Lighthouses Attract Birds!

lighthouse-web

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

The Lighthouse and Religion

For years the lighthouse has been a religious symbol, a beacon, guiding ships and/or people in the right direction. I accidently came across this song on Youtube called The Lighthouse sung by another group called The Happy Goodmans, but I liked the Elvis Presley version better. It is definitely not Rock and Roll but along the lines of his famous rendition of In the Ghetto, which is one of my favourites.

Lyrics

I am posting this now because I again accidently stumbled upon this page: God’s lighthouse will help navigate our lives. Now, I am not very religiously inclined, but this text explains the song and the reason for the song better than I could:

God has a lighthouse that overlooks life’s sea. Some these days are lobbying to tear it down, especially the so-called politically correct.

They argue that the big ships of life’s important issues don’t sail that way anymore, and so it only serves to cause an offence and its position could be better occupied with other more important, useful and popular services.

Then my mind goes back to a stormy night, when just in time I observed its beams piercing through the darkness and I ask myself the question: If it hadn’t been for that lighthouse where would my ship be today?

I speak for many when I say, as the songwriter puts it: “I thank God for the lighthouse,” and “that we owe our life to Him, because you see Jesus is God’s lighthouse and He is still saving lives from the rocks of sin”.

Jesus said: “I am the light of the world.”

Unlike certain previous generations, we often obscure God’s lighthouse from our children’s view and wonder why they are breaking up on the rocks of crime and vice at an ever-alarming rate.

This lighthouse was not erected by the hands of men but by Almighty God Himself 2,000 years ago, not to be hid, but to serve as a guiding light enabling us to navigate through life’s journey.

God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son Jesus who, on our behalf, took the punishment for our sin on the cross at Calvary preventing us from perishing in order that we may also receive everlasting life. So many around the world today can truly say that if it hadn’t been for that old lighthouse their ship would no longer be sailing life’s ocean today.

Thank God for the lighthouse shining as bright as ever. – this is Cornwall 

From the theme of the text, it seems that some people are trying to tear down a lot of lighthouses, be they be spiritual or material. I for one am against tearing down both. They both are guiding lights for some people. Mind you, not all people believe in God or sail the seas, but for those that do, a lighthouse is a comfort.

The calm behind the lighthouse - photo G. Borgens

I know a lot of people thought the lighthouse that I tended at McInnes Island was a godsend when they had battled the stormy Northwest seas, and I mean this realistically, because when they came behind the lighthouse at McInnes Island they were in calm waters and felt safe.

So, enjoy the song, and if you wish to listen to different versions, then please check out the singers below – all available from Youtube.

Another version by Elvis

 The Hinsons

J. D. Sumner and the Stamps Quartet

The Goodmans

The Happy Goodmans

Any others?

 

‘Automation’ Comes to Triple Island c. 1950s

– from Jeannie (Hartt) Nielsen (daughter of Ed Hartt, Senior Keeper on Triple Island 1954 – 1957) 

Triple Island at Dusk*

Ed and Eileen Hartt were lightkeepers for a number of years, on Lawyer Island, Triple Island, and Langara Island. The following is an excerpt from one of my mother’s manuscripts about life on Triple Island in the 1950s. 

It shows how lightkeeper’s wives often had to pitch in and help out – and how lightkeepers had to come up with some innovative solutions at times! 

My father was an extremely resourceful man, and devised one of the first power devices used on the light stations for rotating the light within the tower. His ingenuity came in useful in many ways on other occasions as well. What follows is just one example . . . 

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

– from Eileen Hartt (Wife of Ed Hartt, Senior Keeper on Triple 1954 – 1957) 

The combination washing machine/spin dryer we had purchased, turned out to be a real comedian in disguise. Its well worn casters (in fact, they were flat on one side) didn’t prevent it from charging all over the kitchen, like a dog on a leash. Its long cord plugged into the light socket hanging on the usual wire strung from the ceiling. It lurched and charged around the room with me in pursuit, trying to load it. Ed and the children thought it as hilarious when I missed the tub and my load of clothes scattered across the floor. 

One night as we sat at the table, Don (our assistant keeper) told us that the clock drive for the tower wasn’t working properly. It had stopped half a dozen times the night before and had to be constantly watched. Ed and Don went to inspect it and I followed along. It didn’t take long to find the problem. The pulleys through which the cable passed were so worn from the long years of use that they were binding. The gears also were well worn. Ed and Don put their heads together and came up with an alarm that would ring if the light stopped turning . 

It wasn’t very long after we put the light on that night when we found out how well the alarm worked. The sudden loud jangle of the bell brought us all to our feet and the three of us ran for the tower. Reaching the lamp room panting, Ed paused long enough to push the turn table and count to make the light revolve as it must. The men disappeared through the open trap door, and I was left to count and push, count and push. At first it was easy, but then my arm lost feeling, so I changed arms; then back again. It became agony, but I didn’t dare stop. I wondered if they would ever come back! 

At last I heard feet on the cement steps. Ed told me to leave the light and get on the radio. I was to inform Digby and the Department of Transport that the light was inoperable. My arms and back ached as the blood returned, and I hurried down to the radio room. 

“Prince Rupert Radio, Prince Rupert Radio, Prince Rupert Radio: Triple Island calling!” 

“Triple Island, Prince Rupert back. We have a message for you. Copy? Your light is burning steady. Do you copy?” 

I glanced out the window and saw the lights of the ship that had just reported our light, passing in the night. 

“Prince Rupert Radio, have copied. I want to send one to the main office and your station; light inoperable, worn gears. Signed Ed Hartt, Triple Island. Do you copy?” 

I looked out at the passing ship lights and made a face at them then went back to the tower room to tell the men we had been reported. 

“Wouldn’t you know it?” Ed complained. “You don’t see a ship or boat all day, and the second things go wrong there’s one right there!” 

“That’s the way things go,” Don agreed. 

That night turned into a nightmare for the two men as they tried to keep the light turning. The weight would only drop about ten feet then stop and have to be wound up again. 

As I walked bleary eyed through the kitchen the next morning I found my rambling washing machine was not in its usual place. It had given its life to become part of the electric drive Ed had devised to keep the light revolving. I found its remains in the engine room, but it was in a good cause, as our light never burned steady again. 

* photo – Triple Island at Dusk – Mike Mitchell