Everyone at one time or another has dreamed of trading in the rat race to live on a secluded island. Now, that opportunity comes with a salary.
The non-profit foundation in charge of East Brother Island, just off the Richmond Shoreline, is searching for a new inn-keeper couple to run the island’s 138 year-old lighthouse-turned-bed and breakfast.
The qualifications range from simple cleaning to some seriously specialized skills. At least one person in the couple must have a Coast Guard commercial boat operator’s license to transport visitors back and forth from shore. One must also be a gourmet chef – and not the open-a-can kind of chef.
“This isn’t one of those bed and breakfasts you come and check into and then decide where they want to go out and eat that night,” said Tom Butt, who heads the East Brother Island non-profit in charge of the island. “Once you’re here, you’re here.”
The Light Station has been in continuous use since the Coast Guard opened it in 1874. The non-profit took over operation of the island as a getaway in 1979. The inn is open four days a week, with inn-keepers responsible for breakfast and dinner.
The lighthouse has been maintained by couples since its early days. The East Brother Island group is searching for a new couple to take over those duties, after the current pair put in their notice.
“A couple, we define it loosely,” said Butt. “They’re going to have to work together. They’re going to have to live together so they need to be compatible.”
The perks are many; spectacular views from every window of the five-room Inn, a chance to operate the vintage steam-powered fog horn, plenty of quiet time.
The presence of a working motor boat is also a plus. In the early days, inn-keepers had to travel by row boat.
“One of the women had a baby coming,” said Butt of one early inn-keeping couple. “They got in a row boat and rowed to San Quentin and the San Quentin doctor delivered the baby.”
The island is the rare place where one can be in the middle of everything, and away from everything at the same time.
Salary ranges from $60,000 to $100,000 depending on the number of visitors. The job starts in June.