Lighting the Lamp

Lighting the Lamp

We were cruising in the Bahamas early this year and one of our layovers was Hope Town in the Abacos. Hope Town is home to the iconic Elbow Reef Lighthouse, just a short walk from our marina berth. This classic red and white candy-striped lighthouse is over 150 years old and still in working condition. It is the last remaining kerosene powered lighthouse in the world.

This photo is a bit outside my usual style, but I thought it would be fun to share. The lighthouse attendant has just lit the lamp and he is watching to make sure the flame has stabilized. What makes this image work for me is the way his eyes are illuminated by the beam as the mechanism rotates. Handholding the camera in low light conditions is always a challenge, and it took several attempts before I was able to catch just the right angle as the beam passed over the keeper’s face.

The Hope Town lighthouse was built in the 1860s by the British Imperial Lighthouse Service despite vehement opposition from a local populace that had been profiting from a lucrative ‘wrecking trade’, luring ships onto the reef and salvaging the contents of the resulting shipwrecks. It took quite a long time to complete construction of the tower as repeated vandalism slowed progress.

Now, of course, the lighthouse is the pride of the island. It is even featured on the Bahamian $10 bill. The Elbow Reef Lighthouse Society works hard to raise funds to contribute to the maintenance and continued operation of the light, and vigorously opposes any effort to automate the operation. It is open to visit, free of charge, seven days a week. And, by request, the lighthouse keeper will allow visitors to come after hours to observe the lighting of the lamp shortly after sunset. This is a lengthy process that requires a period of slow heating before the light finally catches fire and begins casting its beam out to sea, slowly revolving as it warns ships away from the dangerous rocky coast. Another unusual job requirement for the lighthouse keeper is the task of winding up the mechanism every two hours, day and night, a process that has been going on without fail for the past 150 years of the lighthouse’s existence.


Sony a7Rii, 1/60 sec at f/4.0, ISO 3200, 25mm (16-35mm F4 AZ OSS), hand-held

Photo is copyrighted and registered with the US Copyright Office. Enjoy but please respect.


Posted by Carol in Bahamas, Humans, Night Skies, 2 comments
Caribbean Storm

Caribbean Storm

Confined to port on a day of blustery winds in the Bahamas, we elected to take a day trip to Harbour Island via high speed ferry that makes a daily round trip from Nassau to Spanish Wells to Harbourtown and back again. Wind and surging waves made it hard for the ferry to tie up to Harbourtown’s concrete sea wall, and as soon as all the passengers disembarked it made a hasty departure and we were informed it would not be returning for the afternoon run and that we would be taking alternate transportation home.

Harbour Island is known for its pink sand beach named, appropriately, The Pink Sands Beach, considered to be one of the ten most beautiful beaches in the world. Despite the windy weather, due to the wind direction on this day the Pink Sands Beach was tranquil and calm, protected in the lee of the island even though the sky threatened on the horizon. Although we toured the island end to end (via golf cart), we lingered here the longest in pursuit of a worthy addition to my wave studies collection.

We were back at the dock for transport home by 3 p.m. Small but powerful water taxis loaded up groups of passengers and then took off at high speed straight into the wind and waves, crossing the strait between Harbour Island and Eleuthera Island in excellent form. On Eleuthera we were shepherded into waiting vans which then transported us some ten miles or so across the island, where we were shuttled again into another flotilla of water taxis that sped us back to Spanish Wells. Happy to have arrived at our final destination, we didn’t envy the Nassau bound passengers who were in for a rough ride home on the final leg.

Sony a7Rii, 1/400 sec at f/8.0, ISO 100, 200mm (FE70.0-200.0 mm f/4 G OSS), hand held

Photo is copyrighted and registered with the US Copyright Office. Enjoy, but please respect.

Posted by Carol in Bahamas, Caribbean, Scenic, Seascapes, 2 comments