Off with a splash

I am not the most graceful person getting in and out of a dinghy on a rocky Maine beach. In my defense, I was weighted down by a drybag on my back with our electronics. As I was climbing aboard the stern, the boat bucked, and with my legs and arms already in the boat, my butt and drybag landed in the water. It was an impossible position to get out of myself and Tim had to haul me aboard. Another memorable dinghy moment. One year, the dinghy flipped and we had to bob for apples in the cove.

We finished getting the grates up before the island closers arrived.

The departure day was perfect, clear, dry and crisp. The lighthouse was tucked in and would shine all alone for the winter.

Aldo Leopold bench we built in 2008

A departing gift

We had a short stay on Seguin this year but it delivered plenty of joy. The trails were in great shape and we walked them all.

We dripped in fog for days – not a good time to try to dry newly spun yarn or laundry. A gale came through with winds of 40 mph. We dined out aboard a sailboat and we tucked the island in. The lens sparkled brightly even with its new solar powered LED light.

Friday, our last full day on the island, began with fog, which turned to rain, and ended with double rainbows at sunset. What a treat.

Islands always give more than they take.

Visions

The fog has lingered for several days There is a gale blowing now and it should tidy things up a bit. We’re battened down. Such drama. Boats in the cove looked like ghost ships and Pond Island seems to rise out of the mist.

Even though we have been coming here for 12 years, I still discover new things. This old man rock on Cobblestone Beach is a new vision.

Need some help?

This lovely rock weed pops around the beaches. Sweet little yellow flowers, different from goldenrod.

A couple of seals have been resting during low tide at the cove.

We went to the workshop, Whistle House last night and once again saw how nice it is to return to the lighthouse at night.

Goodnight moon…

Fog

The fog has settled in just as it should at a lighthouse. I woke in the middle of the night and heard it dripping from the Keeper’s building. It’s funny how the dampness obscures some things and amplifies others.

I heard voices which sounded just as if they were on the walkway but instead they were coming from a lobster boat off the island.

The dew makes spider webs more visible and there are plenty of them about.

This view is a little different from just a day ago.

We saw an old friend, Jim, who has spent so much time and energy on this island. He was happy to see what great shape it is in, which is a credit to the Friends of Seguin, the caretakers and their dedicated Wednesday Warriors. We enjoyed an al fresco dinner aboard Finisterre. My journal posts reveal, four years ago, we dined aboard SV Guillemot, which may have been an Outward Bound boat.

Our return to the island showed it in its glory, shining brightly. At least we could see its glow.

You need some fog to get this wonderful umbrella effect.

I am still hopeful we will see a few more sunsets before it is time to go. We will have to actually see the sun for this to happen.

Lucky to have memories

of places like this.DSC00543fullsizeoutput_f59

I know the Deal Island Lighthouse is looking spiffier than the last time I saw it since it has been refinished and painted.   No one can currently admire it though because Tasmania Parks and Wildlife is closed.

I was brought back to our time alone on this beautiful island in Australia by a book I am reading. The phrase was,  ‘and then before you know it, Bob’s your uncle’. Cracks me up every time. On a side note, my iPad lost the ability to type quotation  marks and I can’t find them.

Home sweet home

We have internet! A big change from Deal Island.

After 45 hours of solid travel, we made it home. Our flight off the island was rough. It was windy and the pilot warned me my head might hit the ceiling. It didn’t and Tim managed to get a beautiful parting shot. One of my favorites. It shows the magnitude of the cliffs, the sea and the beautiful lighthouse, now partly painted.

We spent a day on lovely Flinders Island. It really is as beautiful as Deal Island, only with a few more people.

Next stop Launceston, Tasmania, where we visited old haunts: the Cataract Gorge, The Aquatic Center, Museum and the best hamburger joint around (twice). I also had my first flat white not made by me! So pretty.

Then our journey began. We flew to Sydney where we had a nine hour layover. We made good use of our time. We visited my favorite dumpling place and then we toured the Harbor. Never fails to delight.

Then 20 hours of flying…Followed by a six hour drive home. And we made it. After a week, I am beginning to adjust. And home is pretty sweet too.

Ihave hundreds of photos from Deal I was never able to upload. I will gradually get them online, until our next adventure.

Guest blog from the other caretaker

Guest Blogger—WHY WE’RE CARETAKERS

We have now volunteered on five islands for a total of more than two years. Each has been an adventure, sometimes hard work, and endless fun. A new island is on the horizon.
What makes island caretaking so fulfilling? Partly, it’s living in the moment. We sometimes slip out of the present and into the future but it’s a limited time frame since none of our stays has been longer than four months. Mostly, we live day-to-day, focusing on the task at hand, listening to the wind and birds, or marveling at the 360-degree beauty. There are very few outside distractions.
We enjoy greeting visitors and making new friends. Indeed, welcoming those who arrive by boat is one of our most important tasks. But, we enjoy nothing more than the solitude, peace, and meditation of having the islands to ourselves.
Four of “our” islands have lighthouses which guarantee world-class views. The fifth, the one without a lighthouse, was no exception, situated offshore between the Straight of Juan de Fuca and the Olympic Peninsula in Washington.
We are always keyed into weather and listen to the forecast on our VHF radio or download it with our limited internet. Fog (sometimes triggering the fog horn), strong winds (blowing down trees and branches), downpours (creating sand slides), and sunny forecasts become an obsession. As I sit writing this, we await a gale gusting to 60 mph with rain, hail, and thunderstorms over four days. We once weathered a storm lasting more than a week with constant 70 mph winds, gusting to 90. Bad things on land are always worse at sea, however, and, as sailors ourselves, many are the nights we’ve been gratefully tucked into our comfortable caretaker houses.
Caretaking isn’t for everyone. I wouldn’t want to do it by myself and Lynne is the perfect companion. We find joy in each other’s company, day after day. R-E-S-P-E-C-T is the key and we try to reach a consensus on most decisions.
Lynne possesses endless reserves of joie de vivre. Her incredibly eclectic choices in reading reflect her approach to life. She enjoys everything from Marcus Aurelius to Isabel Allende, often focusing on books about the area where we are staying. Similarly, she undertakes endless and varied projects and her skills range from imaginative cooking to weaving to wielding a chain saw. In short, Lynne is the best caretaking companion I can imagine. She never gets bored.
We learned the following dictum from some fellow caretakers. Every day we try to accomplish three things: do something for the island, engage in creativity, and exercise. There is always something to do for the island: mowing, clearing trails, small engine maintenance, building simple furniture, hosing off seagull poo, painting, and on and on. I have no problem with the second because I practice two or more hours a day on my electronic keyboard. Number one often takes care of number three but on those days when I can’t kill two birds with one stone, there is always hiking, swimming, or jogging.
We share our islands with more permanent residents. In Alaska, we marvel at whales swimming sixty feet offshore. In Tasmania, wallabies hop all around us, penguins cry and whistle half the night, and dolphins dance in the coves. In Washington, we spy on napping seals and watch forty bald eagles watching us. And, in Maine, we listen to lobster boats grumbling through the thick fog.
We’ve been doing this off and on for ten years and I’d like nothing better than to do it for ten more. That said, we’re looking forward to coming home.

Joint venture

Paper nautilus shells, which are really egg cases, are known to wash up on islands in the Bass Strait. There are several on display in the Deal Island Museum and in the caretakers’ house. I had always hoped I would find one myself.

There is also a lovely children’s book, Argonauta, Octopus Navigator, in the library.
I bought a copy of the book for home in 2015, after grand children arrived. Last year I broke down and BOUGHT a shell on eBay for me.

But after a total of 9 months on this island over the past 8 years, and frequent beach combing, I found one myself, sort of.

Actually, I saw a seagull find one. I thought this weekend had possibilities because there are gale winds and the shells could be swept on to the beach.

I was watching a black backed seagull fish; it dove straight into the surf and came up with something in its beak, which it pecked at and dropped on the sand. It looked odd to me, it wasn’t a fish. I asked the seagull to leave. It obliged and to my delight I it was a paper Nautilus, Knobbed Argonaut or Argonauta nodosus, shell. The seagull had already snacked on some caviar and left me to it.

I rinsed the remaining eggs into the sea and will try to bring it home intact.

Clouds, moon pies and a meteor

There’s never a dull moment in paradise. Sunsets and even a few sunrises take my breath away. Each one is unique and beautiful.

The other night while we watched a downloaded movie indoors, we heard engine sounds outside. At least one helicopter buzzed the residence. I saw them make their return trip the next day, not so close this time.

The next night Tim stepped outside and was amazed to see this meteor fall over the swashway on Erith and Dover Islands.

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-05-22/a-suspected-meteor-ignites-the-night-sky-over/11137696?pfmredir=sm

So I baked cookies, known as moon pies by some, and Oreos by others.

Looking good

The work is done for now. The lighthouse cracks have been sealed, the metal work ground down and painted and an initial coat of paint has been applied. It will look so flash and more importantly won’t leak water any more.

Both houses, the workshop, generator shed, radio shed have new roofs. It was a whirlwind of work and activity but now we are on our own for the time being. The barge arrived yesterday morning and asbestos debris and the various vehicles and trailers were hauled aboard. We cleared the airstrip and off went the last of the crew. Phew.