Cape Beale Light, Barkley Sound

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The first lighthouse established in British Columbia by the Canadian government was built in 1874 at Cape Beale on Barkley Sound. It served as a landfall and major coastal light on the shipwreck-prone west coast of Vancouver Island, where the casualty rate for mariners was so high that it became known as the Graveyard of the Pacific.

Cape Beale is at the southern entrance to Barkley Sound about 40 miles (65 km) north of Cape Flattery, Washington. The light is 167 feet (51 m) above the sea and visible for 19 miles (30 km). 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, the Coloma was engulfed in a southeasterly gale which swept her towards the Vancouver Island shore. The distressed vessel was sighted by the lightkeeper at Cape Beale, but with the telegraph line to Bamfield broken due to the storm and the keeper unable to abandon the foghorn by day or the light by night, his young wife and mother of four, set out for the village via a primitive 6 mile (10 km) overland trail. Read more here and here. Click here to download the CoastView app and explore more of Cape Beale and Barkley Sound.

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