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.

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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Just passing by

5E666643-3461-4450-B347-0B3718BC0D8B91077D2A-5E7D-4777-B575-ADB2D8F58FBEWe applied the finishing touches to the Tram Engine House yesterday and it looks spiffy. Tim did more of the ladder work than I, but groundwork has its issues too.

While we sat on the porch with the last of our cocktails, a small city floated by.

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Another popular way to leaf peep along the coast of Maine. Later, I saw another ship further off shore, both were headed downeast.

As long as it is moderately calm, lobster boats haul their traps. Last night at 03:00 there was a boat hauling traps, under the moonlight, a half mile south of the island. Maybe they had big plans for the daylight hours.

The Monarch butterflies remain in large numbers and I love when they fly in a loose swarm around me.

Now, I want you to make the sound of a plane buzzing close by; something like mmrroowww, or perhaps vrooom. This is what we heard as we made breakfast in the kitchen. We looked out and saw a small prop plane buzz our clothes line.

And of course, we’re just passing by too.

Taking stock

D2ED4947-681D-40C6-80AB-3D5ACCAE2087Despite world events that kept me riveted to the computer yesterday; and trying to figure out just what a Devil’s Triangle is, I managed to finish painting the pump house. The island is in good shape, even if our country is not.

The lighthouse has a window leak, a project for next year, but sparkles.

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The monarch butterflies are getting ready for their migration to Mexico. They are filling up on purple aster nectar and can be seen fluttering all around the island, especially among the wildflowers.

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We spotted another seal taking a rest in the cove at high tide.

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Today we’ll clean up and get ready to return to the “real world”. There’s a rubber band effect to time here. We arrive, acclimate and it feels like we’ll be here forever. We start working on projects, then we tackle more and then there doesn’t seem like there’s enough time.

In addition to Island work, and keeping Tim well fed, I completed my Board recertification, found a house sitter for our next adventure, reviewed patient charts and managed office issues. I’m a little too connected, especially since internet has improved somewhat. We no longer have to go up the tower or sit in the museum to get a signal, most of the time.

I did manage to  knit one very cool dude child’s sweater, a kin to the Big Liebowski’s and two adorable hats.

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Just trying to keep the people in my life safe and warm. They were all knit with Brooklyn Tweed’s Shelter, which I saw spun at Harrisville Designs, and is a fitting name for these times.EFC5DCC3-1D7F-492B-9200-231C1826F2E911708E5B-CE0A-4646-8EB8-265BF5B4F692

Making do

Islanders are great scavengers and sometimes hoarders. We stayed on an island in Alaska where no object (trash), no matter how big or small, rusted or not, was ever removed.

Yet when you need a specific item, it’s nowhere to be found. Take the sink here for a example. It leaks. We have multiple packages of sink washers and “o” rings in the shop. But the sink is a new-fangled Moen  model that doesn’t use washers! Instead, it uses an easy to replace (only if it’s already on the island) plastic cartridge that is known to wear out every couple of years.

But our water is precious and we can’t bear to see it drip down the drain. We have to pump it up to the house, store it in a cellar cistern, which directs it to a pressurized tank. A drip taxes the whole system.  While we wait for a replacement cartridge, I found that by moving the handle with the defective cartridge just a bit, the leak ceased.  Since we can’t stand there all day, I found a surrogate: Tim’s vitamin bottle. E5D303D5-C1AE-4E10-9D3D-FE7C83AA5455And as for those washers, I am knitting a sweater and needed four stitch markers. “O” rings and flat washers, which I like to call square “o” rings, did the trick nicely.

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We bring Kindles to read, usually loaded with books. I also listen to audiobooks. I maintain lists “to read” on my Audible and Goodreads sites but sometimes rely on the “available now” offerings at the New York Public Library.  So this week, I listened to Amy Schumer’s autobiography, probably not something I would have done otherwise. I related to some of what she wrote about herself growing up but perhaps more about her relationship withwhat she had to say about her mother.

Just about dinner time, we lost power as the wind picked up. Since this has happened before, this year we brought our camp stove. We had shrimp pad thai for dinner with sugar snap peas and didn’t miss a beat.

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The fog horn went to its default, on  so cozy. We went up the lighthouse and confirmed the coast was without power too, we could only see the adjacent lighthouse on Pnd Island flashing. During dinner, while I was thinking about food management without power, the fog horn stopped and the lights came back on.

While the wind blows outside, I am listening to Annie Proulx’s Bird Cloud – from my list. I can relate.

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Small wonders

I guess it’s been damp in Maine because the mushrooms on Seguin Island are flourishing. Can mushrooms flourish? The weather station reported 183 inches of rain since January but that sounds impossible. The highest recorded wind for the year was 79 mph. I believe it because a favorite tree was lost and the boathouse dock had a section ripped off over the winter.
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I considered calling this the fungus among us but that term may be passé. Google it; it has been used by Sponge Bob, Warcraft and Disney. So…

Here’s a horrifying appearing insect that is harmless.
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It’s the american pelecinid.

american pelecinid

What looks like a gigantic stinger is actually an extension of its abdomen that lets it burrow and find and consume some sort of grub. Good to know. Despite knowing this, it’s still a bit horrifying.

The day was beautiful but surge was up in the cove. It didn’t matter, a group of intrepid workers surfed into the cove with Tim at the helm of the dinghy.

A dock was shored up and rebuilt, the donkey engine House was scraped and painted and sumac was eradicated from around the helipad. Here’s a view, not to be seen again, because the sumac in the foreground is caput.
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My favorite lighthouse caretaker repaired the catwalk door latch.
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The lantern’s dome was repainted this season. It entailed climbing harnesses and strong nerves. A job repeated every sixteen years, by the same person!

So things are looking pretty sweet on Seguin. Time to tuck in for a gale the next couple of days.
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