Cape Beale Light, Barkley Sound

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Cape Beale Light, Barkley Sound

by | Aug 2, 2020

Cape Beale is at the southern entrance to Barkley Sound about 40 miles (65 km) north of Cape Flattery and 4.7 miles (7.6 km) southwest of Bamfield, British Columbia. The first lighthouse established in British Columbia by the Canadian government was built in 1874 at Cape Beale. The light is 167 feet (51 m) above the sea and visible for 19 miles (30 km).

The light serves as a major landmark and coastal aid to navigation on the west coast of Vancouver Island where historically the casualty rate for mariners was so high that it became known as the Graveyard of the Pacific. Several light keepers at Cape Beale and their families are famously known for aiding in significant rescues.

On December 7, 1906, the American bark Coloma was bound for Australia from Seattle with a general cargo consisting mainly of lumber. On clearing Cape Flattery, Coloma was engulfed in a southeasterly gale that swept her towards the Vancouver Island shore. The distressed vessel was sighted by the lightkeeper at Cape Beale, but the telegraph line to Bamfield was broken due to the storm. The keeper was unable to abandon the foghorn by day or the light by night to seek help, so his young wife, and a mother of four, set out for the village via a primitive 6 mile (10 km) overland trail. Read more here and here. Explore more of Cape Beale and Barkley Sound here:

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