The Light and the Herring (part 2)

Lighthouses in Iceland tend to be painted an orangey/ochre shade of paint probably to be distinct against the whiteness of snow and there’s something cheering about this sight whether they are lit or not. Like lighthouses in Britain most are now automatic but if I was a sailor or fisherman, I’d psychologically prefer there to be a human being in residence keeping a weather eye on everything.

The lenses are objects of great beauty and the photo shows the light from Siglunes just across the fjord from where I’m living.


The Icelandic word for light is Ljosid and the connection with our word Lucid is clear in pronunciation.( The Icelandic language uses a different kind of ‘d’ which I don’t have on my keyboard.)

The wife of the lighthouse keeper was renowned for her strength  and owned her own rowing boat for bringing milk from her cows across the water to trade for sacks of meal which she would then heft into the boat before rowing back. This is a seriously impressive show of strength.

The following photo shows an image which could be called a drawing as it’s the printout from an Asdic device which detected shoals of herring and pinpointed their whereabouts, indicated by the black marks on the paper. This was of enormous benefit to fishermen as they could be directed exactly to where the fish were. Prior to this the water had been scanned for signs of fish oil, conglomerations of birds attracted by the shoal or by lowering a weighted line into the water and detecting vibrations from the fish underneath.

A giant leap for man but who’d want to be a herring……




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