First lit 175 years ago

Happy 175th Birthday to this old place:

A sandstone tower 27 metres high, it was first lit on the 1st of March 1849, it’s been lighting the way around the dangerous Cape Agulhas rocks ever since (well, it took a bit of time out between 1968 and 1988, but we don’t mention that). From burning sheep tail fat (1849 -1905) to an oil lantern (1905 – 1929) to a petroleum vapour burner (1929 – 1936) to an electric light bulb (1936 – [1968 & 1988 – shhhh!] to the present day), it’s a National Monument, a Western Cape Heritage Site and an International Historic Civil Engineering Landmark, according to the American Society of Civil Engineers.


And as the sun sets in Agulhas this evening, it’ll be on duty again: its lamp and first order Fresnel lens generating 7,500,000 candela, flashing white every five seconds, piercing the darkness for 30 nautical miles (56 km, 35 miles).

Happy Birthday, old chap.

Happy 174th Birthday

To this old icon:

Completed on December 15th 1848 – at a cost of £15,871 – sure.

But first lit on this day in 1849. And that’s what counts for lighthouse birthdays.

The light, a 4-wick Argand burner, was lit on March 1st 1849. It was filled with rendered fat obtained from indigenous fat-tailed sheep, and produced a stationary white light of 4,500 candlepower.

The current light is ever so slightly more powerful than that, at 7,500,000 candlepower, flashes every 5 seconds and has a range of 30 nautical miles (56 km; 35 miles). Interestingly, it doesn’t rely on Eskom for illumination, but on occasion, it has stopped turning because of power outages.

Old school stuff. Pedal faster.


Back home from a hot, humid Agulhas to a hot, humid Cape Town. Make sure all the wilted garden is given a quick refreshing bath and then straight into the pool or a beer, depending on one’s individual preference.

Before we left, we headed up the Agulhas Lighthouse for a look over the town and the Southernmost Point, except that the sea mist hid the latter from us. Thus, the most interesting thing to ‘tog was actually this lamp halfway up the tower.

Quite clearly recently unused (like we can anyway!), and in need of some TLC, but that matches the rest of the place at the moment, the 2013 refurbishment long since overcome by the efforts of the (very) local oceans.

More to follow, but it’s been a long day, so I’ll sign off for now and go and help with dinner.

The showbiz lifestyle of a top blogger, eh?

“Foursquare” – Cape Agulhas Lighthouse

I’m not on foursquare, which is good for you because it’s annoying and not very much use.

I can however, borrow their name and use it as a blog post title. And thus, herewith, four square photos of Cape Agulhas Lighthouse.



Gorgeous new paint job, hey?

Back to Cape Town now for us. Back to internet, to TV, back to work and to real life. But the memories of an amazing holiday are still very fresh and I already can’t wait to get back there.

There are more photos on flickr.