About Me

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I worked as a tour guide for two summers at the Umpqua River Lighthouse in Oregon. This opportunity enabled me to learn more about that lighthouse than any of the others I've seen. Although I have personally visited and photographed over 300 lighthouses in the United States and three Provinces in Canada, the Umpqua River Lighthouse has special meaning for me. All pictures posted in this blog were taken by me, unless noted otherwise. The Umpqua River Lighthouse is where I was inspired to write my book titled, "The Wickie."

Book Info.

I invite you to read my book, "THE WICKIE." Preview the book's cover and watch the trailer below.
(Wickie was a nickname used by the early lighthouse keepers at the Umpqua River Lighthouse in OR.)

This 1860's story about the lighthouse keepers and their families at the Umpqua River Lighthouse will warm your heart. Discover the challenges they met but never expected, and their determination to maintain navigational aid to mariners on the Oregon coast.

To order your signed copy of "The Wickie", send me an e-mail: awbates1955@gmail.com. The Book is $15 plus tax and shipping.

My book is also available on Amazon or Barnes and Noble.
Use the Tabs below for links to these websites. At their website, click on books - In the Search area enter The Wickie.

21 January 2016

The Lighthouse Curtain

In 1999, I made my first trip to Oregon and visited several of its lighthouses along the west coast. One of those lighthouses was the Umpqua River Lighthouse. Upon arrival, I took the above picture of the lighthouse with the curtain pulled around its lens. Little did I know at the time, I would later return to the lighthouse and work as a tour guide for two consecutive summers. It wasn’t until my first summer there in 2004, I learned the curtain was pulled in order to prevent a possible fire from occurring to surrounding buildings and trees. Pulling the curtain was done at times when the Coast Guard shut down the lens for maintenance, otherwise that light operated twenty four hours a day seven days a week.

The opportunity to work as a tour guide enabled me to learn much about that lighthouse’s history and the tasks performed by keepers in doing their job. This knowledge, along with encouragement from my late wife, inspired me to write a book titled, “The Wickie.” In the book, my characters talked about working with a curtain in the lantern room. In my 1857 story and throughout years later, the lights had to be operational from thirty minutes before dusk until thirty minutes after daylight the next morning . Otherwise, the lens was covered with “the curtain.” Although the genre is fiction, the book is based on actual events that occurred in the life of lighthouse keepers. So, whether you’ve read my book or you will read it in the future, you now have a better picture in your mind of the lighthouse curtain. 

14 January 2016

Peggy's Cove Lighthouse and Post Office

The Peggy's Cove Lighthouse is located at Peggy's Cove, Nova Scotia, Canada. The first lighthouse built here in 1868 was a large house with a light on top. It was also home for the keeper and his family. During World War II the Royal Canadian Navy also used the house as a radio station.

Construction of the current lighthouse with its octagonal tower and lantern room was completed in 1915. This lighthouse was also manned until 1958 when it became fully automated and continued its red light.

From 1975 to November 2009, the village post office operated on the lower level of the lighthouse during the summer months. Space on that level would accommodate four or five customers at a time. As my picture shows, especially if you enlarge it, there was a line of people waiting to get in at the time of my visit.
This Post Office was the only Canadian Post Office located in a lighthouse. The village of Peggy's Cove was given its own "cancellation stamp" which contains a replica of the lighthouse. Below is a picture of the stamp, set for cancelling mail on Sep 24 1993. 
Like other tourist who traveled there in 2001 to view the lighthouse, I also mailed a card to myself from that unique post office/lighthouse. Unfortunately, after passing of time and moving from place to place, I have misplaced or lost the card. In my opinion, a cancelled stamp on mail processed at Peggy's Cove Lighthouse Post Office could be a future collector’s item, if not already.

08 January 2016

Characteristic or Signature of The Light

A lighthouse is not effective as an aid to navigation unless it can be seen by the mariner, and can be identified as a particular lighthouse in a specific location.

Most lighthouse lights rhythmically flash or eclipse to provide their identification signal. The particular pattern of flashes or eclipses is known as the character of the light, and the interval at which it repeats itself is called the period. When lights are designed, the designer must choose light characteristics that are different from other lights in the vicinity. The number of different characters allowed in the design is restricted by international agreement through the International Association of Lighthouse Authorities in Paris. The majority of maritime nations belong to this association. 

Two classes of lights most used in lighthouses are the fixed flashing light and the group flashing light.

A fixed flashing light is a single flash, regularly repeated at perhaps 5-, 10-, or 15- second intervals. An example of this class is the Heceta Head Lighthouse, located near Florence, OR. (Pictured below.) Its characteristic or signature is a single white light which flashes every 10 seconds.

The group flashing light exhibits groups of two, three, or four flashes, with a short eclipse between individual flashes and a long eclipse of several seconds between successive groups. The whole pattern is repeated at regular intervals of 10 to 20 seconds. An example of this class is the Umpqua River Lighthouse, located at Winchester Bay, OR. (Pictured below). Its characteristic or signature is flashes of white and red light. Two white flashes and one red flash every 15 seconds.


31 December 2015

The Old Out and The New In

Every year at this time, we tend to look back and remember events that occurred in our lives during the old or outgoing year. Some of those events brought sorrow and pain while others brought joy and happiness. These emotions are examples of changes occurring in our lives, but most everyone looks forward with new hope that the New Year will bring better days for them and their families than the previous year.

Quite often I use the expression, “Nothing Stays The Same,” to summarize a change that occurred in my life. It can apply to people as well as things on earth. 

The Castle Hill Lighthouse in Rhode Island, pictured below, is an example of change. When the lighthouse was built in 1890, the lantern room was equipped with a fifth-order Fresnel lens with a red light. The engineers and people who installed that light probably thought it would be there indefinitely. However, in 1957 when the lighthouse was automated, the Fresnel lens was removed and replaced with a 300-mm plastic lens. It was the old out and the new in that created change for many lives. However, that new light continues an active light.

                            HAPPY NEW YEAR!