Point Reyes Lighthouse | Inverness | California

The Point Reyes Lighthouse was built in 1870 due the extremely high winds and dense fog that descend from the Gulf of Farallones onto Point Reyes, 31 km from the nearest town of Inverness California. It was assigned to Point Reyes in 1855, but its construction was delayed for fifteen years because of a dispute between the United States Lighthouse Board and the landowners over a fair price for the land. The 11 m tower, first lit on December 1, 1870, spends the majority of the year wrapped in a…

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The frozen lighthouse of Cleveland, Ohio

In Cleveland, Ohio, there is a lighhouse that is placed so close to Lake Erie, one of the Great Lakes of the Midwest, that a wonderful weather phenomenon takes place. Each winter, in fact, the West Pierhead Lighthouse is literally fully encrusted with ice. It started during the winter of 2010, when local Cleveland news stations began reporting on a gorgeous natural phenomenon: an ice sculpture rising from the waters of Lake Erie. But this wasn’t a work of art, but the lighthouse encased entirely in ice, looking like a…

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The leaning Lighthouse of Puerto Morelos, Mexico

We are in Puerto Morelos, located about halfway between the Riviera Maya hubs of Cancún and Playa del Carmen. Believe it or not, the small seaside town has had a troubled history when it comes to its lighthouses.The first lighthouse dates back to 1905, although it seems it was little more than a light atop a metal pole. The second, almost 10 meters tall, was built out of cement in almost the same location, right on the beach, in 1946. Painted white with blue trim, this second light was hit…

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Roosevelt Island Lighthouse: a little lighthouse in New York surrounded by mysterious stories of insanity-driven construction

Built in 1872 and known then as the “Blackwell Island Lighthouse”, the 15-meters-tall stone lighthouse at the northern tip of Roosevelt Island was constructed, if the legends can be believed, by the deranged occupants of a nearby insane asylum. But what’s not in doubt is that it was built by the city as a navigation aid for boats avoiding the rocks in the so-called “Hell Gate” waters. Historically, for nearly two centuries, Blackwell was the name that identified the island that lies in the East River just off Manhattan. For…

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Créac’h: the most powerful lighthouse in Europe

The Créac’h lighthouse, in Breton Tour-tan ar C’hreac’h (translated as Tour-tan: lighthouse and C’hreac’h: promontory) is a lighthouse in the island of Ouessant, in Brittany, France. It was built in 1863 and is 53 m high. It is located on the north western tip of the island and guides ships in the dangerous and busy stretch of the Atlantic which becomes, from that point, the English Channel. For this reason it is the most powerful in Europe and one of the most powerful in the world, visible up to a…

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Stiff lighthouse: the oldest lighthouse in Brittany that is still working

“Further west than the west”, Ouessant is the westernmost island in Finistère, a department of France in the extreme west of Brittany. The island is well known for its treacherous seafaring heritage and for its indigenous sheep. It’s also a land of many legends, including the story of Lampaul Bay and the clash between Saint Guénolé and Saint Gildas, which led to the creation of the great rock (or grande roche) right in the middle of the two coastal points. Ouessant is regarded as the entrance to the English Channel,…

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Souter Lighthouse | England

We are in the village of Marsden in South Shields, Tyne&Wear, in Northern England. The story of Souter Lighthouse began in 1871, when it was constructed on Lizard Point. The visibility from Lizard Point was very good, as its cliffs are higher than those at nearby Souter Point, but the lighthouse was named after Souter so it wouldn’t be confused with the already existing Lizard Lighthouse in Cornwall. Interestingly, Souter was the first lighthouse in the world to be actually designed and built specifically to use alternating electric current, the…

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Saint-Louise – Sète’s historic Lighthouse

This lighthouse proudly stands at the end of Le Môle Saint-Louis, Sète’s pier. The jetty, 650 metres long, was the first structure to be built when the city was founded in 1666. Walking to the pier, you can still spot portraits of seafarers, painted by the German artist Klaus Dauven during the Escale à Sète in 2018. Eventually, these portraits will fade away and, interestingly, they are something like reverse graffiti. More clearly, instead of spray painting the portraits on the wall, the artist etched out murals on dirt-encrusted surfaces…

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Tourlitis Lighthouse: The magical Greek Lighthouse

We are off the coast of the Greek port city of Andros. Rising up out of the islet of Tourlitis, a weather-worn stone spire opposite the harbor at Chora, on Andros island, Tourlitis Lighthouse looks like something straight out of a fantasy novel. The beacon was first built in 1897 just off shore from a castle in Andros. The stone column on which it was built had been shaped by millennia of natural erosion into the perfect pedestal for a coastal beacon. Unfortunately the original lighthouse was short-lived, and was…

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Svörtuloftsviti – Skálasnagaviti: a lighthouse in Iceland that boasts magnificent coastal views

Svörtuloft (or the Black Ceiling) is a ruggedly beautiful place to visit. Despite the name sounds ominous, it stems from the cliffs being formed of pitch black lava, like in so many other places in this area. Here the lava flow didn’t stop until it reached the cold sea and the surf has eroded the pitch black lava through the centuries. Interestingly, there are at least 14 places in Iceland by this name, Svörtuloft, and here the lava looks like it has been cut and made into a massive, sheer…

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Kallur Lighthouse and the magnificent Kalsoy – Faroe Islands

We are in Kalsoy, one of the eighteen islands (and the westernmost) that make up the Faroe Islands. The island, nicknamed “The Flute”, is mostly known for the Kallur Lighthouse and dramatic and rugged landscapes, and is is long, skinny and wedged in between Kunoy and Eysturoy. Interestingly, “Kalsoy” means man island and “Kunoy” woman island. There are no bridges or underwater tunnels connecting Kalsoy to another island and you can reach it merely by ferry or boat. The scenery surrounding the simple lighthouse at Kallur is incredible: craggy cliffs…

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Peche Island Rear Range Light in Marine City, Michigan – the retired lighthouse

Isle aux Pêches, French for Fisheries Island, is a Canadian Island situated at the confluence of the Detroit River and Lake St. Clair. On July 13, 1892, Congress passed an act that provided for a ship channel with a minimum depth of six meters to be dredged in the shallows of the connecting waters of the Great Lakes. Isle aux Peches Range Lights were established on April 15, 1898, with the front light consisting of a mast supported by a pile of clusters driven in about six meters of water.…

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Yaquina Bay Lighthouse, the mysterious disappearance of Muriel Trevenard and its haunted history

On a scenic basalt rock headland that juts into the Pacific Ocean stands a beautiful white lighthouse. At 28 meter tall, the Yaquina Head Lighthouse, located in Newport, Oregon, is the state’s tallest lighthouse and It’s been guiding ships for 145 years. For over a century, ghost stories have swirled around the lighthouse, locally know as Oregon’s most famous haunted lighthouse. It was built in 1871, and first lit on August 20, 1873. One tale tells of a construction worker helping to build the tower who fell to his death.…

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Saint Mathieu Lighthouse | France

Located on Pointe Saint-Mathieu in Plougonvelin, around Brest in Finistère, Saint-Mathieu lighthouse was built in 1835 among the ruins of the ancient Abbaye Saint-Mathieu de Fine-Terre. The Abbey gives the cape its name, and It was dedicated to Saint Matthew the Evangelist, whose skull it housed. It was a Benedictine abbey, but was revived and reformed by the Maurists in the mid-17th century. According to legend the first abbey here was founded in the 6th century by Saint Tanguy, chosen for its isolated location among the lands he had inherited.…

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The Cheboygan Point Lighthouse ruins and the lost town of Duncan – Michigan

Hidden among the trees in northern Michigan and along the shores of Lake Huron in the Cheboygan State Park lies the ruins of the old Cheboygan Point Lighthouse. When sailing from the east, mariners have two options for reaching the Straits of Mackinac: the North Channel, between Mackinac Island and Round Island, or the South Channel, which passes between the southern side of Bois Blanc Island and the mainland. On September 28, 1850, Congress appropriated $4,000 for a lighthouse “on the point of land about three miles east of Cheboygan…

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Fort Gratiot Lighthouse: Michigan’s oldest lighthouse

Fort Gratiot was built in 1814 during the War of 1812 to guard the juncture of the St. Clair River and Lake Huron. Named after the engineer who supervised construction, Charles Gratiot, Fort Gratiot would be occupied on and off until 1879. However, with a surge of vessel traffic on Lake Huron in the early 1800s, the need for a Light Station to guide vessels through the water way became very important, and in 1823 Congress approved the funds to build the first lighthouse in Michigan and the second oldest…

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Petit Minou Lighthouse – France

On the west coast of the European continent, at Brittany’s tip, Finistère’s string of lighthouses shine as unshakeable witnesses to the tides that sculpt the beautiful landscapes of the Iroise Sea. The port of Brest, in northwestern France, together with one of the two French naval bases, Brest Arsenal, located in the Finistère department, litterally “Department of the End of the World”, are linked to the Atlantic Ocean (called the Iroise Sea at this point) by the Goulet de Brest, a strait about 1.8 km wide. For a number of…

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La Mola Lighthouse – Illes Balears, Spain

We are at the eastern edge of Formentera, the most southern of the Balearic Islands. The “Far de la Mola”, also known as Far de Formentera) was drafted by the architect and engineer Emili Pou y Bonet. It was inaugurated in November 1861, at the time of Isabel II, and until 1973 it was not electrified and it used to work with wicks and oil vapor. The lighthouse is 21 meters tall and stands fiercely upon a 258-meter high cliff, the highest point of the island. According to some locals,…

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Þrídrangaviti Lighthouse – Iceland – is probably the loneliest in the world

A cluster of slender rock pillars jut out from the ocean’s surface, miles away from civilization. From a distance, it looks like a colorful bug has settled atop on the highest of the three rocks, called Háidrangur, or High Rock in English. If you look closer, you’ll see it’s a tiny red-roofed lighthouse, perhaps one of the loneliest in the world, and you’ll need wings to go to there, because the only access to the Þrídrangar lighthouse is by helicopter. The whitewashed lighthouse is perched atop the tallest of the…

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Captain William Robinson: the keeper who won’t leave his lighthouse in Whitehall – Michigan

White River is nearly twenty-four miles (about 38 km) in length and passes through White Lake before emptying into Lake Michigan. When in 1675, Father Pere Marquette stopped in the area, he learned that the Native Americans called the stream “Wabish-Sippe,” meaning the river with white clay in the water, which probably originated the names of White River and White Lake. The cities of Whitehall and Montague are located on opposite sides of the river at the head of White Lake and were first settled by Europeans just before the…

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St.Agustine Lighthouse – Florida

The St. Augustine Light Station is a private-aid to navigation and an active, working lighthouse in St. Augustine, Florida. It was the first lighthouse established in Florida by the new, territorial, American Government in 1824. According to some archival records and maps, it was placed on the site of an earlier watchtower, described as a beacon, built by the Spanish as early as the late 16th century. And it seems plausible, given the levels of maritime trade by that time. By 1870, beach erosion was threatening the first lighthouse, and…

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Block Island Southeast Light and Mad Maggie, the ghost who hates men

Block Island Southeast Light is a lighthouse located on Mohegan Bluffs at the southeastern corner of Block Island, Rhode Island. Block Island is surrounded by submerged rocks and sandy shoals and many ships have met their end here, on what was often called the “stumbling block” of the New England coast. However, the six-mile-long island didn’t get its name from being a stumbling block, but rather by the Dutch explorer Adrian Block, who charted the area in 1614. Block Island Southeast Lighthouse is one of the most visually striking lighthouses…

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Big Bay Point Lighthouse – Michigan

Big Bay Point Lighthouse stands on a rocky point halfway between Marquette and Keweenaw Portage Entry, Michigan. The Lighthouse Board recommended the establishment of a lighthouse here in 1892, as Big Bay Point occupies a position midway between Granite Island and Huron Islands, these two lights are invisible from each other and the intervening stretch is unlighted. In fact, quite a number of vessels have in past years been wrecked around the area. The Big Bay Point Lighthouse and its adjoining caretaker’s lodge were inaugurated in 1896. The first keeper…

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Execution Rocks Lighthouse – New York

The solitary Execution Rocks Lighthouse in the Long Island Sound guards the way to mansions which inspired The Great Gatsby, but also hides a macabre history of murder. In the middle of Long Island Sound, equidistant from New Rochelle and Port Washington, stands the lighthouse built in the 1850s, when America was a British colony with a growing revolutionary spirit. Prior to 1850, there had been lights on this reef, but none were official or reliable. The tiny rocky island on which it was constructed was known as the Execution…

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Ponce De Leon Inlet Lighthouse – Florida

With its 53 meters high, Ponce de Leon Inlet Lighthouse is the third tallest lighthouse in America and it has stood guard over Florida’s coast since 1887. Its story began in 1835, when a lighthouse was built on the south side of what was then called Mosquito Inlet (now Ponce de Leon Inlet). A conical, brick tower and a dwelling were hastily completed and the first keeper assigned to the station was William H. Williams who received an annual stipend of $450. However Keeper Williams didn’t have much work to…

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New London Ledge Lighthouse – Connecticut

New London Ledge Lighthouse is a lighthouse in Groton, Connecticut, at the mouth of New London harbor. It is currently owned and maintained by the New London Maritime Society as part of the National Historic Lighthouse Preservation Act program. It was built in 1909 on the southwest ledge and it was placed in operation on November 10 in the same year, with the station’s fourth-order Fresnel lens, crafted in Paris by the watchmaker Henry-Lepaute, repeating the distinctive signature of three white flashes followed by one red flash every thirty seconds.…

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Penfield Reef Lighthouse – Connecticut

Penfield Reef, named after an early prominent Fairfield family, has for centuries been a dreaded hazard to mariners sailing Long Island Sound. Even as late as the middle of the nineteenth century, only a pair of buoys marked the reef, and ships were regularly hitting the rocks. The steamer Rip Van Winkle, loaded with passengers, ran aground on the reef in 1864, but miraculously disaster was narrowly avoided. Incidents like this led local mariners and merchants to protest loudly for a lighthouse to be placed on the reef. Penfield Reef…

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Macuti Lighthouse and Shipwreck – Mozambique

We are in Beira, Mozambique. Macuti Beach is along the main coast road between Beira city and the airport. If you find yourself there, a visit to the beach it’s well worth, to witness this unusual scene: the remains of an old shipwreck lying on the sand directly in front of a mysterious but quaint abandoned lighthouse. At high tide, only a few rusted bulkheads are visible above the breakers, but at low tide, you can walk or wade right through the wreckage. The red-and-white-striped Macuti Lighthouse (the beach is…

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Fire Island Lighthouse – history and ghosts!

The stately Fire Island Lighthouse, on Fire Island’s west end, was first opened in 1827 and is a familiar landmark on the barrier island where it stands 55 meters above sea level and can be seen more than 20 miles away. On the National Register of Historic Places since 1974, the decommissioned lighthouse is now open to visitors, and those in good physical shape can walk the 192 winding steps for a stunning view from the top of New York’s tallest lighthouse. However, tales of shadowy figures, ghostly laughs, otherworldly…

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Minot’s Ledge Lighthouse, Massachusetts

Minot’s Ledge is a rocky coastal area located one mile off the coast of Scituate, Massachusetts, to the southeast of Boston Harbor. It’s estimated that here dozens of ships have been wrecked by the jagged rocks and coral which lies unseen just below the water’s surface. In fact, in 1843, lighthouse inspector I. W. P. Lewis compiled a report on Minots Ledge, showing that more than 40 vessels had been lost from 1832 to 1841, with serious loss of life and damage to property. The most dramatic incident was the…

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