Saving the Light: A Year in Pictures

Since the Save the Gay Head Light project began in the summer of 2013, we’ve raised over half of the $3 million needed to move and restore the lighthouse. We’ve had concerts and a footrace and a solo kayak circumnavigation of the island and two summer solstice parties. We’ve sold mugs and tee shirts (lots and lots of tee shirts), bumper stickers and tote bags. We’ve had big donations from all the towns on the island, and many small donations from islanders and visitors from far and wide. Here are a few memories of the past year:

You may hover over the photos to see the larger version.

  • Dawn beneath the Gay Head Cliffs: Dana Gaines begins his 52-mile kayak trip around the island
  • West Chop rip
  • Mitzi on the chase boat
  • Wake off East Chop
  • Approaching Light
  • The finish line is in sight
  • Beneath the Light
  • Dana Gaines at the finish
  • Dana Gaines and Len Butler after the finish
  • Meg Bodnar, Mitzi Pratt, Dana Gaines, Len Butler
  • Circumnavigation route by kayak
  • Legacy of Light poetry book cover colors
    Legacy of Light: Poems for and about the Gay Head Lighthouse, hand-bound books. Click photo to order!
  • Summer Solstice Party, June 2014
  • Smiles at the Light: Richard Skidmore, Len Butler, Derrill Bazzy, Jim Pickman
  • Grand entrance of The Green Man, Summer Solstice Party
  • The Green Man
  • Rosanne Cash
    Rosanne Cash performed in July 2014 to help save the Gay Head Light
  • Gay Head Light tee shirt
  • 1st Annual Gay Head 10K, 2013
  • At the start: Gay Head 10K
  • After the 10K
  • Happy runners
  • We love the Gay Head Light!
  • Len Butler thanks all the race participants
  • Gay Head 10K route
    General route of the Gay Head 10K
  • child tee shirt
    More love for the Gay Head Lighthouse
  • Close to the edge!

~ Dana Gaines on-water photography by Tad Thompson

 

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Help Save the Gay Head Lighthouse!

Gay Head Lighthouse at sunset

The Gay Head Lighthouse, an island treasure with a long and rich history, is at risk. Standing just 46 feet (Aug ’13) from an eroding cliff, it was recently designated by the National Trust for Historic Preservation as one of America’s 11 Most Endangered Historic Places and geological experts advise it should be moved within the next year.

The Save the Gay Head Lighthouse Committee needs your support in helping us save this iconic structure and working navigational beacon, which has been shining out from the picturesque cliffs of the western most tip of Martha’s Vineyard since 1856.  The light has guided mariners and fishermen from all over the globe safely past the cliffs of Gay Head and the Devil’s Bridge below. Its red and white sweeping beam connects us to this place and the sea beyond.

Your donation will help fund the move and restoration of the Gay Head Lighthouse to a location and condition that will sustain it for many generations. The fundraising goal for this project is $3,000,000.  Donations of any amount are important and greatly appreciated. A special fund has been established exclusively for this project through the Town of Aquinnah and all gifts are tax-deductible. We are racing against time.

With your help, the Gay Head Light will KEEP ON SHINING! Click here to find out more.

Photograph by Katherine Gendreau Photography

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Reflections On An Epic Voyage: Dana Gaines Remembers

Dana Gaines Gay Head Cliffs

When Dana Gaines finished his 52-mile circumnavigation of Martha’s Vineyard on August 9th, he knew he had raised thousands of dollars to save the Gay Head Lighthouse, under whose beam he had begun to paddle at dawn that morning. Three weeks later, he looks back and takes us through the day, from the waters below the lighthouse, past Squibnocket and Makonikey and Wasque and all around the north shore, back to the now-calm sea below the light. Continue reading……

 

Approaching Light

Three Weeks Later

Dune, approaching Squibnocket 6:15AM

SATURDAY, August 30th– How time flies; I’ve been enjoying taking it fairly easy, mixing more running in with paddling, while at the same time gearing up for the 14-mile Lighthouse-to-Lighthouse Race/East Coast Surfski Championships in Connecticut on September 6th. I still marvel at what a perfect day August 9th was…. but inevitably the racer in me thinks of things which could have been done differently to turn in a faster time. The trip was really a tale of two halves; the first half was considerably slower than anticipated, while the second half (and particularly the final third) was much, much faster. Starting an hour earlier would have made a huge difference, as I not only got caught by the foul flooding current during the first hour but, inexplicably, it persisted well beyond, and kept progress slow in the Atlantic where I expected to encounter no current at all. Still, I never would have wanted to ask my chase boat to begin that early, and by 5:30 we had adequate light to see where we were going and enjoy a beautiful sunrise over the Moshup Trail.

While my navigational GPS had decided not to operate properly and was providing no data whatsoever, the heart rate monitor told the story: rather than my planned 5.5 mph, keeping HR below 110, I was making 5.0 to 5.2 mph @ HR 130+…. and therefore expending considerably more energy than anticipated over the combined 22 miles from Aquinnah past Squibnocket and down to Wasque Point. That added unnecessary stress, because I knew I had to arrive at Wasque no later than 9:30, and was hard pressed to do so.

Continue reading Three Weeks Later

“Legacy of Light” Poetry Books Go on Sale

Legacy of Light poetry book cover colors

“Legacy of Light” will raise funds for lighthouse relocation

 

“…hunger for the sea’s edge, the limits of the land,

where the wild old Atlantic is shouting on the sand…”

~John Masefield

The Save the Gay Head Light House Committee, in conjunction with the Martha’s Vineyard Institute for Creative Writing and the Martha’s Vineyard Poetry Society, has announced the release of “Legacy of Light: Poems for the Gay Head Lighthouse,” a collection of poems submitted by both Vineyard and off-island writers to celebrate the historic Gay Head Lighthouse. The writers join a chorus of supporters raising funds and awareness to restore and relocate the lighthouse from its current location where it is endangered by eroding cliffs.

The book was edited by Alexander Weinstein, Keith Leonard and Fan Ogilvie. “Legacy of Light” is available in a limited edition hand-printed and hand-bound edition of 50 volumes in addition to a digitally printed soft cover version. All proceeds from sales of both will go toward funding the lighthouse relocation. Click here to order the limited edition or digitally-produced books, or visit Midnight Farm in Vineyard Haven or Gay Head Gallery in Aquinnah for a digitally-produced copy.

The Gay Head Gallery will also be displaying artwork inspired by the Gay Head Lighthouse and its predicament. A portion of the proceeds of sales of that work will be donated to the relocation.

Poets Launch Work Celebrating Gay Head Light

Legacy_flyer

“Legacy of Light” will raise funds for lighthouse relocation

The Save the Gay Head Light House Committee, in conjunction with the Martha’s Vineyard Institute for Creative Writing and the Martha’s Vineyard Poetry Society, today announced the release of “Legacy of Light: Poems for the Gay Head Lighthouse,” a collection of poems submitted by both Vineyard and off-island writers to celebrate the historic Gay Head Lighthouse. The writers join a chorus of supporters raising funds and awareness to restore and relocate the lighthouse from its current location where it is endangered by eroding cliffs.

The committee will also be hosting a reading of the collection on Wednesday, August 27 at 5:30 p.m. at The Grange Hall in West Tisbury. Readers will include Annette Sandrock, Arnie Reisman, Brooks Robards, Chris Legge, Cynthia Riggs, Ellie Bates, Fan Ogilvie, Lynne Whiting, Justen Ahren, Paula Lyons, Richard Weiss, Steve Ewing, Susan Puciul, Valerie Sonnenthal and William Waterway.

The book was edited by Alexander Weinstein, Keith Leonard and Fan Ogilvie. “Legacy of Light” is available in a limited edition hand-printed and hand-bound edition of 50 volumes in addition to a digitally printed soft cover version. All proceeds from sales of both will go toward funding the lighthouse relocation.

The reading will feature refreshments and an opportunity to purchase both editions of “Legacy of Light”. The limited edition will be available at the Gay Head Gallery and through orders placed on gayheadlight.org. The digital , commercially bound edition will be available at Midnight Farm in Vineyard Haven.

The Gay Head Gallery will also be displaying artwork inspired by the Gay Head Lighthouse and its predicament. A portion of the proceeds of sales of that

Continue reading Poets Launch Work Celebrating Gay Head Light

Gay Head Lighthouse on the Brink

Gay Head Lighthouse on the brink    YouTube

Gay Head 10K Race Registration Opens

2014 Gay Head unofficial 10K route

Participate in the 2nd annual Gay Head 10K and enjoy the beauty of fall on the island while supporting efforts to move and restore the Gay Head Lighthouse. The 10K race was established by the Town of Aquinnah’s Save the Gay Head Lighthouse Committee to raise money and awareness about the need to move the light away from the eroding cliffs. The committee plans to make the 10K an annual event and once the light is relocated, the race will provide on-going support for the maintenance costs. For more details about the race, please click here.

Registration is now open! Please click the button below:

Register Now! by ACTIVE Network

Why not make a weekend of it on the island? Cycle Martha’s Vineyard is an organized recreational bicycle ride on Martha’s Vineyard, on Saturday, October 4. Two rides are being offered, a 50K and 100K. The 50K ride has spectacular views of Vineyard Sound, Nantucket Sound and the Atlantic Ocean. The 100K ride visits the entire island, included the Gay Head Cliffs at Aquinnah. There will be organized rest stops along the route as well as road support. A post-ride pig roast with live music will also be held. Proceeds from the ride benefit Rotary Club of Martha’s Vineyard and the Gay Head Light. Click button below to register.

 

Gay Head 10K Race Registration Opens

Full Circle for the Gay Head Light: Success and a New Record!

On Saturday, Aug. 9, Edgartown resident Dana Gaines completed the full 52 miles around the island by kayak, raising money for the lighthouse project along the way. You can read his account of the day by clicking here.

Gay Head Lighthouse early light Dana at dawn Gay Head cliffs at sunrise Dana Silhouette East toward Sunrise Off Squibnocket Lunch at East Beach Mitzi Pratt aboard Juno Dana and the 12-meter regatta off Edgartown 12-meter yachts Heavy chop near West Chop light Snack bar break Nearing Gay Head Light At the finish line beneath Gay Head Aquinnah Cliffs Tired but happy Success! New record Dana Gaines and Len Butler Meg Bodnar, Mitzi Pratt, Dana Gaines, Len Butler Dana and the Gay Head Light Other visitors to the overlook Go Dana!

The Day After

The finish line is in sight

Start, 5:30 AM

When I first met with members of the Save Gay Head Light committee in early April, I brought along the Eldridge Tide book, with two weekends in August highlighted where the tidal currents during daylight hours would be suitable for a kayak circumnavigation of Martha’s Vineyard, starting and finishing beneath the Aquinnah Cliffs. From those dates we selected Saturday, August 9th as the best from a public relations and fundraising standpoint…. and the clock started ticking. After decades spent on the water, I know full well that any date circled for an event months in advance is a veritable roll of the dice; one day may be glass calm, another blowing 20+ knots, another raining… all I could do was build up the training miles, and keep my fingers crossed.

Saturday, August 9th turned out to be everything I’d dreamed of– and much more. Winds were forecast to be light out of the northwest all day– not the ideal direction, but the velocities were so low that the wind would essentially be a non-factor. Conditions were placid for the pre-sunrise start and first leg down the Moshup Trail shore to Squibnocket, and nearly flat out in the Atlantic, with the lightest of crosswinds. However, due to the near full moon the tidal currents were running stronger, and not only was my progress slowed to Squibnocket, it was also negatively impacted further east in the Atlantic– something I’d never encountered before.

Cursing GPS

One early snafu was that my GPS had NOT begun navigating the route I’d programmed in when I hit the “Enter” (Start) button off the Cliffs at 5:30…. since it was

Continue reading The Day After