Contest #490: The Admiralty Pier Gun Turret, Dover, England

Also known as just The Dover Turret, and assorted other nicknames.

In the 19th century the British, ever aware of just how close the were to the continent full of possibly nefarious personages contemplating invasion at any given moment, decided that the recently enlarged Admiralty Pier might offer a tempting landing spot for invading troops. Some defense was decreed. The result is the turret, armored, and armed with two 80-ton, 16-inch rifled muzzle-loaders with a range of up to 4.3-miles. Monster guns for the 1880s, although like most naval technology, soon outmoded. They are simply too big to dismember, so they remain in place:

For an idea of just how big they are:

The whole pier took a beating in a 1987 storm.The walkway along the pier was closed and the turret became inaccessible to the public. Most of the machinery inside the turret has been removed but the guns and their carriages remain together with parts of the shell lifts for the BL 6-inch guns above. The turret remains under the control of Dover Harbour Board and there are no plans to restore it or open it to view.

As it is today:

Contest #482: Sable Island, off Nova Scotia Canada

Roughly 190 miles (300 km) SE of Nova Scotia, Sable Island was long known as the graveyard of the North Atlantic. Over 350 ships have been lost in those waters, the first recorded being HMS Delight in 1583, the last being the steamer Manhasset in 1947. That being said some of the wreckage from the ill fated Andrea Gail, sunk during the perfect storm of 1991 washed up on the shore there.

Probably the most famous wreck is that of the Gloucester schooner Columbia that went down in 1927. In an eerie moment in 1928 the trawler Venosta dragged her up, masts still intact although clearly damaged. Venosta’s lines snapped, and Columbia returned to her watery grave.

Sable Island is the subject of extensive scientific research. A wide range of manual and automated instruments are used at the Station, including the Automated Weather Observing System operated by the Meteorological Service of Canada, an aerology program measuring conditions in the upper atmosphere using a radiosonde carried aloft by a hydrogen-filled weather balloon to altitudes beyond 40 km (25 mi), and a program collecting data on background levels of carbon dioxide, which began there in 1974.

Sable Island Station:

Resident horses:

Weather beaten boat:

Probably not on the official roster of wrecks, but clearly abandoned:


Those who found the site before the hint:

  • Eloy Cano
  • Gyorgy Horvath
  • Phil Ower
  • Lighthouse
  • Glenmorren
  • Lelie
  • Garfield
  • Jesus Rodriguez
  • George, Esq
  • Jeather
  • mehmet durmus
  • Tuxedo Jones

and after the hint:

  • Robin
  • Luís Filipe Miguel
  • landsend

Contest #482 Hint

Once known as the graveyard of her surrounding waters, now a site for assorted scientific investigations, including upper atmosphere studies involving radiosonde balloons. Oh, and there are horses.

Contest #480 The Geographic North Pole

Given the dates involved for 480 we thought the North Pole, home of Santa Claus/Father Christmas/Saint Nicholas, Saint Nick, Kris Kringle, etc etc, might be a good choice.  It turns out that if you put “North Pole” into the Google Earth search engine it takes you to the magnetic North Pole, which is not the same thing as the geographic north pole, located at 90 degrees north, no longitude involved. Hence the somewhat subtle nature of the hint.

Unlike the South Pole, which is located on a landmass, the North Pole is in the open, if usually frozen, Arctic Ocean. The oceanic nature of the place was theorized pretty early.  Here is Geradus Mercator’s 1595 map of the area- theoretical, of course, but he had the concept correct.

Actually getting to the Pole proved extremely difficult. Prior to 1900 various explorers tried and failed. Others tried, and claimed they made it, although many of these claims have been since discounted. Chief among those is the claim of the American, Robert Peary in 1909. The first confirmed party to arrive was a Soviet party led by let by Aleksandr Kuznetsov in 1948. They flew in, and landed on the ice.

Peary and his party had been carried partway there, on two expeditions, by the SS Roosevelt:

Other parties had overflown the pole, and in 1958 the US Navy submarine Nautilus passed directly under the pole, but did not surface. That honor fell to the USS Skate, in 1959. The first confirmed party to arrive by surface was that of Ralph Plaisted, in 1968.

The Skate after breaking through:

On 17 August 1977 the Soviet nuclear-powered icebreaker Arktika completed the first surface vessel journey to the North Pole.

In the end, it remains a cold and lonely place, although there is a great deal of automated scientific investigation going on, producing images like the one below. To see other sciencey things go to where you will find links to this, and other webcams- which are doubtless non-operational at this time of year.


Those who were good and got presents included:

  • Lighthouse
  • Phil Ower
  • hhgygy
  • Eloy Cano
  • steve willis
  • Glenmorren
  • David Kozina
  • Jeather
  • Garfield
  • Gillian B
  • Ashwini Agrawal
  • Paul Voestermans
  • George, Esq
  • Chris Nason
  • Ben S
  • Steve J

And those who had to settle for coal (or, at least, just one point):

  • mehmet durmus
  • Jesus Rodriguez
  • Ann K.

And congratulations to Gyorgy Horvath, known for a long time in this game as hhgygy, as the winner of this series with a perfect score of 20!

# 478 Ile aux Oiseaux, on the Ratier shoal, Seine estuary between Honfleur and Le Havre

There had been some, ahh, complaints about easy WOGE quizzes, so we decided to increase the difficulty scale a bit. We’ve known about this thing for a few years, but were mystified as to what it might be. Clearly man made, but too small to be a fort, and not identified on any map we could find. Fortunately we have at least one WOGE player in France, and he kindly identified the 2005 bird sanctuary for us. Our source does admit there is not a lot of English language material to be had, so you will have to make use of the Google translation option to get the full story.

Last edit before posting. Very few got it, and only a few of those actually figured out what it is. Well done!

Aerial view:

An explanation that the non-Francophones will have to translate

Another good translatable article

Pictures of the place are very hard to come by, and the ones we found are in those two linked articles. So here’s a picture of a happy puffin at another French bird sanctuary:

Found before the hint:

  • Lighthouse
  • hhgygy
  • Phil Ower
  • Garfield
  • JF

Nobody figured out it was for the birds.