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.

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.

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!

Not Fit For Man or Beast

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!

Thank you for your support!

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