A might big ship for the cove

Sunday, July 23, 2017 – A mighty big ship for the cove


Seen on my morning walk with Pickles

Pickles overseeing her Kingdom, checking for her loyal subjects offering her bacon

This morning started out with a return to winter (ok, early summer) with a northeast wind blowing at 15 mph and the temps were hovering around 59 degrees.  The good news is the scenery was perfect for viewing because there was no haze or moisture in the air, we saw Monhegan Island for the first time in 2 weeks.

Today was another day of knee recovery for Brian, he is on the mend but no chores were on the list for today except greeting the guests as they arrived.  It is sad the grass on the plateau is going dormant because it is so gorgeous with the green surrounding the tower, but on the other hand, it means less grass cutting for our remaining time here.  We realized we have only about 6 weeks left of our season as caretakers, where did the time go?  I spent some time taking pictures around the island, I am so afraid I will miss this island so much I will need the pictures to keep me from getting homesick for Seguin.

Picture of the cove from the end of the Cove Trail

The first time this summer, we had campers at the campground.  They had camped last year as well, 12 young ladies with the parents on their boat supervising.  Last night was a more manageable number of 4.  It was fun watching the ladies walk along the island last night at sunset and hearing the laughter as they enjoyed their time on the island.

We offer a campsite for members off the Cove Trail

Guests started arriving up at the top of the hill around 10am and didn’t stop all day.  Again, there were repeat visitors from years past, FOSILS members bringing friends, newbies who have sailed by the island many times but never stopped and chose to stop because of our Facebook posts this season, the ferry group arrived with 28 guests and then we had a surprise visit from SY Marie.  We have watched this sailing yacht on past Sundays sail around Sheepscot Bay and mid-afternoon we saw her turn towards Seguin Island.

SY Marie, a 56 meter ketch, look how it drawfs the 40 foot sailboat it is heading towards

Brian and I were hoping she would sail between the northern tip of the island and Ellingwood Rock for the best picture opportunity.  Brian grabbed the camera with the telephoto lens and I took off running down the North Trail hoping to get to the point before Marie came through the cut.  Marie is a 56-meter yacht (182 feet) and she hails from the Cayman Islands but summers in Maine.  She is spectacular to watch under sail.  Anyway, I was just coming around the loop portion of the loop trail when Marie turned towards Seguin’s Cove.  Ok, there is no way she can fit in our cove, where is she going?  Brian and I had our handheld radios to communicate with each other during this escapade and we were both baffled when she started to drop her sails just outside of the Cove.  Boats are not supposed to anchor off or in the cove because of the electric cable that runs the sea floor, my concern was we were going to be in the dark tonight if the captain’s anchoring was off the mark!  After many pictures were taken, we both realized they were coming ashore for a visit, so back to the tower to get ready.  I guess we will need to wait for another chance for the picture between the island and Ellingwood Rock. Normally, the cove is a blind spot for us when we are up on top, but Marie’s mast is so tall it was taller than the plateau about 135 feet above sea level.

Marie getting to drop her sails and then drop her anchor outside of the cove

The mast was taller than the height of the island plateau

During the same time Marie was arriving, we had a few FOSILS members come into the cove with their sailboat, S/V Mer Aimee, another beautiful cruising boat.  Again, the people we have met this summer are so much fun to visit with, we hope to this group visits again this summer because we would love to continue our chat with them when they have more time.

Even Sam the Seagull made an appearance to see what all of the excitement was about

S/V Mer Aimee setting sail after their visit to Seguin

Marie in full sail on her way back to Boothbay, a simply beautiful sight to see

Mer Aimee was heading the same way as Marie, she is keeping great pace with the yacht on the way up the Sheepscot Bay

The day finally started to wind down, Brian made a great one pot chicken creation for dinner because I was to beat to cook, I was willing to settle for a sandwich and my pillow.  I am glad I held out for the pillow because the sunset was spectacular and as we were standing on the rock near the tram to take sunset pictures, a school of fish were off the east side of the island with whales following them.  Dreams and our reality are the same tonight!

Brian taking the perfect sunset shot for our memory book

And here is the perfect sunset shot with Mt Washington outlined in the background

Guests today – 66

Guests total – 796

USCG – 6

Saturday, July 22nd

Saturday, July 22, 2017

The original bell to the island manufactured in 1848

This morning I started out walking the North Trail to make sure it didn’t need any trail maintenance before we started having guests arrive.  It has been over a week since I walked this trail because of the attacking seagull.  The good news was the trail looked in good shape and can probably wait until next week before anything needs to be done.  This is still the most breathtaking trail on the island, it offers so many diverse environments.  It also provided raspberries for my breakfast as well.  The blackberries are still about 2-3 weeks before they will be ready to pick but there are a lot of them.

Picked enough raspberries for my breakfast

scenes from the north trail

scenes from the north trail

Today’s visitors were great!  Some were repeat visitors, some were FOSILS members and then there were still the newbies! The newbies ask a bunch of fun questions and are in awe of the views and the whole summer lighthouse caretaker gig.  We talked more today about how we became the 2017 Caretakers and how it should be on everyone’s bucket list.

The two memorable visits today included a member who gifted us a bottle of wine as a welcome present, so very nice, thanks Bill.  Then we had a couple walk up the path and I was fairly certain they arrived by sailboat because I saw the boat sail into the cove.  I welcomed them like I do everyone and they immediately said to me “you look familiar, what is your boat’s name?”.  This is a common greeting among cruisers when you pull into a port.  My response of course, was Scout.  They remembered us from St. Mary’s, GA at Thanksgiving.  Their boat is Tatiana and they had anchored directly behind us for the week-long cruisers Thanksgiving celebration the town of St. Mary’s puts on for all the boat people, about 150-200 people every year.  It was great to see Kristen and James again and to have a chance to touch base on each other’s travels since November.  Hopefully, we will have another holiday dinner with them this year in warmer climates.

S/V Tatiana, we last saw the boat and crew in St. Mary’s GA in November

The best part of all our guests is having a chance to personally connect with them.  Making sure the 4 little boys were sitting just right in the tower with a rainbow on them for a group picture, or with the 3-generational family who visited from Morse Mountain because they visit every year and they see our light every night.  Everyone has a story, you need to take the time to find out what it is!

This is one of my favorite work boats, love the color and the steadying sail has a poodle on it!

A quick update on the veggie garden – the cool temps and the fog have made the garden go crazy.  Tonight, we had a harvest of pea pods with dinner, there are tomatoes, cukes, zucchini and summer squash all on the plants.  The old spinach plants were pulled out and new seeds planted and the green beans are about 7-10 days from harvesting.  I love trying to be self-sustaining like the keepers in the early 1800’s were, but I do not want any dried fish or marine birds on my plate.

The garden is starting to give back

The peapod harvest for tonight

Brian’s knee is improving but he still is mostly stuck to limited use.  He did a few tours up the tower today for me but he is keeping himself off the trails for another day or two, I may need to bring up water again as a solo act tomorrow but after that all should be good.

Guests today – 38

Guests total – 730

USCG – 6 (ok, I am giving up hope of a return visit)

Saturday, July 21, 2017

Today was another day where I wish both Brian and I were young and in great shape!  We are both feeling a little broken and old but we are expecting a busy day of visitors today, so we will just work through it.  Brian’s knee is still swollen and painful, he will get a day of rest to help his knee heal.  I started out the morning by working on the South Trail, it had been 10 days since we did any work on this trail.  A quick hour of weed whacking brought it back to great shape.  Afterward that was completed, I moved on to cleaning up the top of the island and using the push mower where the riding mower cannot get.  I was hoping to finish with all noisy equipment before 10 because we were expecting guests to stay in the guest quarters tonight and I don’t want to disturb their visit with a lawn mower all day.

We were also running low on drinking water in our cottage so I needed to get a 5-gallon container up the hill on my own.  Thank goodness one of the past keepers left a utility cart for me to use, loaded the 40 lb container in the cart and pulled it up the catwalk along the tramway.  We should be good now on water until Monday or Tuesday when Brian should be back in service!

I got the call mid-morning our overnight guests had cancelled so again the freshly baked chocolate chip cookies are for us to munch on all day!

The rush of visitors started, I took the tours and Brian had greeting and gift shop duty, we really do make a great team.  All in all, it was a great day, we even had a few return visitors on private boats from earlier this summer, kind of like old friends now.

A couple relaxing after their tour of the lighthouse

Low tide was at 3:35 today and I took some ‘me’ time and went to the beach to sea glass hunt.  This may be the most soothing past time I have had.  It is amazing how quickly 45 minutes can pass.

Guests today – 34

Guests total – 692

USCG – 6


Thursday, July 20th

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Sunrise (picture courtesy of Sheila Flanagan)

The day started out with a beautiful sunrise, something we have not seen in a few days. The good news is the island will be beautiful for any guests who visit today, including Brian’s sister, Sheila and our friend Lisa.  They will have a chance to see the island and the landmarks as opposed to yesterday when they could barely see 100 feet in front of them.  The bad news is Brian is having a major knee issue, he can barely stand on it.  It will be a day of rest for him, or gift shop duty, in hopes it gets better.

The girls and I walked a few trails this morning before breakfast to get a chance to see how truly beautiful the island is, and as always, Seguin did not disappoint.

Checking for wishing rocks on Cobblestone Beach

Sheila (Brian’s sister) and our friend, Lisa, taking a breather after a walking the trails

The ferry at 11:30 was a crowded one and the rush to get everyone to the top of the tower began.  I think by 2pm I had done about 8 tours up.  I do try to shorten my talk based on the makeup of the groups and the time I have, but the history of the island is fascinating and I want everyone who visits to have as much enthusiasm about the stewardship of the island as I do.  I just usually need a cold drink of water between tours to keep me going.

A nearly perfect blue sky as a backdrop

Sheila and Lisa were going to go back with Ethan’s group and Brian couldn’t make it down the hill.  So it was my opportunity to round up the masses and walk them down with their belongings.  The good news was it was almost low tide, this gave us all a chance to do a little sea glass hunting.  One of the little girls who was visiting found what looked like a red piece of glass, figures I missed it!  The weather was perfect and many of the ferry guests decided a swim back to the boat was in order instead of a dinghy ride.  This island really does offer so many experiences. After the launch left, the cove was empty for the first time since last Friday!

Heading to Leeward for the trip home

A full boat load for the trip back to Fort Popham

As Brian kept ice on his knee for the afternoon, I tried to play catch up on the chores to make this island as pretty as it is.  The museum needed a quick vacuum, guest quarters had a final cleanup for the expected guests staying tomorrow, the grass was cut on the plateau, and gave a few more tours in between.  It was a busy day but satisfying.  I need to be creative tomorrow to get 2 peoples chores done by one and ready for another big group to visit.  It is a good thing we take our injury days separately, a good give and take in life and all we face, we do have each other’s back in our life.

The early evening did turn a little stormy but no rain fell on the island, just cooled everything off a little.  I made homemade chicken noodle soup and biscuits for dinner tonight because isn’t that the remedy for all that ails you?

The sunset behind the sunset bench and Fat Albert

Guests today – 38

Guests total – 658

USCG – 6

A day off in Freeport

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Brian rowing me around in the cove awaiting the launch to go ashore

A different perspective of the boathouse we rarely see

Our day off started out foggy, but we went ashore anyway.  Ethan and the Wednesday Warriors arrived a little later than usual because they had people from the Maine Trail Association with them.  It was a full boat when it arrived in the cove.  Brian and I were a little bored waiting on the beach and we were trying to avoid the bugs, so we were paddling around the cove for 10 minutes awaiting their arrival.  It was a chance to see the island from a perspective we don’t normally see.

The cove was full when we came down in the morning

Our plan for the day was to get all the normal boring chores done and then visit Freeport, I haven’t been in years and Brian never has been there.  At least there would be good people watching and everyone should visit the LL Bean flagship store at least once in their life. We are not much into shopping and Freeport is now a shopping vacation destination.  We also made a quick side trip to South Freeport to check out the water front, very pretty.

yes, we try to do the touristy thing

Brian took the challenge to have his picture taken in the woodland forrest house, he barely fit

Brian’s sister, Sheila, and friend Lisa, were to meet us at Fort Popham and come back with us to the island for a visit.  It was a funny ride back because the fog was so thick you could not see any landmarks on the 15-mile trip including Seguin until we were almost right on top of it.  After doing the volunteer dinghy shuffle and getting the lobsters from the cove that we had delivered, the long trek up the hill with all our stuff started, the worst part of our entire week!

Brian’s sister and friend await the ride out to Seguin

It was fun to show what could be seen on the island and we had a relaxing lobster dinner.

Fresh caught lobster is what’s for dinner

Guests today – 22

Guests total – 620

USCG – 6

Summer fog day 2

July 18, 2017 – Yep, another foggy day

Another socked in day on the island, summer fog is officially here!  It is so thick when you are out walking it is like going out in the rain, you return wet and everything around you is dripping wet.

The tower can be faintly seen from the Cobblestone Trail

There were 4 boats still in the cove on the overnight because of the fog, some brave souls will move in the fog, but without radar and local knowledge of the area, it is much safer just to stay put.

Fogged in cove during our morning walk

Wild flowers love the extra moisture from the fog, the island is in bloom

Raspberries are slowing ripening. A healthy, organic snack during our morning walks

A ring seen along the Cove where ships used to tie to

It is as big as my hand

Ethan did bring out 12 visitors today, yeah!  It keeps the boredom in check.  Brian and I are trying to get the grass and trails taken care of, but everything is just too wet.  His group was so much fun to give tours to, we had a group on the Maine Lighthouse Trail with their passport, a couple visiting from Milwaukee, and a family of 6 who pass by the island on their way to their vacation cottage but have never stopped for a visit.  All 3 groups loved to hear the history of the island and light, the ghost stories and how the lens can magnify up to 500 times a lights intensity.  I am really beginning to think I need to take a physics course to keep up with some of the questions!

We also had a chance to meet a few of the couples from the boats in the cove.  What fun people also.  They are so appreciative of the moorings in the cove and the safe haven they have provided for the past few nights. A few were running low on supplies but otherwise all a happy group.

Tomorrow the island will host the Maine Island Trails Association to help clear the brush and greenery from under the tram trestles.  I had plenty of time to make a double batch of peanut butter cookies for their break in the day for all their hard work.  I did have extra cookies, I think, to share with the boaters stuck in the cove.  One of my favorite things to do when we are sailing is bake goodies and deliver the treats to the surrounding boats at anchor or at a mooring.  Many times, I have dinghied up to a boat, knocked on their hull and surprised fellow cruisers with warm treats.  Brian helped drag the dinghy down the beach and I rowed to each boat and made the deliveries.  Nothing better than a smile from a person who I could surprise with a little bit of baked love!

Tara rowing out to the boats in the cove with freshly baked cookies

On to the next boat

The last thing on the list to do today is to get ready for our day off the island tomorrow.  All empty water containers, laundry and garbage get brought down tonight to save the work early tomorrow morning.  Our plan for tomorrow is to check out Freeport and do a little people watching.

the fog certainly gives the tower an special glow

Guests today – 16

Guests total – 598

USCG – 6

Summer Fog – Day 1

Monday, July 17, 2017

We have been reading a little bit more about Maine and the supposed summers here.  Turns out the fog we have been experiencing here for the past 8 weeks is not the worse time for fog in the midcoastal area, no, it is July and August.  The land is warmer but the surrounding waters are still cold as was the case today.  The forecast said the fog would burn off mid-morning, but it never did.  I now know why during our interview for the position last December, they asked if we would mind the fog horn going off continuously!  I guess we should be grateful the fog horn has been switched to mariner activation and not based on air water density.

It wasn’t foggy at sunrise at 5:17am

Brian gave me a morning off from dog duty and let me sleep in.  He had a chance to see the sunrise before the fog rolled in, this may be one of a few sunrises my husband sees!  Once I got up and moving, I took a walk down to the cove to see what boats stayed the night and if any were planning on leaving in this soup.  There were 3 sailboats left on the moorings but even my pictures showed how hard it was to see in this fog cover.  If you are a sailor with radar and have some knowledge of the local waters, you can move in fog but if you are without the ability to see & be seen by other boats, then you stay put.

Can you see 3 sailboats in this picture?

Pictured from the cove trail vista

The tram fades out at the top during our first summer fog

We did do a few tasks on the to-do list, but everything is so wet it is impossible to get a lot accomplished.  I did get both sides of the cottage set up for the upcoming guests, spent some time knitting and reading.  This really can only keep us entertained for so long.  Brian decided to go island dump exploring again.  He found an old Hood’s Store milk bottle for me and started digging out what he thinks may be the steam driven fog horn from the turn of the century.  It is about 8-10 feet in length, will most likely never be moved but he is having fun and staying busy.  Once he completely unearths it, will post pictures.

The one constant since we landed on the island is our competitive nature with just about anything we do.  We started playing solitaire on the computer, and yes it became an all-out competition.  For about a week, we were tied at 2:33 as the winning times, it was driving me crazy because he got this time first and he let me know daily he technically was still the champ.  Well, today was the day, I won at 2:14 and have made sure there were victory dances for most of the afternoon and evening!

Tara’s winning time and score at Solitaire, game on!

The rest of the day was quiet, no visitors to the top.  Spent some time organizing the gift shop after the weekend crowds but other than that, the day was uneventful.

The fog rolling past the tower light

Guests today – 0

Guests total – 582

USCG – 6

July 16, 2017 – Sunday

Another foggy start to our day on the island with our guests slowly emerging with cups of coffee in hand.  It gave everyone another perspective on life on the island.  Everyone’s cameras were out and taking those eerie foggy pictures hoping to hear the piano music in the background.

My sister, Michelle, out for a visit

After a blueberry French toast breakfast with my family, the ladies decided to walk down to the beach to go sea glass hunting at low tide. When we got down to the beach there were 4 boats already sitting on the moorings and even with the fog, more were motoring in.  The first signs of a busy day.

Brian and I both made it back to the top as our first new visitors for the day arrived up the hill, and then the crazy Sunday life on island continued. Brian and I have now figured out to trade off tours up the tower to give each of our bodies a break which helps with the days end exhaustion a little.  It was a beautiful blue sky on the plateau but the fog was still surrounding the island, it was fun to see from the top of the tower but the breathtaking scenery was missing from the surrounding geography.

The parking lot is almost full

My sister and friends were due to depart with Ethan at 2:15 and it was time to start carrying everything down the hill for their departure.  The funny part was about everyone on the island decided to leave at about the same time, there was over 25 people at the beach awaiting to go out to various boats.  It was kind of a sad moment when I saw them all left, I haven’t seen my big sister in about a year and won’t see her again until October for her daughter’s wedding in San Diego, I guess the price we pay for being wanderlust souls!

Everyone heading down to start the journey home

Dogs and kids always make for fun pictures

A young sailboat family enjoying some swim time at the cove beach

Even the dogs were having fun exploring

My sister and her group awaiting Ethan’s launch ride back to Fort Popham

And off they go, my brother in law Steve and friend, Kevin gives us the peace out from the dinghy

The afternoon was spent cleaning and straightening up our cottage and the guest quarters and the occasional snooze in the chair.  We had a few boaters come up for a tour but the crowning glory of the day was the 45 minute show the whales off of the east side of the island gave us while they were feeding.  We sat on the porch and were so excited every time we saw a blow spout, we lost count after a while.  Brian was patient enough with the camera to catch some shots, no perfect close-ups but proof we had quite a show.

A whale off of the east coast of the island

The birds gave us a pretty good indication where the whales were feeding

A blow spout

Dinner was relaxing and not like the mad house last night.  Then the few sailboat families in the cove came up to watch the sunset.  Brian took the hosting duty for that while I crashed for the night, hard!  He also took late night dogwalk duty to let me sleep.  Phinneus is having a hard time with his old age and is confusing night and day which keeps me awake most nights.  Gotta love him!

Guests today – 58

Guests total – 582

USCG – 6


A Full House

Saturday, July 15, 2017 – A full house

Today was going to be a busy one, we were expecting a visit from my family and friends and the guest cottage was expected to have 4 as well. We spent the morning cleaning as best we could to get a cottage over 160 years old ready for mainlanders!  By 10:30, Brian and I were sitting on the porch waiting and relaxing a little until the minor misunderstandings began.  We thought Ethan was bringing all the overnight guests out on the 11:30 ferry, and it turns out, the 4 for the guest cottage arrived on their own boat and my sister’s group arrived at 10:30 on the smaller boat and we needed to do a mad dash scramble to pull the dinghy down to the water to unload them.  But, as always, just another story for the group to laugh about later.

A chance to sit down and enjoy lunch

Once we got everyone settled in and started with the tower tour for everyone, it was kind of a quiet day on the island.  All the guests were wonderful, and as the day progressed everyone was laughing, walking the trails and at 5pm, we planned the start of a group cocktail hour!  I also got one another surprise, a woman I graduated from high school with was bringing her family to visit and stay the night on a mooring.  Alrighty, lets add some more to the dinner excitement.

Even Sam the Seagull was enjoying all of the activity

Throughout the day, we did have a few groups of people from private boats visit the island, so it was just busy enough to be able to visit with my sister but also so she could see what we do on the island on a daily basis.  We had set up with Jackson Percy, a local lobsterman, to drop off 4 lobsters for dinner and he arrived and left them in a drop box on the US Coast Guard buoy. The lobsters arrived mid-day so dinner was set.  Also, as more and more people were being added to the dinner group, we improvised and had a delicious buffet set up for everyone to enjoy.

The total for dinner outside was 15, just crazy.  The island cooperated with the best evening so far on the island, perfect temperature, almost no wind, and the bugs did not show their ugly head until after sunset.  At 8:18, the sunset cannon was fired, pictures were taken, flag dropped, and the stories began.

Dinner with new and old friends

Michelle (my sister), Kevin and Pam Dunn starting with the attack on the lobsters

There is always someone telling a story

Sunset at 8:18pm

Guests today – 20

Guests total – 524

USCG – 6

A full house expected tomorrow

July 14, 2014 – Guests arriving tomorrow

We had a relaxed morning today, went and did a little sea glass hunting at low tide and then attempted the North Trail.  The seagulls are still on the war path out there, hopefully they will calm down in the next week or so after the chicks are all on their own.  There was a lot of screaming and squawking and the seagulls were noisy too!

Brian with the tower in the back ground watching a schooner pass close to the north point of the island

A schooner taking the cut inside of Ellingwood Rock

The view of the tower dome from the North Trail

A cultivated lily found in the tall grass on our walk this morning, not an expected flower on the island

There were 13 visitors today but in small groups which we enjoy the best.  A chance to get to talk with each person and learn a little bit of their life.  Also, there are not masses of people everywhere which gives todays guests chances to take pictures of the amazing views without people in the shots.

After lunch, I spent a lot of time in the kitchen.  I have my sister and 3 others as guests this weekend and we will also have 5 people in the guest quarters, a full house! The forecast is for perfect weather this weekend, the food is prepped, the lobsters should be dropped off tomorrow morning and all I will need to do is a quick clean up in the morning.  The bad part of the forecast means there will be a lot of other visitors tomorrow, less time to spend with my big sister.

This weeks batch of ice cream, Oreo/Caramel

The mid way point of the Cinnamon Swirl Bread, it is going to be used for the French Toast Bake on Sunday morning

The Chocolate Kahlua cake is dessert tomorrow night in The Kahlua Disgust! A lot of chocolate, cream and kahlua

The bread is delicious, definitely having a little toast in the morning with my coffee

A group on Facebook, Sailing and Cruising, occasionally requests pictures of a cyber sundowner.  It is fun to see pictures from all over the world of people living and sailing on their boat, but Friday night at 5 pm, we all stop and lift a glass and offer a cheer across the internet.

Our contribution to Sailing and Cruising’s cyber sundowners

A perfect chicken stirfry with fresh picked spinach, lovingly prepared by Brian for dinner

Tonight we are sitting in front of the space heater with sweaters on, it is 61 degrees outside, surely summer will be coming at some point!

It is July 14th and it is only 61 degrees outside

Guests today – 13

Guests total – 504

USCG – 6