Wednesday, May 10 at 6:00
Come to the North Scituate Library on May 10th, 2017 at 6:00pm for a PowerPoint presentation and telling of the tales of “My life as a lighthouse keeper 1958” by Frederick Mikkelsen
Keeping the Light
Stories of my lighthouse keeping days at Conimicut Light Station
“Acetylene Lighted Bell Buoy Story”
Providence River Approach Lighted Bell Buoy Number 1A sat just the other side of the channel from Conimicut Light Station and southwest of the old Nayatt Point lighthouse on the Barrington side of the bay. It was one of several aids we routinely monitored and reported on in our daily logs with the entry that stated, “Checked main light and all aids”.
One somewhat grey and snotty Saturday morning, we found it was extinguished and reported it to USCG Depot at Bristol as malfunctioning. They were not too happy to be made aware as it was a weekend, staff was short and the weather was getting worse. We had a set of non-sparking bronze tools that were required when working with the highly volatile acetylene gas illumination system and the depot crew thought we should go out and re-light the lamp ourselves.
The Officer in charge, my boss Joe Bakken, was not of a mind to do so and I had never had any Aids to Navigation instruction, so we declined. Bristol managed to raised a crew and reluctantly came up in the old 40 ft. buoy boat and relit the buoy swinging by our pier long enough to harass us a bit as being “chickens”.
The buoy “watched”(functioned properly) through the afternoon but shortly after darkness fell a check showed it was extinguished again and we noted the fact in our log and, at our 1900 radio check, notified Bristol.
The following dawn showed the reason for the buoy’s darkened lantern as it had apparently malfunctioned again and, this time, it had exploded! There was no sign of it at all and the heavy iron structure of the upper frame of the buoy had been bent and twisted by the force of the blast. Joe and I were very glad we had not made any attempt at repairs on Lighted Bell Buoy 1A!