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Old 29-07-2021, 08:57   #1
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musings on the dog´s watch

What is a lighthouse?

It’s a navigational aid. Yes, sure, but then again, it is so much more than that!

In the dark nights at sea, nothing is constant. Every indication may also be a deception. The water plays tricks on you. It reflects your navigation lights, in fleeting flashes of red and green, out of the corner of your eye, in the crest of a wave, in the rolling wake of your bow.

But there is nothing there except the anxious breath of your imagination. Beyond here, there be monsters…

The stars will shift, they will rise and fall. The moon, inconstant, will set. The lights afar and dim, will make you wonder where the horizon really is, and how far, in the empty panorama before you. In this bubble of hollow darkness, the only sure thing is the soft light of the compass showing you the way.

And then you see it. It’s like the greeting from an old and missed friend. It is the smile the girl you like gives you, out of nothing, as a spontaneous gift. You see the wink of the lighthouse and the spell is conjured. The monsters retreat to the depths. Proportions become again part of the fabric of the universe. The horizon takes its rightful place in it, and like on the second day, the waters separate from the heavens.

You look for it; for its song. The rhythm of this one is “short-short-long”, every seven seconds. You whisper under your breath: one-one thousand, two-one thousand…

Yep, that’s the one! You look at the compass. You look at your watch. You remember the course you laid, the day before, on the chart. Yep, more or less where it should be, more or less at the right time, give or take.

And now, your place is again assured in the dark bubble. Your position in the universe of uncertain, deceiving lights and declining stars, is once again secure. Things kind of make sense again.

Is it time for the next watch yet? Maybe I should go below and brew a cuppa.
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Old 29-07-2021, 09:04   #2
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Re: musings on the dog´s watch

Very nice.
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Old 29-07-2021, 16:13   #3
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Re: musings on the dog´s watch

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Old 29-07-2021, 16:20   #4
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Re: musings on the dog´s watch




The chart plotter has removed so much from our nautical lives. OK, it has added some comforts but there isn't any emotion it's electronic guts.
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Old 29-07-2021, 16:22   #5
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Re: musings on the dog´s watch

having just yesterday walked up another $%^&* hill to another #$%%^& lighthouse, what i want to know is why do they always build the $%%^^& things on top of hills ??



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Old 29-07-2021, 16:27   #6
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Re: musings on the dog´s watch

Or out on rocks and on small islands without safe harbours for the poor buggers who had to live in or near the lighthouse
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Old 29-07-2021, 23:53   #7
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Re: musings on the dog´s watch

What always amazed me about them is that one will zip by them in the daytime but it takes forever to reach and pass them on the dark and no matter how far away they are at night one always feels about to run on the rock they are built on.
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Old 30-07-2021, 04:08   #8
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Re: musings on the dog´s watch

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What always amazed me about them is that one will zip by them in the daytime but it takes forever to reach and pass them on the dark and no matter how far away they are at night one always feels about to run on the rock they are built on.
I remember one of my first solo sails. This was between the Deben river (South down the coast) and Lowestoft (North wrt Deben), East Anglia, UK. Not a long run, 40 miles or so. The Deben is tidal, with a large sandbank at the mouth and a meandering, shifting channel. Can be entered only about one hour either side of HW spings. The tide current runs S on this part of the coast on the ebbs, so the way back North to Lowestoft is always against the tide. I left Deben at dusk at the top of the tide, and headed North with a fresh breeze and steep chop on the nose. Too tight for Nausikaa to make any headway under sail, so steaming all the way. Between Deben a Lowestoft is Southwold, with a tall lighthouse.

I spent five miserable hours staring at the Southwold lighthouse nailed fast on exacltly the same bearing, depite doing 5 knots SOW, wet to the bone, and in the dark. They were some of the longest five hours i ever had, and I developed a love-hate relationship with that particular lighthouse!
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Old 30-07-2021, 06:03   #9
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Re: musings on the dog´s watch

I maintain the Crooked River Lighthouse at Carrabelle, FL. I increased it's brightness to 110,000 lumens using an ordinary high school gymnasium lightbulb. The commercial fishermen in the area love it. One has even complained that I blanked the land side so that the light no longer shines into his bedroom window. They don't need the light; they have their GPS units, but they and I find just the comfort that seadago describes so eloquently in seeing it on the horizon and then coming home. It is a friend, not just a light.
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Old 30-07-2021, 06:50   #10
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Re: musings on the dog´s watch

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Originally Posted by Wotname View Post



The chart plotter has removed so much from our nautical lives. OK, it has added some comforts but there isn't any emotion it's electronic guts.
Despite knowing that you will see the South Sea Island on one particular day - there is still no feeling that matches hearing "Land Ho!" after 25 days at sea.

It is indescribable
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Old 30-07-2021, 07:08   #11
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Re: musings on the dog´s watch

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"It is a friend, not just a light."
concurr. And may they never go out of use, no matter how much technology we can avail ourselves with!
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Old 30-07-2021, 07:44   #12
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concurr. And may they never go out of use, no matter how much technology we can avail ourselves with!
And long may they be something for American Fleet Commanders to rant at..
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Old 30-07-2021, 08:24   #13
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Re: musings on the dog´s watch

Having learned to sail under the watchful "eye" of Montauk Light at the end of Long Island, New York, that light came to mean so many things to me.

I knew exactly where I was ("before I became the excellent navigator that I am now" she said modestly)

It was commissioned by George Washington and brings US history to life for me.

It flashes by in following seas but takes hours and hours to pass if wind and current are not with you. In fact one night after hours of watching it abeam I came up with the term "negative headway".

Here on the West Coast of North America there are all sorts of lights, utilitarian, picturesque - it runs the gamut. They all reassure me.

But none like old Montauk Light.
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Old 30-07-2021, 09:15   #14
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Re: musings on the dog´s watch

The Old Brown's Head Light, by John McCutcheon


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Old 30-07-2021, 10:05   #15
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Re: musings on the dog´s watch

Dogs have watches???

Quote:
Originally Posted by redhead View Post
Having learned to sail under the watchful "eye" of Montauk Light at the end of Long Island, New York, that light came to mean so many things to me.

I knew exactly where I was ("before I became the excellent navigator that I am now" she said modestly)

It was commissioned by George Washington and brings US history to life for me.

It flashes by in following seas but takes hours and hours to pass if wind and current are not with you. In fact one night after hours of watching it abeam I came up with the term "negative headway".

Here on the West Coast of North America there are all sorts of lights, utilitarian, picturesque - it runs the gamut. They all reassure me.

But none like old Montauk Light.
Nicely said.

I was stationed at the sub-base in Groton. Returning after months at sea on patrol, sighting Montauk was anxiously awaited; it meant we were almost 'home'.
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