The Cave Point lighthouse, near Albion. A visit to one of the most iconic landmarks of Mauritius.
The above photo was taken by one of my favourite Mauritian photographers, stuckinparadise. In my mind, this is what I expected to find on my very first trip to Pointe aux Caves.
Instead, I got this! :|
I'll come back to the lighthouse later, but the first thing thing we wanted to do is visit the Pointe aux Caves cliffs, which are famous for having many caves that have been carved out by the sea. It’s indeed a popular spot for rock climbing.
Just under cliffs near the lighthouse, some fishermen were hard at work trying to lure out the tired fishes. Well, if you ask me, that was very dangerous. Already, the sea was rough & the waves were crashing spectacularly against the rocks!
The lighthouse, the fishermen & a boat - what a fantastic composition that would have been on any other day.
Looking away from the lighthouse, towards Port Louis, there were more cliffs.
& where the sea had carved out two natural bridges/portals.
Please don't try this at home!
The white foam caused by the waves crashing against the rocks. You could spend the entire day watching it.
Well, if it wasn't for the smell.
& I'm not talking about the rotting carcass of this cow (because it’s not a whale), but rather of the nearby farm which I believe it has escaped from. There is a huge cattle farm nearby from which emanates an absolutely nauseous smell.
No matter where you go, there's always a fly in the ointment.
Nothing to see here. Just someone proposing...
Leaving the lighthouse, we followed the path to the North, looking for a way to get down to the seaside.
Eventually, we got to a point where the cliffs sort of disappeared.
That's Port Louis up there. I mean, it should appear behind those cliffs.
Among the litter-infested rocky shore, we saw fishes, sponges & these tentacular plantanimals that grow engorged when disturbed.
Lava flow frozen in time.
Jumping from rock to rock, we moved towards the cliffs.
In every other sea cliffs in the world, you have legions of seabirds nesting. In Mauritius, however, you have pigeons…
At last, we saw one of the much-talked about caves! Alright, that's hardly a cave, more like a small grotto.
The two rednecks in our group ventured forward & as I had predicted had to double back because the way was blocked by the portals.
Fortunately we didn't have to go all the way back as there was a path to climb through the cliff. That was the view on the caves.
Time to go back to the lighthouse.
The Pointe aux Caves lighthouse is more than century old as it was built in 1910.
At the bottom of the lighthouse, there was a grotto of La Vierge du Rocher.
On the side facing the sea was a recent addition, a SMF radar. (It wasn't here in 2010 as you can see from the first photo).
While I do understand that having a nearby electricity supply is a valid point, there is no excuse for ruining the picture perfect scenery of the lighthouse. The radar tower is nothing short of an abomination!
Behind the lighthouse & we have a view on the village of Albion where there were much bigger caves, which we'll definitely visit on a better day.
Looking up at the lighthouse from the South.
The century old door of the lighthouse.
Inside, in an annexed room, we found an old generator which is used to charge batteries.
On the ground level, there were various posters related to the lighthouse. This one detailing the naval history of Mauritius as La clé de la mer des Indes.
Newspaper cuttings from Le Cernéen.
Sir Charles Cavendish Boyle, the governor under which the lighthouse was built.
The two other non-operational lighthouses of Mauritius, namely at Pointe aux Canonniers (owned by Club Med) & Ile aux Fouquets (abandoned).
The still operational lighthouses – Cave Point lighthouse & Flat Island lighthouse.
Technical data for Cave Point Lighthouse:
- Also known as: Belle Vue Lighthouse
- Nearest Village: Albion
- Tower Height: 97 feet (30 m)
- Height of Focal Plane: 152 feet (46.3 m)
- Date of construction: 1910
- Characteristics: Two white flashes every 10 seconds, visible within 29 nautical miles (53.7 km).
& that is an antique radio transmitter/receiver.
Just under the extremely narrow stairs!
On the first level, we had a poster explaining the various levels.
A short history of Pointe aux Caves lighthouse.
Initially, kerosene was used to power the lighthouse, fed via a pump operated hydraulic system. The lens clockwork assembly was rotated using a system of counterweights (which spanned across the height of the tower). The counterweights sounded a gong every 4 hours which signalled the lighthouse keeper to rewind the counterweights system.
In 1952, batteries replaced kerosene & a 500W lamp was used. In 1973, the lighthouse was connected to the CEB grid. The current lamp is rated 1500W.
The aforementioned control panel.
Looking out of the windows.
On the 2nd level, we have the subsidiary light which is used to guide the ships to port. By aligning themselves with the red-filtered light, the ships could navigate to the entry of the port.
On the 3rd level, an old cupboard used to store spare parts.
More windows & the stairs.
On the 4th level, more kerosene tanks.
Another cupboard & the beam used for the counterweights system.
The stairs giving access to the lantern room.
In the lantern room, we finally discover the rotating Fresnel lenses assembly which is used to amplify the light. While the lamp always remains on, the rotation of the lenses create a flashing effect.
The two 1500W lamps, one of them looks burnt.
The rotating gearing assembly & motors.
The lenses are draped in a white sheet to protect them from the sun.
The door to the outside & the inscription on it.
Chance Brothers and Co Limited
Lighthouse Engineers and Constructors
& finally… the view outside.
Looking towards Port Louis.
The village of Albion & the cliffs.
The SMF radar.
The dome on the lantern room alternates between rhombus-shaped glass & metal sheet.
I’ll be honest. If you are afraid of heights, please don’t go there. The small ledge & the high winds will utterly terrorise you!
With no sunset to watch, there was nothing more we could do. & for once I did not shoot any panoramas because the light level was too low. But before leaving, there was one more thing…
So that was the Pointe aux Caves lighthouse. It was nearly 18:00 when we left the lighthouse, but what a walk through history we’ve had! Built more than 100 years ago & still working. A priceless part of Mauritian history that should be conserved, but is instead being neglected & disfigured by building radar towers next to it. It’s a pity they don’t build such lighthouses anymore.
My only regret? The damn stupid weather that followed us from Corps de Garde! Our camera sensors were really struggling to capture all those photons! Well, at least it didn’t rain. Until the next time I come back here on a sunny day, just content yourselves with those wonderful photos I’ve linked to.
- Wikipedia – Lighthouse
- Gov.mu - Les Phares à Maurice
- Lighthouses of Mauritius
- SOS Patrimoine en Péril – Le Phare D’Albion
- Allister McMillan – Mauritius Illustrated - Petite Rivière Lighthouse
- Phare de la Pointe aux Caves (Petite Rivière)
- Denis Lacour - île Maurice, Albion's LightHouse
- PAPM blog - PAPM at Albion
- Bouck Pillay Photography - Phare d'Albion
- Maurice, Pascal et Moi - 70 km, 5 heures chrono.
- Maurice, Pascal et Moi - Albion-Pointe aux sables A-R
- mauritius22 - Pointe aux Caves Lighthouse – post 1 & post 2.
- Lovvy - Mauritius Safari
- Albamians in Mauritius – Rose Hill and the Lighthouse
- yashvin’s photoblog - Ruling over the sky
- Enbalao - Le phare d'Albion
- Pharotéliste - Maurice / Île aux Fouquets, Pointe aux Caves & Île Plate
- WINGSSAIL IMAGES - Grand Port Cruise
- L’Express - Des radars pour traquer les fugitifs, Une bande organisée agresserait des couples à Albion, Balade romantique fatale à Albion
- Flickr - stuckinparadise - Centenary Albion Lighthouse & Albion Lighthouse
- Flickr - Martini DK - Albion lighthouse & The Lighthouse
- Flickr – ThomasRooney - Lighthouse sunset
- Flickr – Dyaus81 - Albion Lighthouse (HDRI attempt)
- Flickr - Peter Kuchar – Mauritius Panorama & Rocks and the Ocean
- Flickr - daniel.maurice - Pointes Aux Caves Light House-Mauritius 1 & 2
- Flickr - Mukhina Ekaterina - Lighthouse romance
- Flickr - Whl Mauritius - albion_lighthouse_mauritius
- Flickr – kitten007mauritius - Albion Lighthouse
- Flickr - newpn2000 – The Lantern 1, 2, 3, the lighthouse keeper & radio.
- Flickr - Rima Optix - Lighthouse
- Flickr - Hans Khoodoo - Lighthouse before the storm
- Flickr - IamSly - Phare d'Albion
- Flickr - christine.guieu – Phare d’Albion
- Flickr - Youpee Photography – The Lighthouse
- Flickr - Loutron Glouton - Albion lighthouse & Albion lighthouse
- Flickr – Blobatina – Albion & Beauty in the Detail
- Flickr – rubared – Pointe aux Caves
- Flickr – indeepdark – Pointe aux Caves
- Flickr – Nawshad – Albion
- Flickr - Ashwin CM - Lighthouse albion 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7
- Flickr - Cute Kitten - 06-The Albion Lighthouse & 07-The Coastline
- Flickr - Mr Bernard – Lighthouse
- Flickr - ..::Steph::.. – Albion & Pointe aux Caves
- Flickr - ramrajmeetun - The light house at Albion
- Flickr – Pixelinthebox - Honeymoon in Mauritius - At Albion lighthouse
- Flickr – Mauritiuspics - Albion Phare / Lighthouse
- Flickr – Mauritius100 - traditional lighthouse
- Flickr – ManuelOnTour - lighthouse albion
- Le phare d'Albion, Côte ouest de l'Ile Maurice & LE PHARE D'ALBION.
- Fotolibra - BELLE VUE LIGHTHOUSE MAURITIUS
- BetterPhoto.com - Albion Lighthouse, Mauritius
- TrekEarth.com - Albion Lighthouse
- Panoramio – Albion
- Jean Guichard - Lighthouse of la Pointe aux Caves 1 & 2
- FineArtAmerica - Lighthouse at Pointe aux Caves