Bass Harbor Head Lighthouse was dark for a month after a lightning storm zapped its LED bulb. I met the Coast Guard electrician who told me the bulb was sent to Australia for repair! Yet on my one of my final days as a keeper, four men in blue coveralls arrived in an unmarked truck. Much less dramatic than other locations where they arrived by helicopter.
And just like that, we had a light again.
It was comforting to see it from my bedroom window once again.
I was very busy my last week, seeing the sites and packing up the house. Tim and I had visited all but one of the bridges on Acadia’s carriage roads. I made a final trip and saw the last of the lot, the Cliffside Bridge.
As its name implies, it is built into the side of a cliff. I couldn’t be sure it even crossed a stream.
Cobblestone bridge is the first carriage road bridge built and the only one made with cobblestones, not granite. It sits just outside the Park and is my personal favorite. I liked it so much, I crossed it on three occasions.
The second time was with Tim when we came upon this whimsical tree carving.
Complete with stick figures and a porcupine or beaver.
Then I cleaned house, packed up the dishes and linens for the NPS and gathered my pantry, projects and clothes and headed home.
I loved living on the sea’s edge with waves crashing beneath my windows but, ” There’s no place like home “. (Have I mentioned I played the good witch, Glenda, in fourth grade).
The bees around the lighthouse are busy pollinating the marigolds, beach roses and ragwort. My neighbor spotted a few bees at my hive. I suspect they are merely robbers but time will tell.
We took the Maine DOT ferry to Swans Island last week with bikes and had a grand time despite all the hills. One stop was the Burnt Coat Harbor Lighthouse. It shows what a community working together can accomplish. From about 2007 to now, they restored it to its current, pristine state. Well worth the stop.
After another hike, we drove Acadia’s Park Loop Road. We saw first hand some of the parking issues elsewhere in the park. There was a mile long line of cars parked alongside the popular Sand Beach.
We found some quiet spots anyway – not at Sand Beach
As summer rolls by, many beautiful boats pass the lighthouse.
They make us wonder, for a moment, if we would like another boat, besides Sparky.
Just for a moment.
The hammock offers a peaceful retreat from the crowds. There is usually a breeze and it rocks me right to sleep.
While the sunset is beautiful, we discovered you can’t actually see the sun sink below the horizon from the rocks, in summer. It’s a winter spectacle when it sets further south.
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.
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?
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.
We haven’t been up the tower yet but may get a chance tomorrow.
As with many lighthouses, there are beautiful sunsets and rainbows.
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.
“Oma, when will you come to my house so you can sleep with me and have a campout?” And just like that, I’m crushed. I don’t know when…
So I try to distract myself instead and make things and take long walks in the woods. I’m completing a batch of quilts for the grand darlings now that they all sleep in their own beds, even if it lets them wander in the night.
And a couple for the adults as well.
Just like I “read” two books at a time (one is an audiobook), I generally have about three projects in the works: a quilt, something on the loom and a project on my knitting needles for the evenings while we watch movies.
We leave soon for the Schoodic Institute in Acadia National Park for the winter. What to bring, what to bring? I’m not talking about clothing. We’ll have boots, skis and snowshoes. Oh and a bathing suit to wear in the local pool. That’s always easy.
Which of my many fiber tools? Always knitting needles. Perhaps my portable table loom with premeasured warps? Or a sewing machine? And what about my spinning wheel? Oh my.
This is the first time we can drive to a caretaker gig and it boggles my mind. No dry bags, no dinghies, no planes. I may need limits.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.