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A Candle On The Water
April 22, 2008 1:33 AM   Subscribe

The Lighthouse Directory. An information portal for over 9000 lighthouses, and sites of former lighthouses, all around the world. Photos, histories, technical specifications, etc. Most of the links are very thorough, with some including excerpts from keepers' logs. The site also includes links to current news stories and general historical articles related to lighthouses.
posted by amyms (28 comments total) 28 users marked this as a favorite

 
Illuminating, thanks.

/shoots self
posted by Jofus at 2:07 AM on April 22, 2008 [1 favorite]


Oh, wow. Nice! Thanks, amyms. My father is a mariner/lighthouse nerd (as am I, to a lesser extent). I'm definitely sending him this link.
posted by brundlefly at 2:10 AM on April 22, 2008


Brilliant. This really sheds some light on the subject.

/shoots Jofus a second time
posted by three blind mice at 2:21 AM on April 22, 2008


Looking at the infamous pictures of 'La Jument,' I always wondered how they were able to build some of these things. The link above leads to evidence of more serene waves which seems to make construction less harrowing.
posted by clearly at 2:22 AM on April 22, 2008


*shoots everyone who makes light of her post*

See what I did there?
posted by amyms at 2:24 AM on April 22, 2008


Seriously though, sites like that are what the internets are all about. And, for the record, when I was 19 I took a shitload of acid and spent four hours guarding this place with my friends. I had no idea it was a lighthouse.
posted by Jofus at 2:28 AM on April 22, 2008


Awesome stuff. My favoutie lighhouse.
posted by brautigan at 3:49 AM on April 22, 2008


(favourite lighthouse even...)
posted by brautigan at 3:49 AM on April 22, 2008


Don't know why, exactly, but lighthouse fans remind me of matchbook collectors.
posted by StickyCarpet at 4:27 AM on April 22, 2008


Living in a giant candle winking at God...

And what do you know, even Switzerland has lighthouses.
posted by jontyjago at 4:59 AM on April 22, 2008


I highly recommend a book entitled, "The Lighthouse Stevensons" which details the unimaginably difficult process of constructing some of the earlier lighthouses around the wild, gale-blasted UK coasts. (Check the Skerryvore entry on this site for just a hint. Reading about that tower's construction reminded me of the Monty Python and the Holy Grail bit where 'erbert's Dad is describing the building of the family castle: "That one sank into the swamp. So we built another one. It sank into the swamp too. Then we built another one. It burned down, fell over and then sank into the swamp.") Robert Louis, it turns out, was the black sheep of the family for forsaking its engineering traditions and electing to become just another hack lawyer who did a bit of writing on the side.
posted by Mike D at 5:10 AM on April 22, 2008 [1 favorite]


In the course of my work, I have been to almost every staffed lighthouse on the B.C. coast. Most of them are absolutely amazing places, accessible only by air or sea. Lighthouse keepers are a very strange lot. For the most part, they talk your ear off when you visit their site.

I remember hearing about one lighthouse keeper, stationed near Prince Rupert, who was single and looking for a partner. He took out adds in newspapers trying to find a female to move to the island with him. I think he had no luck.

Another father-son pair of lighthouse keepers ordered brides from the Philippines.

There are people who raise children on lights. I'm not sure if that is a wise idea. From my experience, these children are not equipped with the social skills to function in a world off of a lighthouse. They usually only deal with their immediate family, maybe the other lighthouse keeper's family, and the occasional visitor for the majority of their lives, They may get off the light for a month or so a year, but in general they are home schooled until they reach the age of majority.

I don't think the lights in B.C. will be manned for much longer. The cost for maintaining them far outweighs the benefit which is brought. Automated weather is improving and the tasks the keepers are allowed to perform are being reduced. They aren't even authorized to get in a boat and help a mariner in distress.
posted by vansly at 6:05 AM on April 22, 2008 [2 favorites]


Disappearance at Sea, a short film by Tacita Dean inspired by the story of Donald Crowhurst, is very moving. "This hypnotic film, made in anamorphic (wide-angle) format was created almost entirely on location at St Abb's lighthouse and focuses on the turning mirrors, prisms and filaments of the lighthouse optic. It is filmed at the moment when day becomes night..."
posted by lukemeister at 6:15 AM on April 22, 2008


I'm lucky to live near several beautiful lighthouses. This place is 10-15 minutes drive from me.

Great post, thanks! You light up my life.
posted by Marie Mon Dieu at 6:36 AM on April 22, 2008


Great post amyms and amazing to think of the amount of work that the site represents. From my window I can see the lighthouse on Fidra - the island which Robert Louis Stephenson was supposed to have used as a template for "Treasure Island".
posted by rongorongo at 6:41 AM on April 22, 2008


I always wondered how they were able to build some of these things.

The stakes were high. People can do astonishing things when it matters a lot. No less amazing...
posted by owhydididoit at 7:37 AM on April 22, 2008


The Flannan Isles Lighthouse Mystery of 1900.
posted by brautigan at 8:55 AM on April 22, 2008 [1 favorite]


Thanks for adding that great story, brautigan. There's a picture of the lighthouse here.
posted by amyms at 10:45 AM on April 22, 2008


This reminds me of two posters I used to own. One of them was "Lighthouses of the Great Lakes". The other was "Shipwrecks of the Great Lakes".
posted by lleachie at 11:01 AM on April 22, 2008


The Morris Island Lighthouse was the second thing (after my house) I looked up on Google Maps, since I doubt I'll ever be able to visit it myself in its current state. [more info here]
posted by 1f2frfbf at 11:45 AM on April 22, 2008


jeffamaphone,his wife, and I were at the Pigeon Point Lighthouse just this weekend.
posted by nomisxid at 12:01 PM on April 22, 2008


Is there a personals website, for those who want to marry a lighthouse-keeper and keep him company? (And live by the side of the sea, for that matter.)
posted by supercres at 12:16 PM on April 22, 2008


I'm digging my wife a pond this summer, and ever since the thought occurred to me, I've been fairly obsessed about the idea of building a working miniature lighthouse next to it.

This will be handy in terms of finding a nice design.
posted by quin at 12:56 PM on April 22, 2008


That's a very cool idea, quin. We have a small backyard pond, and I think a miniature lighthouse would make a really appealing addition to it.
posted by amyms at 1:41 PM on April 22, 2008


I was thrilled when my wife gave me the thumbs up. I'm guessing that it's a trade-off: "Ok, you are going to spend the whole summer digging, I suppose I can give you your little bit of weird."

In addition to the little rotating light, I really want it to have a tiny fog horn. I'm not sure how I'm going to pull that off, but it would really add to the strangeness of the final effect.

posted by quin at 1:48 PM on April 22, 2008


Is the Jolly Rock Lighthouse listed? It even has its own sea shanty:

Graeme: Oh the winds they do blow, and the seas they do roar
Tim, Graeme and Bill: When you're stuck on a lighthouse, ten miles from the shore.
But you've heard of the Jolly Rock, of that I am sure.
Go there and your loved ones, will see you no more.
Oh, don't go to the Jolly Rock, whatever you do.
I wouldn't go near it if I was you.

Graeme: So away from the Jolly Rock I advise you to race.
Tim: It's utterly appalling and not at all nace.
Bill: For nasty things happen there, it's such a disgrace.
Tim, Graeme and Bill: ‘Cause people get killed there all over the place!
Oh, don't go to the Jolly Rock, whatever you do.
I wouldn't go near it, if I was you.

Tim: Oh, the next verse is censored ‘cause it's too horrible even to talk about!
Bill: Your blood will run cold, and your heart fill with dread.
Graeme: For the Jolly Rock is plagued with the souls of the dead!
Bill: If you stay there one night, you'll go clean off your head.
Bill and Graeme: And no time at all, you will probably catch mumps. Mumps?

Tim: Doesn't even rhyme!
posted by UbuRoivas at 2:42 PM on April 22, 2008


Is there a personals website, for those who want to marry a lighthouse-keeper and keep him company? (And live by the side of the sea, for that matter.)

Supercres: UK Clothes company Marks and Spencer have been busy illustrating that for you. And since we are in a lighthouse nerd thread you will want to see that they were here. Before it was used to flog pants Danger Point lighthouse was the place where the Flying Dutchman was first seen.
posted by rongorongo at 5:03 PM on April 22, 2008


lleachie: This reminds me of two posters I used to own. One of them was "Lighthouses of the Great Lakes".
Fancy that. There is also the western Great Lakes. We also have them in Australia.
Now I won't be making that lighthouse post I'd been developing.
posted by tellurian at 5:58 PM on April 22, 2008


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