Tuesday, July 12, 2011

US Coast Guard Lightship Relief (WLV 605)

Located at the northern end of Jack London Square in downtown Oakland at the foot of Clay St. California Historical Site plaque number 1036 is located on-site.

The lightship Relief is essentially a floating lighthouse that was used where it was too deep, expensive, or impractical to construct a traditional lighthouse. She was commissioned in 1951 and initially served at the Overfalls station off of the coast of Delaware. In 1959 the Relief was transferred to the Blunts Reef station off Cape Mendocino where she served for the next ten years. In 1969 she was designated as "Relief" for all West Coast lightship stations. She was retired from active duty in 1975 and now serves as a floating museum. The Relief is the last lightship in California and is one of only twenty-two remaining lightships in the United States.

I've never seen a floating lighthouse before and, before I visited the ship, I didn't even know such things existed. The Relief is a neat little ship and if you spend any time in Jack London Square it is worth the short walk to take a peek at her. She's moored right next to the Presidential Yacht Potomac so you can get a two-for-one historical experience. They also have a really great online tour of the ship with a bunch of neat photos and historical information.

Getting There By Bike...
The ship is moored at the northern end of Jack London Square. Get on the boardwalk and keep the water on your left. Start walking or ridding and you'll run into the ship before too long. You could also follow Clay St. until it dead ends at the bay and it should be right in front of you. If you go on the weekend, be prepared to push your bike through crowds of day-trippers out enjoying the sun and the views of the bay. Jack London's Cabin is down at the south end of Jack London Square if you feel like a five minute bike ride to take a peek.

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