Something a Little Different!


Seiner No. 4

One of the nice things about Facebook is that you get to meet a lot of great people. One of the newest I met was Tom Crestidina on a webpage in Facebook called West Coast Fisherman.

Now my website is dedicated to lighthouses, and West Coast Fisherman is dedicated to “Fishing and fishing boat photos from the Bering to the Baja.” Tom’s pictures below are related to fishing and lighthouses! Enjoy!

For larger photos and more detailed information on the humorous drawings please go to Tom’s webpage by clicking on the photo below. Once there, click a smaller photo for details and descriptions – it is amazing the number of funny details he has added to each drawing.




Humour – The Queen’s Riddle

QueenThe Queen’s Riddle

When the Deputy Minister of Fisheries and Oceans Canada met with Queen Elizabeth II, the Queen of England he asked her. “Your Majesty, how do you run such an efficient government? Are there any tips you can give me?”

“Well,” said the Queen, “The most important thing is to surround yourself with intelligent people.”

The Minister frowned, and then asked, “but how do I know if the people around me are really intelligent?”

The Queen took a sip of champagne. Oh, that’s easy; you just ask them to answer an intelligent riddle. Watch.

“The Queen pushed a button on her intercom.”Please send in the Prime Minister would you?” The Minister walked into the room and said, “Yes, your Majesty?”

The Queen smiled and said, “Answer me this please. Your mother and father have a child. It is not your brother and it is not your sister. Who is it?” Without pausing for a moment, the Minister answered…”That would be me.” “Yes! Very good.” said the Queen. Continue reading

Mise Tales Thirty-Six


For an update on what a Mise Tale is then please see Mise Tales One.


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Here is a great video taken on board the Coast Guard ship CCGS Sir Wilfred Laurier as it services the mountain-top radio sites using the onboard helicopter. Great shots of the Queen Charlotte Islands (Haida Gwai) and the old lighthouse and radio station at Cape St. James.

It is titled on Youtube as the “Big Red Restaurant“!

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Mise Tales Thirty-Five


For an update on what a Mise Tale is then please see Mise Tales One.

Britain StormsJanuary 07, 2014 – People watch and photograph enormous waves as they break, on Porthcawl harbour, South Wales, Monday Jan. 6, 2014. (AP Photo/PA, Ben Birchall) . . . more


LONDON — What used to be Winter Storm Hercules has moved across the Atlantic and is now hammering the United Kingdom with high winds and winter weather.. Britain’s western coast is being lashed by high winds and strong rains following a month of unusually frequent winter storms.

A steady procession of storms has battered the island nation over the past few weeks, making December the windiest since 1969. Monster waves up to 27 feet (8.3 meters) high washed across the British coast on Monday, prompting evacuations and rescues.

“This latest storm actually originated as Winter Storm Hercules in the U.S. just after the New Year’s holiday,” said Senior Meteorologist Jon Erdman.

(MORE: Dangerously Cold Temperatures Hit U.S.)

The nearly non-stop storms have crumbled long-standing sea cliffs and damaged waterfronts.

“It’s been one after the other with no break,” Nicola Maxey, a spokeswoman for Britain’s Meteorological Office, said Tuesday.

More than 100 flood warnings remain across England and Wales.

“This latest Atlantic storm will slowly wind down and weaken over the Norwegian Sea off Scandinavia through Tuesday, giving way to a well-deserve reprieve from the stormy barrage the rest of the work week,” said Erdman.

Heavy winds and rain have also battered the French coast, driving large waves into southwestern town of Biarritz on Tuesday. [/private]

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A Plague of Lighthouse Keepers


We all know what collective nouns are do we not? OK, I had completely forgotten the English language term until I saw the title above.

Collective nouns are the names given to collections or groups, be they beasts, birds, people or things. It is a naturally occurring phenomenon in many languages of the world e.g. English, German, Swedish, etc.

We have all heard of a a pack of coyotes, a flock of birds, a troop of Boy Scouts, and a fleet of cars. 

The use of collective nouns started back in the 14th and 15th centuries to designate collections of wildlife in hunting terminology (Wikipedia) but where did the term a plague of lighthouse keepers come from?

According again to Wikipedia, “A Plague of Lighthouse Keepers” is a track from the British band Van der Graaf Generator’s fourth album Pawn Hearts (1971). It is notable for being a concept piece over 23 minutes long, which comprises the whole B-side of the album.

Now this collective noun has never been used before as far as I can find out, and will probably now become embedded into the English language as another collective noun. Although sounding deadly as in infectious, the term in this case, as explained by the composer means a gathering as in “a pride of lionsa murder of crows, so a plague of lighthouse-keepers“.

This term will not in general be used very often as a plague of lighthouse keepers is a very rare commodity, as mentioned in my article Our First Union Meeting-Nov. 13, 1994. Because of their isolation, lighthouse keepers do not get together very often in a group or gathering.

For those of you interested in hearing the musical piece, it is available on Youtube.

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Also, the lyrics and other information is available in a Google Search.

OK, that is solved. Now what are we going to call a group of lighthouses? Any suggestions? Again this is a very rare occurrence except at a river mouth, harbour opening, etc. Maybe a confluence of lighthouses? or? Any suggestions?

Lightkeeper Retirement Homes

No, this does not refer to retirement homes such as you are imagining for senior citizens. This is a fictitious tale of what I imagine a lightkeeper might look for in a home when he retires. None of these homes are actually inhabited by a lighthouse keeper, as far as I know, but they appealed to me as a place where a keeper might like to retire.

Most keepers hate to leave their lighthouse homes at all, but sometimes, as in my case, retirement beckons too strongly and we give up the solitary life. Maybe we would move into . . . 

1. How about this one?

I saw this little dwelling and its location and immediately fell in love with it. It is isolated; it is near water; it even has a boat (note the kayak beneath the house). I still ride a bicycle, so why not paddling a kayak into old age? Perfect location for me.

The photograph is by Irene Becker for National Geographic Picture of the Day: A Tiny River House in Serbia. The website says:

A house in the middle of the Drina River near the town of Bajina Basta, Serbia. The Drina is a 346 km long river that forms much of the border between Bosnia and Herzegovina and Serbia. It is the longest tributary of the Sava River and the longest karst river in the Dinaric Alps.

i searched via Google Earth and finally found the location at latitude 43°59’3.73″N, Longitude 19°33’59.67″E (Google Earth KML file with several more photos of the house). Continue reading

Because John Coldwell Has An Inquiring Mind . . .

I just recently married a lovely Filipino lady here in the Philippines. The marriage was held on the beach at the Drill Shack Resort just outside Dumaguete, Negros Oriental, Philippines – actually closer to Dauin.

While in the Dumaguete area I met a Canadian friend, Brian Waddington, who used to live on a lighthouse near to mine at McInnes Island, BC. Brian wrote on August 27, 2012 on his Blogpost:

Because John Coldwell Has An Inquiring Mind I Will Publicly Embarrass Myself And Give Him And His Bride To Be This Story As A Wedding Present

John was the senior keeper at McInnes when I became the junior keeper at Ivory. He retired after 32 years as a keeper. He now runs a truly informative website about the life of a lighthouse keeper on the west coast of Canada. If you have ever wondered about the life of a keeper click on his name.

From left to right; workshop and senior keepers house, junior keeper house and garage, landing platform (red pole) control shed for hiline.

Ivory Island is a lighthouse on the north-west coast of Canada. Thirty plus years later I still dream of Ivory. To say it was a seminal time in my life is simply an understatement. Ivory was where I found the start of my spiritual path. Ivory is where the only child I have helped to conceive and father was created. I met my first two spiritual mentors while I was there. Ivory Island introduced me to the Thomas Crosby V which led me to Haisla village which allowed for the occasion where I met my future wife which is why I now live in the Philippines.

Some of my memories are sublime, some are joyous, some are mysterious but this one is just plain embarrassing. First you need a little background information. There are basically two ways to deliver anything to Ivory – helicopter or ship. Helicopter is quick and easy but not so good for heavy or bulky goods.

When goods are brought in by boat the cargo ship anchors, lowers the work boat and they bring the goods to where the ‘hook’ is lowered via the hi line. (look very closely at the first picture, just above the control shed you will see the hi-line running from the tall red pole down towards the water). Once the work boat crew secures the cargo to the hook it is picked up, wound in, lowered, unhooked and the hook is lowered again for the next load. Simple if everything works right not so simple when it doesn’t. This day it didn’t.

Perhaps I allowed the hook to pick up too much speed as gravity pulled it back to the water. Perhaps the stopper and the hook did not mate properly because a gust of wind moved the mechanism at a crucial point. In any case instead of doing what it was supposed to do the hook plunged into the water. Luckily this occurs with some frequency so the work boat was well clear of the rapidly descending hook. The other times this had happened I simply wound the hook in the way a fisherman reels in his line. The hook comes up sets itself properly and then I would again lower it so the work boat could hook up another load.

This time the hook snagged on something. With no way of knowing if it was snagged on a sunken log, a small easily moved rock or something worse I decided to apply a little more power and see what would happen. Bad decision! All of a sudden guy wires are snapping and the tower is starting to bend. No more cargo came ashore that day. What did come ashore a few days later was a five man work crew from Prince Rupert via helicopter with most of what was needed to fix the hi-line.

I say most… what they did not have was the bit for drilling the holes needed to do to put in the new anchoring pins. The drill bit was flown up from Victoria via helicopter. My bad choice was starting to get expensive. It got even more expensive after they had drilled four (if memory serves) five foot long 2 inch wide holes for the pins and then spent a day or two trying to hammer the 2 inch steel pins into the 2 inch holes.

For the next few days the work crew enjoyed a mini vacation while they waited for the proper sized drill bit. It is just possible that this had become such an embarrassment of errors to one and all concerned that they could not fire me without firing some bosses too. In any case I was and am ever so thankful I wasn’t fired.

There you are John my wedding gift to you, your future wife and your web site. Hope you can use it and it brings a smile to your face.


Thanks Brian. We could not have had a better wedding gift!

Where Bambi Goes Nothing Grows

In 1969 when I came on my first lighthouse at Pulteney Point it was a three man station. I was the new man on shift so I got the night shift.

photo from Friar Franks website -

One of the first things I noticed when I came on shift were the number of deer on the lawn, even at eleven o’clock at night! They were everywhere. Pulteney Point had quite an extensive station area, and behind was dense forest.

It never failed that the deer came every night around dusk and left at daybreak. They just seemed to appear as if by magic – then one moment they were there and the next not.

I could not really sit and watch them all the time, and as I was on night shift (12 to 8 AM) they were already there when I woke up.

In the morning, as the sun started to rise we had station duties to perform which kept us inside or preoccupied so they came and they went on their own schedule.

Tricia's smile - photo Coldwell collection

I was on Pulteney Point for three (3) years. In the second year, my wife Karen and I searched for and found a Dalmatian pup which we brought back to the lighthouse. Tricia was a riot. She had a most infectious grin! She was also very easy to train. I trained her with hand signals so that in the woods I did not have to speak and scare the animals. This was for hunting later, but also for wildlife observing. A dog can sense an animal more quickly than we humans can.

The woods behind the station - photo Coldwell collection c. 1969

So, as Tricia started to grow, my shifts also changed as we went from a three-man station to a two-man station. Unfortunately that didn’t help me too much as my shift then went from 12 midnight until 12 noon with no overtime. Part of the government’s way of saving money!

One evening, when Tricia was well trained to hand signals I decided to explore back in the woods for the deer. A few hours before sunset Tricia and I stalked back into the woods to a small hill about a quarter mile behind the station.

Tricia about one yr. old - photo Coldwell collection

We parked ourselves below the crest of the hill and off to the side of the abundant deer trails. I dug out my binoculars and waited. And waited. And waited. Tricia not uttering even a whine.

It got dark. It got darker, but not a trace or sound of the deer. Tricia never even sensed them. I waited until two hours after dark and then headed back to the station. Maybe they weren’t coming tonight.

As I emerged from the trees, there was the whole herd, probably about twenty (20) of them eating peacefully on the lawn grass we had so carefully supplied for them. One or two looked up and I almost heard them ask “Where have you been?”

One of the beaches - photo Coldwell collection

Many times I searched for their tracks, looked on the sand on the beaches, watched out the windows, but I never saw them emerge – they just appeared! It was uncanny, but because of the coastal deer’s colour, at dusk it just blended into the surroundings.

On the station we had a great big fluorescent street lamp on a lamp pole – you can see it just before the red fuel tanks in the station photo at the top. It was just like those in the city, which someone in the government had given us to see better in the dark.

It was so bright we lost all night vision, and it was sometimes mistaken by the boats for the main light as it was brighter! With this the deer showed up, but without it, they would not be seen until we stumbled over them. They never moved when I came by, and even Tricia didn’t bother them or they her as she followed me up and down the sidewalks.

Not sorry a bit!

Speaking of sidewalks, I think they thought of them as their toilet. Every morning it was my job to sweep the sidewalks of brown raisins!

The deer were great to see, but one of their most annoying habits was the eating of the flowers in the gardens near the houses. They didn’t like newly-emerging daffodil leaves or tulip leaves, but they did love the flowers. Wow! We have flowers coming in the garden. Next morning nothing! That is where the title comes from. I heard it a long time ago – Where Bambi goes, nothing grows!

Mise Tales Six

If you do not know what Mise Tales are then please see Mise Tales One.

Quite a miscellaneous selection this time – mostly humour. The first is a cool Snickers candy bar advertisement, again with a lighthouse theme. Does anybody have any other lighthouse advertising?

Big job to go? Get on with it.

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Let’s Finish the Month With . . .

We started this month with an April Fool’s joke – lets finish it with a few more jokes.

Below are a group of jokes, mostly about management, the office, and working hours, etc., all related to lighthouse work in a way. A lot have been adapted from other jokes. Authors are mostly unknown, or they won’t come forward! Enjoy!

Tools of a Lighthouse Keeper

Q. What are a lightkeeper’s two best friends? A. Duct tape and WD-40.

If it moves and shouldn’t, use the duct tape. If it doesn’t move and it should, use the WD-40.


New Rules for Government Employees

Dress Code

It is advised that you dress according to your salary.

If we see you leaving on holidays wearing fancy shoes and carrying an Eddie Bauer bag, we assume you are doing well financially and therefore do not need a raise. If you dress poorly, you need to learn to manage your money better, so that you may buy nicer clothes, and therefore you do not need a raise. If you dress just right, you are right where you need to be and therefore you do not need a raise.

Sick Days

We will no longer accept a doctor’s statement as proof of sickness. If you are able to go to the doctor, you are able to go to work. Continue reading