Lighthouses of Indonesia: Southwestern Sumatra

Indonesia has been independent since 1945, after having been the Dutch East Indies for more than 350 years. It is a huge country, stretching along both sides of the Equator for more than 46 degrees of longitude (roughly 5100 km or 3200 miles). Comprised of some 17,000 islands (more than 6000 inhabited islands), it has hundreds of major aids to navigation. Unfortunately, it's difficult to know how many of these aids can be considered lighthouses. Information about them is scarce, and photos are even scarcer. Official light lists contain dozens of entries for "framework towers" and "white beacons," providing little guidance for the lighthouse fan.

Sumatra (or, as Indonesians prefer, Sumatera) is the world's sixth largest island and the westernmost of the major islands of Indonesia. It is separated from Malaysia to the north by the Malacca Strait, from Borneo to the northeast by the broad Karimata Strait, and from Java to the southeast by the Sunda Strait. Its south coast faces the open Indian Ocean. This page includes lighthouses of the west coast of the island, including the provinces of Bengkulu and West Sumatra and the west coast of North Sumatra Province.

This page is probably not complete. Listed here are towers at locations known to be historic Dutch light stations, plus some additional sites at which there is some evidence for a lighthouse. Added to this is an appeal for more information and photos; if you know about lighthouses in Indonesia, please share that knowledge.

Note: There are separate pages for the lighthouses of the Riau Islands and of Bangka and Belitung, islands lying off the east coast of Sumatra.

The Indonesian word for a lighthouse is mercusuar. The phrase menara suar, which includes the Arabic word menara, is sometimes used instead. Tanjung and ujung are words for capes, pulau is an island, selat is a strait, and teluk is a harbor.

Aids to navigation in Indonesia are operated and maintained by the Directorate General of Sea Navigation.

ARLHS numbers are from the ARLHS World List of Lights. Admiralty numbers are from volumes F and K of the Admiralty List of Lights & Fog Signals. U.S. NGA List numbers are from Publication 112.

General Sources
Indonesian Lighthouses
Historic postcard views from the collection of Michel Forand.
Lighthouses in Indonesia
Photos by various photographers available from Wikimedia; most of the photos are historic.
World of Lighthouses - Indonesia
Photos by various photographers available from Lightphotos.net.
Ujung Batumandi Light
Ujung Batumandi Light, Padang, October 2008
Panoramio photo copyright vault350; permission requested

Bengkulu Province Lighthouses

Indian Ocean Lighthouses
Tanjung Linau
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 30 m (98 ft); three white flashes every 15 s. Approx. 23 m (75 ft) square pyramidal skeletal tower, probably with lantern and gallery, painted white. No photo available, but Bing has a satellite view. Located on a promontory in southernmost Bengkulu province. Site status unknown. Admiralty K0900; NGA 23098.
Tanjung Bandar
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 18 m (59 ft); white flash every 3 s. 16 m (52 ft) square pyramidal skeletal tower, probably with lantern and gallery, painted white. No photo available, but Google has a fuzzy satellite view. This is probably the original lighthouse. Located on a promontory about 1 km (0.6 mi) south of Bintuhan. Site status unknown. ARLHS IDO-294; Admiralty K0898; NGA 23099.
Tanjung Manna
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 30 m (98 ft); three white flashes every 15 s. Approx. 23 m (75 ft) skeletal tower, painted white. No photo available, but Bing has an indistinct satellite view. Located on a low headland southwest of Manna, the capital of the South Bengkulu Regency. Site status unknown. Admiralty K0897; NGA 23100.
Pulau Enggano (Malakoni)
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 60 m (197 ft); four white flashes every 20 s. 40 m (131 ft) square skeletal tower, painted white. No photo available, but Bing has an indistinct satellite view that probably shows the lighthouse. Enggano is a substantial island in the Indian Ocean, measuring roughly 30 km by 15 km (19 mi by 9 mi), about 100 km (60 mi) west of Krui. It has only a small population and is rarely visited. The lighthouse is apparently located on a bluff on the north coast of the island near the village of Belowa. Site status unknown. ARLHS IDO-197; Admiralty K0895; NGA 23101.
* Pulau Tikus (3?)
Date unknown (station established 1883). Active; focal plane 33 m (108 ft); white light, 5 s on, 5 s off. 30 m (98 ft) tapered square skeletal tower with gallery, painted white. A page for the island has several photos, another photo is available, Nurul Iman Supardi has a distant view, and Bing has an indistinct satellite view. Forand has a distant postcard view of what is believed to be the second tower. The light station is reported to be staffed. Note: There is another Pulau Tikus lighthouse in West Malaysia. Located on a tiny island about 10 km (6 mi) southwest of Bengkulu; boat transportation to the island can be hired in Bengkulu. Accessible only by boat. Site open, apparently it is possible to climb the tower. ARLHS IDO-254; Admiralty K0884; NGA 23104.
Pulau Mega (Pulau Mego)
Date unknown (clearly recent). Active; focal plane 33 m (108 ft); white flash every 10 s. 30 m (98 ft) skeletal tower with gallery, painted white. The island is the site of a tectonic monitoring station installed in 2008 by Caltech University in a project aimed at measuring tectonic strains in this earthquake-prone area. One of Caltech's photos is at right, but Bing has only a distant satellite view of the island. Located on a small island about 160 km (100 mi) west southwest of Bengkulu. Accessible only by boat. Site status unknown. Admiralty K0883.95; NGA 23101.7.

Pulau Mego Light, 2008
Caltech Tectonics Observatory photo
* Mukomuko (Muko-Muko)
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 25 m (82 ft); white flash every 5 s. Approx. 23 m (75 ft) skeletal tower, painted white. No photo available, but Google has a satellite view. Located near the Mukomuko airport, at the northern end of Bengkulu province. Site status unknown. Admiralty K0881; NGA 23128.

West Sumatra Province Lighthouses

Mentawai Islands Lighthouses
Note: The Mentawai Islands are a chain of islands lying about 150 km (90 mi) off the coast of West Sumatra province. Lightly populated, the islands are best known to surfers. The lights of these islands are not well known.
Tanjung Bio
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 21 m (69 ft); white flash every 4 s. Described only as a "white beacon," this is probably a round fiberglass tower. No photo available, and Google has only a distant satellite view of the cape. Located on the southern tip of Pulau Pagai Selatan (South Pagai), the southernmost of the Mentawai islands. Site status unknown. Admiralty K0883.65; NGA 23115.
Pulau Simonga (Simongguk)
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 41 m (135 ft); white flash every 8 s. Skeletal tower, height unknown, painted white. No photo available, and Bing has only a distant satellite view of the island. Located on a small island off the southeastern end of the Mentawai archipelago. Accessible only by boat. Site status unknown. NGA 23116.
Tanjung Kinapat (Kinapet)
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 21 m (69 ft); white flash every 5 s. Described only as a "white beacon," this is probably a round fiberglass tower. No photo available, and Google has only a distant satellite view of the cape. The light guides vessels in the Sipura Strait, the passage between Sipura and Pagai Utara (North Pagai). Located on the southern tip of Pulau Sipura. Site status unknown. NGA 23135.7.
* Pulau Sipura
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 14 m (46 ft); white flash every 5 s. 12 m (39 ft) square skeletal tower with gallery, painted white. A view from the water is available, but the tower has not been seen in Bing's satellite view of the port. Located on the waterfront of Pulau Sipura, on the east side of Sipura island. Site open, tower closed. Admiralty K0878.1; NGA 23136.
Pulau Ngiau
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 33 m (108 ft); white flash every 5 s. Skeletal tower, height unknown, painted white. No photo available, and Bing has only a distant satellite view of the island. Located on a small island off the southern end of Pulau Siberut, the largest of the Mentawai Islands. Accessible only by boat. Site status unknown. Admiralty K0877.6; NGA 23153.8.
Tanjung Sigep
Date unknown. Active; focal plane unknown; white flash every 5 s. Approx. 40 m (131 ft) skeletal tower, painted white. No photo available, but Bing has a satellite view of the station. NGA lists the focal plane as 14 m (46 ft); 46 m seems more likely. Located at the northern tip of Pulau Siberut. Site status unknown. Admiralty K0875.7; NGA 23153.

Southern West Sumatra Lighthouses
Pulau Katangkatang (2)
Date unknown (station established 1898). Active; focal plane 22 m (72 ft); three white flashes every 22 s. 20 m (66 ft) cast iron skeletal tower, painted white. No photo available, and Bing has only a distant satellite view of the islet. The original lighthouse was a skeletal tower with a focal plane height of 20 m (66 ft). Located on a small island about 25 km (15 mi) off the coast and about 150 km (90 mi) south of Padang. Accessible only by boat. Site status unknown. ARLHS IDO-202; Admiralty K0880; NGA 23140.
Pulau Karaba Kecil
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 44 m (144 ft); three white flashes every 20 s. Approx. 40 m (131 ft) square skeletal tower with gallery. Several 1-story buildings. No photo available, but Google has a good satellite view. Located on a tiny island about 20 km (13 mi) offshore and 80 km (50 mi) south of Padang. Accessible only by boat. Site status unknown. Admiralty K0875; NGA 23154.
Pulau Nyamuk (Nuamuk)
Date unknown (station established 1913). Active; focal plane 32 m (105 ft); two white flashes every 10 s. 31 m (102 ft) cast iron skeletal tower, painted white. No current photo available, but Google has a satellite view. This may be the original lighthouse. Located on a small island about 8 km (5 mi) off the coast and about 50 km (30 mi) south of Padang. Accessible only by boat. Site status unknown. ARLHS IDO-229; Admiralty K0874; NGA 23156.

Padang Area Lighthouses
Note: With a population of about one million, Padang is the largest city on the Indian Ocean coast of Sumatra. The Dutch established a base here in 1680. The area suffered a devastating earthquake on 30 September 2009.
Pulau Brintanggar
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 116 m (381 ft); white flash every 5 s. 15 m (49 ft) square skeletal tower, painted white. No photo available, but Bing has a satellite view. Located on an island about 25 km (15 mi) southeast of Padang. Accessible only by boat. Site status unknown. ARLHS IDO-194; Admiralty K0873; NGA 23158.
Passar Batung
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 14 m (46 ft); white flash every 3 s. 14 m (46 ft) square white concrete tower. No photo available, but Bing has a satellite view. Located off the small port of Batung, about 20 km 913 mi) south of Padang. Accessible only by boat. Site open, tower closed. Admiralty K0852; NGA 23162.4.
Teluk Bungus
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 17 m (56 ft); white flash every 3 s. 17 m (56 ft) round white fiberglass tower mounted on a square platform supported by piles. No photo available, but Bing has a satellite view. Teluk Bungus is a sheltered bay in the lee of Ujung Batumandi, southeast of Padang. Located on the seaward side of a large reef in Teluk Bungus. Accessible only by boat. Site open, tower closed. Admiralty K0872; NGA 23161.
Karang Sandung
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 18 m (59 ft); two quick white flashes every 5 s. 18 m (59 ft) square skeletal tower with gallery, mounted on a square platform supported by piles. The tower also carries black and red daymarks. Suhendri Hasan's 2013 photo is at right, Luthfi Amara has a distant view, and Google has a satellite view. Located on a shoal in the sheltered bay about 2.5 km (1.5 mi) southeast of the Batumandi lighthouse (next entry). Accessible only by boat. Site open, tower closed. Admiralty K0851; NGA 23162.
*** Ujung Batumandi (Ujung Sungei Bramei, Padang) (2)
Date unknown (station established 1891). Active; focal plane 161 m (528 ft); three white flashes every 20 s. 14 m (46 ft) white round concrete tower with lantern and gallery, rising from a 1-story keeper's house. A photo is at the top of this page, Yulnofrins Napilus has an excellent photo, Syamsul Putra has a 2012 photo, a 2008 photo is available, and Google has a good satellite view. The original lighthouse was a skeletal tower with lantern. This is one of the most accessible lighthouses of the Sumatran mainland. Located just off the coastal highway on a sharp promontory about 10 km (6 mi) south of Padang. Site open, tower open but the schedule is not known. ARLHS IDO-086; Admiralty K0864; NGA 23164.
[Pulau Pisang (3)]
Date unknown (station established 1880). Active; focal plane 10 m (33 ft); green flashing light. 10 m (33 ft) skeletal tower, painted white. No current photo available, but Google has a satellite view. The second light was a substantial stone tower built sometime after 1895. Possibly this lighthouse was lost in an earthquake. Located on the southern tip of a small island about 2 km (1.25 mi) off the coast at Padang. Accessible only by boat. Site status unknown. ARLHS IDO-242; Admiralty K0861; NGA 23184.
Pulau Toran
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 17 m (56 ft); white flash every 4 s. 15 m (49 ft) skeletal tower, painted white. A distant view is available, but Google has only a distant satellite view of the island. Located on a small island about 25 km (15 mi) west of Padang. Accessible only by boat. Site status unknown. ARLHS IDO-255; Admiralty K0858; NGA 23165.
Pulau Karsik
Date unknown (station established 1917). Active; focal plane 32 m (105 ft); four white flashes every 15 s. 31 m (102 ft) cast iron skeletal tower, painted white. No photo available, but Google has an indistinct satellite view. Located on a small island about 4 km (2.5 mi) off the coast near Pariaman and about 80 km (50 mi) north of Padang. Accessible only by boat. Site status unknown. ARLHS IDO-205; Admiralty K0850; NGA 23196.
Karang Sandung Light
Karang Sandung Light, Padang, May 2013
Panoramio photo copyright Suhendri Hasan; used by permission
Pulau Ujung
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 30 m (98 ft); white flash every 5 s. 14 (46 ft) square skeletal tower, painted white. No photo available, but Google has a satellite view. Located on a small island about 4 km (2.5 mi) off the coast about 40 km (25 mi) northwest of Pariaman. Accessible only by boat. Site status unknown. ARLHS IDO-257; Admiralty K0846; NGA 23200.
Pulau Pangkul
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 57 m (187 ft); white light, 2 s on, 1 s off. 8 (26 ft) square skeletal tower, painted white. No photo available, but Bing has a satellite view. Located on a small island about 8 km (5 mi) off the coast just north of the Equator and south of the border of North Sumatra province. Accessible only by boat. Site status unknown. Admiralty F1236; NGA 23212.

North Sumatra Province West Coast Lighthouses

Batu Islands Area Lighthouses
Note: The Batu (Stone) Islands are located in the Indian Ocean 50-200 km (30-125 mi) southwest of the North Sumatran coast. There are three principal islands: Tanahbala and Tanahmasa in the south, separated by a narrow channel, and Pini in the north. The Equator passes just to the south of Pini.
Pulau Bojo (Bodjo)
1883. Active; focal plane 119 m (390 ft); white flash every 4 s. 60 m (197 ft) round cast iron tower with lantern and gallery, painted white. Adjoining keeper's houses are occupied by resident keepers. One of Dietrich Lange's photos is at right, and Google has a good satellite view. The purpose of this landfall light is to mark the passage between the Batu Islands and the island of Siberut, leading to the port of Padang. Located on an island just off the south tip of Pulau Tanahbala, the southernmost of the major Batu Islands, about 200 km (125 mi) west northwest of Padang. Accessible only by boat. Site open, tower open by arrangement with the keepers. ARLHS IDO-070; Admiralty K0842; NGA 23192.
Pulau Sigata
1913. Active; focal plane 116 m (381 ft); four very quick white flashes every 3 s. 35 m (115 ft) cast iron skeletal tower, painted white. No photo available, but Google's satellite view proves that the historic lighthouse survives. Located on a small island of the Batu group, northwest of Tanahmasa. Accessible only by boat. Site status unknown. ARLHS IDO-076; Admiralty K0838; NGA 23204.
Pulau Marit
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 15 m (49 ft); white flash every 4 s. 15 m (49 ft) white fiberglass tower mounted on a square platform supported by piles. No photo available, but Google has a satellite view. Located off the east end of Pulau Marit, a small island off the northwestern tip of Tanahmasa. Accessible only by boat. Site open, tower closed. Admiralty F1234; NGA 23202.
Pulau Pini
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 42 m (138 ft); white flash every 8 s. 30 m (98 ft) skeletal tower, painted white. No photo available, and Google's distant satellite view does not show the station. Pulau Pini is a substantial island, about 40 km (25 mi) long, at the northeast corner of the Batu group. Located at the western tip of the island. Site status unknown. ARLHS IDO-241; Admiralty F1235; NGA 23209.
Tanjung Simanusu
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 31 m (102 ft); white flash every 4 s. Described only as a "white beacon." No photo available, and Google has only a fuzzy satellite view of the cape. Almost certainly this is a skeletal tower, painted white, but we have information on its height. Located on the northeastern corner of Pulau Pini, guiding vessels in the passage between that island and the mainland of Sumatra. Site status unknown. Admiralty F1235.5; NGA 23209.2.
Pulau Bojo Light
Pulau Bojo Light, Batu Islands, October 2008
photo copyright Dietrich Lange; used by permission

Batahan Area Lighthouses
Pulau Temang
Date unknown (station established 1913). Active; focal plane 65 m (213 ft); white light, 3 s on, 6 s off. 22 m (72 ft) skeletal tower, painted white. No photo available, and Google's distant satellite view does not show the station. Located at the west end of an island just off the mainland coast near Batahan. Accessible only by boat. Site status unknown. ARLHS IDO-252; Admiralty F1238; NGA 23220.
Pulau Labu (Pulau Sidakah)
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 65 m (213 ft); white flash every 5 s. 15 m (49 ft) skeletal tower, painted white. No photo available, and Google has only a fuzzy satellite view of the island. Located at the west end of an island just off the mainland coast about 45 km (28 mi) north of Batahan. Accessible only by boat. Site status unknown. ARLHS IDO-211; Admiralty F1244; NGA 23228.

Pulau Nias Area Lighthouses
Note: Nias is a large island (more than 5000 km2) about 140 km (88 mi) off the Sumatran coast and 80 km (50 mi) northwest of the Batu group. It has a substantial population, more than 750,000, although it does not attract many Western tourists. The island is accessible by air and by ferries from Sibolga on the mainland of North Sumatra.
Pulau Sumabawa
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 33 m (108 ft); white flash every 4 s. 30 m (98 ft) skeletal tower, painted white. No photo available, and the island is only a blur in Google's satellite view. Located on an island about 12 km (7.5 mi) off the east coast of Nias. Accessible only by boat. Site status unknown. ARLHS IDO-260; Admiralty F1257; NGA 23246.
* Teluk Dalam
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 32 m (105 ft); white flash every 3 s. Approx. 29 m (95 ft) square skeletal tower with gallery. A photo is at right, but the tower has not been found in Bing's satellite view. Located on the waterfront of Teluk Dalam, a port and resort town at the southern tip of Nias. Site open, tower closed. Admiralty F1255.2; NGA 23236.
Tanjung Soahebohu
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 35 m (115 ft); four white flashes every 18 s. Approx. 30 m (98 ft) skeletal tower, painted white. No photo available, and the lighthouse is inconspicuous in Google's satellite view. Located at the southwestern tip of Nias. Site status unknown. Admiralty F1254.5; NGA 23239.
Pulau Hinaka (Hinako)
1912. Active; focal plane 54 m (177 ft); white flash every 5 s. 32 m (105 ft) cast iron skeletal tower, painted white. No photo available, but Google's satellite view indicates that this historic tower survives. This lighthouse guides vessels passing Nias to the west. Located on a small island in the Indian Ocean about 10 km (6 mi) off the west coast of Nias. Accessible only by boat. Site status unknown. ARLHS IDO-198; Admiralty F1254; NGA 23240.
Tanjung Sirombu
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 32 m (105 ft); four white flashes every 18 s. "White beacon," according to the light lists; almost certainly this is a skeletal tower at least 25 m (82 ft) tall. No photo available, and the tower is probably too new to appear in Google's satellite view. The cape is actually a tombolo: an island connected to the mainland by a narrow isthmus. Located midway on the west coast of Nias. Site probably open, tower closed. Admiralty F1254.4; NGA 23244.2.
Teluk Dalam Light
Teluk Dalam Light, Nias, January 2006
Panoramio photo copyright ilman.only; used by permission
Sebua
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 21 m (69 ft); white flash every 4 s. Approx. 14 m (46 ft) square skeletal tower, painted white. No photo available, but Google has an indistinct satellite view. Located on a promontory on the northwestern coast of Nias. Site status unknown. Admiralty F1253; NGA 23247.5.
Gosong Baohi
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 28 m (92 ft); white flash every 5 s. 25 m (82 ft) cast iron skeletal tower, painted white. No photo available, but Google has a satellite view. This lighthouse guides vessels to the port of Lahewa. Located on an island off the northwestern coast of Nias. Accessible only by boat. Site status unknown. ARLHS IDO-129; Admiralty F1250; NGA 23260.
Pulau Sarangbaung
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 55 m (180 ft); two white flashes every 8 s. Approx. 50 m (164 ft) square skeletal communications tower, painted with red and white horizontal bands. A view from the sea is available, but Bing has only a distant satellite view of the island. NGA misspells the name as Sarangbuang. Located on a small island about 20 km (13 mi) north of the northern tip of Nias. Accessible only by boat. Site status unknown. Admiralty F1249; NGA 23258.
Tanjung Mbaa
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 75 m (246 ft); white flash every 5 s. 21 m (69 ft) cast iron skeletal tower, painted white. No photo available, but Google has a satellite view. The light guides vessels approaching Gunungsitoli, the administrative center of the island, on the northeast coast. Located on a promontory about 3 km (2 mi) north of Gunungsitoli. Site status unknown. ARLHS IDO-286; Admiralty F1248; NGA 23248.
Bintanah
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 33 m (108 ft); white flash every 5 s. 30 m (98 ft) cast iron skeletal tower, painted white. No photo available, and Google has only a distant satellite view of the island. Located on an island in the center of the Mentawai Strait, midway between Nias and the Sumatra mainland. Accessible only by boat. Site status unknown. ARLHS IDO-112; Admiralty F1262.3; NGA 23267.

Sibolga Area Lighthouses
Pulau Ilir
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 94 m (308 ft); white flash every 9 s. Approx. 35 m (115 ft square skeletal tower with gallery, painted white. No photo available, but Google has a satellite view of the station. Located on a small island about 2 km (1.25 mi) offshore and 60 km (37 mi) south of Sibolga. Accessible only by boat. Site status unknown. ARLHS IDO-200; Admiralty F1245; NGA 23271.
Labu Labu Kecil
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 57 m (187 ft); two white flashes every 7 s. 40 m (131 ft) skeletal tower, painted white. No photo available; Google has a distant satellite view of the island. Located on a small island on the west side of the southern entrance to the bay of Sibolga. Accessible only by boat. Site status unknown. ARLHS IDO-152; Admiralty F1262.5; NGA 23269.
Pulau Mursala (Musala)
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 35 m (115 ft); white flash every 5 s. Approx. 20 m (66 ft )square skeletal tower with gallery, painted white. No photo available, but Google has a satellite view. NGA lists this light as "Pulau Mansalar." Mursala is best known for a waterfall that cascades directly into the sea. Located on a northwest end of the island, marking the northern entrance to the bay of Sibolga. Accessible only by boat. Site status unknown. Admiralty F1265; NGA 23259.
Ujung Karang
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 41 m (134 ft); three white flashes every 17 s. 40 m (131 ft) skeletal tower, painted white. No photo available, and the tower is not seen in Bing's satellite view. Located on a peninsula sheltering the west side of the bay of Sibolga. Site status unknown. ARLHS IDO-349; Admiralty F1263; NGA 23284.

Information available on lost lighthouses:

Notable faux lighthouses:

Adjoining pages: North: Aceh | East: Eastern Sumatra

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Posted April 13, 2006. Checked and revised November 17, 2014. Lighthouses: 46. Site copyright 2014 Russ Rowlett and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.