Pachena Point Lighthouse

Pachena Point LensThe photo at the left shows the lamp, lens, mercury bath bearing, and winding apparatus which was installed on the Pachena Point lighthouse in February 1908. The lens is a 1st order Fresnel lens made by Chance Brothers of Birmingham England – one of the largest sizes possible, and it all sits on a wooden tower!

The glass lens, 3 m tall, 2.5 m wide and weighing 400 kg was brought by boat around Cape Horn. The 1000-watt bulb in use now puts out four million candlepower and is visible from Washington State’s Olympic Peninsula. (reference)

This graphic was sent to me by a friend but I have no idea of the source. I have searched Google and the only mention of the photo that I found was in reference to the Eddystone lighthouse, which this definitely is not. Continue reading

The West Coast Trail

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The West Coast Trail is a 75 km (47 mi) long backpacking trail following the southwestern edge of Vancouver Island in British Columbia, Canada. It was built in 1907 to facilitate the rescue of survivors of shipwrecks along the coast, part of the treacherous Graveyard of the Pacific. It is now part of Pacific Rim National Park (Parks Canada and Wikipedia) and is often rated by hiking guides as one of the world’s top hiking trails.

The West Coast Trail is open from May 1 until September 30. It is accessible to hikers outside of this period but Parks Canada does not guarantee the accessibility of services (such as search and rescue) in the off season. It was originally known as the Dominion Lifesaving Trail (sometimes misidentified as the West Coast Lifesaving Trail).-Wikipedia

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Video courtesy of Parks Canada website

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My daughter and her friend just finished hiking the West Coast Trail this Summer 2013 and thoroughly enjoyed it. (photos on Facebook) It is rough, it is challenging, but it is an adventure, and it is fun! The trail passes by two manned lighthouses (Pachena -photo above, and Carmanah – photo below) which date back to the time when the trail was Continue reading

Moving Day 1970s

Crates awaiting lowering to the ship - photo Glenn Borgens

One of the problems with moving to another lighthouse was that everything had to be crated and or well-packed to withstand the dangers of the transportation and handling by ship and/or helicopter. It also had to survive unexpected falls and/or water damage, both fresh and salt.

When my wife Karen and I first moved on the lighthouses we had no material for crating so we had to get professionals from a moving company to do the work for us. They did a very good job but were very expensive.

When we got the bill we did not have the money to pay for it, so we told the man we would leave half the furnishings there in the warehouse and get them shipped out next month when we got paid. He was having nothing of that and eventually dropped the price to something we could afford. Continue reading

A Posting to Isolation – Pachena Pt. 1949 – 1955

– Betty Healey (Wife of Arthur Healey – Officer-in-Charge (OIC) Pachena Point Radio station (VAD) 1949 – 1955)
– forward by editor Tom Racine (from his website History of Spectrum Management in Canada

D.O.T.’er Arthur Healey was officer-in-charge at Pachena Point  Marine Radio Station from 1949 to 1955. With his wife Betty and three children, Ann, John and Michael who were then 12, 8 and 7 years of age respec­tively, he spent six years at this isolated post. He went from there to Alert Bay and last summer took over as officer-in-charge at Victoria Marine Radio. 

Access to Pachena Radio, which was closed down in 1958 after 45 years of operation, was by lighthouse tender, or Bamfield lifeboat, and then by workboat through the surf to the bonnet-sling; then highline up the cliff. If one was a good hiker, it was possible to trek the nine miles from Bamfield to Pachena, and that was how the Healey’s first got there. 

Today, living once again in a large urban community, Mrs. Healey recalls the rewarding experiences shared by the family during that six year period. The children are now young adults: Ann is married and the mother of four children; John received a Bachelor of Education degree last year and is now teaching at Burns Lake, B.C., and Michael, working towards a Master’s degree in zoology at UBC, plans to go to Europe for Ph.D. studies.  Continue reading

The Characteristics of Lighthouse Lights

Every lighthouse light has its own characteristics – 1. the number of flashes per minute, 2. it’s range, which is dependent on intensity, lenses, and height, and 3. the number of beams from the light, plus other identifying features.

Flashes per Minute

Hand-cranked gear mechanism - Pachena Point

The number of flashes per minute is regulated by the speed of rotation which is governed by the motor turning gears to drive the light around. The old heavy Fresnel lens lights sat on a bath of mercury and rotated in the early days from a hand-wound clockwork mechanism, later to be replaced by an electric motor, and later to be replaced altogether.

Enclosed lights such as the DCB-10 and DCB-36 (originally used as airport beacons) were only driven by electricity and gearing regulated the speed of rotation.

Each light in a certain area has a unique characteristic. Continue reading

Lighthouse History – 26 – Pachena Point (1906-10-05 to 1908-05-24)

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 Pachena Point, 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.

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Dominion Government Steamer Quadra, Captain Hackett, arrived at the government wharf last night, and will today commence loading for Pachena Point, to which the vessel will carry material to be used in the construction of the lighthouse to be built there. It is hoped, by Dec. It is anticipated that 2 days will be occupied in loading the Steamer, and she will leave without delay to endeavor to land the material before the heavy swells make landing too difficult of accomplishment. [Colonist, 1906-10-05] Continue reading