During the 18th century, Mauritius’ period of colonisation, a number of lighthouses were built for helping ships to navigate the sea. This resulted in the boom in trading in the island as it increased the rate of import and export. Mauritius was considered to be a crucial trading location due to its strategic placement on the map and hence it attracted many European states during the time of colonial expansion. Since ships were the only source of overseas trading, lighthouses played a major role in the process.
The Albion Lighthouse, otherwise known as the Pointe aux Caves Lighthouse, is a 30 metre tall structure that stands on a magnificent cliff edge by the side of the ocean. As the name suggests, it is located at Albion, west coast of Mauritius, and is a major navigation monument helping ships that arrive at the Port Louis Harbour. It is very popular among tourists, locals and especially photographers because of its amazing location and unspoiled views that constitutes unique photo shoot spots.
The construction of the Albion lighthouse began in 1909 under the supervision of Sir Charles Cavendish Boyle and he also inaugurated it in 1910 just before retirement. Even after more than a hundred years, the structure is still intact and the interiors are dominated by the original designs and building materials to a large extent. In the present day, the lighthouse is maintained and looked after by the Mauritius Ports Authority.
The 30 metres tall structure of the Albion lighthouse has four floors, a dome and a balcony that can be accessed by the steep staircase.
· The first floor has an electrical panel from where the other equipments of the lighthouse are controlled. This room was initially used as storage for accumulators for supplying to the lights and now, only the electrical panel is there.
· The second floor of the lighthouse is a lens room which projects a red light that is pointed towards the entrance of the Port and it helps the sailors to locate the entrance to the port.
· There is an old cupboard in the third floor of the lighthouse which was used as the engine's spare part storage.
· Formerly, the fourth floor was used as to power the lighthouse. The stairs in the floor lead to the lighthouse's dome.
You can see enormous and well preserved old lenses in the dome. The system is rotated by an electric motor every night which generates a double flash in an interval of 15 seconds which can be seen even from the distance of 29 nautical miles. Just outside the dome, you can step on to the balcony to enjoy the magnificent views, the most phenomenal being the view of Montagne Jacquot.
Tips and Information
· In order to visit the lighthouse, you'll need a letter of authorization from the Mauritius Ports Authority.
· It is highly recommended not to visit the lighthouse during heavy windy days.
· Avoid getting very close to the edge of the cliff.
· Night visits can be dangerous because of the cliffs and rough sea.
· Be careful when you're on the dome, especially if you have the fear of heights.
So if you never had the chance to see a lighthouse or go inside one, the Albion Lighthouse is calling out to you to fulfil your wish. Explore this national emblem as a reminder to the colonial of Mauritius while enjoying spectacular views of the ocean and the setting sun!
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