Kurbatova Lighthouse, RU, photo courtesy mayachnik.ru
Elena Barbasheva strolled along the beach, mulling over her family’s situation. How had things turned upside down? Despite her law degree, hard times had fallen on her household and she had been looking for other work for three months.
She gazed out at the water, hoping the gentle waves could help her relax. Wouldn’t it be nice to go away and live on a desert island, away from the pressure and problems at home, some place where there’d be peace and quiet? Then an idea came to her. Why not work at a lighthouse?
Although she knew nothing about lighthouse keeping, the sea had always been part of her life. Her father was a ship captain, and she’d been on board many of his ships. Her husband Vladmir had worked as a mechanic for the Russian Navy, as well as, crewed in Greek ships.
The next time Elena and her husband went to the employment center, she saw a notice that the military was recruiting people to work at lighthouses. What a coincidence, Elena thought. It was as if Someone had read her mind and knew what she’d wished for. Within a week, she and her husband were hired and sent to Kurbatova Lighthouse where she’d be the Head Keeper and her husband would be the mechanic (or assistant).
When Elena stood on the gallery of the crimson lighthouse for the first time, she knew her prayers had been answered, and she had found her “desert” island.
Kurbatova Lighthouse is at the northeastern tip of Shumshu Island in the Kuril Islands between the Sea of Okhotsk and the Pacific Ocean. Elena and her husband plus another person who works for them are the only inhabitants of the seventeen-mile island.