Some of the most beautiful lighthouses of Russia and the Far East are located in Primorsky Krai. It would seem that the task of lighthouses – to serve as a guiding light for ships – has become almost symbolic in the age of satellite technology. But this does not bother light keepers, or, as they call themselves, lightmen.
To understand what people work at lighthouses for decades, we went to the coast of Primorsky Krai and recorded their stories.
When you see a lighthouse, you feel somewhere not in Russia, and not even on the “mainland”, but in a picture from a children’s book.
Range coverage of Lighthouse Povorotny –22 miles.
Light – white
International lighthouse number – M7572
Year of construction – 1892
Distance from Vladivostok – 105 km
Three people, including the keeper Sergey and Konstantin – a technician who oversees the work of the equipment – currently live and work on the cape where the lighthouse is situated.
Sergey Mityanin finishes smoking “Java” next to the technical area and comes up to greet us.
Lighthouse Povorotny, built back in the XIX century in the waters of the Gulf of Peter the Great, is an example of naval architecture.
The weather here changes every 15 minutes: you get blown by the wind before you can say Jack Robinson. The chief of the lighthouse takes out a cigarette; scratches his head without removing his hat and looks into the eyes: do we start?
– My military specialty is a fighter pilot. I flew next to Saratov in the regiment. Then I retired and became a civilian. They needed a man for Povorotny who could keep the cattle and care about the lighthouse. That’s why they invited me.
– We used to have a team of 8 people, now we only have three. Self-discipline is required here, but some people do not catch on because they need to communicate.
According to historical data of the Hydrographic Service, the first ray from the tower of the lighthouse Povorotny became visible on July 6, 1892.
The navigation base tower is octagonal, nine meters high. The height of the rock cliff is 74 meters.
– Of course, there are both difficulties and advantages. Work seven days a week without holidays. But the nature is great – the sea is on three sides.
Once in the 90s, one woman working here came up saying she is about to deliver a baby. Well, we had to deliver a baby right at the lighthouse and then wait for an ambulance, as the typhoon wasn’t over.
The lighthouse was reborn after the civil war and the intervention of the 1920s, when the Far Eastern Republic was formed.
The heart of the lighthouse is its lens. It is tall as a man on Povorotny. The light rays are refracted and beam 22 nautical miles away with a radius of 230 degrees.
Six seconds of light, two seconds of darkness. A complete cycle takes just eight seconds and is repeated again.
You may wonder whether the lighthouses are even necessary. In short, they are. The ship must have more navigation tools aside from GPS. Besides, what’s in that GPS or GLONASS? Any failure will bring it down.
The lighthouse has witnessed major maritime accidents. Crabber “Tungus” was blown nearby. The vessel “Academic Berg” also ran foul of submarine “K-56” next to the cape. The two accidents killed 49 people.
– My guests also keep asking me whether I feel lonely to live at such a remote lighthouse. I always say: only boring people get bored.
– Of course, sometimes I think about life. I do not regret that I have been here for a long time. I have engaged in diving, fishing and hunting at the lighthouse; everything is fine with my wife, I have children and grandchildren. I survived a heart attack and suffered a very complex operation three years ago. And, you know, I absolutely do not care where I would find the death and get buried.
After a long conversation, the chief of the lighthouse invites us for lunch. We stay with him till evening, and when we say goodbye, the eyes of the chief of the lighthouse are smiling.