Mise Tales Forty-Three

For an update on what a Mise Tale is then please see Mise Tales One. As mentioned earlier on the front page of my website, any photos or cartoons, or short bits of information, when it is removed from the front page, will also be included again later in the next Misc Tales. That way you can keep track of it, search for it, or copy it.

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 CruiseFrom the Toronto Sun online for May 17, 2014 comes the article  See Canada from the sea on a boutique cruise

See Canada from the sea just as the explorers did and discover some of the country’s vast but relatively untouched wilderness.

Maple Leaf Adventures, a boutique expedition cruise company, explores Haida Gwaii (Islands of the People), formerly known as the Queen Charlotte Islands. . . . more

For more information: mapleleafadventures.com and Holland America Line: hollandamerica.com.

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THquincentenary_1The history of Trinity House, UK On This Day in Trinity House History – 20 May 1514– The Big One! . . .

. . . and a Lighthouse Photography Competition also from Trinity House. Please check it out and vote. Excellent photos!

 

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Mise Tales Forty-Two

For an update on what a Mise Tale is then please see Mise Tales One. As mentioned earlier on the front page of my website, any photos or cartoons, or short bits of information, when it is removed from the front page, will also be included again later in the next Misc Tales. That way you can keep track of it, search for it, or copy it.

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Video: What hidden treasures lie within Orfordness Lighthouse? Charitable trust opens the iconic landmark to the public before it’s taken by the sea

–  Monday, April 14, 2014 

Orfordness_Lighthouse

Orfordness Lighthouse is opening its doors to the public for the very first time. Nicholas Gold, the new owner of the lighthouse.

For centuries it served as a beacon of security, offering safe passage for thousands of seafarers.

Now, as the sea it once guarded over grows perilously close, the end of Orfordness Lighthouse looms near.

But before the iconic landmark is lost to the waves, a final chance to view it in all its glory has been made possible. . . more

To inquire about visiting email orfordnesslighthouse@gmail.com. Continue reading

Britain’s Royal Mint Honours 500 Years of Trinity House

Britain’s Royal Mint honours 500 years of Trinity House 20 May 2014 The Royal Mint is this week commemorating the 500th anniversary of Trinity House (20th May), the organisation that has safeguarded the lighthouses, pilot ships and coastal waters of Britain since being awarded a Royal Charter to do so by King Henry VIII.

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Silver

 

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Gold

To mark the milestone event The Royal Mint has produced limited edition commemorative Trinity House-themed £2 coins in sterling silver and 22 carat gold. Its striking lighthouse design also appears on 2014-dated circulating versions of the £2 coin which people are likely to find in their change from October this year. Each coin is edged with the words ‘SERVING THE MARINER’. Continue reading

Dreams of Being a Lighthouse Keeper

For years past, adults and children of all ages had dreams of growing up to be an adventurous lighthouse keeper. That dream is slowly dimming as the world automates its lighthouses.

The following article from The Guardian  brings to our attention the dimming of the dream in the UK

The lure of the lighthouse for our islanded souls
With the last lights set to go out, many of us will miss these concrete symbols of our humanity

by Joe Moran The Guardian, Saturday 12 April 2014.

Lighthouse, County Durham

The tower lights, the ones that rise impossibly out of the sea and carry the most romantic connotations for landlubberly ignoramuses like me, were the most dreaded by the keepers.’ Photograph: Owen Humphreys/PA

Growing up, I wanted to be a lighthouse keeper. Just like Moominpappa in Tove Jansson’s Moomin books, my ambition was to live on the loneliest lighthouse on the remotest skerry farthest from land. It didn’t end well for Moominpappa, the island he and the other Moomins settled on being barren and desolate, inhabited only by a silent fisherman who turned out to be the ex-lighthouse keeper driven mad by loneliness. It didn’t put me off.

I have since met many compatriots who have had the same dream, for there is something about lighthouses that seems to speak to our islanded souls. more . . .

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Now, to celebrate the quincentenary of Trinity House, the organisation responsible for the lighthouses of England and Wales, an exhibition is opening at the National Maritime Museum. Guiding Lights will display intricate models of lighthouses and lighthouse keepers’ personal effects. It is hard to imagine a similarly pulse-quickening exhibition about air-traffic controllers or road-safety officers, although our lives are similarly in their hands.

“I meant nothing by the lighthouse,” Virginia Woolf wrote of its role in her most celebrated novel, “but I trusted that people would make it the deposit for their own emotions.” Lighthouses, Woolf realised, are endlessly suggestive signifiers of both human isolation and our ultimate connectedness to each other. Artists, from John Constable to Eric Ravilious, have made them the focus of their paintings, which can’t simply be to do with their pleasingly vertical contrast with the horizon.

I suspect that lighthouses appeal especially to introverts like me, who need to make strategic withdrawals from the social world but also want to retain some basic link with humanity. A beam sweeping the horizon for the benefit of ships passing in the night is just that kind of minimal human connection. “Nothing must be allowed to silence our voices … We must call out to one another,” wrote Janet Frame, a shy New Zealand writer also fascinated by lighthouses, “across seas and deserts flashing words instead of mirrors and lights.”

I finally cured my lighthouse fantasy by reading Tony Parker’s oral history of lighthouse keepers. Looking after a light – no keeper ever called it a lighthouse – was, I learned, a tedious job, with little to do but linger over meals and make ships in bottles. One keeper was so lonely that in the middle of the night he switched on the transmitter and listened to the ships radioing each other, just to hear some other human voices. The tower lights, the ones that rise impossibly out of the sea and carry the most romantic connotations for landlubberly ignoramuses like me, were the most dreaded by the keepers. Without even a bit of rock to walk around on and escape from your housemates, they were the lighthouse-keeping equivalent of being posted to Siberia.

In any case, I was well out of it because lighthouse keeping was not a job with prospects.

The lighthouses began to be automated in the 1970s and the last keeper left the last occupied lighthouse in 1998. Now, in an age of radar and computerised navigation systems, working lighthouses are an endangered species. Their haunting fog signals are being switched off. Their black-and-red painted stripes, meant to stand out against the land and sky, are being left to peel off. And many lighthouses are being decommissioned, turned into holiday cottages or expensively renovated homes.

No doubt satnav will now do the job just as well, but it will be a shame when the last lighthouse turns off its light. In an age when we have to justify public projects with the consumerist language of stakeholders and end users, lighthouses still feel like an uncomplicated social good that belongs to us all. They are the concrete symbol of our common humanity, of the fact that people we may never meet – at whom we may do no more than flash our lights in the dark – are also our concern.

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One of my dad’s oldest friends was a lighthouse keeper for a few years. He was sometimes posted to those lights that stand alone on a rock. In a ‘big sea’ waves could be so high that water would come down the chimney and put the fire out. He also said that if your hearing went dull it meant that the level you were on was underwater because of a big swell – and a thick metal door was the only thing keeping the Atlantic out.

There are terrible stories. One was the lighthouse often had to eat the tallow candles when ships bringing supplies could not make it through the rough sea. Also the tradition of 2 keepers came into being when one single went out of his mind.
I’ve a slight problem with repeated ref to concrete. Most early lights were built with granite(or timber with plinth granite) interlocked water proof hydraulic cement. Smeaton’s Eddystone the prototype, and later Stephenson family business up north.

To be honest lighthouses are no longer necessary as the coastline is now starkly outlined by the amount of light pollution from our towns, cities and villages. You really can’t miss it when sailing down the coast. Also our new technologies are way in advance of anything we’ve had in the past and even a small yacht can now pinpoint its position to a matter of metres on the ocean. So if we do have any shipping catastrophes in the future they are likely to be down to human error.

“even a small yacht can now pinpoint its position to a matter of metres”

I too sail a small yacht in and around NW Scotland and, because I lack all but the most basic GPS, compasses and echo sounder, greatly value our lighthouses – albeit, unmanned. You will know that whenever NATO carry out exercises in the Minch, warships regularly cause GPS screens to go blank!!!  Serious accidents are not unknown.

You are referring to an exercise 2 years ago where warships blocked GPS for 20 miles. There were no accidents but due to complaints Warships in UK waters are now banned from blocking GPS. I’m not sure about other navies though.

Not every small boat has radar… not all coastlines are outlined by light pollution.

But most people now have mobile phones/iPads/Tablets with GPS.

Please, please, please do not go to sea relying on an iPad/phone etc for navigation! Road signs, and indeed ‘roads’ themselves are fairly limited at sea in my experience.

I can see one of our oldest lighthouses from here. It is on the top of St Catherine’s Down and known locally as the Pepperpot. It was built by local people as a punishment for buying smuggled wine. There was an oratory attached to it at one time to say prayers for the souls of the shipwrecked of whom there were many and the graves in the churchyard will attest. Although high up it wasn’t much use as the mist which frequently covers that part of the coast line blocked out the light when it was most needed and many ships went aground on the notorious Atherfield ledge. The new lighthouse built by the shore is a beautiful building and it would be a great shame if it were to become just another house, although coastal erosion and land slips might put off anyone but the most foolhardy from purchasing.

Foolish idea turning these off. Given potential failures of equipment these are very useful as a last backup. Oh well I’m sure it saves some middle managers budget some money somewhere.

This is a shame, lighthouses are exciting. I don’t think it’s possible to go on holidays to the coast without spending some time watching out for the distant lights and trying to identify them. I know we used to look forward to foggy days so we could hear their fog horns going off.

And at night, if you were staying in a house nearby, some of the beam would sweep around the bedroom from time to time.

Many years ago I recall reading an article in some sailing magazine. Title was The Antikythera Light. The author told of sailing through a storm in the Eastern Med. He had been at sea for days on end and the storm had bounced his small boat around quite a bit. This was long before GPS and he didn’t know exactly where he was. He knew he was approaching the Greek islands and some very dangerous and rocky shores. Then, flickering on the horizon in the far distance and through the storm…a flashing light. Lights flash in timed sequences and those are indicated on charts. He identified this one as the light on Antikythera, the island in the center of the passage through into the Aegean Sea.

Now he knew where he was. Now he was safe. He wrote of his grateful appreciation, not only for the light keeper whose job it was to help people the keeper would never see, but to the society that posted the man there and built the tower and light that led him to safety out of a storm, money spent for no special benefit to the community but only to the benefit of passing strangers in need of help.It was a wonderful essay on how humanity consists of people doing altruistic things, not only for strangers, but for strangers they would never know needed the help. Lighthouses are a symbol of what is best in all of us.

A good few years ago we did the soundtrack to this short documentary about the some of the last people to man the lighthouses, they tell their stories and explain how automation affected them, very sad some of it: http://vimeo.com/m/71760571

Bishop Rock lighthouse – the westernmost point of the Isles of Scilly – that’s the one I’d most like to go inside. And I’d pay good money to see the BBC documentary about it, by Tony Parker, first shown just over 40 years ago:  http://trinityhousehistory.wordpress.com/2014/02/06/on-this-day-in-trinity-house-history-6-february/

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Mise Tales Forty-One

For an update on what a Mise Tale is then please see Mise Tales One. As mentioned earlier on the front page of my website, any photos or cartoons, or short bits of information, when it is removed from the front page, will also be included again later in the next Misc Tales. That way you can keep track of it, search for it, or copy it.

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Aaron Priest Photography Photo Keywords  lighthouseSome beautiful night-time photos of lighthouses, some in a 360º panorama format from Aaron D. Priest on his website aaronpriestphoto.com.

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Vanishings – The Missing Lighthouse Keepers

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

 

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Mise Tales Thirty-Four

 

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

Jaw-dropping animated video on overfishing… It’s time for change!

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The Costa Concordia rests on its side on the morning of January 14, 2012.

 The Costa Concordia rests on its side on the morning of January 14, 2012 (click for larger photo)

 Yes, it is a photo of the Costa Concordia, aground on the rocks, but did anyone else notice the lighthouse in the photo under which the lifeboats are all clustered? See my article Lighthouses Visible in the Costa Concordia Disaster.

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Aniva RockAniva rock [private]Sakhalinskaya Oblast, Russia[/private]- A formal penal island used by the Russians, Aniva was once sought after by both the Russia and Japan. This now Russian controlled territory sits uninhabited in the seas between Japan and the eastern coast of Russia.

This photo story appeared on Distractify and was entitled The 38 Most Haunting Abandoned Places On Earth. For Some Reason, I Can’t Look Away… Continue reading

Mise Tales Thirty-Two

 

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

Image11501252_10152119974792708_1578052892_o 

Click the image or use this link to see the National Geographic article If All the Ice Melted.

 

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Navigational Light to be Fixed Atop Marriott Hotel
May 16, 2013 by KNEWS filed under news

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Georgetown Light-House

Port Georgetown Lighthouse, Guyana
The Marriott Hotel will have a revolving light atop as a navigational aid for vessels leaving and entering Port Georgetown. In fact, even as the hotel is being constructed the contractor is expected to have the light in place and functional.

A source close to the management of the Maritime Administration Department (MARAD), said that the Marriott Hotel when completed will be taller than the lighthouse. The structure will obstruct light emanating from the 103-foot lighthouse located at Kingston.

But Cabinet Secretary, Dr. Roger Luncheon at his post-Cabinet press briefing last Thursday said, “This revelation has not been brought home to Cabinet about another reason for disparaging this transformative project initiative (Marriott). Now we are interfering with light from the lighthouse.”

Dr. Luncheon jested that a new improved light house would be constructed.
However, according to the source, the lighthouse would not be obsolete since it will still function as a navigational aid for vessels travelling south. Meanwhile, vessels travelling in the northern direction will be guided by light originating from the light affixed to the Marriott Hotel. – . . .  more Continue reading

Mise Tales Twenty-Seven

 

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

I found two new lighthouses – not manned, but not in my lists. One is:

ViajeTierraSanta-Portugal-Cascais1

 

The Santa Marta Lighthouse and Museum located in Cascais, Portugal

 

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SANTA MARTA LIGHTHOUSE MUSEUM BY AIRES MATEUS, CASCAIS, PORTUGAL

1 March 2010 | By Catherine Slessor

  • Poised on  a rocky promontory, the array of new and refurbished structures clusters round the base of the lighthouse
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  • Poised on  a rocky promontory, the array of new and refurbished structures clusters round the base of the lighthouse
  • The warped cuboids frame a promenade overlooking the harbour
  • New parts are simple white volumes, like pieces of crisply folded paper
  • Existing structures are clad in tiles so they become mute and abstracted
  • The site, prior to remodelling, showing the existing buildings
  • The bright outside walls belie the dark interior spaces
  • Inside the  museum café
  • Exhibition spaces possess theatrically dark interiors

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A highly poetic abstract exploration for Portugal’s first lighthouse museum. Photography by Fernado Guerra

Some time before Eduardo Souto de Moura’s Paula Rego museum (AR November 2009) added the coastal town of Cascais to the gazetteer of Portuguese contemporary architecture, Aires Mateus put a marker down with the Santa Marta Lighthouse Museum. Though a smaller project and one that involved melding together historical fragments with new interventions, nonetheless it resonates intimately with site and place while exploring a highly poetic language of rigour and abstraction.

Based in Lisbon, Francisco and Manuel Aires Mateus are brothers who graduated in successive years in the late 1980s from the Technical University of Lisbon’s architecture faculty. Both worked with Gonçalo Byrne before establishing their own practice while still only in their mid-twenties. The pair epitomise an emerging generation of Portuguese architects who are now making the transition to becoming more fully established. This project, for Portugal’s first (and possibly only) museum dedicated to lighthouses, represents a consolidation of familiar ideas and ambitions – the play of mute, austere volumes, a heightened sensitivity to materials and the notion of served and servant spaces.

Poised on a rocky promontory, the array of new and refurbished structures clusters round the base of the lighthouse

Portugal’s coast is studded with relics of its rich seafaring history. Set on a rocky promontory near Cascais’ harbour, the site was once a 17th-century fortress that formed part of the town’s maritime defences. During the 19th century, the fortress lost its strategic importance and a lighthouse was built to aid commercial shipping. Poised on the tip of the promontory, the striped, pepper-pot structure is topped by a small glass beacon. Now automated but still operational, the lighthouse anchors the site and forms the focus of the museum.

Clustered around its base is an ensemble of three existing buildings now refurbished to house new exhibition spaces and an auditorium.Though the simple geometry of each structure is still legible, they are wrapped in a uniform carapace of glossy white tiles and effectively transformed into abstract representations of their original historic selves.The tiles are laid slightly unevenly so the apparently plain surfaces catch the light and have a subtle iridescent quality.

The white exteriors conceal a theatrically dark inner realm, with exhibits – old lighthouse beacons, maritime paraphernalia, maps and photographs – set against black walls, floors and ceilings.

A new single-storey volume extends along the west edge of the site, framing a pleasant promenade with views over the harbour and sea. This new part contains the museum’s servant spaces – café, offices and WCs linked by a circulation spine. Here the orthogonal geometry is subverted, with each function precisely articulated in a sculptural extrusion, so that the building resembles a folded and twisted piece of origami. Walls are rendered white, rather than tiled, with large, vitrine-like windows set flush in the smooth surfaces.

Though the ostensible simplicity of two different kinds of white buildings might be easily apprehended by Portugal’s relatively unsophisticated construction industry, this is still admirably nuanced architecture. Its effect lies in considered subtleties: how materials are juxtaposed, how light is handled and how site connects with history and place.

Architect Aires Mateus 
Structural engineer Joel Sequeira
Services engineer Joule

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gásadalur village in the faroe islandsOne on the Faroe Islands island of Vágar near this photo of  Gásadalur village. One of two lighthouses on the island is located SE of the village on the entrance to the Sørvágsfjørd, which leads to the fishing port of Sørvágur on the southwest coast of Vágar. Located on a bluff on the south side of the fjord about 4 km (2.5 mi) west of Sørvágur. 

 

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I was going to post the above beautiful village photo on my page of Fantasy Lighthouses which will be coming up, but then I discovered it had an actual lighthouse of its own. How cool is that?                        

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 And to round things out, my recent story on Night Photos and the Lighthouse had some fantastic photos, but then this one below came to my attention, and I bring it to yours. It is St. Catherines Lighthouse on the Isle of Wight – beautiful photo.

st catherines isle of wight

Mise Tales Twenty-Five

 

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

Charm_BraceletEdgartown Lighthouse Charm Bangle

The first colony on Martha’s Vineyard, Edgartown is known primarily for its preserved 19th century seaport, picturesque harbor, and whaling traditions. Depicted on an Expandable Wire Bangle, the Edgartown Lighthouse is a beacon of light for generations of sailors and a popular point of interest for all seasonal guests. 

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 Can You Believe This?

During those times [late 1870s] lighthouse keepers were never supposed to leave the property unattended day or night, summer or winter, and the Dodges faithfully abided by that regulation for all of the years they were there which ended up being 51 years. More . .  Continue reading