Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Cabo Rojo Lighthouse

One of the highlights of our visit to Puerto Rico was a visit to the Cabo Rojo lighthouse.  Getting to the lighthouse from our marina was part of the fun.  We had to drive out past salt flats.  The road changed from asphalt to packed dirt, potholes and mud.  There is a parking area and we had to walk up a steep rocky hill to get to the top.  


Once we were there, we were rewarded with spectacular views. This view is looking over a salt pond and mountains in the of Puerto Rico.


Located at the southwestern tip of the island of Puerto Rico, the lighthouse was constructed in 1882 to guide passing ships through the southeast entrance from the Caribbean Sea through the treacherous Mona Passage into the Atlantic Ocean. The lighthouse, still operational, is located over a white lime cliff which is surrounded by salt water lagoons and marshes. The cliffs surrounding the lighthouse drop over 200 feet into the ocean.  

The lighthouse's architecture is distinguished by its simplicity, with minimal decoration and an unelaborated cornice repeated through the structure. 

The illuminating apparatus is housed in a cast-iron, copper and glass lantern. The lenticular lens was manufactured by the French firm Sautter, Lemonnier and Company.  Originally, the lighthouse was manned by two keepers and an engineer, who lived on the grounds with their families. In 1967 the lighthouse was renovated and its operation is currently completely automated. There are plans to open a museum in the lighthouse, but it is currently abandoned.

The views from the limestone cliffs were incredible.  There is no guardrail at the edge of the cliff and there are places where the cliff has broken off over time.  

We saw this memorial stone… a reminder of the danger here and a tribute to a young man named Casey Gingerich who lost his life here.

When I returned to the marina that night, I started thinking about Casey and wanted to know his tragic story.  I searched the internet and found that Casey Monroe Gingerich, 24, of Harrison, Arkansas left this life on February 11, 2011. He was visiting Puerto Rico on a two week church mission project. Casey and his friends had just taken a group picture at the edge of the cliff when Casey got close to the edge and slipped on some loose shale and lost his footing. None were able to stop his fall.  They looked over the edge of the cliff and saw him swimming in the water towards a rock.  A big wave came and the next time they saw him, he was floating face down in the water.

What a tragic reminder of how fleeting life is and how important it is to live life to the fullest as we never know when it will be our time to depart. 

No comments: