A nice fieldwork in Roches Point

Today, I did my first fieldwork, and the destination was Roches Point lighthouse. To get there it took almost one hour (from NMCI) so I had a lot of time to enjoy the scenery.

We checked on the electronic research equipment in the lighthouse. It’s located at the entrance of Cork Harbour. The first light is dated, 4th of June in 1817, but it’s only in 1970 that Rochespoint was converted to electric, before it used an oil lamp system and a Fresnel lens, that’s still visible today, it’s almost 150 years old!

Roches Island

Photo above: Entrance to Cork harbor from Roche's Point lighthouse

There we verified the correct functioning of the wireless signals and the cameras. It was my first time in the lighthouse, and I had the opportunity meet the lighthouse-keeper. During my internship I have heard people expressing concerns about the actual situation of lighthouse towers, in many cases extinguished, or being offer to sale for different purposes, especially for tourism. The main reason why lighthouses are being less necessary is that nowadays vessels have lots of electronic systems, which help them to navigate: AIS, GPS, Electronic Charts (ECDIS)… The fog horn is usually the first element to retire, then the light, yet SEA-Tech has proved for several years now that a lighthouse can be cost effectively reconditioned to relay marine data communications (i.e. data, emails, weather forecasts, etc.)

As we were working in the lantern, we realized that one of the cameras was broken, so we brought it back to NMCI for repair. It has been exposed to difficult environment, rain, salt, gales for some time, it was set in place by another intern / student, three years ago. Safehaven Marine offered it to the study group; let’s hope we can fix it. The purpose of this equipment is to monitor the vessels traffic in the harbour, for research and security purposes.