Visit Hood Point Lighthouse (East London)
At a height of 19 meters, the Hood Point Lighthouse stands as tall as the pine tress that flank its masonry tower like botanical bodyguards. Smart and proud this maritime hero, decked out in the white of a naval officer's ceremonial uniform, salutes the tempestuous Indian Ocean with bright flashes into the darkness.
Visible at a focal plane of 55 meters above high water, a group flashing of 4 flashes every 40 seconds covers the coastline for the considerable distance of 31 nautical miles. A painted red dome topping the 6 000 000 candelas optic apparatus is worn like a knitted woollen cap while the matching red balustrades that encircle the balcony beneath the light wrap themselves in the fashion of a matching scarf around this beacons broad neck.
A rooftop compass fixed like a medal of honour points out across land and shore into the navigational directions of the globe from this East Coast location of South Africa. Permanently posted on the outskirts of East London since 1895, this soldier of the sea patrols the coast that has been responsible for over 85 shipwrecks and claimed the harbour title 'Port of Wrecks'. Local beaches (e.g. the Orient Beach), streets (e.g. Bonanza Street) and hotels (e.g. the Kennaway Hotel) have been named after such sunken vessels. Maritime mysteries remain unsolved on this coast as marked by the unexplained disappearance in 1909 of the 9300 ton Waratah and her 211 passengers.
Conversely marine mysteries have resolved themselves on this shoreline as discovered with the presence of prehistoric fish, Coelacanth, misconceived to have been extinct for 80 000 000 years. Matrimonial mysteries were also explored on these waters as a historic cargo of 157 Irish brides were sent ashore to marry the Cape Frontier's men. When the Hood light blinks in your direction, wink back - you never know what mystery awaits you.
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