No Vacancy: Cove & Camp Site

Sunday
July 17, 2016

We woke up around 5am to the sound of heavy rain – or I should write that I heard it while Patty felt it blowing in through our bedroom window.  We got up to remove the screens and close all the open windows where the rain was coming in before going back to bed.  It continued raining off and on until almost eight in the morning.  We felt bad

Rain clouds rolling in

Rain clouds rolling in

for the Chewonki campers who stayed on Seguin last night because their plan was to be up at 3 to eat and break camp and sail (or row) out by 4:30am.

We ate fruit, yogurt, and granola for breakfast like we do most days when Patty noticed a mama duck with ducklings in the yard.  It’s the first time we’ve seen ducks up here and we’re not sure why or how they got here.  The yard up top is around 140’ above the water and the ducklings probably can’t fly…  Strange.  After breakfast, we tried to figure out what to do with our early morning because it’s too wet to do any mowing or weed whacking and our solution was to do nothing for an hour.

Storm clouds

Storm clouds

After enough of the sitting around thing, we got moving and tackled a couple of small, unglamorous jobs.  I took care of the composting toilet “process” in the Keeper’s Quarters (I’ll leave the details to your imagination – but it was nowhere near as bad as the overflow of several weeks ago) while Patty worked in the garden gathering and cleaning greens that were ready.

After the early morning rain, the skies cleared steadily for an hour or more but then started to cloud up again just when we thought we were going to have a nice morning.  By 10, it started to rain heavily and we wondered about whether Ethan would have a group today.  Not that we could check it but we were hopeful radar would show this was a passing cell that would soon clear and leave us with good weather for the rest of the day.  By 11, it seemed like that might be the case because it stopped raining.

We walked down the Lighthouse Trail, clipping back some brush there and at the bottom on the Cove and Cobblestone Trails also.  We were down there still at 11:30 when Ethan would normally arrive with his group but there was no sign of the Leeward.  There were two sailboats moored in the cove and tied to one was a dinghy with a person in it either bailing water or getting ready to row ashore, we couldn’t tell.  Before heading back up the hill, we got some water from our jerry cans in the Engine House.

Once back at the house, Patty heated up leftovers for lunch; spaghetti for me and rice for her to which she added

Duck & ducklings on the top lawn

Duck & ducklings on the top lawn

some peppers, onions, and other vegetables.  By the time we finished lunch, the wind was blowing pretty steadily at 15mph from the ENE which is a different direction than we normally have.  It was still pretty overcast and humid and we resigned ourselves to a day with few if any visitors.  I went back down the hill the get the weed whacker which I’d left in the Engine House when I used it last and Patty went to the Whistle House to paint a new sign we’re going to put up.  Back up the hill with the weed whacker, I changed into my mowing uniform of ripped long pants, Bogs, and the stinkiest t-shirt I can find in the laundry bag and walked outside, intending to walk out to the end of the North Trail to get started.

Right on cue, a couple was walking up the lawn towards the museum and lighthouse.  Nice.  Weed whacking delayed.  I greeted them and apologized for my appearance (and smell) just as Patty was coming towards us from the Whistle House.  They were sailing aboard one of the boats we saw in the cove and had spent the night last night.  I asked if they’d seen the sunset that we shared with the Chewonki campers and they had and agreed it was spectacular.  After seeing the museum and tower, they were going to walk a trail or two before returning to their sailboat.

Clouds and sun

Clouds and sun

As the first couple left, a foursome who came over from near Popham were arriving.  Two of the four had been here before but the other two had not and were interested in seeing the museum and touring the lighthouse.  Again, I explained my getup and that I was just about to do some trail maintenance when our first visitors arrived.  Like the first couple, they didn’t seem to care but I was feeling pretty grimy.

And, just as I finished the tour with the foursome, Patty was greeting another couple who had come up from the other sailboat we saw in the cove earlier.  While Patty was talking with them in the museum, I decided to change out of my mowing uniform and back into something that looks slightly better (and smells lots better).  When I got back down, they were ready to go up in the tower for the tour.  This couple (Amie & Tom) were from Mystic, CT and were spending the summer sailing up the coast and had stopped in the cove last night to wait out the weather they knew was coming.  After leaving here, they plan to continue north going as far as Campobello just across the border in Canada which is a place we’re hoping to visit too at the end of the summer before we start heading south.

Patty on the beach with three boats in the cove.  The two sailboats stayed last night and tonight.

Patty on the beach with three boats in the cove. The two sailboats stayed last night and tonight.

By now, the sky was clear and it was hot in the sun but comfortable in the shade with a light breeze.  I noticed that the fishing trawler “Sunlight” was sitting in the straight between Seguin and the mainland again just like it did about a week ago.  For a week or more, we’ve been seeing a long line of fishing boats off-shore at night and thought it was boats fishing for herring during some sort of special 3 or 4-day season but it’s been longer than that.  Now, just like last week, this trawler is just sitting there – we want to know what that’s about…

A party of six was scheduled to camp on the island tonight (the second campers we’ve had all season, two nights back-to-back) and thought they’d arrive around 3 in the afternoon.  We didn’t have to greet them on the beach but since we didn’t have any other guests after Tom & Amie went to hike the South Trail, we walked down to see if they had arrived.  It was around 4 in the afternoon and expected they had and we would just introduce ourselves and trade phone numbers.

Two brothers rowing in from their boat.

Two brothers rowing in from their boat.

When we got down the hill, the campers weren’t there but it was nice on the beach and the tide was really low so we hung out there.  Just about the time we decided to head up, a boat came in and tied up to a mooring and we could see at least four people on board.  This must be our campers we thought so we waited for them to row ashore.  Eventually, two guys did and we met them as their dinghy hit the sand.  Not our campers.  At the same time, Tom and Amie walked down the steps to the cove on their way to their sailboat.  I left to be up top when the two guys (brothers it turns out) got there while Patty stayed down at the beach talking to Tom & Amie.

The brothers had gone out the Cobblestone Trail first so I beat them to the top and when they arrived later, I asked if they wanted to see the museum and go up the lighthouse tower.  Brother 1 said yes but brother 2 said no, they needed to leave because his wife had called from the boat (both of their wives stayed on the boat) and said they thought they were off their mooring and were afraid to go out on the bow to check the line.  Brother 1 really wanted to go up top so I said we could make it quick and I took him up while brother 2 waited and kept yelling up to brother 1 to hurry up.  They never made it to the museum.

Gull with her babies

Gull with her babies

I followed them down just in case there really was a problem (I hadn’t been able to reach Patty on the radio – shame on her for leaving in on the stair railing) but I knew she, Tom, and Amie would help if needed.  When we got down, their boat was still securely tied to the mooring and Patty, Tom, and Amie were still chatting away.  Patty did learn from Amie that the Chewonki campers didn’t end up leaving until 6:30 this morning so maybe they missed the worst of the rain.  She took some pictures of them leaving and we have the email addresses of two of the Chewonkiers (or is it Chewonkers?) so she’s going to forward the pics to us and we’ll send them along with the pictures we took.

Finally, around 6 or maybe later, Tom & Amie got in their dinghy to return to their sailboat just as a thick fog started to roll in and we saw an open boat coming into the cove with six people aboard.  As they were mooring up, another sailboat drifted in and took another mooring so that four out of our five were now taken.  We waited for the first dinghy load from the open boat to come in and confirmed that it was our campers.  They had been hanging on a nearby beach when they saw the fog approaching and hurried to get over here before the cove was totally socked in.  There were three guys in the first dinghy and we went with two of them to show them where the camping area is while the third guy went out to get more people and gear.  With them situated, we went back up the hill in a thickening fog.

Sausage sandwiches for dinner.

Sausage sandwiches for dinner.

The fog settled down and limited visibility to only a few dozen yards from the house and I went out to take down the flag figuring there was no need to wait for sunset since it was getting dark already and wet too.  With the flag partially lowered, the couple from the last sailboat we saw arriving came up the hill to visit the museum and gift shop.  They knew there was nothing to see in the tower and said they’d come up tomorrow to see that but they did end up buying several things in the gift-shop.

After they left, we closed up shop and Patty put together a dinner of sandwiches with grill sausage, peppers, and onions with cheese on onion rolls.  For a day that started off slowly and looked like we might not see any people, we ended up with a busy afternoon and evening along with some nice weather.  We found out later that our fifth mooring was taken after the last sailboat arrive so the cove was all filled up.

Visitors – 26

Favorite Moment(s) – talking with Tom and Amie on the front porch and later down on the beach – hearing about their adventures on their sailboat and around the world off their boat.

Sunrise – 5:02am
Sunset – 8:10pm

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