Digest>Archives> Nov/Dec 2021

From the Lighthouse Service Bulletin

By Jack Graham


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Cape Spartel Lighthouse, Morocco

This column continues to provide excerpts from the “Lighthouse Service Bulletin,” a monthly publication of the Bureau of Lighthouses, U.S. Department of Commerce. The first was issued in January 1912, and it continued throughout the existence of the Bureau. Unedited quotes from Volume III Nos. 44 and 45 and dated August and September 1927, follow. The Bulletin had as its object “supplying information that will be immediately useful in maintaining or improving the standards of the Lighthouse Service, and of keeping the personnel advised of the progress of work and matters of general interest in the service and in lighthouse work in general.”

Kilauea Point Light First Landfall Made By Army Aviators In Hawaiian Flight – In the first flight by airplane from the Pacific coast of the United States recently successfully accomplished by the Army aviators, Lieutenants Maitland and Hegenberger, the first landfall made was Kilauea Point Light, on the island of Kauai. These aviators picked up the light at a distance of about 90 miles, soon recognizing it as a lighthouse and subsequently identifying it by its flashes.

If Lieutenants Maitland and Hegenberger had not picked up Kilauea Point Light, they might have passed the Hawaiian Islands, missing them entirely.

Long Voyages of the Tenders “Acacia” and “Lupine” – The reconditioned tenders Acacia and Lupine, after undergoing extensive repairs at Norfolk, Va., departed from Portsmouth, Va., on May 14, 1927, for the ninth and eighteenth districts, respectively, manned by the crews transferred from the Colombine and Madrono. The vessels steamed in consort to Charleston, S.C., where they took on bunker oil and provisions, departing May 18 for Guantanamo, Cuba, arriving at that port on May 22. The Acacia sailed from Guantanamo for San Juan, P.R., on May 24, arriving May 28 after a safe and uneventful trip. The Lupine departed from Guantanamo on May 23, enroute to Panama. The three Caribbean Sea Lights, Roncador, Quite Sueno, and Serrano were inspected and attended. The tender arrived at Colon, Canal Zone, on May 29, and passed through the Panama Canal to Balboa, arriving June 1, and departing on the same date for La Union, Salvador, where she arrived after a 72-hour run. Bunker oil was procured, the vessel leaving within three hours for Manzanillo, Mexico, where on June 9 another stop was made for oil and provisions.

Departure was made the same night for San Diego, Calif., arriving there the evening of June 14, and leaving the next day, arriving at San Francisco at 7:30 a.m. June 18, with all well on board.

The voyage, totaling 5,725 miles, was completed successfully without mishaps of any kind. The performance and speed of the tender were very satisfactory. The total oil consumed was 111,193 gallons, with an average hourly consumption of 183.3 gallons.

Cape Spartel Lighthouse, Africa – The Bureau has received an interesting monograph written by M. de Rouville, chief engineer of the French lighthouse service, describing the construction of the lighthouse at Cape Spartel, Morocco, built over 60 years ago. This lighthouse stands on the coast of Africa, on the southerly side of the Strait of Gilbraltar, at the entrance to the Mediterranean Sea. At present this is the only lighthouse outside its own territory in which the United States assists in the maintenance, in accordance with a treaty of May, 1865, between this government and a number of the maritime nations of Europe. Later 13 countries were associated in the maintenance of this lighthouse. The annual appropriation by the United States is now $386, under the control of the State Department. M. de Rouville gives an account of the circumstances leading to the building of this lighthouse, originally recommended about 1850, pointing out that confusion existed among navigators between the appearance of the Spanish and Moroccan coasts on either side of the strait, resulting in numerous marine casualties in the vicinity, and culminating in the wreck of a Brazilian vessel in 1861 with the loss of 250 lives.

Saving of Life and Property – F.C. Hill, keeper of the Old Baldy Island Light Station, Del., on June 26 rendered assistance to three boats in distress in the vicinity of his station. In the last instance he rescued two soldiers who were clinging to their capsized canoe about three-quarters of a mile from the station.

Andrew Zuius, Jr., keeper of Old Orchard Shoal Light Station, N.Y., on June 26 rendered assistance to four men whose boat had sprung a leak in a heavy sea near the station. He brought the men to the station in the lifeboat and provided for their stay overnight, and later towed their boat ashore.

O.O. Johnson, keeper of Cobb Point Bar Light Station, Md., and W. A. Gibbs, assistant keeper, on June 26 rescued five persons adrift in a small skiff during a heavy gale. The keeper sailed about a mile from the station to pick up these people, and his arrival was most timely, as the skiff was filling fast and the wind increasing.

David Swain, assistant keeper of Hillsboro Inlet Light Station, Fla., on June 26 rescued a girl and a young man from the waters of the inlet. The young man had gone to her assistance when she got beyond her depth in the water. Both probably would have drowned if the assistant keeper had not gone to their assistance.

That’s another sampling “From the Bulletin” Watch this space in each issue of Lighthouse Digest for more.

This story appeared in the Nov/Dec 2021 edition of Lighthouse Digest Magazine. The print edition contains more stories than our internet edition, and each story generally contains more photographs - often many more - in the print edition. For subscription information about the print edition, click here.

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