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Les Sentinelles des Mers

Par Guy Detienne


A visit to the Farol do Albarnaz .
Version française :

In Portugal, the guards depend on the “Maritime Authority” (military institution). They are trained there and new guards come out every year. Their missions are to maintain the lighthouse, monitor navigation, provide advice including weather, and maintain heritage.

In some lighthouses, the guardians also have a mission to open the lighthouse to visits. This is done in small groups. Explanations on the history, operation and purpose of these buildings are given.

The Farol do Albarnaz was built on the northern point of the island of Flores - Azores.

Information about this lighthouse is available here.

I’m going to put you through this visit I made in June 2019.



The visit of the lighthouse.

The entrance to the lighthouse.

The front door is in the middle of the façade. As the lighthouse tower is at the back, a hallway leads us through the building.


In the centre of the stone spiral staircase, we see the weight. This was used, by a gear system, to rotate the optics.


On the way to the first floor.



The level of the terrace.

After climbing the 40 steps, you reach the level of the terrace. A cupboard contains the necessary equipment for urgent repairs.


The level of the tank and the training.

A metal staircase of 9 steps leads us to the lantern. This is the lower part. Below the mercury vessel are the two motors that rotate the optics (one in use and one in reserve).
One also has a beautiful view on the inside of the optics.



The lantern and its lens.

The 2° range lens is also impressive. It is smaller than that of Ponta das Lajes, it has a focal length of 500 mm.


The technical room.

Back on the ground floor, the tour passes through the technical room. Electrical boxes for different controls and generator set are grouped.
Against the back wall, you can see the old lamp power system. That was before the electricity came in.



The office of the keepers.

The tour ends with the keepers' office. This is where the visitors book awaits you.
He is waiting for your signature and comments.


Thank you.

I want to thank the lighthouse keeper who gave me this wonderful visit.