Super Typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda in the Philippines) made morning landfall November 07, 2013 at Guiuan, a small city in Samar province in the eastern Philippines. The U.S. Navy’s Joint Typhoon Warning Center said maximum sustained winds were 195 mph, with gusts to 235 mph.
As many of you readers now know, I am living in the Philippines where a tsunami is NOT rare, but the biggest worry here are typhoons and earthquakes, the latter being what sparked this article.
On October 15 this year, 2013, we experienced the biggest earthquake1 I have ever felt in my life. The following data is taken from the Philippine Volcano website:
Date – Time Latitude Longitude Depth Magnitude Location
(Philippine Time) (ºN) (ºE) (km)
15 Oct 2013 – 08:12 AM 09.86 124.07 012 7.2 006 km S 24° W of Sagbayan (Borja) (Bohol)
This was approximately one hundred and twenty (120) kilometers (about 75 miles) northeast (NE) from us and they say we felt it like a magnitude 6.0 earthquake. I would hate to feel anything stronger! The house shook and rattled, and the ground rolled just like in the movies. For hours afterwards our sensory organs for balance were out of kilter – you felt like a drunk might feel heading home from an all night party!
Now this brings me back to the subject – How do you prepare for an earthquake or tsunami? As you never know where you will be at the time of the event, all you can do is prepare for BEFORE and AFTER the event. Continue reading →
This photo above from Pacific Wild shows only a part of what is being protected
The title for this article comes from a news release by the Treehugger website on July 27, 2006.
Their article from 2006 said: “The government of British Columbia has agreed to protect more than 5 million acres of the Great Bear coastal rainforest. It is home to the world’s last white-colored Spirit Bears “
The thousand-year-old red cedars, Sitka spruce, western hemlock and balsam blanketing this swath of rugged coastline provide vital habitat for wolves, eagles, grizzlies and several hundred Spirit Bears. Found only in the Great Bear Rainforest, the Spirit Bear gets its white color from a recessive gene occurring in roughly one of every ten black bears born in the forest. The Spirit Bear figures prominently in the mythology and culture of several indigenous communities — known as First Nations in Canada — that have inhabited the Great Bear Rainforest for thousands of years.
The new conservation agreement, negotiated directly by the British Columbia government and the region’s First Nations, will protect an unspoiled area twice the size of Yellowstone National Park from logging and ensure the right of the First Nations to manage their traditional territories. In addition, the agreement establishes new, more stringent standards for logging in the rainforest outside of the protected area. “The accord will preserve this irreplaceable rainforest but still allow for controlled logging to sustain local economies,” said NRDC senior attorney Susan Casey-Lefkowitz. “It is a new model that shows we can save our most valuable wildlands and our communities at the same time.”
The hijack of a ship on the British Columbia (BC) coast is a rare possibility, but with all the controversy over oil spills and destruction of coastal rain forests, the possibility is still there for terrorists or others to hijack a ship on the BC coast and hold the government for ransom.
In the rest of the world, piracy, or hijacking of a ship, is not unknown and shipping companies have had to find many ways to keep their ships safe. Speed is one method, but a fully-loaded freighter does not go very fast.
Today, October 17, 2013, a new website for me, Marine Insight, mentioned:
Launched in 1962, the bizarre research vessel Flip (Floating Instrument Platform) can go from a horizontal to vertical position while staying afloat and stable in heavy seas – even in 80-foot waves. That allows it to perform oceanographic research measurements with great accuracy. Inside the crew areas is a strange Escher-like world of doors in floors, portholes in ceilings, and tables bolted to walls. . . more
Later I was thinking it is too bad that this technology was not available for the Canadian weather ships that used to be off our Canadian coasts. They could have operated nicely with a ship that only rose three (3) inches in eighty (80) foot waves!
The photo above is a screen capture of part of the Tar Sands SOS webpage. Click the photo above to go to the webpage and you can track the tar sands tankers on the interactive map, scroll down the webpage and learn more why the tar sands tankers are a bad idea. One thing I learned is that tar sands oil sinks to the ocean bed rather than floating up on the beaches. This lengthens the time the oil can pollute British Columbia waters!
I have seen an oil spill personally – it is not a pretty sight!
The West Coast Trail is a 75 km (47 mi) long backpacking trail following the southwestern edge of Vancouver Island in British Columbia, Canada. It was built in 1907 to facilitate the rescue of survivors of shipwrecks along the coast, part of the treacherous Graveyard of the Pacific. It is now part of Pacific Rim National Park (Parks Canada and Wikipedia) and is often rated by hiking guides as one of the world’s top hiking trails.
The West Coast Trail is open from May 1 until September 30. It is accessible to hikers outside of this period but Parks Canada does not guarantee the accessibility of services (such as search and rescue) in the off season. It was originally known as the Dominion Lifesaving Trail (sometimes misidentified as the West Coast Lifesaving Trail).-Wikipedia
My daughter and her friend just finished hiking the West Coast Trail this Summer 2013 and thoroughly enjoyed it. (photos on Facebook) It is rough, it is challenging, but it is an adventure, and it is fun! The trail passes by two manned lighthouses (Pachena -photo above, and Carmanah – photo below) which date back to the time when the trail was Continue reading →
Documentary Film about the Great Bear Rainforest Youth Paddle – www.gbryouthpaddle.org
In June 2012, a group of Quest university students travelled to the Great Bear Rainforest, through BC’s Inside Passage and arrived in the remote First Nations community of Hartley Bay. Here, we learned firsthand about the potential impacts of the Northern Gateway Pipeline proposal on Gitga’at culture and traditions. Quest students, along with youth from the Hartley Bay Secondary School, joined together on a life-changing journey through the pristine waters of BC’s temperate rainforest. Together we paddled from Hartley Bay to the Gitga’at’s spring-harvest camp in Kiel. We journeyed through a portion of the proposed tanker route for the Northern Gateway project, the same area where the ferry Queen of the North sank in 2006. Durig our time in Hartley Bay, participants bared witness to the unparalleled natural abundance of the Great Bear Rainforest. This short documentary provides a platform for youth to speak out and express their perspectives of the pipeline proposal. It also celebrates land and culture, while promotes a more sustainable future.
As a lighthouse keeper I was interested in fishing, and sometimes paused to watch the seine fishermen catch fish.
I retired twelve (12) years ago, and even at that time the practices in the following video were allowed by the Canadian Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO). Well, maybe not allowed, but never monitored. I was appalled at the time, of the number of fish that fell injured through the large seine nets. I could not even make use them as they were so injured that they sunk rapidly to the bottom of the ocean.
Please watch and be dismayed. This takes place in Fisheries Area 6 – my lighthouse was in Fisheries Area 7. The following map shows the Fisheries Areas on the BC Coast.
New evidence shows thousands of unwanted salmon are needlessly killed when no one is watching the fishermen: Groups want oversight
My website here is about British Columbia (BC) lighthouses and the environment surrounding them.
Just recently a good friend sent me an email to a website called Picture BC, a delightful photo and video tour of the province of British Columbia, Canada – as beautiful now as when it was created in 2008.
Picture BC photo
According to the site:
Picture BC is an initiative of the Union of British Columbia Municipalities (UBCM), an organization representing the communities participating in this website. The idea and support for Picture BC came from the Province of British Columbia.
The site contains a five (5) minute video tour of the whole of BC (above) which is very well done. If you have never been to BC, you will want to come and visit after seeing this video. If you plan on coming, this is where the lighthouses are. The video shows two or three lighthouses near the end of the clip but there are many more on the BC coast.
There are interactive maps of the regions of BC with links to most cities in the province.
There are also some beautiful photos of major tourist destinations in BC, as well as scenes which cannot be seen unless you take a helicopter or plane ride.
The website is done with Adobe Flash player so it is a bit tricky to manouever around, but have patience – it is worth it!
As far as I know there are no manned lighthouses here. Most of the lighthouses are automated beacons of low power used by fishermen to return back home, like the one at the left that I discovered at Apatot Beach, San Esteban, Ilocos Sur, Philippines. This is listed in the Lightstations Northern Luzon Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) webpage.
Here is another one closer to my hometown of Candon City, Ilocos Sur. I found this lighthouse by the sea in the Darapidap area. It looks a lot older than the one above.
It was found in the town square. As it is not very high I assume it is only used by the fishermen. This type of tower may be used all over the islands. This is listed in the Lightstations Northern Luzon Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) webpage.
The following interactive embedded map is from ArcGIS Explorer. This online program allows one to create personalized maps about various subjects around the world. This one is about Philippine lighthouses listed on the PCG website. I have marked with coloured circles the various lighthouses, RED for manned stations, BLACK for automated stations, BLUE for ruins, and ORANGE for lights that are tended by PCG living in the area.
Clicking on the dots brings up a name card with information.
Most of the lighthouses, usually charged by solar power, are not manned 24/7. While many have timers and automatically turn on at night or when the skies turn dark, others have to be manually turned on by a PCG civilian employee.
Apart from serving as signal stations and beacons for ocean-going ships through the centuries, a few lighthouses of the Spanish period, particularly those in the Visayas and Mindanao, served as watchtowers against pirates and slave traders.
The Paris-based International Council on Monument and Sites (Icomos) recognizes the heritage value of the Philippines Spanish-era lighthouses, which are mainly of Victorian design.
Constructed by Spain’s renowned Inteligencia del Cuerpo de Ingenieros de Caminos, Canales y Puertos (or the Corps of Engineers for Roads, Canals and Ports), the lighthouses were built to protect burgeoning maritime trade in late 19th-century Philippines.
These structures located in the most beautiful and spectacular sites, lonely isolated islets, cliffs, barren rock outcrops, bluffs, capes and points, are testament to the commitment the Spanish colonial government had in the Philippines to modernize it and make it competitive at the dawn of the 20th century, Noche wrote in an article in the Icomos website.
In the above article they mention the following lighthouses: