One day at a time

change happens slowly

While I formulate my own plan of action, spending time in nature and sharing a national park, with all its wonders, helps.

Ollie, the lighthouse dog

Look for his book sometime in the future. He is the sweetest dog, charms all the kids and pet lovers and hikes like a monster. So brave, so cute. He became a Bark Ranger because he followed all the Park’s dog rules while his handlers became Junior Rangers, because they completed their activities in the Junior Ranger book.

Today I chose a different perspective. I took a boat tour to understand the layout of the islands seen on my horizon. It left from Bass Harbor and was terrific. Conditions were perfect and I learned more about lobster and fish conservation practices, the lighthouse, marine wildlife and geology. We saw harbor seals, grey seals, a bald eagle, guillemots and cormorants.

We also drifted in front of the lighthouse.

Nice place to think.

And here we are

Bass Harbor Head Lighthouse

It has taken a little while to settle in. The keeper’s house was freshly painted with new furniture when we arrived. We spent the first several weeks in fairly intense NPS training but have learned enough about the park, its geology, trails, and carriage roads to advise visitors. Last week, we donned our uniforms and fielded questions.

Love the hat

Mostly people want to know : 1) how do you get to live here ; 2) where can I take the photo we see on the internet; and 3) where is a good place to eat lobster?

Heading downhill to our quarters

We are used to being “a bit more” isolated than this but are adjusting. As with many places in the park, there is not enough parking, which creates a backup on the road to the lighthouse.

The oil house
The lantern with its 4th fresnel lens

We haven’t been up the tower yet but may get a chance tomorrow.

Reflections

As with many lighthouses, there are beautiful sunsets and rainbows.

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.