Rabbit, Rabbit

Friday, September 1, 2017 – rabbit, rabbit

When I woke up this morning, the wind chill was 46 degrees!  Same as it was when we arrived in May.  How quickly the summer disappears.  Today’s forecast will keep all visitors off the island again, high winds and a good surge coming into the cove is not an easy place to land.  It has settled a lot compared to yesterday, but the winds are predicted to be in the high 20’s with gusts into the 30’s, and it is just cold!

Another put together breakfast today, we had banana pancakes with a few slices of bacon left over.  There goes all my Jiffy Mix, bananas, vanilla and the homemade Nova Scotia maple syrup our friends brought us in June.  Once the dishes were cleaned up, I spent some time vacuuming the guest quarters, putting away the linens we brought back on Wednesday and a little packing of our personal stuff.  At this point we have everything left out in the open, all drawers and closets are empty.  Now I just need a final answer from Ethan when we will be leaving the island.  There is a good weather window on Saturday to leave and the winds pick back up on Sunday with a possibility of rain.  Our vote is to leave Saturday, hopefully earlier in the day because we have a 6-hour drive ahead of us to get to Connecticut, a stopover before arriving in Annapolis on Monday afternoon.  We start work on Tuesday with the Annapolis Boat Show so we really need to get off island in the definite weather opening.

I had one more item on my to-do list which had to be done before I leave but makes me cry every time I go to do it.  I need to paint Phinneus’ grave marker.  Brian has made some improvements to the area we buried him, in fact, as much as Brian complained about him, he has put a lot of effort in making Phin’s resting place a thing of beauty.  I finally got the supplies and headed down to the cove area.  I made it simple – Phinneus, 2001-2017 but it still had me crying the whole time.  I am leaving behind my mamma’s boy and I am having a hard time picturing how the rest of our year is going to be without him.

Phinneus’ final resting place, please be good on the island and your mama loves you big time!

The rest of the afternoon was for lounging around, a little knitting, reading and napping.  We made one more trip down to the engine room with our bags to make our departure as easy as possible.

This is still my favorite spot to take a picture off the Cobblestone Trail. The sky was blue, the wind was cold

Finally, Ethan called at 5pm to work out our departure time.  Because his last week’s business has been limited because of the weather, he has a full schedule on Saturday and is trying to figure out how he can make a trip out to the island with our replacements, Tim & Lynne and get us pack between all his charters.  The final answer appears to be we will be hosting 30 of his clients out here on the island at 1-3:30pm and then once he drops the passengers off at Fort Popham, he will come back to get us around 5-5:30pm.  Not the best solution but I don’t want to wait and hope for a Sunday morning departure. Just means we will be checking into the hotel after 11 Saturday night.

Tonight, Brian is putting together a chicken stir fry with all the last veggies and rice.  It has been good having 3 adults out here for the past few days to eat thru all our left-over provisions, I think our friend, Tom has had enough of the island but he knew the risk of getting stuck out here before he made the trip, hopefully we will all be back to the mainland by tomorrow evening.

I am finishing up my last blog with so many mixed feelings.  This island has been an amazing adventure.  So many friends and stories have been added to our life, the beauty we have been able to share with many had been a daily gift.  As soon as we walked into the cottage we felt at home.  I am happy it is coming to an end but I can’t imagine missing the sunrise while I am at the computer or getting a peak of Mt Washington at sunset.  I hope Sam the Seagull is here next summer to entertain whoever is picked to be the 2018 Keepers, I wonder if they will name him and welcome him in to their daily lives.  Will we be remembered fondly as caretakers and what stories will be told about our stay? Will we get back here to stay and visit Phinneus’ spot?  Will Phinneus be the next addition to the most haunted island on the coast of Maine?

The Flanagan’s want to thank FOSILS for giving us this opportunity to be part of history and we can never repay them for the adventures we were able to experience.  Thanks to all our guests who gave us a chance to see the excitement in their eyes as they come up the Lighthouse Trail the first time. We both loved learning the history of the island, meeting our living history lessons from past keeper’s visits and people who traveled near and far to see our island.  But the best part of the summer was hearing from people who have seen the island for years and they finally made their first visit and have returned many times over the summer.  That is how special Seguin Island is, it just never gets old!

Guests today – 1 (I never added our friend, Tom, to the count)

Guests total – 2508

USCG – this number stayed at 6 and I never got my helicopter landing, the only disappointment all summer!

Thursday, August 31, 2017 – Not fit for man or beast

The sun rose with intensity, in fact it was almost blinding.  The winds that were predicted were not the reality this morning, the winds were light and variable but boy did the sea state change from yesterday.  The swells were starting from the west and even at high tide, there was a lot of noise from the waves crashing along Cobblestone Beach.

I started my morning trying to finish the slide show for the fundraiser on September 9th, how do you take a file with 10,000 pictures taken since May 19th and chose the ones to make a representative slide show of our stay on the island this summer? As hard as I tried, the slide show consists of a little over 400 pictures and it will last for about 25 minutes, oh well!  I kept tweaking the content and music to a presentation I was happy with and yes, the emotional part of me became very melancholy watching the memories fade across the laptop.

Brian started his morning with a little bit of weed whacking at the top of the south trail and around the cottage, I am a little bit freaked out about making sure the condition of everything is at its best before we leave.  While he was outside, I swept the tower out and made sure the museum and gift shop are all set.  The last thing I will need to do tomorrow is vacuum both sides of the cottage and pack up any leftover provisions.

The entrance to the mooring field in the Cove

The white water seen from the front porch of the cottage on the east side of the island

Once the morning chores were done, off along the trails with Tom to see the sea conditions.  The wind still did not pick up yet but the swells were impressive.  And when we made it to the cove, we realized there would be no visitors at all today because there is no way a boat could get through the 9 foot waves going directly across the cove entrance. When we got back to the cottage, it was lunch time and a little relaxation. I decided to make banana bread to use up some more of the provisions and the older bananas but the dilemma was I had used almost all the white sugar making jam.  Oh well a little improvising with brown sugar and the bread was in the oven.

I realized Brian was nowhere around and sent out a text trying to figure where he was, turns out he walked to the north point of the island to see the conditions out near Ellingwood Rock and he said it was spectacular.  So off to the north trail for Tom and me.  It really was spectacular, at this point, it was low tide so the crashing waves were intense, it sounded like a dump truck dumping a load of rocks on a hard surface constantly.  The pictures just do not do it justice.

Waves breaking between the north point of island and Ellingwood Rock

A standing wave at the mouth of the Kennebec River

Brian and Tom checking out the spectacular sea states

Waves crashing across the Cove and into the cliffs on the north point of the island

The seas were easily 9 feet with a continuous wave action, it never let up

Again, the dinner was a mixture of things from the freezer, spareribs, green beans, peapods and noodles.  Turned out very tasty.

The one thing I have not done all summer is walk down the cove and cobblestone trail at dark to be able to look up at the tower lit up.  Brian agreed to accompany me with flashlights so I can do the last island wish list!  It was gorgeous, I am so glad I did make the trip.

Guests today – 0

Guests total – 2507

USCG – 6



Our last day off island

Wednesday, August 30, 2017 – our last day off island

This morning will be our last Wednesday scramble of our season on the island.  Ethan is picking us up at 7am and we will have about 3 ½ hours to get everything done to return to the island at 11am before the wind and seas start to pick up for the next few days.  We brought a lot of stuff down to the engine house last night because we were planning on taking most of our things off island this morning so when we leave on Sunday, we should just have to grab some food items, Pickles and a duffle bag.

To add to today’s fun, our friend Tom is driving up from Connecticut this morning to come spend time with us on the island.  The original plan had been to spend one night but I did call him last night to let him know the weather is looking as if Saturday is the first day a boat may be running him back to the mainland.  It was funny listening to his response as a sailor, the winds don’t seem to be that big of a deal.  It was like our response at the beginning of the summer, but now we know to factor in wind direction, wave height and the tides on the Kennebec to figure out how our crossing will turn out.

Brian and I were ready and the best part of today was we did not need to get water from Ethan’s which already saved us about an extra 45 minutes in our morning.  The scramble this morning includes breakfast, laundry, a few groceries and a haircut.  We got a hold of Tom to verify he was on time and back to Fort Popham we went.  As we were travelling back, Ethan gave us an extra 30 minutes to play and I decided it was time for me to finally go sand dollar hunting at Popham Beach.  Tom and Brian played friend catchup while I diligently searched for little sand dollars.  My search found me 5 little dollars, so different from the one 4” ones I find on Cumberland Island and the Bahamas!  One of my sand dollars was about an ½ inch across!

We loaded everything onto the boat and off we went on a very sporty crossing to Seguin, within the first 10 minutes of the boat ride, Tom now understood how all factors need to be considered before taking this boat back and forth.  We also needed to land the dinghy with big swells and high tide with everything we brought back including Tom, it is always and adventure surfing in on top of a swell trying to land safe and dry on the beach. Ethan left us with acknowledging Saturday may be the next day he was going to make it back out to the island and it may be the day we need to make our final departure, Sunday the swells are picking back up again.  Saturday is the only day within the next 5 days with a forecasted sea height less than 2 feet.

We made it to the cottage with the few things we needed to bring back to the island along with Tom, 2 bags of clean linens for the guest quarters and a new box of inventory for the gift shop.  It is always fun showing someone new our little island, it never gets old.  It makes Brian and I realize how lucky we have been to be given the opportunity to live out here as part of our crazy life!

By 4pm, I had decided it was time to start making the jam with all the blackberries I picked.  I reread the recipe and verified I had all ingredients and canning supplies I needed to make this work.  I have never canned before and I am a little nervous about it but I will have an audience of 2 who like to ask millions of questions and offer advice when it may not be needed! As I started to measure out the berries and mash them, we heard voices on the front porch, believe it or not we had visitors!  They arrived in the cove for a short visit and to pick blackberries, we did mention to them about a small craft/hazardous condition warning that was going into effect at 5pm for the next 36 hours and our cove was not a safe place to be in any type of swell.  They agreed to take a quick tour up the tower, pick berries from the North trail and head out.  Brian took them up the tower and Tom and I went back to the kitchen to work on the jam.

A friend from Connecticut, Tom helping out with the stirring of the jam. He doesn’t cook so this was a big step for him

Improvising on some equipment in the canning process but it was a sucess

Our final product

The canning process was a lot of fun and we have a lot of jam to show for it.  It was very satisfying hearing the pop of each mason jar top when it was pulled from the boiling water!  Jam for everyone!  And yes, if I knew how easy it was, instead of freezing the extra veggies from the garden I would have canned them for this winter on the boat, live and learn.

Again, it was another quiet evening with a great dinner with an old friend.  I guess we will just have to wait and see what tomorrow will bring.

Guests today – 4

Guests total – 2507

USCG – 6 and that is my final answer, no helicopters for me afterall!

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

The sunrise is about an hour later than when we first arrived on the island, but I still get to see the slow change of colors every morning, occasionally I am disappointed with my show but this morning was a perfect example of how quickly things can change on the island.  I started seeing the sky painted with beautiful pinks and oranges and my first thought was it is going to be a killer sunrise especially with a professional photographer out and about taking pictures.  But as I continued to write a blog post and drink my coffee, I looked up and 10 minutes later the island was completely fogged in.  I really did not see that happening a few minutes ago.

Just minutes before sunrise

10 minutes later we are starting to be fogged in

This morning I went out picking the last of the blackberries I need to make jam before leaving the island, I think that project will wait until the weather hits on Thursday and Friday, but I will mention that a little farther down the blog.  As I was walking back from the North Trail with about 4 cups of berries, I heard Cal out and about already and my shadow was ready to start following me for the day.

My assistant caretaker for the day, Cal and I hamming it up for a selfie

Brian and I decided to start with cleaning up Clivus, the composting toilet down near the Cove.  Always a fun job and equally fun having a 5-year-old wanting to help and ask a million questions. But he was fun and quickly figured out how the whole system worked and then spent about 5 minutes explaining it to Brian.  Then Brian took the time to explain the diesel engine and how the tram works to him which Cal obviously understood because as he and I were walking past the campground and the old parts of another diesel engine, Cal explained how most of the parts worked.  In fact, Cal brought a puzzle game with him to the island called (I think) Crankits.  It is a puzzle with cogs or machinery pieces and you need to put the individual pieces together so they work together to move.  Well Cal saw he the old diesel and decided when we got back to the cottage he would put together a puzzle like the diesel engine and he did and it moved perfectly.

Cal figuring out how the diesel engine worked

Cal pointed out this web along the trail, the water droplets were from the heavy fog around the island

The cove had 2 boats in it this morning but you can barely tell

As our first visitors came ashore and climbed the tower, I had a beautiful serenade by one of the gentleman, Peter Conway who sang to me “I want to marry a lighthouse keeper” at the top of the tower.  I posted the video on our Friends of Seguin Island Light Station Facebook page if you want to hear him do a great Bing Crosby impersonation!  Thanks so much for this memory!

Peter Conway sang to me in the tower

Now back to the potential weather event happening on Thursday and Friday.  Everything on an island is based around the weather and sea conditions as we have found out all summer long.  NOAA is predicting a wind event starting Wednesday afternoon so Ethan has been keeping us up to date as to whether we would have a day off island this week.  In fact, he suggested we send him with our empty water containers yesterday and he would bring us back water today just in case we were here all week without a break.  He also sent me a message last night when he was in Bath in case we needed any extra provisions, at the time I thought we were all set until I opened the last ½ & ½ this morning.  I need coffee and ½ & ½ daily to survive and everyone else around me happiness is dependent on it as well.  An early morning message asking if he could stop at Percy’s just in case before coming to the island today.  As the morning ferry group started up the hill, I realized my guests were carrying 2 5-gallon water containers and a bottle of ½ & ½ for me, now that is love!

The tours continued, stories were told and a photographer was documenting everything.  We had 2 groups of visitors that had connections to Seguin in their history.  The first group consisted of 3 ladies whose great grandfather was Captain Perez Martin, a ship’s captain from East Boston.  His ship, the Gondola, did a trade route between Nova Scotia and Boston.  On the morning of December 5, 1980, the keepers on Seguin saw the schooner anchored or aground on Seguin Ledge during a winter gale.  Because of the sea conditions, the lifesaving men could not make it to the ship to save the captain who remained with his ship but the crew were lucky enough to escape without injury.  Unfortunately, Captain Martin perished in the waters surrounding the island.

Decendants of Captain Perez Martin who perished on December 5, 1890 when the boat he was captaining, the Gondola, was grounded off of Seguin Ledge. Captain Martin refused to leave his ship but his 5 crew members were safely recovered. His great granddaughters, Susan Fougstedt (L) and Karen Watson(C) and his great, great granddaughter, Sheila McKenna Kish(R), enjoyed a visit to the island today.

Another family member of a past keeper, Fred Kahrl (1966-67) came for a visit with his wife.  I had met his sister and family earlier this summer.  Allin and his wife, Meridith, were able to climb the tower and take many pictures to add to Fred’s experience on the island.

Allin Kahrl, son of Fred Kahrl (keeper 1966-67), came out for a visit with his wife Meridith. He is the second family member of Fred’s to visit this summer

At 1:30pm, I quickly headed down to the beach to say goodbye to my overnight guests and to get one more hug from Cal before they headed back on the ferry.  I can’t wait to see the pictures Michele took and I hope she got my good side in all the photos!  You can follow the pictures also on her website, michelestapleton.com.

Alex, Cal and Michele on the beach before leaving the island

And another group of visitors are on their way

The rest of the afternoon gave us a chance to clean up the cottages, change bed linens and start figuring out our provisions for the next 5 days.  We are hopefully leaving the island on Sunday for the end of our stay here and we need to make sure our food will last until Sunday just in case we are truly on island until then.  We should be good but pasta may be the main staple in most of the meals!  The biggest concern will be clean laundry but I think we will be good!

Brian is becoming attached to Sam the Seagull, he is taking selfies with him



Finally, at 6pm, Ethan gave us the go ahead for a short trip ashore tomorrow morning, so Brian and I gathered a lot of our belongings and carried them down to the engine house for the early morning dinghy trip.  This way, we can get most everything we own off island tomorrow and on Sunday we will only need to pack a duffle with clothing and scoop Pickles up.

Guests today – 35

Guests total – 2503

USCG – 6


Monday, August 28, 2017

A view from the North Trail

I am a day behind in writing the blog and I am trying to remember all that went on during the day, and it turns out when you have a photographer following you around during the day, you forget to take pictures.  And in case I haven’t mentioned this before, if Brian and I don’t take pictures during the day, we have a hard time keeping track of everything that goes on on any given day.  I usually download our pictures from all Apple devices and the ‘big’ camera and write the blog based on our photo moments.

So what I will let everyone know is we had guests who would be staying the night arriving on the 11:30 ferry, Michele Stapleton, Alex and her 5 year old son Cal.  Michele and Alex are both professional photographers and Michele was on assignment with the Island Institute for a photo essay on being a keeper on Seguin Island.  Very few of us like having our pictures taken but it ended up being a fun event after all.

As Michele and I were talking down near the cove, a very energetic young lady climbed up the beach steps, her name is Aline Dargie.  She is back visiting her mom in Freeport but for the past 2 years she has been sailing and writing articles about sustainability in French Polynesia.  What was fun about this encounter is she is currently sailing a small boat around coastal Maine waters while drying a specific type of seaweed along her boom which is nutrient dense and has the potential for a food source for people in famine based countries.  Michele and I gave it a chance and sampled some, I think for me it would be great added to a sauce or as a ground powder to add to things, but I am not much of a jerky type person so I don’t think I will be taking seconds of the dried seaweed as is.  This young lady is passionate and will be helping to change our future world.  To learn more about her journey you can check out her blog at AlineDargie.com and her motto is “sailing, seaweed and smiles”.

Aline’s boat leaving the cove fully draped in nutrient dense seaweed drying on her boom

And yes she can fully sail the boat with the extra seaweed

The rest of my afternoon I had a little helper following me around, a 5-year-old named Cal.  I had more fun with this little person who is far too intelligent for a 5-year old.  He helped me with chores and dinner prep and he almost killed me with laughter when he used the air quotes thing when he was telling me a story. His mom, Alex was grateful for a little peace and quiet on the front porch while he and I started our family style dinner. Who knew cutting up cucumbers and tomatoes would set up a scenario for a battle where we needed to swim across a mote of tomatoes and scale the walls of the cucumber pyramids!  Needless to say, I was laughing for over an hour straight.  I am far too young to be a grandparent but in the future if I had a grandson like Cal, I would be blessed.

Michele Stapleton, the photographer from Brunswick, ME and my new best buddy Cal

My sous chef, Cal and Sam the seagull supervising the prep of dinner

Sam the Seagull is never far away when food is involved! He is a bigger mooch than Pickles the chihuahua

After dinner, the 5 of us went up to the top of the tower for sunset and Brian set off the sunset cannon for Cal while he was up in the tower and another day ended on Seguin.

Guests today – 18

Guests total – 2468

USCG – 6


Our last Sunday sunset

Sunday, August 27, 2017 – our last Sunday sunset

This morning I got to share the sunrise with my son, his girlfriend and niece.  They wanted a chance to see both sides of the sun’s journey.  This is not an easy feat for 3 people who like to sleep and the sunrise did not disappoint any of us.

The perfect sunrise with my son. He usually has already run 10+miles most days before sunrise so it was nice to see him standing still and enjoying the moment

As the third pot of coffee was brewing and slowly everyone was waking up, I asked the kids if they could bring another container of water up the hill, you know what is the point of having kids if you can’t make them do the heavy lifting.  So down the hill they went and they returned with not one but two containers of water, and yes, they were laughing through it the entire time with a little moaning mixed in.  Brian in the meantime was making what we thought enough food to feed an army breakfast, but I guess my army eats more than normal or all the walking and heavy lifting made them excessively hungry, there was not a scrap of food left when all was said and done.

Here they come, the water brigade. The girls were as strong as the guys, and there are 2 keepers that are so grateful for the extra effort

My niece, Sarah and JoAnna, take the water thing very seriously

My son, Ben and nephew, Stephen, heft up another 40 lb jug

Sarah is all smiles

The kids were off to explore and Brian and I got ready to start our day as island hosts to everyone who comes to visit. The day started out slowly with another couple from my high school, Tabor Academy.  It was a chance to compare who we knew in common and where they were sailing too.  Go Tabor!  Another gentleman arrived with the ferry who was born on the island while his father, Clyde Whittaker, was an assistant lighthouse keeper with the US Coast Guard in 1948-51.  The son, Jon, brought out some pictures from that era showing him as a baby with his mom, Mildred and his dad. Another addition to the museum.

Jon Whittaker came to the island today with pictures of him and his parents in the 1948 era of the USCG. He donated some great shots of the island with him as a baby! We love walking history on this island

Clyde and Mildred Whittaker holding their baby, Jon. Clyde was an assistant keeper on island from 1948-1951.

As the afternoon started in full swing, there was another large group arriving slowly up the hill, the fisherman from the Five Island area were having their end of the summer party, mostly on the beach but wanted to come up and introduce themselves as well as some great photo ops!  It was fun to put faces to some of the voices and boats we hear around the island, and I had a chance to ask so more questions about lobstering and the guys were so gracious to take a few minutes and answer all my questions, and I always have a lot of questions.

At 1:30 I needed to head down the hill with my family for their departure, so off we start the trek to the beach and each one had their backpacks and a piece of driftwood they found on one of their many adventures.  It is always sad when they leave but I will see my son in the next two weeks and we will all meet up in San Diego in October for one of my nieces’ wedding.

They are king of the mountain

One last shot with their stuff and their driftwood finds.

And they are back to the mainland

The last group of visitors for the evening were Ethan and his family.  They stopped by to say hi and to show a few more members the beauty of the lighthouse.  Also, Ethan and I have been joking back and forth all summer about the worth of seals in our area.  I love seeing them swimming around and Ethan sees them as a strain on the lobstering industry.  So as a tongue in cheek thank you present to Ethan, I had knitted a stuffed seal for his little boy Larson, and the seal’s name is Kenny Beck.  Ethan will be one person we will remember fondly especially for his banter, his well water, and his expertise in captaining his boat safely in these waters all summer for us and his guests.

Kenny Beck, the stuffed seal

The busy part of the day was finally over and we had a chance to enjoy a great dinner and decided to spend our last Sunday’s sunset up in the tower.  Nature did not disappoint, the colors were amazing and the whales decided to swim on the west side of the island for us, it was just another memory we will take with us, the water was dead calm and we almost could predict where the whales were going to surface before seeing them.  This island is a magical place.

one of the many whales that entertained us this evening

The sunset with the schools of fish disturbing the water in the foreground and then a whale would surface, breathtaking

I am just relaxing, no more energy left after a busy day

The evening photographer, I relax and Brian takes all of the night shots

And of course, the moon and the tower never disappoint

Guests today – 74

Guests total – 2450

USCG – 6

A family visit

Saturday, August 26, 2017 – A family visit

Another beautiful sunrise

The butterflies are plentiful as they feed here for their long migration south

This morning started out early for me as usual but with limited number of hours of sleep but I have a list of food to start getting ready because my younger portion of my family are arriving today, my son, nephew, niece with their significant others.   My son has gotten used to visiting me as another adventure in our lives, this is the second island he has visited me on and his only concern was the weather going to get him stuck on Seguin.  He visited me on Nantucket for a weekend and the weather stranded him out there for 5 days.  The good news is the weather is perfect and I get to see one of my favorite groups of young people.

Brian rowed out to pick up the ‘kids’ from Ethan’s boat

They have landed

The long walk up the hill, maybe the cooler full of beer wasn’t a great idea?

Today should be a quiet day without a delivery of the Seguin Island Ferry and schools have started almost everywhere so a lot less vacationers.  Hopefully with the light load of visiting I will have a chance to play catch up with my guys.  We started out slowly with a few visits from the boats who stayed overnight in the cove.  Again, another chance to catch up with some cruising friends.

The kids were due to arrive at 11:15 so Brian and I went down to get the dinghy ready to greet everyone and get them and their belongings ashore.  They actually traveled lightly except for the cooler of microbrew beers, but the good news on the island I don’t have to worry about them drinking and driving, not much harm can come to them here.  The cousin group gets together once or twice a year but the laughter is still the same at every visit and it reminds me of the sleepovers with everyone at my house when they were growing up.

a view of the inside of the lens this morning

Once we got everyone settled and gave them a tour of the tower, my son and nephew were good enough to carry a 5-gallon water container up the hill for us.  A lot of good hearted complaining until I reminded them their 53-year-old mom carries one up every other day. Then they all set off to explore the eastern side of the island, and even as they were out exploring, I could hear their laughter all the way up on the front porch, a happy mom/aunt memory.

My son and nephew getting a little taste of how it is to live on the island

Ben, my son, exploring near Cobblestone Beach

The group off exploring along the rocks

The treasures that wash ashore along the beach were the prizes of the day

I had a chance to sit down with all of them during lunch and play catch up with each of their lives.  The downfall of our wanderlust lifestyle is not getting a lot of chances to talk face to face with them and find out how their adulting is going.  As we were sitting around chatting, a group of people started coming up the hill, as I went to greet them I found out it was a group of 75 people from a Brunswick church group, OK, this is going to change our late afternoon plans for a family dinner.  As Brian and I started to give tours and get everyone settled, the kids all headed off to the North Trail.  The church group makes this outing every year and usually has a family type picnic and a shorter service at the base of the tower.  Once Brian and I had everyone up to the top, the group settled down for their meals and I went in to start dinner prep for my group and as I walked around to the porch, I saw a pod of whales swimming by the island on the eastern shore, so back to the group to let them know of the sighting.

The group of 75 from a Brunswick church enjoying a sunny afternoon on the island

I started the homemade pizza dough for pizza night and was getting ready for dinner for 7 when my nephew returned to let us know there were a group of teenage boys climbing the tram and scaffolding around the Whistle house.  Brian went to the Tram and I went down to the Whistle House to police the boys and asked them to return to their church group.  Now we needed to keep them safe, but like Brian said, when he was a kid their age, he would have been doing the exact same thing if the opportunity presented itself, how perspectives change over time.

Homemade pizza night because Dominoes wont deliver

We had a great pizza night and ran up to the top of the tower in time to see the sunset which was a little less than spectacular.  Brian without us knowing about had set up the sunset cannon, so as 6 of us are on the tower, we heard ‘fire in the hole’ and boom!  I knew what was going on but the kids just might have had their heart rate increase substantially!

Ben, my son, enjoying sunset at the top of the platform

Three of the happiest young ladies I know, JoAnna, Amy, and Sarah

All in all, what a great day.  As everyone headed off to bed exhausted from sun and hiking, I looked down to the place I keep my shoes to see a pile of theirs added to it, again a good warm feeling of adventurous mom/aunt!

The house is full and all are safe and sound

Guests today – 96

Guests total – 2396

USCG – 6 (I guess this is a final tally)

Friday, August 25, 2017 – A day of new and old friends

Today started like 90% of our days, I am awake to see a picture perfect sunrise and Brian sleeps in.  His sister’s, Lisa and Carol, had spent the night and would be going back to the mainland at 1:30.  We knew by the weather forecast today was going to be busy but we had many surprises awaiting us!

Brian started making breakfast for all of us because he is always a better breakfast cook than I am, and the ladies sat out on the porch just chatting and looking at our view.  Nice and easy, no rush like most mornings should be. As we sat around the table, I mentioned I wanted to go to the beach for low tide and sea glass hunt and his sisters hadn’t been to the cove area since they arrived yesterday, so off we went along with Pickles because without Phin she gets a little lonely and she is always up for a beach adventure. The tide was great and the surf was gentle which makes for perfect sea glass collecting, and we all had some success.  Brian ended up walking the Cove and Cobblestone Trails with Lisa and Carol while I headed back to the cottage with Pickles to get everything ready for our guest today.

Pickles enjoying some sand between her toes

Pickles even wowed Brian’s sisters with her amazing cuteness

For the past week, there has been water in our water when we turn the faucets on and usually that is our first indication there is a leak somewhere in the basement.  And we have been diligently making sure there are no problems, in fact, I check probably every hour or so.  I started washing the breakfast dishes when I got back to the cottage and the air in the lines was the worse yet.  The pressure pump was maintaining a lower PSI than normal but no leaks.  Brian needed to do more investigation because I have some of my family arriving on Saturday and it would be nice to have hot water.  When he got back up, he reset the pressure pump, verified there were no leaks, added more water into the cistern, and then we crossed our fingers all would remain status quo for 9 more days.

Here is a funny little story which will allow Carol, Brian’s sister to remember her trip to the island as very memorable.  She went inside to get a drink of water and she quickly called my name and came back outside immediately, turns out there was a snake just sitting on the counter where we keep our water containers.  I surely was not going inside to help even though it was just a garter snake, so baby brother Brian, put on gloves and wrangled the snake back outside.  Now I am constantly on the lookout inside for my biggest fear!  Life on the island.

I heard our first visitors coming up the porch steps so the day begins.  But this was one of those moments when you see a face, you know exactly who they are even though it has been 30 years since I saw them.  My first visitors were Bill and Tinker Saltonstall from Marion, MA where I grew up.  But the significance of Tinker in my life was even more involved and she was a force that changed many young ladies lives in the late 70’s and early 80’s.  She was made the Dean of Women at Tabor Academy during the school year of 1979. This may not seem like a big deal, but Tabor Academy was an all boy’s prep school which decided to go coed, but how to do it was a mystery to a heavily dense male faculty.  I was one of 8 girls admitted to the 500-student body and Tinker was our overseer and our pitbull protecting us from a school population that was 95% male. She allowed us to trail blaze in an all-male environment and without her persistence and encouragement, many young ladies would never have had a dream high school career.  She and her husband were sailing on their J30 sailboat in the Maine waters and they decided Seguin looked like a nice place to stop for lunch before heading around Small Point. It was a ride down memory lane for my morning and I am very grateful fate on Seguin gave me another direct connection to my past.

Bill and Tinker Saltonstall, a lady who had a huge part in changing the course of my life at Tabor Academy

The Saltonstalls were our surprise visitors today. I think I have seen more Tabor Academy connections on island this summer than I have on the mainland for the past 30 years

And right on time, the ferry arrived with 25 people for a few hours on the island.  Everyone made it up the hill, had great scenery for family pictures, enjoyed their picnics and even had a chance to hike a few trails and eat some blackberries along the way.  We had a few other private boats arrive at the same time and we just a great few hours with everyone.  Brian at 1:30 started to help his sisters down the hill to get the ferry and I was getting ready for the next group because Ethan decided to run 2 groups out today, lunch will have to wait for a few more hours. As the next group arrives to the plateau, I start the tours and answering questions for everyone but again, there is a good routine going out on the island and we make sure everyone sees or does what they are most interested in and will always leave with a smile.

Yesterday, I received a message from one of my facebook friends saying she and her husband were sailing from Matinticus Island and wanted to have dinner on island and they would spend the night in the cove.  Now Judy Long and I have many friends in common but we had never met before.  Their ETA was going to be around 5:30 and they would join us for dinner and a sunset.  So after a full day of visitors, I needed to create my portion of the dinner, light munchies and dessert.  They were going to bring a beef stew and salad, and like all cruisers, you always travel with your own drinks, but the bonus is we have unlimited ice to share, not a common thing on a boat, ice is a hot commodity.

As the 3pm ferry people are leaving, I run into the kitchen to get cooking and Ethan calls to inform us a private boater coming ashore had fallen on the rocks hard and we had an injury. Now just last night talking to Brian’s sisters I mentioned we had been lucky with accidents and illnesses on island all summer and we were thrilled to never have to use the Defribrillator while on island, and I did knock on wood our luck would hold out for just a little longer, oh well, it was good to practice what we had trained for.

I grabbed the first aid kit, Brian walked down the catwalk and I took the Lighthouse trail so we would not miss the injured person and finally arrived down on the beach where the lady had slipped on the sandy, wet rocks.  We were lucky to have had one of the visitors from the ferry who was a ER doctor come back to shore to help me out triage any issues.  Our injured person had a few lacerations on her knee and fell on her shoulder which was bruising already and she was holding her wrist in the classic posture of something broken.  His advice was if she blacked out she should go to the hospital to be checked out, but she refused.  So, as I gloved up to clean and dress her wounds, I joked with her it would be so much easier if she were a dog because I am great with veterinary medical emergencies but I would do my best. Brian went back to the plateau to get ice packs for her multiple forming bruises and I got her settled in the shade.

The couple had stopped for a short visit on their way to Boothbay Harbor but the result is they decided to stay in the cove for the night in case anything changed with her injuries and we could call Bath EMS to help her ashore. We did let them know we would keep Ch 16 & 78 on to monitor into the evening if they needed anything else. When all this was going on, I finally looked out into the mooring field and saw 5 boats tied up, and here I told my friend sailing her for a visit, we rarely have a full field on a Friday afternoon, yikes, I hope there is a mooring available for Bentana when they get here.

A quick shower and back to the kitchen, I decided to make blackberry ice cream for our dessert and quickly looked on our food shelves and put together some great munchies, all gluten and soy free.  Not bad for island living but this would be no different if we were on the boat, you make do with what you have and how great to have an unlimited supply of fresh green beans to dip in the hummus and dips we had in the fridge!

Wow, cruising season is in full swing in Maine, we have a full mooring field and all our sailboats

At 6pm, we got the message they were coming ashore so down the hill we go to greet our new friends!  How much fun is blind date friendships!  It turns out, they travelled south just to meet us before we head to Annapolis in September, after finishing up their visit on Sequin, they are heading back to Matinicus Island. A perfect evening spent with people with the same passion for life as we have, we shared sailing stories and adventures, also made some other connections based on other people we know and the bonus of the night was learning about a new to me concept, geocaching.  They travel along the east coast and the islands looking for treasures left by others based on gps locations and clues.  This looks like a new adventure for Brian and I, Steve even is the overseer of a cache in Staniel Cay in the Bahamas, one we may need to find this winter! The sunset didn’t disappoint, the dinner was fabulous and suddenly it was midnight!  Brian walked them down to the beach with them while I did a quick clean up and fell sound asleep as soon as my head hit the pillow.  Wow, what a day!

Judy Long & Steve Sellinger from SV Bentana came to enjoy a fun evening on the island

Guests today – 42

Guests total – 2280

USCG – 6, I guess my helicopter landing is not going to happen.


A short day off island

Thursday, August 24, 2017 – A short day off island

This morning was an early one for everyone, we agreed to meet Ethan at the beach at 5:45am before sunrise.  I locked up all of the buildings, stowed the keys in the backpack and left a note for visitors saying we would be back after 11:30am. This meant Brian and I were up and dressed heading down the trail in near darkness.  We had brought almost everything down to the engine house last night, so only the laundry bag needed to go down the hill this morning. Brian took the laundry and I carried the 2 cups of coffee.  We were ready when we finally saw Ethan come by Ellingwood Rock, there was enough light to see but the sun still had not risen.  As we headed over to Fort Popham, we were granted a beautiful sunrise and it was the first time we saw Seguin Light from off island.  This made the early morning boat ride worth everything.

We knew we were short on time because we needed to be back to Fort Popham for the 11am ferry going back to the island.  Brian’s sisters, Carol and Lisa, were also going to arrive then to stay on island for a visit.  Cyndy also agreed to join the ferry passengers so she could open the island up and start the tours while we get our belongings and sisters up the island hill. We treated ourselves to a sit down breakfast at Southgate in Bath and afterwards started the trifecta of chores, laundry, groceries, and water!

A ferry full of guests to the island

Lisa and Carol, Brian’s sisters, traveling with us back to the island for a visit

We arrived back in plenty of time for boarding the boat at 11, we loaded all our belongings onto the boat before all the passengers.  This was the first time we took the boat over with visitors, another new experience for us.  The skies were perfectly blue, temperatures were so comfortable for everyone, the trip over was smooth and we arrived with a bunch of newbie visitors.  Cyndy got off the boat with the first dinghy group and started the group up the island.  Our dinghy was tied to a mooring and Brian and I got all our things and sisters on shore with 2 trips. It was a very relaxing way to arrive back from a time off island knowing we didn’t need to scramble with our refrigerated groceries and giving tours.

Once everyone was settled, I joined Cyndy with our visitors and it gave us a chance to visit a little, especially now when we are on our daily countdown when our stay on the island is ending. At 1:30 the visitors all went down the hill to return to Fort Popham and we had a chance to catch up with Brian’s sisters.  A nice lunch out on the picnic table with Sam the Seagull coming over for a visit.

Sam the Seagull is taking his job as island mascot very seriously as he stops in for a visit

Brian’s sisters on top of the tower

Lady was a canine visitor from a boat in the cove, I got to dog sit while the owners climbed the tower with Brian

Lady watching her owners at the top of the tower

A few more private boats arrived on island and it was a very relaxed afternoon.  I had a chance to pick more blackberries from the North Trail, I came back with about a quart of berries so I think I now have enough to make jam, maybe tomorrow when the island settles down a little.

Blackberries along the north trail

The evening was fun with a Flanagan family dinner of pork tenderloin and green beans from the garden, finished off with a dish of homemade ice cream.

Guests today – 26

Guests total – 2238

USCG – 6