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"Mare Didat, Flores Decorant"

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European settlement

Dassen Island was first noticed and visited by European seafarers early in the 17th century (1600s). In 1601 a Dutchman, Joris van Spilbergen, named (what is today known as) Dassen Island "Elizabeth". So many vessels were wrecked near the island that rabbits and tortoises were released onto the island as a food source for shipwreck survivors. In Afrikaans rabbits are known as "Dassies", and the island derives its name from the numerous rabbits on the island.

Dassen Island lighthouse

Dassen Island lighthouse is one of the most isolated and bleakest manned lighthouses. The lighthouse, built in 1893, consists of a 28 metre tall cast-iron structure. The lighthouse is a principle beacon on the west coast; with reefs and kelp beds in the cold Atlantic ocean (which produces thick fogs). Because of its importance, it is manned at all times by a single lightkeeper.

Every six weeks or so, a helicopter arrives at the island bringing provisions and technicians for the lightkeeper and his family, as well as a four day trip to Cape Town.

Light Type


Light Character

Two flashes every thirty seconds

Light Range

24 sea miles

Light Power

1 400 000 CD

Height of focal Plane

47 metres above high water

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