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    Posted August 2, 2014 by
    San Anselmo, California
    This iReport is part of an assignment:
    The lure of lighthouses

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    Orca Watching At Lime Kiln Lighthouse

    The Lime Kiln Lighthouse derives its name from the kilns built nearby in the 1860s. It was constructed in 1919 and was the last major lighthouse established in Washington State. Located at a rocky point in Lime Kiln State Park on the west coast of San Juan Island, it abuts Haro Strait (one of the main channels separating Vancouver Island and the Gulf Islands in British Columbia, Canada from the San Juan Islands of Washington in the United States).

    The Coast Guard automated the light in 1962 and in 1998 the drum lens was replaced with a modern optic, flashing every ten seconds at night. The navigational beacon at the top of the 55 foot tower is visible for 15 nautical miles.

    The site is popular for viewing marine mammals from shore. These include porpoises, sea lions, seals and otters, but in particular the pods of resident orcas that frequent these waters from May to September and often come very close to shore. I was out in a rental boat sightseeing with friends a few summers ago when I took this image with a long zoom lens, set at a focal length of 350mm.

    Photo: Ken Howard

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