Power and Fury

This is an awesome display of the power of the ocean – even better thanks to the added music.  I came across this stunning video a while ago and never tire of it.

This is the Raz de Sein, the French equivalent of “Land’s End” in Brittany. The off-shore reefs and islands stretch 30 miles out to sea, and many travelling to/from Biscay to the English Channel are keen to avoid such a long detour.

However, passage of the Raz de Sein is not undertaken lightly. With wind (or waves) against the tide it is not an easy place.  I experienced its 15-20ft overfalls on just such an occasion on an otherwise benign day. Timing is everything. Even on a calm day the tide races through the passage (here: La Vieille Lighthouse). It can be hypnotic.

It has its own place in Celtic mythology too. The ancient Celts believed that the dead travelled over the sea to distant lands;  Pointe du Raz had significance as a point of departure.  Also, according to local folk-lore the drowned are taken by boat at night from the Pointe du Raz to the Isle of Tevennec.  Adjacent to the point is the Baie des Trépassés (Bay of the Dead), named for the shipwrecked bodies washed up there.

The history of Tevennec Lighthouse apparently does little to dispel such myths – it was thought to be haunted. Built in 1871 a series of keepers succumbed to madness or mysterious deaths, until in 1910 it was transformed into a permanently lit-by-gas light.

Spare a thought for “Les Ligneurs” – the fishermen who work the area.

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4 Responses to Power and Fury

  1. Margaret says:

    What an amazing feat of engineering for 1871! I imagine most of the others were also built somewhere around the same time.

  2. John F. Hultquist says:

    An American novelist (Ivan Doig) has written books about Scots coming to the US and in one of those (Dancing at the Rascal Fair) one of the young men (Angus) tells a story of his great grandfather who worked on the Bell Rock Lighthouse, 11 miles off the county of Angus on the east cost of Scotland. One day as the tide comes there is no boat to take them back – but then it shows up. This seems to be the 200th anniversary.


    Also, claimed . . .

    “The last sea-tower to be built in the days of sail.”

    “The oldest sea-washed tower in existence.”

    There is a photo marker at the following coordinates (Google Earth)
    56.413945, -2.405869

    [Reply – as a child I was captivated by the story of the building of the Bell Rock Lighthouse. I think it was featured on chlidren’s programme ‘Blue Peter’ and I then read up about it in the school library.]

  3. ArndB says:

    Impressive films indeed. The corner from the English Channel to the Bay of Biscay has its fascination and dangers. Once , some time ago, I navigated a motor ship, able to make about 14 knots, through the waters east of Quessant/Ushant (the northern entrance to the Biscay) from north to south. The weather was fine. Heavens, I would never do it again. Too many rocks and what a current, although it was not that fierce as shown on the second video.

  4. Grumpy Old Man says:

    The music is from Mozart’s Requiem Mass. He wrote it on his deathbed and it was finished by a colleague from Mozart’s rough drafts.

    [Reply – I thought it was Mozart, but I don’t know his Requiem as a whole as well as I might and was not sure – thanks!]

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