The light at the NW end of Channel Islands Harbor — Back in business pretty soon
Back in business – soon.
According to last week’s Local Notice to Mariners (LNM), the NW breakwater light at Channel Islands harbor, which has been out for a year or so, will soon be fixed. And this morning, lo and behold, there’s a fixit team approaching with a barge, a crane and untold workers.
We can only hope that they’ll give us something more visible than the used refrigerator light bulb that was supposed to be visible for 6 nm. Maybe in the laboratory, but with any ambient light, we’re lucky to spot this outside of two miles. But that’s better than nothing, which is what we’ve had for too long.
Anacapa Light Change
The Anacapa Light is going to be changed to an LED and the signal will be changed to 2 flashes every 20 seconds. I think that’ll make it much easier to identify than the current sequence, which is almost impossible to explain and difficult to see and interpret from the deck of a moving sailboat.
No date for the changeover has been published.
Last of its kind, at least in US Coast Guard service
Anacapa Light Fresnel Lens housed in museum
The last light (light is what non-sailors call a lighthouse*) on the west coast has retired and removed its Fresnel lens.
The massive unit was removed from the Pt. Conception Light by three “lampists” in the last week or so and can now be seen at the Santa Barbara Maritime Museum.
Well before electrification of navaids, the Fresnel lens made the most of a single candle, focusing its light in a way that could make it visible for many miles. The lenses have been in use since their invention in the early 19th century but were gradually replaced by airport-type beacons and now LED’s. The light source, originally a candle, then whale-oil lamps, then kerosene and finally incandescent electric light bulbs kept up with technology but the huge lens structures was overtaken by the need for automation. Now they mostly live in museums as artifacts of the past. But to me, they are works of art.
By Adolphe Ganot [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
Early tests showed that only 3% of a candle’s light would be seen at a distance. By adding reflectors that could be increased to 17%. By contrast a light focused through a Fresnel lens projected 83% of the light.
*Many “lights” these days are nothing but lights on sticks. No house. Here’s the Bosun getting a close-up look at the Santa Barbara Island light.