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Posted by on Aug 4, 2014 in Manic Mondays, US, Video |

Hair-Raising Lighthouse Keeper Transfer

Anyone who doubts the skill and daring of the French should have a look at this death-defying feat of boat and line handling. Cirque du Soleil has nothing on these guys.

By now everyone who follows the sea must be familiar with the photography of Jean Guichard, especially his stunning images of lighthouses in rough weather off the French coastline. But just in case you haven’t seen how they changed lighthouse keepers at La Jument light — or used to until the lighthouses of Brittany were automated — this video will make you hold onto something solid while you watch.

This is one of  Jean Guichard's iconic images of the lighthouse at  La Jument, off Finisterre, Brittany. Photo courtesy of

This is one of Jean Guichard’s iconic images of the lighthouse at La Jument, off Finisterre on the coast of Brittany. Photo courtesy of

First they throw down the hauling line, which is attached to a winch cable at the top of the lighthouse way above the walkway. Down goes a bag of gear. Up comes the replacement keeper. Down goes the keeper coming off watch. The keepers sit astride the red disk and just hold on tight, because there’s no time to clip in and out of a harness. Also it would probably be better to drop into the sea than to get dashed against the lighthouse or the crew boat. It’s hard to tell whether the controls for the high-speed winch are at the top of the tower or on the walkway, but whoever is operating it is working in perfect harmony with the walkway guys, the deckhands on the boat, and the ice-cool helmsman.

Brassy, very brassy. Those fellas have some stories to tell their grandchildren — and a video to show.