Today was moving day. When I came up the hill after bringing a bag to the cove, I was greeted by this. The magic of Seguin. I guess I must come back. It’s a sign.
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.
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.
The island’s apple trees are loaded with fruit but located on a ledge, surrounded by poison ivy. Tim loves apple pie and may be immune to poison ivy so he set off and gathered several.
I decided to make a small “pie” as a test. It was pretty delicious.
The summer garden still has lots of basil, mint and yellow squash.
Perhaps tonight we will have escargot!
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
So I propose a new documentary, let’s call it:
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.
One of the neighbors came down to the beach to wave goodbye.
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.
Just passing by
We 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.
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.
Despite 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.
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.
We spotted another seal taking a rest in the cove at high tide.
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.
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.