Lighthouses Attract Birds!


Bardsey Island lighthouse, UK

It sounds impossible, but the very bright light emanating from a lighthouse at night attracts  birds. This happens on the most remote of lighthouses, some far out at sea.

What interest would birds have in a lighthouse?

Well sometimes it is because the light beacon attracts numerous insects which the birds feed upon. In other cases birds fly to the lighthouse lamp because it is the only attraction in their universe, just like a boat will navigate towards the safety of a lighthouse. Continue reading

Lighthouse History – 52 (1927-12-13 – 1929-05-19)

The following extracts taken from early Victoria, British Columbia (BC) newspapers are credited to Leona Taylor for her excellent work in indexing the papers. Full information can be found here: ”Index of Historical Victoria Newspapers“, 2007-09.

Please Note: December 20, 2012 – I am continuing this series with Lighthouse History #51 because the newspapers have now been indexed up to 1932. I quit posting at #50 as the extracts only went to 1926. They have now been extended from 1927 to 1932 so I will sift through the data for anything lighhouse!

 Died Dec 11, 1927 at V, Frederic Argyle, 52, born Dec 25, 1871 at Rocky Point lighthouse, where his father, who came here in the Royal Engineers, under Colonel Moody, was lightkeeper for many years, son of Thomas Argyle of Englandl and, and Ellen Tufts, of Halifax, NS. Leaves widow, Mrs E R. Pallbearers: G Ball, H C Helgesen, T F Helgesen, T Foster, Herbert Parker, W Welty. Metchosin burial. [Colonist, 1927-12-13*]


Died Apr 17, 1928 at Victoria, BC, Ellen Josephine Forsyth, 53, wife of James T, lighthousekeeper at Race Rocks. Born in NS, resident of BC 48 years. Leaves husband, daughter, 2 sisters, 2 brothers [Guthro]. Pallbearers: N Bertucci, W H P Trowsdale, W Muir, A E Whittaker, Captain G Evans, J Talbot. [Colonist, 1928-04-19*]


Died Jul 4, 1928 at Saturna Island, BC, James Georgeson, 79, leaves widow, Joan, 4 daughters, 3 sons. Born Oct 20, 1849, he came to Canada from the Shetland Islands in 1887, and was keeper of the East Point lighthouse for 32 years. He was granted the Imperial long service medal. Mayne Island burial. [Colonist, 1928-07-28*]


Rosina, 52 [47], wife of the Daniel O’Brien, Entrance Island lighthousekeeper, drowned today in Entrance Island. She was with her husband in a rowboat, and, on attempting to make a landing, the boat upset, throwing both into the water. O’Brien reached shore safely and ran to the McConvey ranch for help. McConvey, Bennett and Griffith returned with him to the scene and took Mrs O’Brien from the water. Formerly of Victoria, born in County Down, Ireland. Also leaves son, and a sister. Pallbearers: E Burkmar, W Mills, A Morgan, G Morgan, W Fisher, R Trowsdale. [Colonist, 1928-10-13, p. 15]


Mar 29, 8 – Tofino lifeboat brought Mr Halkett from Ucluelet to inspect the lifesaving station and Lennard Island lighthouse… [Colonist, 1929-03-19*]


Died Apr 3, 1929 at Victoria, BC, Henry Herbert Smithman, 39, born in North Carolina, he leaves widow, 4 children, mother, brother, 6 sisters. He served overseas in the Great War with PLI and was lighthousekeeper at Sister’s Rock Light. New Westminster burial. [Colonist, 1929-04-04*]


T Guerney to relieve D McPhee at Lennard Island lighthouse for 3 weeks. Owing to the Tofino customs office being closed, Fred Towler, postmaster, has been appointed to take over minor customs duties. [Colonist, 1929-05-19, p. 8]

Plasticized Oceans

I lived thirty-two years on the lighthouses bordering on the Pacific Ocean. As a lighthouse keeper, I was also aware of the ocean as a living habitat that should be protected. We voluntarily reported oil spills, garbage, etc. For me it was a beautiful place, but I saw what man could do to the oceans in just a short period.

One prime example which I will never forget was back in the 1970s when I was at Quatsino lighthouse (aka Kains Island) where a mining firm near Port Alice was given government permission to dump mine tailings five (5) kilometers off the coast.

If the weather was bad, they only went as far as the entrance to the sound, maybe one (1) kilometer, and dumped their barge-load of rock garbage.

My crystal clear fishing water around the lighthouse turned from 40 foot visibility to a murky brown colour with a visibility of about one (1) foot because of the tailings.

The oceans are not a garbage dump! Please watch Chris Jordan’s trailer video below and then read the news articles.

We humans are ruining the oceans of the world!

The complete video can be found on the Midway website

Many more similar videos can be found here on Youtube.

The Garbage Patch



It used to be birds and seaweed that heralded a landfall - now . .












October 03, 2012 – Expedition Embarks To Study Effects Of The Great Pacific Garbage Patch

The Robert C. Seamans, a tall ship owned and operated by Sea Education Association (SEA) will leave port October 3, 2012, on a research expedition. The journey is dedicated to examining the effects of plastic marine debris in the ocean ecosystem, including debris generated by the 2011 Japanese tsunami.!hash=25493d1f370b96693e04011b50db7bd

October 02, 2012 – Plastics at sea – North Pacific Expedition

An area of plastic debris was first observed in the North Atlantic Ocean in the early 1970s, but in recent years, a similar area of plastic debris in the Pacific Ocean has received the most media attention. Sea Education Association (SEA) has been studying both debris fields – in the North Atlantic for the past 25 years, and in the North Pacific the past eight. Click here…

August 12, 2012Ocean plastic an ugly threat

Yet the biggest contamination problem in the Pacific Ocean existed long before the 2011 tsunami. It’s summed up in that word from The Graduate: “Plastics.”

Mary Crowley, founder of the Ocean Voyages Institute, a U.S.-based environmental group, says the tsunami debris poses a significant risk to the ocean, but it pales in comparison with the vast amount of debris already floating in the ocean. Most of that debris is plastic and most of it comes from this side of the Pacific.

August 07, 2012 – Ship Tracking Tsunami Debris, Ocean Trash Makes Stop in BC

Marine litter a growing problem, but cleanup plans are in the works

The tall ship Kaisei, seen here docked in Richmond after several weeks of tracking debris and gathering research on the Great Pacific Patch and the Japanese tsunami. The findings will be presented at the Richmond Maritime Festival Aug. 10-12. (Courtesy of City of Richmond)


 July 24, 2012 – Litter From City Streets Ends up on Beaches

Trash falls out of a full garbage bin on Seventh Avenue in Midtown Manhattan, July 24, 2012. According to New York City environmental protection commissioner, there is a chance that trash laying in the city’s streets could end up on New York’s beaches. (Benjamin Chasteen/The Epoch Times)



June 12, 2012 – Five Global Companies Pledge Cooperation on Bioplastic 


June 12, 2012 – Kaisei sets sail for Steveston’s Ships to Shore festival Kaisei, a Japanese name roughly interpreted as “Ocean Planet,” has served as the iconic vessel behind research expeditions of Project Kaisei, a group that formed in 2008 to stem the flow of plastic and marine debris into the Pacific Ocean.

June 09, 2012 – Great Pacific Garbage Patch Is A Bigger Threat Than Tsunami Debris

June 05, 2012 – If the Sea Was a Child: In Honor of World Oceans Day

May 28, 2012 – Canada’s mass firing of ocean scientists brings ‘silent summer’

May 23, 2012 UVic PhD student shocked by fisheries job cuts in North Saanich

May 23, 2012 – Help with first wave of tsunami debris

May 22, 2012 – Research Finds World’s Oceans ‘Plasticized’

May 17, 2012 – Microplastics endanger ocean health

  – Big rise in North Pacific plastic waste

May 28, 2012Canada’s mass firing of ocean scientists brings ‘silent summer’

Canada is dismantling the nation’s entire ocean contaminants program as part of massive layoffs at the Department of Fisheries and Oceans. 

 Many scientists say the purpose of the move by the Canadian government is not just cost-cutting but to eliminate environmental rules and protect the oil and gas industry. 


May 23, 2012 – UVic PhD student shocked by fisheries job cuts in North Saanich

The 29-year-old student is still in shock that her mentor, Canada’s only marine mammal toxicologist at the Institute of Ocean Sciences on Vancouver Island, is losing his job as the federal government cuts almost all employees who monitor ocean pollution across Canada.

May 23, 2012 – Help with first wave of tsunami debris

Although the Japan Tsunami has created unprecedented amounts of ocean trash, marine debris from foreign and domestic sources has been washing up on the Alaskan coast for a long time. Most of this debris is caused by human choices. The solution to the global problem of marine debris is changing our habits and the way we dispose of our waste, and the first step towards that solution is creating an awareness of the problem. 

May 22, 2012 – Research Finds World’s Oceans ‘Plasticized’

A marine expedition of environmentalists has confirmed the bad news it feared — the “Great Pacific Garbage Patch” extends even further than previously known.

May 17, 2012Microplastics endanger ocean health

Tiny pieces of plastic contaminate almost every sea in the world. Now scientists have found that marine creatures like fish and birds are eating this microscopic waste, which may be harming their health.

May 09, 2012 – Big rise in North Pacific plastic waste

The quantity of small plastic fragments floating in the north-east Pacific Ocean has increased a hundred fold over the past 40 years.



Related Websites (in no particular order):

A Mermaid’s Tear

The Daily Galaxy

Coastal Care

Rise Above Plastics



Lighthouse History – 05 (1873-04-29 to 1874-12-29

The following extracts taken from early Victoria, British Columbia (BC) newspapers are credited to Leona Taylor for her excellent work in indexing the papers. Full information can be found here: “Index of Historical Victoria Newspapers“, 2007-09.


tender call, Repairs to Tower and Dwelling House at Race Rocks Lighthouse, James Cooper, agent [Colonist, 1873-04-29, p. 2]

tender call, for Lighthouse at Point Atkinson, P. Mitchell, Minister of Marine & Fisheries; on 28th James Cooper, agent for the minister announced he would take prospective tenderers to see the site in the steamer “Sir James Douglas” [Colonist, 1873-11-25, p. 2]

Point Atkinson – contract for lighthouse, Mr. Arthur Finney, Nanaimo, $4,200 [Colonist, 1874-01-18, p. 3]

tender call, Wm. Smith, Deputy Minister of Marine & Fisheries, construction of Lighthouse on Entrance Is. Nanaimo and also in Bereno (Behrens) Island, Victoria Harbour. Plans at office of agent of this Department. [Colonist, 1874-12-29, p. 2]

Lighthouse History 04 – Cape Beale (1872-05-29 to 1909-01-23)

Cape Beale

The following extracts taken from early Victoria, British Columbia (BC) newspapers are credited to Leona Taylor for her excellent work in indexing the papers. Full information can be found here: “Index of Historical Victoria Newspapers“, 2007-09.

As I was collecting this information from the newspaper archive website, I noticed that many articles were in consecutive order and applied to Cape Beale, so I collected them all together here. It is a bit long, but interesting, as it describes the building of a lighthouse from the ground up as they say. Take note of the dates at the end of each article. it surely was not done overnight. More extensive information can be obtained from the actual scanned copies of the newspapers themselves on the above website.


Lighthouse recommended at Cape Beale, will provide a first-class light and powerful fog whistle. [Colonist, 1872-05-29]


Steamer Sir James Douglas, with Mr Pearse, will sail for Cape Beale in a few days. Mr Pearse will select a site for the lighthouse to be erected at that point. [Colonist, 1872-10-22]


Dominion Government Steamer Sir James Douglas will sail for Cape Beale with Mr Pearse to select a lighthouse site. Cape Beale is a bluff about 125′ in height with a bold rocky shore against which the breakers incessantly beat. Access to the Cape can only be had by going outside the Straits and running into the mouth of Bamfield Creek where a snug little harbor exists. From Bamfield Creek a road or trail about 2 miles in length to the Cape will have to be made. [Colonist, 1872-10-26]

Continue reading

Lighthouse History – 03 (1867-02-28 to 1871-01-21)


Lighthouse Lens

Lighthouse Lens

The following extracts taken from early Victoria, British Columbia (BC) newspapers are credited to Leona Taylor for her excellent work in indexing the papers. Full information can be found here: “Index of Historical Victoria Newspapers“, 2007-09.



Mrs Davis, Widow of late lighthouse keeper at Race Rocks, is in want with 4 small children crying for bread. We are assured that the poor woman has done all in her power to procure employment, and that her exertions in that direction have met with poor success. Cannot something be done in her behalf? We are aware that there have been many calls upon the public of late for assistance; but ‘the poor ye have always with ye,’ and those who have no work to give would little miss a small donation. [Colonist, 1867-02-28, p. 3]

tender call, erection of FOG BELL TOWER at Race Rocks Lighthouse, signed B. W. Pearse, Lands & Works office [Colonist, 1870-07-12, p. 1]

John Costello, better known by the sobriquet of ‘Billy the Bug’ died at Race Rocks lighthouse, Jan 19, 1871 under very distressing circumstances. The poor man left Victoria in an open boat with supplies for the lighthouse, 12 miles distant. A gale sprang up shortly afterwards and he was driven past the rocks to the American side. Continue reading

Lighthouse History – 02 (1860-06-09 to 1865-12-28)

Fresnel Lens

Fresnel Lens

The following extracts taken from early Victoria, British Columbia (BC) newspapers are credited to Leona Taylor for her excellent work in indexing the papers. Full information can be found here: “Index of Historical Victoria Newspapers“, 2007-09.


Esquimalt Lighthouse (Fisgard Lighthouse – ed) is now completed, except the lantern… [Colonist, 1860-06-09, p. 2]

By the Grecian the lanterns for the Fisguard Is and Race Rocks lighthouses, and the keepers of the same, arrived… [Colonist, 1860-08-09]

Schooner Meg Merillee has arrived from Barclay Sound, and reports that in passing the Race rocks yesterday morning a black flag was observed flying from the top of the lighthouse. Was it intended as a sign that some person had died? We feel anxious to know the cause of the display. [Workmen who had gone down to repair the lighthouse, and out of provisions, had lived on clams alone for 5 days] [Colonist, 1862-04-17] Continue reading

Lighthouse History – 01 (1859-12-01 to 1860-06-09)

Fresnel lighthouse lens - diagram

Fresnel lighthouse lens – diagram

The following extracts taken from early Victoria, British Columbia (BC) newspapers are credited to Leona Taylor for her excellent work in indexing the papers. Full information can be found here: “Index of Historical Victoria Newspapers“, 2007-09.

I have started this with the earliest paper of 1858. When you go on the newspaper website you can see more details in the scanned copies of the old papers. The newspaper links to the scanned copies are located at the end of each short summary (see the excerpts below).

When Ms. Taylor sent me the information, I was overwhelmed. Here was a source of names for past lighthouse keepers for my Lighthouse Keeper Database.

And now on to the newspaper excerpts . . .


Captain Nagle purposes erecting a temporary lighthouse on McCauley’s Point (McCauley Point – ed). He has already purchased a lantern at a cost of $100. This is a very necessary improvement, for it will be remembered that about 3 months ago Eliza Anderson ran by the harbor into Esquimalt in a dark, rainy night. Besides, we believe that we are correct in stating that the Major Tompkins was lost there several years ago. [Colonist, 1859-12-01]

Coroner’s jury in the case of Edward Jones, who died on Waddington alley, Apr 12, censured the policeman having him in charge very severely, for not promptly summoning medical aid…Deceased had been employed as a cook at one of the lighthouses in the vicinity of this harbor (Berens Island?). He entered the Chinese restaurant on Waddington Alley in a high state of intoxication…page 1 [Colonist, 1860-04-14]

Esquimalt Light House – H. O. Tiedemann did lighthouse and Wright the house for the keeper, long article, number of mentions of Wright [Colonist, 1860-06-09, p. 2]

Esquimalt Lighthouse (Fisgard Lighthouse – ed.) designed by Mr. Tidieman [sic] of Surveyor General’s office, the light tower and house for the keeper erected by well-known architect John Wright – full description [Colonist, 1860-06-09, p. 2]