Why island life?

Not just any island, offshore please. Ideally with only two occupants. Yesterday made it perfectly clear to me why I love these opportunities. In between putting up window grates and storing the multitude of benches that now reside here, I stared in awe at the sky as it constantly changed. Black clouds brought a little rain and then moved to the north.

From the vantage point of a hill atop an offshore island, and safely onshore, clouds, gloomy skies and rain are spectacular.

And you need clouds and rain to form rainbows. As we got ready for dinner, Tim saw a rainbow out front. I went out back to see it and watched it with the current, resident peregrine falcon.

Until he found something to hunt and flew off.

This is the view I wake up to from our bed looking south to mile buoy. There is also the sound of the wind, bell buoys flag halyards.

We have not seen any whales but the boat traffic is interesting. With a Marine Traffic app, many times we can identify the boats and ships we see offshore. It makes them less anonymous as they drift or cruise by.

And of course it helps that Tim and I usually enjoy each other’s company and work well together. I couldn’t do this without such an excellent partner.

Small treasures and big sky

We’ve been busy, shutting down the island in earnest. We often have helpers for a couple of days but the seas did not cooperate this year.

We still find plenty of time to enjoy all the island offers. We spent a couple of hours in the cove that other morning and I found treasures combing the beach.

I tossed this guy back into the sea because he was still alive. I found more snails cavorting and a piece of green sea glass – bingo!

It has been a wet year. The weather station recorded 100 inches of rain! Good for mushrooms.

I heard a strange bird sound the other morning and we found a pair of peregrine Falcons admiring the fresnel lens.

Wonders never cease. A few cold fronts skidded by, hence the lack of visitors, but they created interesting clouds.

And, of course, sunsets.

And sunrises.

Where did all the sea glass go?

Recycling works. In years past it was easy to scavenge sea glass from the sand in the cove.

Not this year. It’s slim pickings. I only found one piece of clear (the most common) this morning.

This is my bounty for the week. And I was hoping to make some jewelry.

Mostly interesting rocks. It is not due to lack of crashing surf.

Back to knitting, weaving and braiding.

clouds and more rolled in

We have had 3 beautiful days, sunny, with a light breeze, but finally are getting some Maine weather. After several days of crystal clear blue skies, clouds and moisture moved in ahead of a cold front.

That’s an amazing part of this 360 degree view: being able to watch the weather roll in. Two scheduled groups of visitors, overnight guests and a working bee, were cancelled.

That didn’t stop a group of 10 or so kayakers from paddling in as part of an outdoor leadership training. We briefly met one of their guides in 2008, June 22 to be exact, when he appeared with a group that navigated here through pea soup fog by gps and the sound of the foghorn.

Yesterday the foghorn came in while Tim was practicing his keyboard. These days sailors have to request the foghorn by using channel 83 on the vhf radio and clicking their heels ( or the mic button) three times. We can’t see the cove from the house and were visited by three Coasties who were here to test the foghorn and take an inventory of stuff they are going to take off the island by helicopter.

One never knows who will pop up here.

And then the sun set.

Island bound

I wish I was bound to an island but for now, we are at our home away from home, Seguin Island, Maine. The weather shone upon us and we arrived on island with only one dunking. Me of course but no harm was done, just a little bruised ego.

First glance of Seguin

I started dreading the trip about a year ago, largely because our arrival by dinghy, with all we need, is always a crap shoot. Once we make it ashore, wet or dry, our stuff – food, keyboard, clothing and knitting – then has to make it up 300 feet to our quarters.

There used to be a donkey engine and tram to haul our stuff when we were first here in 2008. But alas it no longer works. Leave it to Friends of Seguin to come up with a solution. They built a hand trolley we pushed up the tram and got our gear up the hill in two trips. Luckily there was a group of strapping young men on the beach who helped us carry our water (in 48 lb jugs) to the trolley.

Trolley at the top of the tram

So maybe I won’t dread our first day next year. Just maybe.

The island keeps getting better. It’s lush this year and the apple trees are loaded with fruit. I may try to make a pie with them. I didn’t bring any in an effort to keep the weight, ours and our gear’s, down.

We found a new type of tree on the North Trail, a crab tree!

Crabtree

The first order fresnel lens is sparkling.

And the solar led lights work fine.

The old back up lens is in the Museum. Now that the light is solar powered, no need for backup.

And the sun and moon never disappoint.

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.

On island

We left the deer at home to finish eating the rest of my garden. They’ll have to pass on the geraniums though. These came from Seguin at the end of a season a few years ago.

Tim suggested we drive through the White Mountains to Maine. Then he took a nap. He woke up for the hairpin turn of the Kancamagus highway.

We enjoyed a leisurely drive and made it to Bath, ME in time for my French zoom class. I am confident Canada will let us back in one day…It was fun to have a little time to roam the town.

As predicted the wind lied down by Thurs and we took our favorite lobsterman’s boat with our gear and food to the island. The new Yeti cooler performed as advertised.

Getting the gear up the hill is always a chore but Cyndy from Friends of Seguin Island helped and it went easier than I remember. Maybe it was a good plan to backpack and build up legs prior to this trip.

And here we are.

This year, through individual contributions, Friends of Seguin Island raised more than $100,000 to convert to solar energy. And it works, even in this foggy spot.

The Island had the same caretakers for the last two seasons, Debbie and Chris, and they kept it in great shape and made several major improvements: a spanking new generator shed for the spanking new generator; a plank walkway in the North trail’s swamp; a new interesting trail and a new bench on it. . Some of this was done last summer, when the electric cable failed and they had to run a generator 4 hours a day. Hats off!

Here’s to a few more beautiful sunsets in my happy place.

Woman of Seguin

There was a recurring theme floating in my head the whole time we were on Seguin. (Tim, sign off now, you are sick of this). Life on a remote island still has so many similarities to the fictional documentary filmed in 1934, The Man of Aran, a favorite of mine. It follows the daily life of a small family eeking out a living on the remote island off of Galway.

I relate to the woman in the movie and believe it could be renamed:
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We are an equal and active participant in the hard work island life entails.
We lug things up and down the “rock”, always with good cheer.
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We are involved whenever boats are launched off the beach, regardless of the conditions, and sometimes get drenched to our necks. And laugh about it.
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We wear slipper-like shoes to climb the rocks and trails, to walk in the water, and to fish off the cliffs. They used ballet-like leather slippers and I wear Mary Jane crocs. Same thing.
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So I propose a new documentary, let’s call it:
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We returned home yesterday and took the dinghy through a wall of water to get to our trusty lobster boat and ride ashore. I got fully drenched in the process and the replacement keepers’ food took a bath when a wave washed over the dinghy.
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One of the neighbors came down to the beach to wave goodbye.
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Even on the last day, on our tenth year at Seguin, it revealed something new to me. The concrete base I painted highlighted initials carved into it from 1959. I guess I will have to come back another time and figure out whose they are. Or to whom they belong. And get ready to lug all our supplies back up the hill.
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