Harbor seals are happily out this spring at Graves Ledge, with sightings being reported by our diver friends at Boston Scuba.
We got some pictures of our own this weekend, including this one at low tide of a playful baby seal, the newest seen this year at Graves Ledge.
Our friend Richard Green shot this remarkable photograph of a 50-foot wall of spray crashing over The Graves.
The picture, taken with a powerful telephoto lens on March 26, 2014, shows the wall of whitewater extending up half the height of the 113-foot tall lighthouse.
Breakers crash over the granite oil house located 90 feet to the left of the lighthouse.
Graves Ledge and the lighthouse are 4 miles from the mainland, but the telephoto lens draws in the neighboring town as if it was only a few feet away.
The dramatic photo shows why it was so necessary to build the lighthouse back in 1903, to guide mariners past the dangerous stone ledge. Numerous shipwrecks, resulting in loss of life, have been recorded around The Graves.
By the way, Graves Ledge, as The Graves is also called, gets its name from British Rear Admiral Thomas Graves (1605-1653), an early settler of Massachusetts Bay Colony. Contrary to popular myth, The Graves was not named as the graveyard of doomed ships and sailors.
While surveying the masonry today at Graves Light, Mike Sylvester of CCI contracting made an exciting discovery: A secret cave. You’re looking at the first-ever picture from inside.
Just discovered: Copies of the original architectural drawings of Graves Light from 1903.
We’re just going through them now. The US Coast Guard Historian recommended a professional archivist to us, who knows the Coast Guard and US Light House Service records at the National Archives in Washington better than anyone else.
The drawing pictured is of the lamp room and roof. It gives a good idea of what we’ve found so far. Other drawings literally get down to the nuts and bolts.
Almost none of the Graves Light records at the National Archives are imaged electronically. We have hired the professional archivist to digitize everything she can find, and will provide the electronic images to the Coast Guard Historian’s office and to the National Archives.
‘Storm administers coup de grace’ is the news caption on this original 1938 photo from the archives of the San Francisco Examiner. We acquired the original from the Examiner archives.
The reverse of the 1938 news photo of the ‘coup de grace’ sinking of the SS City of Salisbury. This International News Photo is an original print from the archives of the San Francisco Examiner.
While rooting through old news archives, we found an original wire service photo of the sinking of the SS City of Salisbury, with Graves Light in the background.
We don’t mind posting pictures of this wreck, because nobody was hurt. So we’re particularly excited with our new find, which we acquired from the archives of the San Francisco Examiner.
Posted here is the original photo, and an image of the reverse, with the commentary from the International News wire service.
There’s quite a bit of cleanup work to do at Graves Light, not all of which is visible.
Among the big chores: What to do about the two 1500-gallon cisterns that occupy much of the first 40 feet of the lighthouse.
One of the cisterns held fresh water for the lighthouse keepers. The other one held compressed air for the fog horn, and was later used to store oil or kerosene.
We brought some buckets and rope up to the lighthouse to start cleanup, and found some oil at the bottom of one of the cisterns. We removed the oil in buckets, hauled it to the mainland by boat, and disposed of it safely at an oil recycling site. Now we have to scrub down the interior of the cisterns, break up the oil residue, and we’ll be done.
We’re not really going to move the giant Hilltop steakhouse sign from Saugus to The Graves.
We were just having a little fun with PhotoShop.
Boston’s harbor seals love the stone ledges around Graves Light.
A seal playfully goes for a diver’s fin. (Seal pictures: Pat Breen)
They are really friendly with divers.
The seal is going to grab that fin.
Putting the stolen fin back on.
This is the Keeper’s Blog of Graves Light.
Most of GravesLightStation.com will feature pages arranged by topic.
All the news updates will be here on the Keeper’s Blog, which is loosely connected with our Graves Light Facebook page.