This is the rare opportunity to land at Little Gull Island and explore inside the Little Gull lighthouse (est, 1802, current tower 1867) all the way up to the lantern. Working with the Little Gull Light Foundation, we are offering four, two & one-half hour trips out of New London, CT, aboard the high-speed Silver Eel. |
Last year's four trips sold out quickly.
(Due to a schedule change, our August 5 trips have been moved to Saturday, August 12.)
This privately owned lighthouse is up for sale, so public tours may never be offered, again!
We have met our minimum for July 15th's tours. You now may sign up any time until midnight on July 14, [Please make your reservation by midnight at least THREE DAYS in advance of the trip -- i.e. by midnight the Tuesday prior to your Saturday trip.]
Children must be age 7 or older.
-- All visitors must wear appropriate footwear: deck shoes or sneakers (no sandals or flip flops).
-- Please arrive 15 minutes prior to departure. Everyone must sign a waiver of liability before getting onto the boat.
-- We MEET on at the pier behind the New London railroad station.
-- We are using the Silver Eel for transportation. The M/V Silver eel is a passenger-only high-speed boat. Built in 2017 by Armstrong Marine USA the passenger ferry is a 38 Crew Lander. Equipped with twin 300hp engines, FLIR Maritime thermal imaging system (gives the captain the power to see clearly in total darkness, through solar glare, and through light fog and smoke), comfortable seating, lifeboat, personal life jackets, a certificate of inspection, while meeting all Coast Guard required safety standards.
-- All tours are weather dependent. Please be certain to check your email inbox prior to departing for the boat. We will notify you by email if the tour is canceled. Rain gear is recommended if the forecast calls for inclement or windy weather.
-- Food and drink, with the exception of water, are NOT permitted. For safety reasons, NO alcoholic beverages are permitted.
Payments are non-refundable unless there is a weather cancellation.
an edited history from 'Lighthouse Friends' https://www.lighthousefriends.com/light.asp?ID=742:
Little Gull Island is situated about seven miles northeast of Orient Point, at the eastern end of Long Islands North Fork, where Long Island Sound opens out to the sea. Four miles of open water lie between Little Gull Island and Fishers Island to the east. This stretch of water is known as the Race, due to the tidal currents that sometimes exceed five knots. When strong winds or heavy onshore seas combine with an ebbing tide, the water in the Race turns into a churning cauldron of white-capped waves and dangerous rip tides.
Congress passed an act on April 6, 1802 that provided $8,000 for the Secretary of the Treasury to cause proper light-houses to be built and buoys to be placed in the situations necessary for the navigation of sound between Long Island and the mainland. Surveyors visiting Little Gull Island in 1803 found that the island had about one acre of land above the high-tide mark. Rocky reefs surrounding the island ensured that erosion would not be a problem, but almost all building materials would need to be brought to the island by ship, apart from some rocks that could be used for the foundation. The construction contract was awarded to New London resident Abisha Woodward, who had recently built Pequot Lighthouse in New London Harbor. The station at Little Gull went into operation in 1805, and was later described in the American Coast Pilot as being the key of the Sound.
In 1867, the Lighthouse Service began work on the eighty-one-foot gray granite tower that stands on the island today by excavating nineteen feet below the top of the circular, protective wall, building a landing wharf, and erecting a temporary light. When finished two years later using some of the material from the original lighthouse, the tower was attached to an impressive three-story keepers house built of granite and wood in the second empire style, with a mansard roof, granite arches over the windows, and granite blocks, called quoins, at the corners. (rather like Ledge Lighthouse)
The legendary great hurricane of 1938 blew a number of the stations outbuildings into the Sound, swept the boat tracks away, and sent waves crashing against the keepers dwelling, some reaching as high as the second floor. Telephone lines to the mainland were cut off, leaving relatives of the keepers to worry about their condition for days. The keepers managed to survive the storm fine, but an existing crack in the dwelling was opened up considerably.
A fire in 1944 destroyed much of the keepers house and spread into the lighthouse tower.
The station was automated in 1978, ending 172 years of keepers on the island. Though the Fresnel lens was removed from the tower in 1995 and placed on display at East End Seaport Maritime Museum, Little Gull Island Light is still an active aid to navigation, casting a flashing white light over the area.
In 2009, Little Gull Island Lighthouse, deemed excess by the Coast Guard, was offered at no cost to eligible entities, including federal, state, and local agencies, non-profit corporations, and educational organizations under the provisions of the National Historic Lighthouse Preservation Act of 2000. When no qualified organization was found to assume ownership, the lighthouse was placed on the auction block on May 1, 2012, with a starting bid of $50,000. Eight bidders participated in the auction (including the New London Maritime Society), which closed on October 17, 2012 with a winning bid of $381,000.
The lighthouse was purchased at auction by a Connecticut businessman so is privately owned. The lighthouse currently is for sale.
We are working with David Henry, of the Little Gull Light Foundation, to make this trip possible.
Tour the area's lighthouses with the one who knows them best. There is every variety of lighthouse within reach of our harbor and the New London Maritime Society owns three of them! New London Harbor Light (est. 1760, current tower 1801), Ledge Light (1909), and Race Rock Light Station (1878) at the opening of Long Island Sound to the ocean, create a pathway of beacons leading from the Atlantic to New London. All three lights are now owned by the New London Maritime Society. Monies raised by these tours support restoration of our local lighthouses.
It's all part of our Sentinels on the Sound - New London Lighthouse Summer. Go to our website nlmaritimesociety.org to find out about more events.
floating dock at City Pier,. behind the New London Railroad Station (View)
#1 Waterfront Park
New London, CT 06320
|Minimum Age: 7|
|Kid Friendly: Yes!|
|Dog Friendly: No|
|Wheelchair Accessible: No|