Resting on a lone rock off the Brittany coast of France, La Jument lighthouse stands among the violent waves of the Iroise Sea. It is known worldwide not only for guiding sailors through dangerous waters but also for the courage required to keep it guarded. Sources also claim that the keeper of this lighthouse takes an annual salary of around 1 million USD. Keeping it manned is not as easy as it sounds. The daunting task includes facing 20 to 30-meter-high waves that smash around the tower all alone!
The story of La Jument and its keepers displays great bravery against the merciless sea. As the sea surrounding this tower is often harsh, boats or ships are unable to reach it. Even in rescue missions, this lighthouse can only be reached by a Helicopter. There is a surprisingly brave story about its last keeper who almost fought with his life while guarding the tower. The tower carries a great deal of danger to its keepers. So, the work is now automated. Let’s have a closer look at its last keepers and historic origins.
The History of La Jument and Its Brave Keepers
The tale of La Jument lighthouse began following a tragic event. It is the sinking of the SS Drummond Castle in 1896, which claimed around 250 lives.
The lighthouse’s construction was funded by a shipwreck survivor-turned-philanthropist and was completed in 1911. Nestled in a region with a significant count of shipwrecks, the lighthouse not only marked a life-saving landmark but also a challenge to human determination.
At the heart of this story about its keepers, stood Theodore Malgorn. He is one of the lighthouse’s most renowned keepers. Faced with isolation, he displayed a great deal of courage in such a risky environment.
It was this very solitude that led to speculation about the keeper’s annual earnings. Many claim that the salary was around 1 Million USD. However, due to its dangers, the tower was automated. There hasn’t been a keeper on it since 1991.
Lighthouse Keeper’s Close Call to Death
In 1989, a severe storm hit the Sea. The waves crashed through the lower windows of the lighthouse and ripped the front door. The tower was flooded and its keeper at the time, Théodore took refuge in the lantern room. He waited until a helicopter came to his rescue.
Iconic Capture in the Notorious Storm!
During Théodore’s rescue attempts and amidst the notorious storm, photographer Jean Guichard took an iconic picture. The capture showed massive waves hitting the tower, while its Keeper Théodore tried to come out of the front door to be rescued.
Is La Jument Open for Visitors?
Over time, curiosity has mounted: can the public visit La Jument lighthouse? The iconic structure is no longer inhabited by a keeper since its automation in 1991. However, the lighthouse is not open to the general public as of today.
Through the thick haze of ocean spray and the howls of the wind, the story of La Jument lighthouse and its brave keepers endures as a formidable chronicle of the human spirit. The role of a lighthouse keeper, romanticized yet fraught with peril, speaks to the indomitable battle against nature’s raw power and the valiant effort to preserve maritime heritage. Its beacon serves as a reminder of the challenging yet alluring draw of a life dedicated to the guiding light against the unyielding darkness of the sea.