A new generation of seal pups is calling Graves Ledge their home.
Here are some pictures.
Meet The Twins, and a little guy we named Spotty.
We just launched a YouTube channel to share our videos.
The first feature is the above magnificent 34-second time-lapse montage. Using a remote camera, we snapped a photo every five minutes for four days, resulting in this video.
Take a look at how the tide rises and falls, the sun and moon rise over the horizon, the workers move up and down the lighthouse and around the dock and ledge, and the light itself casts its beacon over the dark sky.
We also link to YouTube videos that other people shot, where Graves Light is seen or referenced, and arranged them on playlists for “one-stop shopping” for Graves Light videos. We’ll continue to expand these lists.
The Graves Light keepers describe how the crew created the remote camera system: “We used a Canon 5D camera with a 24mm lens. My nephew Patrick and I built a waterproof housing out of a 50 caliber ammo box and powered it with two solar panels and a car battery.
“The real trick was the triggering device: Patrick cracked an old cell phone which he can fully control from his iPhone.
“The cracked phone triggered he camera, the camera sent the images to the cracked phone, which sent them on to Patrick’s phone, then automatically deleted them so the phone and camera didn’t fill up.”
See the photo of the initial improvisation with the ammunition box, which we posted on Facebook in February.
Again, here’s the link to our YouTube channel.
Today we went for an adventurous dive off Graves Ledge to seek the wreck of the SS City of Salisbury, which struck an uncharted rock and sank 76 years ago this month.
Most of the wreck of the famed “Zoo Ship” was raised and sold for scrap metal, dynamited as a navigation hazard, or dragged across the bottom of Boston Harbor in the decades since the sinking.
The bow is said to be nearly intact, and a great dive spot, but we didn’t find it today. We did find the wreckage field, with sections of the hull of the 419-foot British freighter strewn about the bottom and alive with marine life.
It was a beautiful dive on a fine spring day, with great visibility. Take a look.
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.
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.
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.
Boston’s harbor seals love the stone ledges around Graves Light.