In the 1970’s (when we still sent greeting cards) I received a card with this poem on the front. I love the way the words roll along and almost turn into a song. The first two lines are often quoted when life gets difficult. It’s a cynical poem and I wish I could remember who sent it to me, perhaps I should have read more into the card and my relationship with the sender.
The original Bluff Lighthouse, constructed in 1867, was the first lighthouse built on the East Coast of Africa. It was demolished in 1941 making way for the erection of two lighthouses to serve the area. Cooper Lighthouse was erected at Brighton Beach and Umhlanga Rocks Lighthouse at Umhlanga. Cooper Lighthouse was ready for use in 1953.
Cooper Lighthouse flashes its light every 10 seconds and has a range of over 40 kms. Fortunately there is shielding on the inland side of the light, so the neighbours are able to get a good night’s sleep.
Cooper Lighthouse and Umhlanga Rocks Lighthouse are almost identical except for the colour of the towers and their distinctive lights.
The height of a lighthouse is determined by the curvature of the earth – taller lighthouses are built on low lying land and shorter lighthouses on cliffs. Cooper Lighthouse is 26 metres tall.
The lighthouse was named after Harry Claude Cooper, lighthouse engineer, who designed and built most of the KZN lighthouses. It is unusual to name a lighthouse after a person as they are generally named after geographical points.
“Inside my empty bottle I was constructing a lighthouse
while all the others were making ships.”
Akaroa is on the Banks Peninsula, South Island, New Zealand. The weather was beautiful when we visited and the town was buzzing with tourists just off two cruise ships in the harbour.
After strolling around we found an ice cream parlour. I was so engrossed with various flavours, I tripped up a step, fell over and hit my head on the Tip Top ice cream fridge.
It was only that evening, after I recovered from my mishap, that I realised I’d missed photographing the Akaroa Lighthouse. Fortunately my son was happy to drive back into Akaroa the next day so as I could have a close look at the lighthouse and take some photos.
This very attractive Victorian lighthouse was built in about 1879.
The structure is wooden and six sided. It was originally situated on Akaroa Heads and was moved to its present location in 1980. In 1977 an automated lighthouse was installed. The lighthouse has six sides and four levels.
“A lighthouse is not interested in who gets its light
It just gives it without thinking
Giving light is its nature”
Green Point Lighthouse at Clansthal is situated between Scottburgh and Umkomaas. It is made of cast iron and is painted in red and white striped bands.
The lighthouse was built in 1905 and is a National Monument. In 1961 it was fully automated which means there is no need for a lighthouse keeper.
Green Point Lighthouse warns ships of the Aliwal Shoal which is 5 kms away. The Shoal was named after the the ship Aliwal which sunk in the area.
“Lighthouses don’t fire cannons to call attention to their shining – they just shine.”
Dwight L. Moody
The first time I heard of the Ifafa Lighthouse was during a recent internet search for the Green Point Lighthouse at Clansthal.
Ifafa Lighthouse is one of three lighthouses which warn ships of the Aliwal Shoal which is about 5 kms off the coast of KwaZulu-Natal. The other lighthouses are Port Shepstone Lighthouse and Green Point Lighthouse.
Ifafa Lighthouse was constructed in 1980 and is a triangular skeletal tower 23 metres high and has a radio beacon.
The structure is not as picturesque as conventional lighthouses but it serves its purpose and helps keep ships safe from the dangers of the night.
When my daughter said that it’s the small things that make a trip memorable, I realised she was right. We had a wonderful time on our recent visit to Ireland, wandering around Trinity College, touring a whisky distillery, visiting castles, cathedrals and so on but the real memories were made up of the small things. These are the travel stories you tell your friends and family over a couple of glasses of wine.
My stories of this trip will include include my granddaughter’s request that we have something sweet to “give closure to the meal” – from then on we made sure our holiday dinners had proper closure at the expense of our waistlines. Another fun story will be our encounter with an Irishman who warned us of the dangers of wondering around Dublin, “especially at night”. He obviously didn’t realize that South Africans are masters of self preservation.
… and then there was the one about our visit to the hotel leisure centre to have a swim in the heated pool. I dressed into my bathing suit and put my things away in the locker and locked it, using a euro coin. But I’d forgotten to take off my glasses. So I had to reopen the locker. I took another euro out of my bag and locked the locker, again forgetting to take off my glasses! I reopened the locker, took off my glasses, put them in the locker and relocked it with another euro. I then realized I’d locked my towel in the locker and had to reopen it for the third time! My husband was well into his swim by the time I joined him. I didn’t tell him the whole story, just the part where I forgot to put my glasses in the locker.
We came across enormous turnips, so remarkable in fact that they deserved a photograph – my son-in-law used his watch to give perspective to the photo. And the daisies! Huge and lovely. The watch was hauled out again for a photo shoot. Finally we came across a gigantic box of washing power in a corner cafe. Surprising stock for a local grocer in a small village to keep on his shelves, especially as the boxes took up a good portion of his limited space. Boxes of this size would be far more at home in a wholesaler’s warehouse. Thank goodness for the watch which was used for a third time!
One of our stops was for lunch at a beautiful hotel nestled in the Irish countryside. The story here is not the hotel or the lunch but it’s about Bruce, the resident Staffordshire Bullterrier, who ambled over to us wearing a tag on his collar which said ‘Bitch Magnet’.
As much as we loved the touristy things we saw and did, the stories of the small things are what we’ll treasure whenever we reminisce about our wonderful trip to the Emerald Isle.
We visited the Port Edward Lighthouse on a beautiful summer’s day. It’s not on the beach, as I had imagined, but is built amongst the houses in a residential area. It is fully operational so my first thought was for the neighbours. I wondered how they slept at night as the lighthouse has two beams, is powered by half a million candlewatts and is visible for 40 kms!
It’s official name is “North Sand Bluff Lighthouse”. Here are some interesting facts:
- It is 24 metres tall;
- Was originally built in 1968;
- And rebuilt in 1999;
- It is about 5 storeys high;
- And has a spiral staircase;
- The lighthouse is owned and operated by the Transnet National Port Authority.
“Sometimes amidst all of the wars,
all you need is to become the lighthouse,
not the sword”