A collection of blogs and musings from the people that work at the St. Augustine Lighthouse & Museum - Florida's Finest Lightstation.

July 2007 Archives

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July 30, 2007

St. Augustine Lighthouse Full Moon

Posted by: Rick Cain in From the Lens Room

Last night as I was driving home with my wife and daughter, we passed the lighthouse during the rise of a full moon. It was spectacular! Our first order Fresnel lens was lit while the light from the moon behind sparkled through the windows of the lens room. I raced home (1 mile south of the tower) to get my camera and came back to snap a few shots. I have a brand new Nikon COOLPIX S50 and it just could not capture the image to do it justice. But one shot was interesting and so I tried to enhance it by changing the color hue, contrast, etc. It should at least give you the mood without the clarity. Looking at it with the naked eye you could see all of the detail of the lens and the surface of the moon. If anyone has any ideas on how to improve shots like this with a compact digital let me know, otherwise, if anyone wants to donate a Nikon D-80 to the lighthouse I can do much better next time. LOL.

Full moon at the St. Augustine Lighthouse


July 24, 2007

In Retrospect: A look back at the two week Practicum

The boats have been washed down, gear sorted and the majority of the mayhem has subsided. It is very quiet now in the LAMP office. No longer are students coming in and out of the building in need of tasks or a quick break from the day’s heat. We have successfully come to the end of the two week field project and have had to say goodbye to the Flinders crew.

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July 20, 2007

More Jefferson Davis News From Long Ago!

More ferretted out archival information about the loss of the notorious, Confederate, privateer Jeff Davis in St. Augustine comes from the New York Times, September 7, 1861. This account is from Mr. F.C Dutneux, one of the crew and originally was told in the Richmond Enquirer.

The full, interesting tale, much longer than is shown below, can be purchased from the Times Archive On-line http://select.nytimes.com.

"They then turned their course, with a light wind for St. Augustine, Fla. Upon nearing the coast the wind increased, until finally it blew a perfect gale. The vessel had crossed the gulf safely, and on Friday night, the 15th, they hove to, and found themselves in sixteen fathoms of water. At daylight land was discovered with a clear coast. They were then about 10 miles south of Mantanzas. Squared away they made for the St. Augustine bar. Found the tide too low upon their arrival and stood off.

The captain hoisted the Confederate Flag at the fore-topgallant mast and fired a gun as a signal for a pilot. Three attempts were made to get into the harbor, but it was found they could not weather it. The people on shore kept a light burning for them, as was afterwards discovered...

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July 17, 2007

Documents Shed Light on Maritime Significance

The University of Miami at the following link http://scholar.library.miami.edu/shedd/letters/62oct19.html#lighth lists the letters of Calvin Shedd a New Hampshire Solider that spent time in St. Augustine during the Civil War.

We made a personal discovery and read the Shedd Papers in our search for information about the Confederate Privateer and former Slave Ship the Jefferson Davis. While it is impossible to know what Shedd meant by "beyond" the Lighthouse, this letter -- brought to our attention by one of our LAMP volunteers --- does reveal many colorful and personal details about the period and it's link to maritime history.

One of the remarkable tasks we perform at the lighthouse is the finding, gathering and saving artifacts and information about how the Nation's oldest city is inextricably linked to the sea. No doubt this letter was discovered first, long before we came along, but it's information may be new to some of you. Note the steamer bringing mail as well as the wreck of the Davis. I am also intrigued by the description of the gun boats that would be needed to hold the town if any Rebels were about.

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July 16, 2007

Survey with Marine Magnetics

On Sunday, we planned to go out to sea with Doug Hrvoic, the owner of Marine Magnetics and manufacturer of magnetometers and magnetic sensors. I was impressed with the Marine Magnetics magnetometer when I first used one back in 2001. Basically, its quality of data was precise, its setup and operation was simple, and it was lightweight and easy to handle. One of my goals when I arrived at LAMP was to acquire a good quality marine magnetometer in order to search the seas around St. Augustine for historic shipwrecks. I was excited, then, when Doug offered to ship us a top-of-the-line marine gradiometer and come show us how to use it during the initial phase of the First Coast Maritime Archaeology Project and Flinders field school practicum.

Plus this Seaquest marine gradiometer has got to be the coolest mag on the market as it looks like a Klingon bird of prey!

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July 15, 2007

Whatever it takes!

The practicum motto must surely be - whatever it takes! Archaeologists it seems are built tough and they will go to extremes to get the data they need.

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July 12, 2007

We had a field day!

"Ghostbusting?" asked a passer-by. No, archaeology of course! Here is Jody Bulman before and after a hot, sweaty and entertaining magnetometer training morning on the lawn in front of the LAMP lighthouse. We are all very contented students and not one of our new toys that we are getting to play with is worth under $10,000!

Jody gets his kit on!
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July 10, 2007

LAMP-Flinders Maritime Archaeology Field School: Diving on a Double Shipwreck Site

On July 4th, LAMP launched its First Coast Maritime Archaeology project in conjunction with Flinders University, in the form of a practicum or advanced maritime archaeological field school. The primary diving site for this two-week field school is a unique archaeological site--two shipwrecks at a single location.

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Around the World in 80 Days!

Posted by: Beau Phillips in Barely Legible, Public Relations

I know that one is already taken, but that's what it feels like. Right now I'm in... Palm Beach? Vero Beach? No that was last night. Ft. Lauderdale's tomorrow, Boca Raton! I'm in Boca Raton -- Absolutely -- and we're just making sure that people down in the southern hemisphere of Florida remember where the oldest port in the nation is. Its a good thing I did too, most of the people that we've spoken too haven't been to St. Augustine in a few years. Sounds like it's time for another trip and what's a trip to St. Augustine without coming to the Lighthouse. "What's an incomplete trip; I'll take blogs that sound like advertisements for a 1,000 Alex."

OK, OK, so I'm still in a little bit of a salesman mode, but its easy to be a seller when your a believer. You want a vacation to the beach, we got beach. How about upscale and elegant? These are principals developed by Henry Flagler and continued today by the Casa Monica, Castillo Real, and the World Golf Village -- come on this is easy. There is Guana Tolomato Matanzas Na... the GTMNERR and Anastasia State Park if your interested in eco-traveling, and for the heritage traveler St. Augustine is a must see U.S. destination. We've got it all baby, so come on down or up, as the case may be, and check us out.

This advertisement was paid for and endorsed by the City of St. Augustine and the St. Augustine Lig... I had you going too.

July 9, 2007

Seeing beneath the waves

Today was another awesome day out on the water although this time we stayed dry. Instead we got to play with some very cool and expensive toys, namely a sidescan sonar - the Klein system 3000... oh yeah baby!!!

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July 6, 2007

Blogging From the Other Side

I am a lucky man. My position as director of the online Museum of Underwater Archaeology (MUA) has allowed me to work with some of the best folks in underwater archaeology. Back in February I was fortunate enough to host the Flinders University spring field school journal on the MUA. Today I’m down in St. Augustine, FL visiting with the Flinders staff and students, many of whom I’d met via email as we received their daily entries. This time I’m visiting them as they conduct what Flinders University underwater archaeologist Mark Staniforth refers to as a practicum rather than a field school.

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LAMP/Flinders Field School Student Log: day two

Student log: day 2.

It's 5.30 am. It's much too early and I wonder whether intravenous caffeine is a possibility. Slowly, very slowly all the necessary kit is assembled for the first morning for some of us who are heading out on the two vessels.


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July 5, 2007

Maritime Archaeological Field School Sets Sail in St. Augustine

The first ever maritime archaeological field school here in the nations oldest port officially started this week. The Lighthouse Archaeological Maritime Program (LAMP) and Flinders University has partnered to give under water archaeological students a hands-on tutorial. Students will learn their craft while-doing, as they prepare, research, dive on and record some of the many shipwrecks off the St.Augustine Coast.

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