Thanks to some recent encounters and my innate curiosity for everything about life at sea, I have got some insights about the life at a lighthouse. When thinking about the lighthouse keepers, I have always thought that it was a sort of a sentence to be sent to keep a watch and do shifts on top of some distant rock in the middle of the raging seas.
A totally different image appears, however, as soon as you meet people who work live in a lighthouse in person. Firstly, they all speak about their solitary lives with some strange nostalgia in their voices, while their eyes roam around the horizon. They are not there just to keep the beacon in shape and maintain the mechanisms, but to give essential help to seafarers and sailors, especially when nature shows its nasty face.
Apart from the thrilling stories about miraculous rescues and seamen’s bravery, there are also plenty of romantic and emotional stories told by old lighthouse keepers in the Adriatic. One such story comes from Palagruža lighthouse.
Its lighthouse keeper comes from Korčula island, while his beloved wife comes from the continental part of Croatia. When they first fell in love with each other, they did not care much about the future. The situation turned upside down when she realized that she would not change the idyllic life in the colorful countryside with life on one of Croatia’s largest islands. Instead, she had to move to the top of a steep rock, far in the open sea, since Palagruža is the furthermost Croatian territory. At first, she struggled because the change was too drastic, but, step by step, she embraced her new home. As the years passed by, she realized Palagruža was her home she never wanted to leave.
A while ago, her husband received a document, notifying him about the end of his service. He and his family will leave the lighthouse by the end of the summer. Now, opposite emotions capture the heart of the lighthouse keeper’s wife. She does not want to leave the blue sky and the turquoise waters full of life. Her garden, which she has successfully protected from hungry seagulls for years, gives two harvests of cherry tomatoes per year, as well as some 300 kg of capers. Of course, not everything was romantic while living on the “rock”, but one instantly forgets all the bad memories when one has to leave. Leaving the place where all the best things in your life have happened cannot be easy, that’s for sure.
I wish you a calm sea, a fair wind and a strong mast!