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120-year-old lighthouse on Son Tra peninsula

DA NANG – Tien Sa lighthouse station in Son Tra forest was built during the French period but still operates stably, guiding ships at night.

Tien Sa lighthouse station is located on Son Tra mountain, at an altitude of 223 m above sea level, built by the French in 1902. This is one of the oldest lighthouses in Vietnam, along with the lighthouses in Con Dao. , Hon Lon (Nha Trang), Hon Dau (Hai Phong), Nui Nai (Kien Giang), Hon Khoai (Ca Mau)…

The lighthouse is about 20 km from the center of Da Nang, located on the slopes of Son Tra mountain and almost isolated from the bustling life of the coastal city. Photo: Google Earth

Table recording the time of building the lighthouse station. When building, because the road has not been opened, materials from sand, stone … must be transported by sea, then carry hundreds of meters of stone ramps to the top of the mountain.

Simple meeting room, with station rules, in which employees are absolutely not allowed to drink alcohol or be on time. The station is currently managed by the Central Coastal Maritime Safety Company, with 6 staff (one station chief and one deputy).

The slogan in front of the operator’s door is “There are people, there are islands. The heart is still beating and there is light”.

The lighthouse is more than 15 m high and 2.7 m wide. The way to the top can only be moved by one person.

Mr. Tran Ngoc Anh, Deputy Station of Tien Sa Lighthouse Station, manually operated the main lighting device on the lighthouse. In addition, the station also has an auxiliary light to ensure uninterrupted signal transmission for boats. The old lighthouse does not have a remote control system.

Mr. Ngoc Anh is 41 years old, from Nghe An, for 19 years, he has been working as a “sea eye” watchman, especially at Tien Sa station for 6 years. The station staff are mainly people from other localities. Due to the nature of their work, they have to be on duty regularly, so every year they take turns taking leave to visit home.

Cleaning is carried out regularly to ensure that the lighthouse is not interrupted when the lights are emitted to guide boats. Because it was designed and built more than 100 years ago, the devices are quite rudimentary. Maintenance is required by station staff once a year.

Due to the lack of electricity, the station’s machinery must be operated by explosives. To meet the capacity of thousands of kW/h, the station staff must regularly check to promptly handle the incident, ensuring the lights work through the night.

Mr. Ngoc Anh said that the staff here live together in the public office, living a minimalist life because the area is located deep in the forest, the roads are difficult to go. Every week, station staff go down the mountain to buy food and food. There is almost no phone signal on the guard station, every time you call your loved ones, you have to go to the top of the lighthouse to catch the waves.

“Every day 14 hours of engine operation, there is electricity to work and live normally. The brothers here often joke about living with 4 nos: No electricity, no water, no phone waves and no women.” , Mr. Ngoc Anh said.

Operator with French architecture, view from the lighthouse. Every day, 6 employees of the station are divided into 6 shifts on duty 24 hours a day to maintain, repair, repair damaged machinery, check backup lights.

The ancient lighthouse station is also a place where many tourists come to explore and admire the beautiful surroundings.

At night, the lights operate to guide boats moving in and out of Tien Sa port (Da Nang) as well as through the waters of Da Nang, Thua Thien Hue and Quang Nam. The lighthouse has a visibility of 14 nautical miles. The station is a level 1 lighthouse, operated by diesel engine, shining white light 23 nautical miles (equivalent to 44 km) with double flashes, period 10 seconds.

According to the station guard, although technology has developed, modern radar and navigation equipment was born, the lighthouse station is still not outdated. Because in the maritime industry, no matter how modern the equipment is, ships still need lighthouses to guide them. “I have a location, but if you want to go to the house, you must have an address. The lighthouse is the address, the most accurate coordinates for customers to find their way, especially in stormy conditions and big waves,” said Mr. Ngoc Anh. explain.

The trees on the station are also home to many birds. The station staffs plant more ornamental plants, raise more birds as a pastime in the forest, all year round there is only the sound of wind and waves.

“If everyone chooses a prosperous, full and union life, who will be the one to maintain the tribute to the eyes of the sea at night. We have chosen the profession and stick with that pride,” said Mr. Ngoc Anh.

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