East End Light.  Red informed us that wall (inner) took forty years to build by hand.  That had to be some serious feat of engineering.  The outer wall was built in only four years thanks to steam powered equipment.  A section was added in the 1880’s to the center to fix an erosion problem at Lewes Beach.  You can see the difference in the color of the rocks where it was filled in.  I don’t want to get into the entire history of this area, because it is long, detailed, and I don’t want to spoil the tour.

 You should really take one of these tours and learn from Red Moulinier about the Delaware River And Bay Lighthouse Foundation.   They have tours coming up in September, check the website for their schedule, or their Facebook page.  One of the highlights for me was when Captain Ted yelled down and showed me the scope, it looked like a video game for fish, and I didn’t have a rod.

Fish On!

Rich King

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