A lighthouse is a tower designed to emit light from a system of lamps and lenses or, in older times, from a fire, and used as an aid to navigation for pilots at sea or on inland waterways. They are used to mark dangerous coastlines, hazardous shoals and reefs, and safe entries to harbors. They have served this purpose for thousands of years as they have guided seafarers safely in their search for port.
Nowadays, they are dying as modern technology renders them obsolete. The number of operational lighthouses has declined due to the expense of maintenance and replacement by modern electronic navigational aids. Without people to maintain them, their lights no longer shine and their bodies crumble and decay. Here are pictures of a few of them, now considered nothing but curiosities for the interested to explore.
Aniva Nuclear Lighthouse
The Aniva lighthouse was built by the Japanese in 1939, on a chunk of rock off the southern coast of Sakhalin, a thin 950 km long island situated just east of Russia, between the sea of Japan and Russia’s Sea of Okhotsk. The island was largely uninhabited until the 1800′s, when both Japan and Russia became interested in annexing it; the Russians for use as a penal colony.
That led to years of conflict, retrenchment, and buildup of military forces, with both nations agreeing to split the island across the 50th parallel. A ring of light-houses were built on Sakhalin’s rocky coast to signal incoming troop carriers and merchant ships.
After around 50 years of sharing the island, the Russians annexed it all in the Second World War, causing some half a million Japanese to be evacuated back to Hokkaido. In 1951 the Treaty of San Francisco was signed, officially handing tenure of the island over to the Russians, though plenty of territorial issues remain over surrounding, smaller islands.
Cape St George Lighthouse
Cape St George Lighthouse was a lighthouse that stood near Jervis Bay Village, Jervis Bay Territory, Australia. It was located about 3 kilometres (1.9 mi) south of the southern entrance to Jervis Bay. Constructed in 1860 it was active until 1889. The tower was destroyed between 1917-1922 to avoid confusion in daylight. The ruins remain and are listed on the National Heritage List.
The ill fate of the lighthouse affected the lighthouse staff and their families. In July 1887, Harriet Parker, daughter of the Assistant light keepers, was accidentally shot dead in 1887 by Kate Gibson, the Chief Keeper’s daughter. The jury of the ensuing Coronial inquiry stated that Harriet had died “from a gunshot wound accidentally received, and that Kate Gibson was not to blame as they were skylarking …” Harriet Parker’s grave can be found in the nearby Greenpatch Camping Area. In 1895, Edward Bailey, the Chief Lighthouse Keeper, drowned while fishing 3 kilometres (1.9 mi) south of the lighthouse, leaving a large family of eleven children. He was washed off the rocks and was believed to have been taken by sharks. His son Arthur took over him and reared his brothers and sisters. Another son, Arthur, became the Head Lighthouse keeper at Point Perpendicular Light when it opened in 1899.
Morris Island lighthouse
Morris Island Light is a lighthouse on Morris Island in South Carolina. The light stands on the southern side of the entrance to Charleston Harbor, north of the town of Folly Beach.
The lighthouse is unusual in that it now stands several hundred feet offshore. When constructed in 1876 the light was approximately 1,200 feet (370 m) from the water’s edge. However, the construction in 1889 of the jetties which protect the shipping lanes leading to Charleston Harbor altered ocean currents, resulting in the rapid erosion of Morris Island and the destruction of many structures and historical sites (such as Fort Wagner). By 1938 the shoreline had reached the lighthouse, forcing its automation as it was no longer safe or practical to keep it manned. In 1962 the Morris Island Light was decommissioned and replaced by the new Charleston Light, located on Sullivan’s Island at the north end of the harbor.
Great Isaac Cay Lighthouse
Great Isaac Cay Lighthouse was erected in 1859, and stands about 151 feet (46 m) tall. Some say a the full moon brings strange noises to the tiny island. In the late 19th century local lore tells of a ship wreck on the island with one survivor, an infant. The child’s distraught mother, known as the Grey Lady, is said to haunt the island to this very day, wailing in sorrow during the full moon. On August 4, 1969, the station was discovered to have been abandoned by its two keepers, who were never found. Many believers in the Bermuda Triangle claim that the keepers were two more victims lost to its mysterious forces.
Though it might not be a mystery at all, whilst it is true on the 4th of August 1969 locals did find the island to be deserted. When one looks at the hurricane record from 1969, Hurricane Anna, the first hurricane of 1969 passed close enough to Great Isaac Island to cause dangerous weather for the tiny rock island. The dates the Hurricane passed the Bahama region were the 1st and 2 August. By the 4th of August, the hurricane was well into the Atlantic Ocean and weather would have been good enough to investigate why the Lighthouse wasn’t flashing the day or two after the hurricane. As a point of interest the full moon occurred on the July 29th and August 27, 1969. The grounds are open to the public, although the lighthouse itself has had stairs removed to block access to the interior of that structure. The keepers’ house, cistern, and assorted buildings are crumbling into ruins. The derelict collection of abandoned buildings make Great Isaac Cay a popular destination for boaters.
Peninsula Point Lighthouse
The point on the Stonington Peninsula is the southern extension of the Niagara Escarpment. A shoal extends more than 2 miles into the lake, posing a hazard to navigation. Danger was inherent in the confluence of reefs and the shipping channels—which lead to safety at the docks of Escanaba, Gladstone, Fayette and Nahma, Michigan. These busy ports transported fish, iron ore, lumber, among other products.
Under water the escarpment forms the northern tip of Wisconsin’s Door Peninsula Because of their placement on points of land, lighthouses are often situated on migratory pathways, and are so-called ‘bird traps.’ The Stonington Peninsula plays a crucial role in the migration of the Monarch butterfly, which gathers there in September before migrating across Lake Michigan to Door County, Wisconsin. In the fall, thousands of monarch butterflies converge on the area to rest before their migration across Green Bay. It has been called the Point Pelee of the Upper Peninsula, and is an important bird area. The location is also an important location for migratory birds, and has been deemed to be a successful effort by the Hiawatha National Forest. The area is said ot be a rock hound’s paradise. “The rocky shoreline yields fossils estimated at 400-500 million years old.”