A Guided Visit to the Pointe aux Caves (Albion) Lighthouse

The Lighthouse of Pointe aux Caves (Albion) is situated on the West Coast of Mauritius, and is an emblem for that region. The lighthouse began construction in 1909 and was finally inaugurated in 1910. The structure rises up to 30 Meters high and offers an excellent view over the region. Visits to the lighthouse will require an authorisation letter which can be obtained by requesting with the Mauritius Ports Authority, since the latter is responsible for the site. Once you receive the letter by post you can present yourself at the Lighthouse and the visit hopefully can start. It is somehow recommended to avoid very windy days as if you intend to climb out of the dome you should be very careful, especially if you are afraid of heights.

The Lighthouse, its Surroundings and the First Platform
The gallery below shows how the lighthouse looks from the outside and its environment, and up the entrance stairs to the ground floor. Previously there was a generator used to power up the batteries of the Lighthouse system but since 1973, after the connection to the public electric lines, the old equipment were all removed and an additional room was added to the lighthouse for a spare engine.

The First Floor and Electrical Panels
The first floor doesn’t contain anything special except an electrical panel to control the other equipment of the lighthouse. This room had always been a control room previously storing accumulators for the supply to the light. Today only the electrical panel remains.

The Second Floor
This floor is nearly like the lens room of the lighthouse, except that instead of diffusing the high beam of the lighthouse it instead projects a red light pointing to the entrance of the Port. Sailors aligning to this red light will know they are at the entrance of the Port. We should also find the old burners of the Lighthouse still kept but unused, at the times where there were no electricity, light was generated using petrol.

The Third Floor
Previously a resting place for the crew in between shifts but now only an old cupboard dwells in this room, at the time used to keep spare parts for the engine etc.

The Fourth Floor
Nearly reaching the dome this floor is still occupied by old petrol cisterns previously used to power the Lighthouse, and the steep stairs leading to the dome of the lighthouse. The pillar in the center is well known for its counterweight usage.

The Dome of the Lighthouse
As you climb the stairs from the fourth floor into the dome you will feel like entering an engine room with lots of mechanical parts. The glass in form of ‘losanges’ is covered with a curtain during the day to prevent the sun light from damaging the light bulb or causing fire, since the amplification lenses through the sun light will create heat. The enormous old lenses have been very well preserved since and every night the system rotates by an electric motor to generate an double flash every 15 seconds which is visible to a distance of 29 nautical miles.

Out of the Dome, to the Balcony
If you are adventurous enough you will want to go out of the Dome through the little rabbit hole to the open air of the Lighthouse heights. Through the small metal door you step on the balcony and the magnificent view over the region speaks for itself.

This concludes the guided visit to the Pointe aux Caves Lighthouse and hope you have enjoyed your trip. Please feel free to leave your comments and suggestions.

Click here to locate the Lighthouse on Google Earth

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