Dassen Island Lighthouse in Swartland Rural, Western Cape
It goes without saying that Lighthouses are destined to be in remote locations and the Dassen Island Lighthouse is no exception. The Lighthouse is situated on Dassen Island, 11 km off the coast of Yzerfontein and is considered the most isolated manned lighthouse in South Africa.
|Candlepower||1 400 000 C.D.|
|Character of Light||Two flashes every 30 seconds|
|Installation Date||15 April 1893|
|Range||24 sea miles|
|Structure||28 metre circular iron tower painted white with red bands|
|Type of Light||Revolving electric|
|Other features||Radio beacon and an electric fog signal. Serviced by Helicopter|
The lighthouse was built in 1893 on the southern and highest point of this rocky and barren island. Originally the lighthouse was manned by two and sometimes three lighthouse keepers as the outpost was considered so lonely. Supplies were brought in monthly by an uncomfortable 5 hour sea journey. Today the Lighthouse is served much more easily by helicopter and its importance is unquestionable as the Island remains a danger to ships as proved by the rotting shipwrecks that litter the coastline. In fact the island itself derived its name due to the many shipwrecks as the island became so notorious that rabbits were released onto the island as food for any survivors. The sinking of the Apollo Sea in 1994 was a huge tragedy along this coastline as it created an oil spill that caused environmental damage to the island and threatened its penguin population.
Today the Lighthouse is manned by a single Senior Lighthouse Keeper and Dassen Island is now a Nature Reserve. A fifteen minute trip from Yzerfontein will take you to this beautiful sandy island, however, because of the extremely sensitive nature of the seabirds, particularly in breeding season, public visits are only allowed by special permission.
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