Faro Isla Guafo, Chile

Isla Guafo is an island in southern Chile, located south of the much larger Isla Chiloé in the entrance to the Golfo Corcovado. There is a fair amount of shipping into the gulf, so the island is a conspicuous danger to navigation. It is located well within the "Roaring Forties," where storms sweep in relentlessly from the Pacific, pushing ships against the rocky coast.

Late in 2003 the island was visited by Cheryl and Adam Zaricki. Dr. Cheryl Zaricki, a marine biologist at Claremont College in California, was traveling in Chile to study seabirds, and Isla Guafo is known as an important nesting site for sooty shearwaters. During her studies, the Zarickis stayed for a week at the Isla Guafo light station, the only installation on the island, where they were the guests of the four-man Chilean navy crew staffing the station.

Adam Zaricki writes, "The lighthouse is staffed by four marinos from the Chilean Navy. They stay for four months, and then a new crew rotates in. They also have a bevy of radio and weather equipment, satellite TV, and a pretty comfortable living quarters with room for at least 10."

The lighthouse itself is only 8 meters (26 feet) tall, but the light is shown a whopping 144 meters (472 feet) above the sea. The photo below shows the spectacular site of the station.

Thanks to the Zarickis for permission to reproduce these remarkable photos!

All photos copyright 2004 Adam and Cheryl Zaricki; all rights reserved. Used by permission.

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Posted January 21, 2004. Checked and revised May 28, 2017. Site copyright 2017 Russ Rowlett and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.