Light at the End of the World

Light at the End of the World
Three Months on Cape St. James, 1941

by Hallvard Dahlie (orig from Raincoast 18, 1998) with notes from Jim Derham-Reid (last keeper on Cape St. James before automation)

Image1A strange interlude in my brief seafaring life took place in the fall of 1941, when I signed on as assistant lighthouse keeper at Cape St. James, a light perched on top of a three-hundred-foot rock at the very southern tip of the Queen Charlotte Islands. I had quit school earlier that year, at the age of sixteen, and found a job on the CGS Alberni, a lighthouse tender operating out of Prince Rupert. But when she had to go into dry dock at the beginning of September for a new wartime grey paint job and a bit of refurbishing, I chose to take a stint out at the lighthouse rather than scrape barnacles and paint for three months. Continue reading

Reprint – Sentinels Encased in Ice

Sentinels Encased in Ice by Elinor DeWire

from WeatherWise November-December 2011 

Image10

 

 

The ice was here, the ice was there
The ice was all around;
I t cracked and growled, and roared and howled
Like noise in a swound…
—Samuel Taylor Coleridge
The Rime of the Ancient Mariner

Image7

Caption: St. Joseph Pierhead in Michigan as it appeared on December 20, 2010. Continue reading

Vanishings – The Missing Lighthouse Keepers

These two tales on Youtube were brought to my attention. Quite the mystery! 

 

  Continue reading

What a Nice Christmas Present

What a nice surprise! Today on Facebook the lighthouse keeper, Colin Toner, who is residing at my old workplace at McInnes Island posted a fantastic video of the lighthouse. Please watch in full screen to get the full effect.

Watch as the MBB105 helicopter approaches the island in the rain. You can see the rain striking the windscreen on the front of the helicopter.

Later get a tour of the light and a walk around the island in the stormy weather. Take note of the heavy seas. That is life in winter on the west coast of Canada.

Thanks Colin for the memories, and special thanks goes to Tineke Veenhoven for creating the film!

For a larger and higher quality version please go to Youtube. I had trouble getting it to embed here.

Floating Instrument Platform (FLIP)

Flip

 

What do you think a lighthouse keeper would do if he spotted this floating on the ocean in front of his lighthouse? My first reaction would be to run and call for help!

This article came from the Military Photography website on Facebook with credit to  Scripps Institution of Oceanography

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

[su_youtube url=”http://youtu.be/3hYafJIr1B4″ width=”460″ height=”360″]

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!

More information and links on this Wikipedia article.

The Lighthouse of Maracaibo

 

What is the Lighthouse of Maracaibo? Where is it?

Well, first of all it is not a lighthouse, so if you are not interested please continue on to another article, but I think you will find this fascinating.


View Larger Map

Why is then called a lighthouse? Well, it can be seen from many miles away for over 160 nights a year over Lake Maracaibo in Venezuela. I would never have known about it except that my article antennae are tuned to anything lighthouse. When I heard about it, I just had to investigate and bring it to your attention. This is quite unique and the only place in the world that has this phenomena in such intensity.

It is said to have the hottest flash density rate in the world, with an annual average of 181 lightning flashes per square kilometre.During peak months there can be as many as fifty (50) discharges every minute. That is a nearly continuous thunderstorm with up to 20,000 flashes of lightning per night. That is a lot of lightning – the most persistent thunderstorm of the world!

From Wikipedia:

The storms (and associated lightning) are likely the result of the winds blowing across the Maracaibo Lake and surrounding swampy plains. These air masses inevitably meet the high mountain ridges of the Andes, the Perijá Mountains (3,750m), and Mérida’s Cordillera, enclosing the plain from three sides. The heat and moisture collected across the plains creates electrical charges and, as the air masses are destabilized at the mountain ridges, result in almost continual thunderstorm activity.

The phenomenon is characterized by almost continuous lightning, mostly within the clouds, which is produced in a large vertical development of clouds that form large electric arcs between 2 and 10 km in height (or more). The lightning tends to start approximately one hour after dusk.

Among the major modern studies there is the one done by Melchor Centeno, who attributes the origin of the thunderstorms to closed wind circulation in the region.

Reprint – “Stand” – An Adventure Documentary

 

Stand – Power Teaser

 

 from  PLUS

 

STAND, presented by Quiksilver Waterman, will take viewers on a journey through the waters of B.C.’s west coast. Through the stories of an aboriginal high school class building their own stand-up paddleboards as a form of protest, the efforts of expedition stand-up paddler Norm Hann, and the powerful surfing of iconic west coast native Raph Bruhwiler, the diversity of people, landscape and wildlife that would be affected by an oil spill
will be articulated. STAND will take you to the core of the issue and unfurl the soul of B.C.’s west coast one paddle stroke at a time.

Cedar Standup Paddleboard

The crew is currently raising funds through the popular crowd-sourcing platform IndieGoGo, in order to complete post-production and bring this story into the mainstream consciousness. You can become a champion of the Great Bear and help protect our precious coastlines by donating to the project and in return receive some great rewards.

IndieGoGo Fundraiser: indiegogo.com/standfilm

Created by Anthony Bonello and Nicolas Teichrob

Music:
Original Score by Alan Poettcker (myspace.com/thesekidswearcrowns)

Sound Design:
Gregor Phillips (cinescopesound.com/)

Cinematography: Anthony Bonello and Nicolas Teichrob
Editing: Nicolas Teichrob

Additional footage courtesy of:
Adam DeWolfe (adamdewolfe.com)
Pacific Wild (pacificwild.org)
Peter Yonemori

***************************

STAND – a SUP adventure through the Great Bear Rainforest

 

October 23, 2012 –  “STAND” the new film from b4apres Media in association with Dendrite Studios will take you into the heart of the largest temperate rainforest on the planet—the Great Bear in British Columbia, Canada. Hung on the skeleton of a good ol’ fashioned adventure undertaken by a group of surfers, the potential effects of introducing super tankers to these pristine waters will be articulated. As the crew moves through this remote region under their own power, the landscape will be unfurled one paddle stroke at a time and punctuated by the faces and fears of the First Nation people who call this garden of Eden their home. Not just an efficient mode of transport, a stand up paddleboard expedition will be symbolic of “standing up” to preserve this last bastion of rainforest. Captured in cinematic High Definition, the film will bring the Enbridge Pipeline debate into the collective consciousness in a way that will have you fishing in your basement for that old fluorescent wetsuit.

Quiksilver Waterman has signed on as the presenting sponsor for STAND. Since the crew had the concept for the film last year, they have been searching for a partner to support the project. That partner, however, needed to be the right fit and believe in the cause, in protecting British Columbia’s West Coast. Thankfully Quiksilver Waterman along with the Quiksilver Foundation 1 share a strong commitment to the environment.

Norm Hann and Raph Bruhwhiler are both Quiksilver ambassadors and agreed to join the project from the beginning. Both are true waterman and dedicated to the protection of the waters that they derive so much enjoyment from as well as the occasional seafood platter. Having Quiksilver Waterman involved makes the perfect trilogy and will allows the filmmakers to illuminate the stories, adventures and landscapes that abound in this truly magic part of the world.

Long protected by the 1972 Trudeau government moratorium on crude oil tankers plying British Columbia’s north coast, these waters are now facing the risk of oil spill. Potentially, 225 Very Large Crude Carriers (VLCC) per year would each transport approximately 2 million barrells of oil through the Great Bear Rainforest. In context, today’s supertankers carry ten times the volume of the Exxon Valdez oil spill. Put simply, the pristine marine and terrestrial ecosystems as well as the people of the Great Bear would likely not recover from such an incident.

This issue is perhaps the most important environmental issue in B.C. history. Whats more, a catastrophic oil spill could reach beyond borders and impact much of the Pacific North West coastline.

Visit the official Dogwood Initiative Website to learn more and find out how to get involved.

August 21, 2013Go see the film in Toronto.

****************************

FOOTNOTE:

1 For years, Quiksilver and Roxy have been actively engaged in charitable activities, both locally and globally. Quiksilver recognises the concept of corporate social responsibility and benevolence. We want our philanthropic work to have impact beyond what we do as one company and believe that we can do this by coordinating the support of other organizations and individuals. The Quiksilver Foundation was formed to bring all of Quiksilver’s charitable giving under one umbrella. The Foundation commenced its activities as a private foundation in October of 2004.

With offices in Europe, Australia and America, Quiksilver has the capability of reaching people worldwide. Quiksilver has the vision of making a difference to community and environment through the Quiksilver Foundation.

The Quiksilver Foundation is a non-profit organization committed to benefiting and enhancing the quality of life for communities of boardriders across the world by supporting environmental, educational, health and youth-related projects.
The Quiksilver Foundation has a commitment to improve the quality of all our lives.
We desire to benefit:

Local Communities, including schools, local charities through support and outreach programs;

Major special projects and organizations sharing our focus on children, education, science, oceans and the environment.

Another Lighthouse Destroyed by the Sea! 1967

 

Pine Island lighthouse after the storm

On February 18, 1967 at 00:30 hours, a giant wall of water slammed into Pine Island, destroying buildings and washing away equipment and personal possessions. [B&W photo left] The following article describes it well.
(If anyone knows the author, or or where this article came from, please let me know so I can give credit. It appeared with the photo on the left of the page and the page was numbered 13. Thanks.- JAC)

*****************************
Fury . . . and British Columbia

Pine Island, B.C. – The worst damage in the history of British Columbia’s coastal lighthouses was inflicted here ­recently when a 50 foot wall of water slammed into this tiny island during a raging storm. Continue reading

Return to Sisters at Christmas c. 1927

– as written by Elizabeth Kate (Stannard) Smithman (Wife of Henry Herbert Smithman who was Senior Keeper at Sisters Island 1927 – 1929)

We were there [Nanaimo, BC ] nearly three weeks and it was two days before Christmas then. I wanted to be back on the lighthouse for Christmas as Bert was there with the other three boys.

I phoned The Government Office to see if any boats were going up that way, but everyone was off on Christmas and New Year’s holidays. I went all around the wharf looking and asking anyone with a boat to please take us up to the lighthouse. No one wanted to go at any price! They knew the old gulf too well and didn’t want to risk it.

I kept going back and asking them to please take a chance and go. At last an older chap said “Alright, we will start out but I don’t think we will make it”. Continue reading

A Trip to Scarlett Point c. 1973

– as told to me by Jean (Bartle) Konkle (daughter of relief keeper Albert Bartle)

I remember going to Scarlett Point one Easter Weekend, the first time we (my husband Rodger and I) had been there. We traveled ten long dusty hours up mostly gravel road to Port Hardy . There we planned to catch a fish boat out to the island. But although the harbour at Port Hardy was glass, nobody would take us out.

Although we couldn’t afford it, we had only the long weekend, so we attempted to charter a helicopter, but they wouldn’t go out in this weather.

32 foot fishboat - photo Ray Morgan

We went back to the fish docks, where we found a 32 foot fish boat to take us out. It leaked diesel, and I lost my breakfast.

When we got to Scarlett, Ralph and Brian came out to meet us in the station boat. The waves were so high, we had to wait until the gunwhales of the fish boat were even with the 14 footer to transfer across. Continue reading