Thursday, 10 November 2016

Kennebec River, Maine, Lighthouse Tour. October 17, 2016

Maine Maritime Museum in Bath, Maine offers several different tours in season.
We took the Seven Lighthouse Cruise on board MV Merrymeeting.
Most of these lights are now being restored by various groups.
Rear-view mirror to assist with 'parking' the boat.

The Kennebec River is tidal.
We did our cruise during an ebb tide; as you can see here the tidal current is significant.
2 hours into the cruise the ebb was in full flow and quite impressive.
Doubling Point Light
Established on Arrowsic Island near the shipbuilding harbor of Bath.
A wood-frame keeper's house, a shed and a bell tower were erected in 1898, along with an octagonal wooden lighthouse tower.  

The next year the lighthouse was moved offshore to a stone pier connected to the island by a footbridge.  The fog bell was relocated to the lighthouse tower, and the bell tower was moved and converted to a garage.
Automated in 1988.
  List of Lights # 6145
Height of tower:  23 feet.  
Height of focal plane:  23 feet.
Earlier Optic:  Fifth-order Fresnel lens.
Present Optic:  300 mm.
Characteristic:  Fl W 4s (White flash every 4 seconds) (Standard Flash)
Range:  9 miles
In the mid-1970s the Fresnel lens was removed; it's now at the Maine Lighthouse Museum in Rockland, Maine.  The fog bell was removed in 1980.

How a Fresnel lens works:
History of US-made Fresnel lens, and how a duty caused this to happen, visit this site:
But, come back when you're done there!

Doubling Point (Kennebec) Ranges
 Established on Arrowsic Island in 1898 to mark an extreme double turn in the channel at Fiddler Reach.  Mariners line up the two lights to know they are on course.

The octagonal wooden towers are 705 feet apart.  A two-story keeper's house and shed were also built, with a raised wooden walkway above the marshy ground connecting the keeper's house to the two towers. 
Automated in 1990.
  List of Lights # 6135 & 6140
Height of front tower:  21 feet.
Height of rear tower:  13 feet.  
Height of front focal plane:  18 feet.
Height of rear focal plane:  33 feet.
Earlier Optic:  Fifth-order Fresnel lens.
Present Optic:  250 mm.
Front range:  Q W (usually 1 flash per second) (Quick Flash)
Rear Range:  Iso W 6s (Isophase, on 3 seconds, off 3 seconds)
Both Lights:  Visible all round.  Higher intensity on range line.

Quick Flashing   QQuick Flashing

The duration of the quick flash is less than the darkness.
The frequency is at least 60 times per minute.

Isophase   IsoIsophase or Equal Interval (E int).

Light has equal duration between light and darkness.
A period consists of both a light and dark interval.

Modern lighthouse lights
The 250mm designation derives from the diameter of the lens at the focal plane.

To see more about these lights visit this site:

Hendricks Head Light
This light marks the east side of the entrance to the Sheepscot River.
The first lighthouse here was a granite keeper's dwelling with the tower on its roof, built in 1829.
The present square brick tower replaced the first lighthouse in 1875.
The light was discontinued in 1933.  It was reactivated in 1951 when electricity came to the house. 
Automated in 1988.
  List of Lights # 5665
Height of tower:  39 feet.  
Height of focal plane:  43 feet.
Earlier Optic:  Fifth-order Fresnel lens.
Present Optic:  250 mm.
Characteristic:  F W (Fixed White) (with a Red Sector)
White Range:  9 miles
Red Sector Range:  7 miles
Red is visible from 180 degrees to 000 degrees (south to north through west)

Pond Island Light
 In 1821 this light was established on a Rocky Island off Popham Beach.
Automated in 1963.
  List of Lights # 6025
Height of tower:  20 feet.  
Height of focal plane:  52 feet.
Earlier Optic:  Fifth-order Fresnel lens.
Present Optic:  250 mm.
Characteristic:  Iso W 6s (Isophase, on 3 seconds, off 3 seconds)
Range:  9 miles
Fog Signal:  2 bl ev 30 s. (2s bl-2s si 2s bl-24s si)
Which means:  2 blast every 30 seconds as follows:
2 second blast, 2 second silence, 2 second blast, 24 seconds silence

Nearby is Fort Popham,
Civil War-era coastal defense fortification at the mouth of the Kennebec River.
Before the Civil War soldiers were quartered on Pond Island during the War of 1812
to prevernt the British from entering the Kennebec River.

Perkins Island Light
In 1898 a 23 foot octagonal wooden tower was erected on Perkins Island, near the mouth of the Kennebec River.  A six-room keeper's house and small barn were also built.
In 1902 a boathouse and fog bell tower were built, followed in 1906 by a brick oil house.
 In 1902 a boathouse and fog bell tower were built, followed in 1906 by a brick oil house.
Automated in 1963.
  List of Lights # 6070
Height of tower:  23 feet.  
Height of focal plane:  41 feet.
Earlier Optic:  Fifth-order Fresnel lens.
Present Optic:  250 mm.
Characteristic:  Fl R 2.5s  2W Sectors (Flash Red every 2.5 seconds.  2 White Sectors)
Range:  White 6 miles, Red 5 miles
White from 018 degrees to 038 degrees and from 172 degrees to 188 degrees, covers fairway

Squirrel Point Light
 Authorized in 1895 and built in 1898.  The wooden tower is very similar to those at Doubling Point and Perkins Island.
The keeper's house, garage and barn were also built in 1898.  The boathouse and oil house were added a few years later.
 Automated in 1979.
  List of Lights # 6100
Height of tower:  25 feet.  
Height of focal plane:  33 feet.
Earlier Optic:  Fifth-order Fresnel lens.
Present Optic:  250 mm.
Characteristic:  Iso R 6s  White Sector (Isophase, on 3 seconds, off 3 seconds)
Range:  White 9 miles, Red 7 miles
White from 321 degrees to 324, covers fairway
 The original fifth-order Fresnel lens can now be seen at the Museum at Portland Head Light.
U.S. Coast Guard ownds the property but has granted the Citizens for Squirrel Point an indefinite license to provide access to the site for the benefit of the public and maritime industry and all purposes consistent with the repair, maintenance and historic restoration of the facility.
For a better visualization of the various light flashes please visit this site:

New ships being built at Bath Iron Works, Bath, Maine. October 17, 2016

On Saturday, June 18, 2016 General Dynamics Bath Iron Works christened the U.S. Navy’s newest guided-missile destroyer, Michael Monsoor (DDG 1001), Zumwalt class.
The ship is named for Petty Officer 2nd Class Michael Monsoor, who was deployed to Iraq
and was killed Sept. 29, 2006 in Ar Ramadi, Iraq.

The Zumwalt class destroyer is designed as a multi-mission stealth ship with a focus on land attacks.  They take the place of battleships in filling a congressional mandate for naval fire support.  This class has a low radar cross-section.  It requires a smaller crew than previous destroyers.  
The keel for Michael Monsoor, the second ship in the Zumwalt classwas laid on May 23, 2013.

Guided-missile destroyers are multi-mission surface combatants capable of conducting Anti-Air Warfare (AAW), Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW), and Anti-Surface Warfare (ASUW). Destroyers can operate independently or as part of carrier strike groups, surface action groups, amphibious ready groups, and underway replenishment groups. 
In drydock next to the Monsoor is the Arleigh Burke-class destroyer Rafael Peralta (DDG 115).  The Peralta is one of five of this class built at Bath Iron Works.
The Arleigh Burke-class destroyer is a multi-mission combatant that offers defense against a wide range of threats, including ballistic missiles. It operates in support of carrier battle groups, surface action groups, amphibious groups and replenishment groups, providing a complete array of anti-submarine (ASW), anti- air (AAW) and anti-surface (SuW) capabilities. 
Zumwalt-class has has a wave-piercing tumblehome hull form to help reduce radar cross-section by returning much less energy than a conventional flare hull form.

Originally 36 ships were planned but cost overruns reduced this to three, with each now costing about $7.5 Billion, which includes R&D.
 Designed for survivability, the Arleigh Burkes incorporate all-steel construction and have gas turbine propulsion. The combination of the ships’ AEGIS combat system, the Vertical Launching System, an advanced ASW system, two embarked SH-60 helicopters, advanced anti-aircraft missiles and Tomahawk anti-ship and land-attack missiles make the Arleigh Burke class destroyers the most powerful surface combatants ever put to sea.

Monday, 26 September 2016

Rideau Canal. Hanging around Newboro, Ontario. September 1, 2016

September 1, 2016.
Newboro Lock #36.  Lock gate is ajar.
This lock is built at a point originally known as the Isthmus.  In the pre-canal era it separated the Rideau and Gananoque watershed.

Rideau Lakes is a township located within Leeds and Grenville United Counties in Eastern Ontario, Canada.  The township was incorporated in 1998 by amalgamating the former townships
of North and South Crosby, Bastard (seriously), South Burgess and South Elmsley
with the village of Newboro.

The mill dam at Morton (c.1805), later replaced by a canal water control weir (1831), switched the flow from the Gananoque River to the Cataraqui River.

Long-lost paddlers left their canoe behind.
In the pre-canal era, a 2,400 m (8,000 ft) portage connected Rideau Lake with Mud Lake.

The original building plan in this area had to be changed.  John MacTaggart would regret on of the statements he made in his 1827 survey report, to whit:  "Throughout this line of proposed cutting, little rock is expected to be met with,..."

The story of the Isthmus is one of malaria and bedrock.  For more detail please visit:

Best Laid Plans, as it were.
Shortened form of "the best laid plans of mice and men often go awry",
translated from Scots "The best laid schemes o' Mice an' Men, / Gang aft agley,"
from To a Mouse, On Turning Her Up In Her Nest With The Plough, by Robert Burns.

 Old Chaffey's Mill, built in 1872.  It used the flow of water from the canal weir to power its operation.  Today it is privately owned and is used as an art and historical display centre.

If you look closely at these photos you can see the opening in the foundation
to allow the water to run through.

Video of mill race.

What grows alongside the mill race.

Lockmaster's House Museum.
Operated by the Chaffey's Lock and Area Historical Society, it houses interesting photos and exhibits.  It is well worth a visit.

The two of us working without a Selfie-Stick.

Displays you may find in the museum.
The Chaffey's Lock and Area Heritage Society was formed in 1980 to oversee the development of the Lockmaster's House Museum and to preserve the heritage of the village and surrounding area.

The museum is open through the summer months.
Admission is free but donations are gladly accepted.  

More at:

As with many parts of Canada a great number of wealthy Americans used to visit regularly.
Get away from the rat-race, I suppose.
In this case William Taft used to visit this area and, as the poster says, 
brought his own bath-tub because he was a rather large man.

Sheet Music for Moonlight on the Rideau
Moonlight on the Rideau coverMoonlight on the Rideau first page
The song Moonlight on the Rideau was composed for the Perth Citizens' Band
by W. R. Spence in 1936.

1.  A small accordion of German origin, played especially by folk musicians.
2.  A small organ popular in the 19th century, similar to a Harmonium.

A type of reed organ, a freestanding keyboard instrument in which air is forced by manual or volutary means over a set of free floating reeds by bellows.  Its free floating reeds are placed in slits in a windchest, whose valves are directly activated by the keys from a traditional organ-like keyboard via a set of pushrods and / or pull rods.

A folk rock / prog rock group from Quebec in the 70's.
The group toured the country all the way to Vancouver.
They also performed in California;
and in Europe opened for Supertramp.
They returned to Canada to a sold out show at Toronto's Massey Hall.  
And here I thought I was the only person in English Canada who knew about Harmonium. 

Back in the museum, a little tapestry of sights around the area.

And a model of the community as it existed back in the day.

The Opinicon Resort in Newboro.
The young couple who own and operate
have purchased and are refurbishing the Opinicon Resort;
one of the Grand Old Hotels.
I went for a walk around Opinicon Resort and found this cool plaything.  Each level has a dam that you can open or close, and boats to float downstream, and two branches of the river.  In order to get water into the system you have to use the hand-pump at the very top.

Video of Louise filling the system.

"Back in my day," said the elderly gentleman to his friend, "this is how we got water.
And, we had to walk uphill, both ways, to school and back home, in 5 feet of snow - in September!"

Video of a small zip-line suitable for kids.

The swing bridge and the rails it runs on.

Above:  I'll bet even the kids know what this is.
Below:  Duck decoy?

Construction on the Newboro blockhouse began in 1831.  It is one of four constructed on the Rideau Canal.  Its architecture is a typical design utilized throughout British North America.

It's about 24-foot square with 3-foot walls, strong enough to withstand small cannon fire with a pyramidal tin-sheathed roof to withstand torching.

The upper level, derived from medieval fortifications, allows for machicolated defence (holes cut in the overhang allowing for downward fire on an enemy).  The loopholes cut in each hewn square timber wall are long and narrow but tapered within allowing the defender a greater angle of fire.

The original plan was to have 22 large blockhouses built to protect against the Americans, but the English government rejected that idea because of the exorbitant costs.  There weren't enough people in British North America to pay enough taxes for this.

Lt-Col By, the Royal Engineer in charge of construction of the Rideau Canal, started construction of his own accord of the four smaller ones that were built.
Lockmaster's House, 1930Blockhouse, 1999
Lockmaster's House (Blockhouse) as it looked in 1930 and as it looks today
Can you see the original building in the old photo?

Above:  This was the end of a line of identical boat barns below the resort.
Below:  One of the lodges in the town of Newboro.
Below:  The view from our dining room table.