Visiting the BC Coast Lighthouses

Do you want to visit some of British Columbia lighthouses? A lot of them are isolated, but there are a few that tourists can easily see. Some of these are manned; some are automated.

One of the best websites for finding the location of the  lighthouses is Ron Ammundsen’s Lighthouses of British Columbia website. On the opening page he has maps of manned/staffed and unmanned lighthouses and their locations. This will show you what is available, and where they are located. To find photos and information on the chosen lighthouses check out Google.

 

One of the main items you will require is a place to stay. When flying to British Columbia via International Airlines (from another country) your point of entry would be Vancouver International Airport (YVR). From there you have a variety of ways to accommodate yourself – from hotel, motel, bed and breakfast, camp site, hostel, inn, resort, etc. Select from the list on the Hello BC website. Enter your dates, town, and preference, and select a place to stay. Really easy website to find your way around.

The next thing after a room for the night, is a place to eat. Canada is well-known for its diversity in the culinary arts, and British Columbia is no exception. The easiest way is to introduce you to a special webpage called Dining, again from Hello BC. This is an interactive menu connected to a BC map. Pick what type of food you want, where you want to eat, and wait for the results. It is well organized and easy to use.

The choice is amazing! Your selection may be saved as a PDF file for reference. Pick your town, pick your food and grab a cab to good dining. The nice thing is you can look on the map to see if a location is near your place of residence for any place in BC. The map (left) shows the 538 results from just selecting West Coast. Each red flag is a city with multiple locations in each. Each result will give you location, telephone number and website if available. A very comprehensive help page.

Fisgard Lighthouse

Before you come you should decide where you want to go, and what lighthouses you want to see. Most of the available lighthouses will be seen in and around the cities of Vancouver, and Victoria, BC. Others are visible from the ferries, and up and down Vancouver Island. On the Hello BC website on the Things To Do page there are no exact listings for lighthouses but if you type lighthouse in the search box (upper right) you will get a page of lighthouse listings, things lighthouse, resorts near lighthouses, etc. With the map from the website on Lighthouses of British Columbia you can then sort out where you want to go and which lighthouse you may wish to visit..

If you want to get off the beaten track, you can fly into many places or take ferries, hike in, or even rent a local water taxi or fish boat. The opportunities are unlimited depending on your time and finances. On the Hello BC webpage is also a section on Transportation and Maps listing many services available in BC.

Take your time, talk to other tourists, and if you have any questions, maybe I or other readers can help you out. They don’t call it Beautiful BC for nothing. Enjoy!

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To help you enjoy the coast more, it might be helpful to read up on a few of the things you might find at the shoreline. A great website for this is Vic High Marine. Check out the information on all things you might stumble across, or see on your trip.

Any more good advice out there? Please send it on and I will post it.

Mise Tales Fourteen

 

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

A Lighthouse Opera?

I had never heard of a lighthouse opera until now, and being not a fan of operas, I was a bit skeptical as well. OK, I found a Youtube video of The Lighthouse, an opera by Sir Peter Maxwell Davies and I am not impressed. This is a short ten (10) minute cut from the opera.

[media url=”http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t4FX5Dd7k-o” width=”400″ height=”350″]
 
October 12, 2012 – Now, I came across another review in The Telegraph of a different performance by the English Touring Opera. The comments were:

Few instances of that staple mystery, the unexplained maritime vanishing (as in the Mary Celeste or the Bermuda Triangle) can be more baffling than that of the three keepers who dematerialised without trace from their lighthouse in the Hebrides in 1900.
Peter Maxwell Davies’s fictionalised reconstruction of this tale has been hugely successful since its premiere in 1980, and Continue reading

Three Skeleton Key – A Lighthouse Play

 

Three Skeleton Key is a one act play I have never heard about before today. It was written as a short story by George G. Toudouze and was first published in 1937 in English.

 

This is a short story about three men who operate a lighthouse miles offshore of the South American coast.  They love their job untill one day a strange ship arrives.  Suddenly they are unsure if they will survive to see the next day.

Setting

This story is set on a “key” or small island several miles offshore of French Guianna in the early 1900s.  Lighthouse operators whould spend months at a time isolated out on their tiny islands without any contact with the rest of the world. Continue reading

A Lighthouse Novel for Young Adults by Nell Wise Wechter

Two children’s books by the same author came across my desk today. Both books are available in paperback and in an omnibus e-book collection. The author is Nell Wise Wechter,1 a native of the Carolina Coast. She wrote the young adult novel Taffy of Torpedo Junction and Teach’s Light. Click the links for book reviews from UNC.

The books and the e-books are available from Amazon worldwide. A special offer by the University of North Carolina Press (UNC) makes the e-book a better buy as it includes the two books for a special price.

I just ordered the e-book omnibus collection as a special present for my fiancé on my Kindle. It sure makes ordering books easy.

A quick note on each book:

Taffy of Torpedo Junction by Nell Wise Wechter

A longtime favorite of several generations of Tar Heels, Taffy of Torpedo Junction is the thrilling adventure story of thirteen-year-old Taffy Willis, who, with the help of her pony and dog, exposes a ring of Nazi spies operating from a secluded house on Hatteras Island, North Carolina, during World War II. – UNC

Teach’s Light – Tale of Blackbeard the Pirate by Nell Wise Wechter

The legend of Teach’s Light has been handed down by the people of Stumpy Point village in coastal North Carolina for nearly three centuries. – UNC

 

What is lighthouse about these books? The North Carolina coast is host to a raft of lighthouses!

Please let the readers know what you think of the books. I will also add a note later when I have finished them.

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FOOTNOTES:

1 About the Author

The late Nell Wise Wechter, an Outer Banks native, was a widely admired author, storyteller, historian, and journalist. As a schoolteacher near Cape Hatteras during World War II, she could look out her classroom window to see ships being sunk by the Germans. Her story of Taffy was inspired by these real events and the courage of the people who lived through them.

Lightkeepers are the Eyes and Ears of the Oceans

Isn’t this a pretty neat photo? But what is it you ask?

If you run Google Chrome as a web browser1 you could use the Search by Image extension to find other copies of the photo and then the website, and then what is shown in the photo. Here I have just presented a photo with no information (caption).

This photo was shown in Facebook at one time I think. Through the browser extension mentioned above I found the origin of the photo and an explanation. Continue reading

For Sale – Piram Island, near Ghogha, India, with Lighthouse

Piram Island, India

I really do not know how these keep coming up, but here is a real island in the Gulf of Khambhat, India, and it is for sale! It tunrs out that it is an island full of fossil dinosaur eggs, giraffe and gigantic turtles. The owner Siddhrajsinh Raol has put the island up for sale at an undisclosed price.

June 17, 2012 – Times of India – Here is a news article on the sale with a bit more information.

Every point on this 90-acre island is riddled with fossils, some dating back 8,000 years. Fossils of two basic species of giraffes – Brahmatherium and Sivatherium – were found from the island in the 1860s. Those of the Hipparion have also been found here.

The lone lighthouse at the edge of the island only adds to its beauty. “Though the island is spread over 186 acres, the Directorate General of Lighthouse and Lightships owns the light house and its surroundings while the rest is mandatory government wasteland. I am the only private owner on the island. We have even offered the government that we could help them develop the wasteland,” says Raol.

 

 

Here is a description of the lighthouse from the Indian Directorate General of Lighthouses and Lightships:

And for the interested, here is the sales brochure. It is comically negative in its presentation, but also informative. When I was on McInnes Island lighthouse we had tides at times of twenty-two (22) feet (c, 7 meters). This gulf has tides of thirty-eight (38) feet – almost like the Bay of Funday in New Brunswick, Canada! Unbelievable!

Piram is located at 21º-35′ North and 72º-34’ East at a distance of 7.2 nautical miles south of Gogha and 4 nautical miles from the nearest part of main land. Asia’s biggest industrial belt stretching from Bharuch to Vapi is only 50 kilometres away. Diu and Daman, the famous tourist spots are only 80 nautical miles at a triangular distance, Pipavav, the major private port that is already functional is about 50 nautical miles and Mumbai, the main business centre of India is about 160 nautical miles Piram Island. – Introduction

The flow of water at the time of tide and ebb generates water current, which is the fastest in Asia, and in the world it is ranked at number two. It is like a river in spate, which reverses itself every six hours. Being part of the gulf system, the tides and ebbs at the coast of Piram are really remarkable, rising and falling by as much as 38 feet in just 6 hours which is the highest in Asia and second in the world. This is a mare natural feature in this region and makes it an exciting phenomenon. – Business Potential

Again I request, please let me know if you buy it!

Reprint – DFO Shutting Down Coast Guard Radio Stations, but Prince Rupert’s Will Be Expanded

 

I wrote an article on January 04, 2012 entitled MCTS To Lose Staff To Save Money. After that date, the department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO or F&O) have changed their plans. They are now closing whole stations instead of a removing a few men! The news article below is well written and explains what is planned for the BC coast. If all goes through we will have only two (2) MCTS stations on the whole BC coast, relying on mountaintop repeaters to reply to ships at sea.

I can also see soon that their plans will include again trying to de-staff the lighthouses. Pretty soon the whole BC coast will be bare of any support for boaters!

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By Alan S. Hale – The Northern View
Published: May 18, 2012 4:00 PM
Updated: May 18, 2012 4:59 PM

The Coast Guard communication monitoring station in Prince Rupert will be even more important to ensuring the safety of seafarers. The Prince Rupert station will be one of only two “modernized” coast guard stations in the entire province – the other one being in Sydney. Continue reading

Reprint – The Great Pacific Garbage Reality

May 27, 2012 – copied from the LA Times

The great Pacific garbage reality. It’s not tsunami debris we should fear; it’s the trash clogging our oceans – Usha Lee McFarling

I received permission today to reprint this article written by Usha Lee McFarling supporting the theory expressed in my story  Japanese Debris On The BC Coast – Is it from the Tsunami?

In thirty-two (32) years living on and beachcombing the British Columbia (BC) coast in many different areas, I still believe that the press is making a big, and false, hoopla over this.

Sure, every year debris comes on the western North American (NA) coasts in the wintertime – a lot of it from Asia (not only Japan!). This year seems to be an exceptionally good year for garbage with tides and currents working well together to bring it to the NA shores, and the debris is also supplemented by the Japanese tsunami of March 2011. Don’t panic! It has been happening every year, with or without the tsunami!

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The Story from Ms. McFarling:

Harley-Davidson ( Peter Mark / Kyodo News, Associated Press / May 2, 2012 ) A rusting Harley-Davidson from Miyagi prefecture, Japan, was discovered on a remote beach in British Columbia in late April and photographed May 2.

For months, West Coast residents have been bracing for an onslaught of items drifting toward us since last spring’s tsunami in northeastern Japan, which swept apartment buildings, cars, even entire villages, into the sea.

Now we are seeing the first trickle of that debris. A ghost ship arrived in the Gulf of Alaska this spring. A rusting Harley Davidson from Miyagi prefecture was discovered on a remote beach in British Columbia. A soccer ball found on an Alaskan island and marked with a personal message was returned to its delighted teenage owner in the tsunami-devastated town of Rikuzentakata.

Like dreams — or nightmares — these wayward bits of other people’s lives bring us closer to the distant disaster. They make the world smaller. A number of groups have started projects to reunite recovered possessions with their former owners. And one beachside town in Oregon is hoping tsunami “treasure hunting” will result in increased tourism.

But now that the first unlikely items have reached us, we’re also beginning to worry: Will the debris be radioactive? Will human remains turn up? Will mountains of scrap cover our beaches? One blogger callously suggested the Japanese government should pay for the cleanup.

Such reactions reveal a torrent of misconception. Continue reading

What is Harper Afraid of? – by Franke James

The full content of this pictograph is available here on Franke James website. Please read it, send a letter, even if you live outside Canada, to let the Canadian Prime Minister know that what he is doing is WRONG!

More –>

“MV Queen of Prince Rupert” Aground in Gunboat Pass 1982

“MV Queen of Prince Rupert” Aground in Gunboat Pass August 25, 1982

MV Queen of Prince Rupert - photo John Morris

Before you read the story, I must fill in a few details. My wife Karen and I were on McInnes Island lighthouse at the time of the incident. A week before the incident below we picked up the voice of the lightkeeper Henry Bergen at Dryad Point on our scanner in the house. In a loud and agitated voice he was calling “Queen of Prince Rupert! Queen of Prince Rupert! This is Dryad Point! Dryad Point! You are going the wrong way!” The reply came back that they were on a navigational exercise and they had everything in hand.

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Now the story from Harvey Humchitt1 who was on board the ship a week later . . .

It was a typical Friday in Bella Bella. My mother and brother and I had been preparing for a day trip to Port Hardy before the start of school. The trip to Port Hardy was on the “MV Queen of Prince Rupert” which took 6 or 7 hours from Bella Bella to Port Hardy. For me back then it was a holiday in itself. Continue reading