Navigating

We leave for Seguin Island Lighthouse sometime over the next few days. Initial plan was Tues but by late last week, I started to watch the weather and saw strong north winds and high seas in the forecast. It still looks that way until at least late Wednesday.

This is the way it goes. We have been island caretakers for five different islands and they all have their sweet spot. North winds don’t work for Seguin because they create waves onto the rocky beach. We learned that over the years. Our first time here, the skies were blue and crisp, looked beautiful, but it came with a north wind. We waited a week.

Baker’s Island has an exposed beach and a rocky landing. Especially fun with cats. For many reasons, including the fact we don’t currently have any, we no longer travel with cats.

Shirley, Baker’s Island

Deal Island, Tasmania, in the Bass Strait, was the roughest. There’s always a west wind and you pound into waves for four hours from the east unless you catch a plane. The boat ride off island has always been lovely.

Protection Island, Washington and Five Finger Lighthouse had tides to contend with. We could only leave on a medium tide in Protection and Alaska had 25 foot tide changes so no boat could anchor nearby, it was a scramble on and off the rocks.

Alaska ferry
Alaska Quest

So while I have coffee at home in the Adirondacks, where there has been frost on the ground every morning, I check the weather update and contemplate another wet boat ride. It’s always worth it.

Island hopping

We had a chance this fall to return to two lighthouses we tended in the past. First we headed off to Bakers a Island in Salem, MA.  We knew it when.  Now the grounds are cleared, the lighthouse is freshly painted,  both keepers’ houses have been renovated and the public can once again visit the island thanks to Essex National Heritage Trust, the National Park Service and volunteer caretakers.

IMG_1260  IMG_1261
Next we headed north to Seguin Island, Maine.  We arrived as the summer caretakers departed and the foghorn was mistakenly blowing.  We settled in and hiked the trails with good friends. After dinner, as we got ready to play a rousing game of Trivial Pursuit,  we lost all power to the island.  The light went out! And the backup lights didn’t come on.

After checking out the boathouse at the bottom of the hill, the whistle house at the top of the hill and all their circuit breakers,  we made calls to find out which power company supplied the island and contacted them. In minutes, coincidentally (?), the power returned.  You can imagine the phone call.  We don’t know our zip code, account number or name.   They were impressed we were calling from a lighthouse though.

But the light never came back on.  So we contacted the Coast Guard, who maintains the light, left a message and went to bed.  This morning, while volunteers arrived in pea soup fog to tackle several projects, the Coast Guard walked us through some troubleshooting to no avail. They stopped by  for a visit today and got things working again. Now we can rest easy and enjoy the sunset.

image

 

 image

 

image