Quota Lighthouse

Because of one thing and another (but mainly one thing), I think it’s fair to say that posts are going to be a little erratic here for the next week at least, so please bear with me and in the meantime, enjoy a quota photo of Green Point Lighthouse:

Go large

I’ve never really understood why it is painted in garish red and white diagonal stripes.
“So that it stands out from the buildings around it,” they tell me.
Does the big, bright, rotating light on the top of it not do that adequately enough then?

And how can the crews of ships passing off the Atlantic seaboard see the stripes at night anyway? Even with very powerful binoculars, they would surely be dazzled by that big, bright, rotating light on the top of it.
And when they can see the stripes during the day, at what point is it important that they recognise the building as a lighthouse? Surely the presence of any building at all would indicate land: something which is best avoided if you are a ship – vessels which tend to prefer wet places, which land is not.

Colour me confused (but not diagonally red and white).

9 thoughts on “Quota Lighthouse

  1. Officially it’s called the Mouille Point (that’s pronounced “Moo-lee” for those that might not know) lighthouse, just FYI. But hey, I’ve lived here in Cape Town all my life, and I still can’t tell which bits are Mouille Point, Green Point or Sea Point, because they all seem to be much the same area…

  2. DelBoy > How cool would it be if the whole thing rotated? Wow.

    Gary > I am forced to disagree. According to all the sources I have read, it’s the Green Point Lighthouse:

    “Often, and incorrectly, called the Mouille Point lighthouse, Green Point is the oldest operational lighthouse in South Africa.”

    from here

    “The lighthouse is often called Mouille Point Light, although there was a different lighthouse with that name (previous entry) from 1842 to 1908.”

    from here and

    It is a 16 meter square masonry building and is often incorrectly referred to as Mouille Point. This is the penultimate Lighthouse that I have photographed and had the pleasure of meeting James Collocott – Manager Lighthouse services there.


    The Mouille Point lighthouse referred to in that last quote can be seen here.

  3. Each light house is apparently painted differently so that by day the captains know where they are. By night the speed or flash of the lights is different so they can tell.

    If they are that close that they need to see the different paint jobs I’d say there were in a spot of bother.

  4. John Schofield > Thanks for the comment, but yes. I get this, (I even say so in the post). My question though: Why would you need to distinguish it against other buildings?

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