CREDITS: I would like to thank Jeremy D'Entremont for providing much of the history one can find on this site. He is a speaker, author, historian, and tour guide who is widely recognized as the foremost authority on the lighthouses of New England. For a story on Jeremy or to visit his site (New England Lighthouses: A Virtual Guide), use the corresponding link in the right hand information bar under "Related Links".

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I have set up this site as a means to share my photographs of lighthouses. Since retiring and finding more time to study photography, my interests have expanded a little. For some of my work other than lighthouses please enjoy my Facebook page at, John Shaw Photography. Come visit, enjoy, and 'LIKE' if you wish.

Also, for your enjoyment, I have provided a slideshow of our journey. To view it please use the link on the right under 'Site Navigation Tools'.

I sincerely hope you enjoy my efforts and use my site not only for information and education but also to provide directions for many enjoyable, inspirational visits to the beacons along our beautiful coas.

Monday, April 28, 2014

Lighthouses of the Gutan Locks of the Panama Canal

     As one might expect, the lighthouses of Panamá are generally associated with passage through the Panama Canal. The Canal opened on 15 August 1914, after ten years of U.S. construction following earlier work by a French company.

     In 1903, shortly after winning its independence from Colombia, Panama granted the U.S. extraterritorial jurisdiction over the Canal Zone. The Zone remained under exclusive U.S. control until the Panama Canal Treaty, ratified in 1978, provided for its restoration to Panama. Under the treaty, Panama assumed full operation of the Canal at the end of 1999. The U.S. Panama Canal Commission, which operated the canal until the reversion, is now the Autoridad del Canal de Panamá (Panama Canal Authority).

     The Authority is expanding the Canal, doubling its capacity by constructing a third set of locks and widening and deepening the entire route. Groundbreaking for this enormous project was held in September 2007, and the work is scheduled for completion in 2015. This project may result in the removal or replacement of at least some of the historic lighthouses.
     Some 35 range lighthouses were constructed to help guide ships through the Canal, and many of these lighthouses are reported still in service.

Toro Point Lighthouse

      1893. Active; focal plane 33 m (108 ft); white light, 5 s on, 25 s off. 27.5 m (90 ft) steel skeletal tower with central cylinder, mounted on a stone base. Entire lighthouse painted white. This elegant lighthouse, built by the French during their efforts to construct the Canal, is a familiar landmark for everyone passing through the waterway. Located at the root of the Limón Bay West Breakwater, on the west side of the entrance to Limón Bay from the Caribbean. 

Atlantic Entrance Range Middle Lighthouse

     1914.  Active; focal plane 48 m (158 ft); occulting green light visible only on the range line. 14 m (46 ft) concrete tower with lantern and gallery. J. Located on Lighthouse Road in the town of Gatún, roughly 500 m (0.3 mi) east of the Gatún Locks and 1.2 km (3/4 mi) south of the middle range light. 

Gatún Northbound Rear (Gatún Locks) Lighthouse:


     1914. Active; green light occulting once every 4.5 s. Roughly 27 m (89 ft) concrete tower with lantern and gallery, painted white with blue trim.  This lighthouse is the rear light of the range for northbound (Atlantic-bound) ships approaching the Gatún Locks from Gatún Lake. The tallest and most conspicuous lighthouse of the Canal, it is frequently photographed.  Located on the west wall of the Gatún Locks. Site and tower closed, although the view from ships passing through the locks is excellent.

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Sunday, April 27, 2014

Castillo Grande Lighthouse in Cartagena, Columbia

      The Castillo Grande Lighthouse, built in 1973. is located at the end of a peninsula sheltering the inner harbor of Cartagena and marking the beginning approach for vessels to berth. The unpainted tower made of concrete block has an observation deck appearing to be off center with a white lantern. The light is active, flashing white every seven seconds, with a focal plane of 79-feet. The lighthouse is located in an upscale neighborhood, further away from tall buildings in the background, as one might imagine. 

     While approaching the Port in Cartagena, a Catholic statue of the Virgin of Carmen is said to help protect sailors traveling the ocean. Colombia is among several countries in South America with Catholicism being the predominate faith. 

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Saturday, April 26, 2014

California Lighthouse in Aruba

     Aruba’s California Lighthouse takes the term sightseeing quite literally. Located near Arashi Beach on the northwest tip of the island and originally erected to warn ships away from the Caribbean coastline, this towering landmark offers you a rich piece of history and arguably the most inviting views of this fascinating island nation.

     This lighthouse commemorates the S.S. California, a wooden steamship that shipwrecked in Aruba at midnight on Sept. 23, 1891 after sailing from Liverpool toward Central America. On board, passengers were partying hard when the wreck occurred. Meanwhile, the crew was more practical, tossing cargo overboard as the sinking vessel hit the coast so the merchandise could be sold in Oranjestad — or so the story goes.

     Two decades later, a French architect designed the striking edifice that came to be known as the California Lighthouse. Construction on the lighthouse began in 1914 and took two years to complete. The tower was built using stone blocks quarried in the area. Meanwhile, the top — which stands at 100 feet high — was made of metal to house the mood-altering light that shines onto the landscape today.

     Perched high over the sea, the old stone lighthouse has become one of Aruba’s most well-known landmarks. From its vantage point, take in the postcard-worthy views of the island’s western coastline with its white-sand beaches, rocky shorelines and Tierra del Sol, a popular golf course.

     The lighthouse is located in an area known as Hudishibana, where daredevils tend to test their dune surfing skills in the California White Sand Dunes.  Don't ask; it involves sliding down the dunes in any way that seems comfortable. Just wear strong jeans or trousers.

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Friday, April 25, 2014

The Cuckolds Lighthouse

       This oddly named lighthouse is one of the last to be built on the Maine coast. The name Cuckolds, given to a pair of treacherous ledges at the entrance to Boothbay Harbor, is apparently after a point of land on the Thames River in England that was granted to a London man to assuage his anger after King John had an affair with his wife. The Cuckolds in Maine may have been named by a transplanted Londoner.

      A tripod-type day beacon was located on the Cuckolds since1874. In 1890, a recommendation was made for a fog signal station, stating that the Cuckolds were "dangerous of approach on their southern side on account of the reefs in that direction, and the shoals which extend half a mile to the westward of the western rock. . . . They are much dreaded by mariners in thick weather."

    Wrecks continued in the vicinity in spite of the fog signal station. In January 1896, Cuckolds fog signal keepers Edward H. Pierce and Clarence Marr rescued six crewmen of the Canadian schooner Aurora on a bitterly cold night with the help of two lobstermen from Cape Newagen. The rescuers were awarded silver watches by the Canadian government.

      There have been a number of rescues in the vicinity of the Cuckolds. In September 1925, Keeper Fred Robinson rescued several people from a motorboat that was drifting near the lighthouse.

     Keeper E.D. Elliot towed a disabled boat holding seven people to safety in the fall of 1930.

     Many sources claim that a blizzard in February 1978 destroyed the keeper's dwelling, but according to Coast Guard sources it was demolished in 1977. The lighthouse still exhibits a flashing white light as an active aid to navigation. 

     Directions:  From U.S. 1, take ME27 south into Boothbay Harbor.  Continue on Rt 27 to Southport Island to the villave of Newagen.  At the post office ME 27 turns 90 degrees north into ME 238; bear southeast onto a paved road with a “Town Landing” sign at the corner.  Continue to a small parking area at the public peir.  The lighthouse can be seen in the distancew.  It can also be seen from many of the excursion boats out of Boothbay Harbor and from the public landing pier at Cape Newagen.

     CreditsI would like to thank Jeremy D'Entremont, webmaster of,, for sharing the above history.  Jeremy is a speaker, author, historian, and tour guide who is widely recognized as the foremost authority on the lighthouses of New England.  To view a story on him, go to, (Jeremy D'Entremont).  

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