Ponta do Boi Lighthouse in Ilhabela

map of Ilhabela
map of Ilhabela

The Ponta do Boi Lighthouse is located on the largest sea island in Brazil – São Sebastião, opposite the city of the same name.

So named by Américo Vespúcio in 1502, the now famous Ilhabela, paradise for tourists, was once hell for many who lost their lives in its waters.

A dangerous combination of fog and a strong south wind (which earned Bonete beach the nickname “Cape Horn” of Ilhabela) turned the island into a cemetery with almost 100 boats.

Inaugurated on April 10, 1900, the third lighthouse of the State of São Paulo was built at Ponta do Boi, a coast surrounded by rocks, a place of very difficult access – cause of the delay of more than a year in the delivery of the work and an overflow of the original budget.

The 17-meter white masonry tower of the Ponta do Boi Lighthouse was built under the general direction of Admiral Joaquim Antonio Cordovil Maurity and still houses the lantern and the 3rd order dioptric system, original of the BBT brand and ordered in 1892 and which gave it a range of 20 miles.

Farol Ponta do Boi em Ilhabela

The tower model flanked by houses for the lighthouse keepers was adopted in other lighthouses of the same period (Macaé, Castelhanos and Ilha da Paz lighthouses). In the 1960s the lighthouse was electrified with the installation of diesel engines.

Ponta do Boi Lighthouse, despite its relative proximity to the city of Ilhabela (formerly Vila Bela da Princesa), can only be accessed by boat or, as the maintenance team currently does, by helicopter.

This demonstrates the isolation bravely faced by so many lighthouse keepers and their families for over 100 years.

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