Jupiter Lighthouse Moonlight Tour

The rain was pouring like a waterfall on the windshield and lightning frequently opened the sky to the West. Climbing a lighthouse to watch the moonrise didn’t seem like the brightest of ideas.  Pun intended…. 

We all know that if we don’t like the weather just wait a few minutes. That was true again and the cloudy skies parted and the rain left just in time.  As we made our way toward the base of the lighthouse, we had a brief history tour of the grounds. The day time tour spends more time exploring the history of the grounds so keep that in mind.  Just to the right of the lighthouse has to be the biggest Banyan tree I’ve seen. It’s been here 100s of years longer than me and I can’t  help but wonder what stories it could tell.

Who planted it? What children played in it’s branches? What changes has it seen? I wish it could talk, I would love to hear the stories.

After some photo ops, it was time to climb to the top. There are over 100 steps up, almost every landing has a window to rest, take pictures, or just poke your head out and look down.

Reaching the top, we are met with a cool breeze and a panoramic 360 degree view. To the west the storm clouds still lingered and set the stage for an incredible sunset.

As dusk fell, the 1000 watt light came on and the lighthouse was active. Each lighthouse is identified by its own distinct sequence of flashes. I thought each one just shone the same bright light into the ocean so shipgoers wouldn’t run aground. It’s amazing what you learn when you take a tour.

You have to poke your head in and see the Fresnel lens. This particular lens is of the first order, denoting the highest quality. I believe the range in pitch dark, no obstructions was either 26 or 29 miles. Considering the actual size of the bulb, that’s impressive.

The massive light and lens assembly is so well balanced it’s turned by only a 1/3 horsepower motor. It’s almost silent in operation.

Looking to the east, we watched the spectacular moon rise over the water. The moon rise over the beach is great, but from the top of the lighthouse is incredible. Instead of seeing the moon’s small reflection off the water, you see a large reflection stretching for miles.  It’s another one of those experiences that makes you feel small.

The magnificent sunset to the west, the inspiring moon rise to the east, and the cool breeze combined to make it one of those moments that could’ve gone on forever. 

When you’re in the area take one of the light house tours, you’ll learn a lot of history about the area and enjoy some great views. For more info: www.jupiterlighthouse.org

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