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Keeper shines at lighthouse

By Shi Xi ( China Daily ) Updated: 2013-12-17 07:35:53

Keeper shines at lighthouse

For Wang Bingjiao, safeguarding the lighthouse brings both responsibilities and poetic inspirations. Provided to China Daily

Living in a lighthouse by the sea sounds romantic to many, but for lighthouse keeper Wang Bingjiao, it's a home that gives him not only poetic inspiration, but many responsibilities.

Wang, 56, has been safeguarding the Tuan Island Lighthouse in Qingdao, Shandong province for more than 36 years.

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Standing at the southeast of Qingdao city, the Tuan Island Lighthouse overlooks the sea channel to Jiaozhou Bay, providing a navigational aid to ships passing through the channel.

The Tuan Island Lighthouse was built in 1900 by Germans and destroyed in 1914, when Japan and Germany were fighting over the control of Qingdao during World War I.

It was rebuilt by Japanese in 1919 in its current octagonal shape. With a height of 15.4 meters and a lighting range of 15 nautical miles, it has functioned as one of the most important aids for navigation off Qingdao for almost 100 years.

Work at the lighthouse is easy but monotonous. During the day, Wang usually does some cleaning and maintenance tasks. From floors to stairs, equipment to lens, everything is wiped shining clean by Wang.

When night falls, the lighthouse keeper on duty must stay awake and ensure the light doesn't go out, or stop revolving.

"We turn on the light when the sky dims - about 6:30 pm in summer and 5 pm in winter," Wang says. "When on duty, I usually climb up the lighthouse to check the lamp three times during the night to make sure the temperature of the bulb isn't too high."

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