Week Thirteen and Farewell

As fast as the days always go near the end of summer, you most likely hardly noticed the missing blog last week.  Truly cannot believe that it is now September.  We’ve been busy enjoying our last days on Seguin and also prepping for departure.  Each day has been a combination of “we don’t want to leave!” and building excitement for our approaching winter adventure.

We’ve given ourselves a month to travel around Maine and visit friends and family all along our way down to South Carolina.  We figure it will take at least that long to get used to crowds, traffic, sounds, and overhead lights at campgrounds.  Makes me think of the poem from Week 7 – “If once you have slept on an island…”  We do look forward to this winter, tho.  We will be part of a team of workampers opening & hosting at a brand new rv resort near Hilton Head, SC.  Three days off each week to enjoy pickleball, swimming pools, dog park, beaches near by.  Who knows, we may even try a little golf?  This will definitely create a paradigm shift in our existing island outlook – ya think? 

We’ve been taking even more photos! Capture those moments – remember that scene! Another great storm to watch. And did we mention the Monarch’s?? They’re everywhere and so pretty! As predicted, the grass has continued to rapidly grow and Rick has spent quite a bit of time mowing it and weed whacking the trails.  We want the island to be ready for visitors  even after we leave.  From Labor Day weekend until early October, Seguin is still open to the public.  Thus, FOSILS created a lovely opportunity for past Seguin caretakers to return for 1 or 2 weeks and serve as caretakers until all is boarded up for the winter.  We will surely take advantage of this sometime in the next 2-3 years!!

Thanks to the efforts of our pal Cyndy, we have been reaping the benefits of her garden planted in June.  Fresh lettuce, cucumbers, peppers, squash, basil, rosemary and dill!  You need to understand Rick and I never quite got into gardening.  (We tried cherry tomatoes once, but the squirrels took care of that.)  This has been such a treat for us to discover – yum!  Now we need to find a way to create a small mobile garden for our rv travels.   It was back in Week Three I commented on blackberry bushes showing promise.  As summer progressed it seemed they would never produce berries before we left.  And then it happened!  At first we felt like we needed to get out early morning to pick before visitors gobbled them up – ha!  Evidently its well know by local mariners that Seguin has blackberries.  But they were popping up everywhere – and still are!  We’ve eaten blackberries as we’ve walked the trails, had them sprinkled in oatmeal, baked in muffins, folded into homemade ice cream.  I even made blackberry jam!!  Its not too late – come pick some berries : ))

We had three whale sightings over the summer – had hoped for more, but appreciated our chance to see the ones we did. Such awe inspiring marine mammals!  However, one unique “sighting” happened just this week.  Bath Iron Works (BIW) is a major shipyard located on the Kennebec River.  Since 1884 they have built and delivered more than 425 ships to the world’s naval and commercial fleets.  And Friday we watched the recently completed USS Zumwalt 1002 head out.  A US Navy guided missile destroyer, it is so huge, yet designed as a stealth ship.  It completed sea trials and returned to Bath 5 days later.  What an amazing sight to see it slowly glide by Seguin.

We enjoyed our visit from long-time neighbors last week – our final “staycation” on Seguin.  Of course we had our traditional lobster dinner, and evenings of card playing.  They even got to share one of our bat adventure nights. (Never thought I could make a statement like that without a scowl on my face, lol).  They happened to be here during our hottest days this summer, but we were still cooler than the mainland!  Lots of catching up, laughs, and reminiscing.  They sold their house last spring and are currently exploring the world of rv travel.  Headed up to Nova Scotia and PEI next – fingers crossed borders stay open!  When Cap’n Ethan arrived on Friday to ferry them back to Popham, he suggested we first take our “victory lap”.

A while back, he started (now a bit of a tradition) giving the caretakers an opportunity to view Seguin from a different perspective.  You spend your whole summer leaving the cove in a dinghy, boarding Grasshopper straight to Popham, returning to the cove.  Always fun, but limited.  Last Friday he took us (& Lily of course) on our victory lap – a tour around the entire island!  It turned out to be quite an emotional experience.  Seeing it as so many of our visitors had, recognizing the beauty and size of Seguin. Seeing the lighthouse from the water.  And also realizing we would soon be leaving this ”rock” we’ve called home for 3 1/2 months.  Couldn’t have been a more perfect gift to us!

We do want to give a shout out to so many folks who made a difference in our summer’s adventure.  Visitors who not only shared their stories with us, but the many who helped us get the dinghy up shore, helped us carry supplies up hill, brought their dogs up to play with Lily, climbed up the tower steps to hear Seguin’s history.  Hhmmn.  Lots of “ups” in that sentence.  Yes we do sit “up” at the top of the island with quite the view.  There are the “Wednesday Warriors” who not only spend their time working on Seguin projects, but always checking in to make sure all is well for us.  We had such a fun celebration yesterday when we were all on the island at the same time (not just passing in dinghys), sharing a delicious lobster picnic they had planned! Thank you, On-Island Team!  And of course, thumbs up go to Cap’n Ethan & his first mate Soren who took time out of their busy lobster days to ferry us, show us a bit about their hard day’s work, tell us a sea tale or two, and always pick out the freshest lobster for our guests‘ dinners.  And thanks to all our valued blog readers who shared our summer and encouraged us along the way.

We have both recently finished reading the recommended book “A Short Bright Flash” by Theresa Levitt.  I must admit it was a little more technical than I expected, but how else could you possibly describe the dream and development of something as iconic as all the Fresnel lens that illuminate the coasts of the world. Augustin Fresnel was an engineer and unlikely hero who kicked off a new era of modern worldwide trade by providing an unprecedented level of safety for sea travel. But still, there’s something more than technology about a lighthouse.  So I quote from her final pages.  “They seem to evoke a bygone world of danger and romance, when getting on a ship meant complete isolation and the light from a Fresnel lens was the first sign of land.  Part of the romance of the great seacoast lights was their location at the very edge of the civilized world, rising out of a landscape otherwise untouched by human presence.”

Our summer with this extraordinary Seguin Island Lighthouse will remain untouched in our memories.  Farewell.        

Hard to find a backyard like this!
No boring views on Seguin
Storm watching
So close; windy!
From the tower
Nature cannot be beat…
More than just mowing a lawn
Not easy being a lighthouse dog…
Thank you, Cyndy
Yum! Morning toast & coffee
Stealth, size large
Traveling neighbors
Never too many sunsets
He’s kinda cute?
Outside, looking in…
Victory Lap
Workin’ hard
Setting the traps
Wednesday warriors
Party time : )
It was perfection…
Farewell, Seguin

Week Twelve

The view from our bedroom window looks south out onto the Atlantic Ocean and always creates an opportunity for reflection.  This past Monday night was so pretty.  A waxing gibbous moon lighting up the water all the way to our shore.  The SE wind finally bringing a breeze into our room after several calm (stifling?) nights.  And the crickets being a bit louder than usual.  It was a perfect night for sleep, but I didn’t want to fall asleep – our days left on Seguin are counting down.  I don’t want to miss a minute of all that surrounds us here!

To say this has been a once in a lifetime experience almost sounds trite to us.  As most of you know, we travel full time in our 5th wheel RV, fondly known as Winslow.  We sold our house and carry all our “stuff” with us.  We have had amazing experiences the last 6 years as we travel around the US & Canada.  Throw in a couple side trips to Mexico and Europe.  And the people we have met along the way – so energizing!  We can’t imagine a more perfect way to spend our retirement.  But Seguin…

This place.  There is something magical about it.  Maybe because it’s an ocean island.  Or, maybe because there’s a working lighthouse here.  Maybe it’s all the exciting history that surrounds us.  Or all the adventurous boating folks that stop and spend time on Seguin and share their “once in a lifetime” stories with us.  (It can’t be the mosquitoes & black flies, can it?)  Or could it be Rick and I sharing an adventure not just with each other, but with all the many people that have walked on this island over generations of time.

So we will spend these last 3 weeks doing everything at least once more.  Each trail will need to be walked and groomed – and photographed, lol.  We must already have over a 1000 photos – plenty to clean out during this coming winter.   A visitor or 2 reserved for the guest quarters.  Rooms, gift shop, museum to clean.  Lantern room and lens shined up a bit.  Final blogs to write.  Hopefully a whale sighting again.  Dinners planned and prepared in this remarkable kitchen.  Plenty of grass always wanting to be mowed.  More jugs of water to carry up the hill.  Another couple trips to town, every time a fun ride with Cap’n Ethan!  We’ll start taking some of our supplies back each time, so the last load isn’t quite so huge – ha!  Long time friends are coming to stay with us two nights next week – another “welcome to Seguin” lobster dinner – yum!  A few more evenings playing cards.  And a wealth of sunsets still. 

Lily wants a few more swims in the cove, I’m sure.  She loves fetching the sticks from the waves!  She arrived in May as a leashed 20-month old labradoodle with absolutely no social skills around people.  Because of Covid, she was always at least 6 ft away from most.  Got to admit, we were a little apprehensive about how she would handle the number of visitors coming to the island.  As it turns out, this was the best training ground for her.  Although she still insists on greeting everyone with barking for a moment or two, she loves being able to play with her instant new friends.  Tempted to jump up, she has learned to stop as soon as someone asks (well, mostly).  And there have been on average 3 dogs every week to join her in chasing around the lawn – much to the joy of boaters wishing for a happily exercised dog back on their vessel.  In fact one family stopped on their way back south for a 2nd visit, to tire out their doodle for the ride home – lol!  Of course we love her getting all this exercise, too.  We’ve tried to make sure she spends some leash time everyday, but I’m afraid she is not going to understand the concept of returning to a more structured life at an rv resort!  A visitor posted a photo of her on Instagram, introducing her as the 2021 Caretaker for Seguin – that’s more her style now! 

Oh yes – I think at least one more storm ahead!  Fog has rolled in today (the fog horn is going) and we are happily surrounded, with any luck at all, into the night when fog intensifies the fresnel lens glow above us – hmmnn.  That definitely fits in with the magical factor.  And rumor has it that Hurricane Henri is headed up this way, due Sunday into Monday.  Would it be bad luck to say “bring it on!” ?  We’ve come a long ways since that first storm in May, chuckle.

By the way – did you know crickets can tell you about the weather?  Here’s your new word – stridulation.  This is a process where special body parts are rubbed together to make a noise. (Cue kids – much giggling now).  On the top of a male cricket’s wing there is a scraper.  They can raise their wings to a 45-degree angle and draw the scraper of one wing across wrinkles (called a file) on the underside of the other wing.  Think of running your finger along the teeth of a comb.  As the outside temperature gets higher, it becomes physically easier to do and the cricket’s chirp becomes more rapid.  Remember all those hot summer nights when the crickets are singing?  You can actually tell the temperature by counting the number of chirps.  It should be surprisingly accurate.  One little trick is to count the number of chirps in 15 seconds and add 37.  Or, you can now use crickets instead of sheep to help you fall asleep… 

Have a good night ~ see you under the light. 

Monday night…
Occasional sunrise 😉
Day has begun
Love the trails
Evening, too
An amazing task
The views…
“Don’t want to come in”
Will miss this kitchen
the sunsets…
Shadow fun
Who needs tv?
Another day at the cove
always new friends
“All this from me?”
Time to play
Famous caretaker
Living the dream…
Just one more…
the fog ~~~

Week Eleven

Back in Week Six, I questioned the term “blog”.  We’ve all heard about ship’s logs and more relative to Seguin, a lightkeeper’s log book.  From the very start, this has always been one of the duties of a keeper.  They were required to keep track & note all activity at the station, including maintenance, repairs, visitors, comprehensive weather details, and certainly any rescue or other mariner events nearby.  In keeping with the tradition, caretakers at Seguin have always been asked to keep a log book during their stay.  In our museum there are binders full of these logs – its interesting to observe how they change over the years. Some are very official and factual, some quite personal.  

Very recently, in 1997, the term “web-log” came about, describing the process of keeping a log on the web.  As it gained popularity as a sort of public journaling or giving voice to opinions, the term was shortened to ”blog” in 1999 by a programmer.  At that time it was estimated there were 23 blogs on the internet.  In 2004, Merriam-Webster declared it the new “word of the year”.  By 2006, there were 50 million blogs out there!

And now here we are, writing our own blog.  Would never have guessed it just a few years ago!

The museum here on Seguin has been a continual resource for information.  We still have not read all the photo boards that have recently created a new look for this historical gem.   Congratulations go to Chris Hall, a FOSILS board member.  Bringing a background in Library Science and a 17-year career at Maine Maritime Museum (MMM), including time as Curator of Exhibits, Chris took on the project of upgrading our museum.  Two years were spent researching and designing the new graphic panels.  All photography and information from the original 1990s museum was scanned, allowing the various framed prints to be archived in Bath, away from the unforgiving winter weather on island.  Additional material from MMM, Coast Guard families, and digitized lighthouse correspondence available from the National Archives has created a historical wonderland.  It is a must visit when you come to Seguin.

One of our most important artifacts does not quite fit inside.  In 1858, just a year after Seguin tower was completed, the 1,200-pound cast steel Sheffield fog bell arrived on the island accompanied by its own striking system.  Unfortunately the striker kept breaking and the bell had to be rung for hours, even days on end by hand.  Remember, Seguin is one of the foggiest places in North America!  By 1870 an elaborate plan was devised to instead haul coal to the top of the island to run a steam engine powering a whistle.  This led to another whistle installed in 1876, requiring the construction of a fog signal house and a tram car, forever changing the characteristics of Seguin Island. The upkeep and improvements to the tram has been a continuous challenge over the years to keep it safe. Unfortunately the current goal of returning the tram to full operation will not happen soon enough to carry our weekly supplies, sigh…

Anyway, back to the bell.  When the USCG decommissioned Seguin Light Station in 1985, the bell was removed from the island.  A year later, FOSILS was formed and leased the 64 acre island until 1995 when they reached a purchase agreement.  Their task is to preserve the history of this still operating lighthouse.  The existence of a bell was known, but several attempts to find it failed.  The return of the bell in 2015, nearly 30 years from the time it was removed, was the culmination of a 3 year effort to first find and then prove ownership.  It created quite a sight when it was airlifted by helicopter from Boothbay Harbor USCG Way Station and set down on its current perch near the house and museum, where it originally sat.  Quite an accomplishment, FOSILS!

The days are flying by faster every week.  The boat ride into Popham this week was quite a bit calmer than our ride to the island last Thursday, lol.  It was a tough morning for us, saying farewell to our kids.  We had some time in Bath for a leisurely breakfast at Mae’s Cafe & Bakery.  Mmmnn – wonderful omelets and benedicts, accompanied by tasty Bellini’s to celebrate an unforgettable visit.  Bummer – Mae’s is closed on Wednesday’s – we got lucky coming in on a Tuesday.  Almost worth trading our days off island!  ; )) 

We had perfect weather for their visit – they got a sample of rain, winds, fog, clouds and plenty of sunshine. They hiked every trail, tried a little fishing and managed to swim most every day.  We watched a very young seal come up on the rocks in the cove, rest overnight and head out in the morning.  We weren’t sure if it was in distress, so called Maine Marine Animal and sent photos.  They had us keep an eye out, but were fairly certain it was just tired.  We had help overnight from a couple moored in the cove.  The young pups often head out on their own early in life and wear themselves out!  And that was indeed the case.  Thank goodness!  

Sunday was pretty hectic with close to 30 morning visitors, so they decided to prepare and serve us a delicious brunch.  What a treat to be pampered on a busy day!  And of course every evening finished off with a game or two of cards and a stroll outside under the light.  We even tried to stay up for the August Perseid showers, but our pillows called to us while the mosquitoes chased us inside.  We’re so happy that we had the chance to share this island adventure with Jamie & Michael.  

I just wish their return flights were as much fun!  After a smooth trip from Portland to Chicago, they ran into storms there and ended up having to stay overnight in Chicago (after being in that horrible airport game – a short delay, just a bit longer, well, maybe an hour. Let’s board! Oh, we’ll just sit out here and head out quickly, an hour later, sorry flight has been cancelled)  And then after seeing more flights cancelled the next day, finally got a flight to Denver, then connected to Seattle on standby.  Arrive home at midnight after 2 days!  We’ve all had this experience, I know – it’s horrible!  I’m exhausted just telling the story! 

But we’re still thrilled they came and will remember this special visit a long time.

Catch ya next week! 

Welcome to the museum
Bringing electricity to Seguin
Safety! Always important
3018 mi to Spain!
1975 fog signal control panel
More complete story…
Every museum has a gift shop!
Caps, hoodies,t-shirts
Home again 🙂
If it could tell stories…
Family on Seguin – pure joy
Cove overlook trail
I’m exhausted!!
Sunday brunch
Another Cove visitor
The family dinghy – wow!
Smoother voyage 😉
Farewell Seguin…
Best photo yet!! Goodnight.

Week Ten

Writer’s Block?  Possibly.  It is described as “a condition in which an author is unable to produce new work or experiences a creative slowdown…is not a result of commitment problems or the lack of writing skills.”  Whew!  I think it’s also caused by a flood of activity and/or adventure if you’re a caretaker on Seguin Island, complicated by an uncooperative streaming signal – Ha!

So today, Saturday Aug 7, is Nat’l Lighthouse Day.  It was on this day in 1789 that Congress passed an act securing the protection under federal support of all lighthouses, beacons, buoys and public piers.  There have been several attempts over the years to make this an “official” holiday, but for now most lighthouses recognize it as a day to be open and sometimes hold special events.  Chances are you are reading this on a day other than Aug 7, so we hope you had your own personal “enlightening” day on Saturday  ;)) .  As mentioned last week I will also include photos this week from Hank Lipian, our “76 Coastie.

This has been our busiest week so far – we welcomed over 250 guests to the island, with most heading up the tower. So many great stories and adventures of their own!  We had 6 volunteers from Maine Island Trail Assoc (MITA) for a day helping to groom the ground cover under the tramway among other areas. Thank you, thank you!  Three gentlemen representing FOSILS spent 3 days kicking off a 5 year project to rebuild the tramway.  Fortunately the weather held.  They grilled their dinners and slept in the Oil House.  If they weren’t working so hard, I’d say they had a pretty good time. And Rick has been busy – the lawns and trails have never looked better!

From a personal standpoint, the highlight of this week is a 5 night visit from our daughter and her husband!  And in true Seguin fashion, it started with weather.  Switching our “go to shore Wednesday” to Thursday so we could pick them up at Portland’s Jetport, we were discouraged to hear storms were expected for that day.

Will spare you the details, but instead Cap’n Ethan collected us (including Lily) Wed eve at 7:00.  We spent the night near Freeport so we could be at the airport in the morning.  We must confess, taking a shower w/iron-free water, having a toilet that flushed, and watching a bit of tv felt kind of luxurious!  Their overnight flight from Seattle arrived on time hassle free.  However the prospect of returning to Seguin with family did not look promising as the rain poured and the winds gusted at 15-20 knots on Thursday.  Making sure we had all our groceries/errands complete, we let Ethan know we were ready if he unexpectedly saw a weather window of opportunity for travel to Seguin.  Could be another hotel night…  

Then we got the call and had 45 minutes to get to Popham.  Wearing rain gear and bagging up our mountain of supplies, we headed out on the water before 2pm in his power boat Guppy.  We would never have done this trip with anyone other than him.  With skill and patience he navigated the waters to get us home.  To really appreciate our journey, please imagine a roller coaster ride at your favorite amusement park.  Those 3-5 ft swells (and felt like 6-8 to us) were the equivalent of climbing the rise, pausing at the top, and pitching down the tracks.  Lily was bravely up front with Jamie & I while we screamed and laughed in the rain, wondering why we hadn’t worn our life jackets.  Keep in mind, the previous day a great white shark was seen nibbling on a Minke whale carcass floating in the area.  Not a good time to go overboard – not that anytime is a good time.  And how come the women are up front while the guys are in the back with the captain?  And what better Seguin welcome to our gal who loves the ocean?  These are the thoughts that go thru your mind at times like these, lol…

We did arrive safely and two dinghy trips later traipsed up the hill to the house.  We received confirmation that Cap’n Ethan made it back to Popham.  Got some dry clothes on, unpacked, and sat down to a grilled salmon dinner.  So happy to share this paradise with our kids.  And Lily was happy to cuddle on her favorite futon.  We even managed a card game of Golf, and a foggy evening tour of the light.  

Friday turned out to be a gorgeous hot sunny day.  One of the neat things about Seguin is the availability of guest quarters on the museum side of the house which can be reserved with a donation to FOSILS.  A group of 5 arrived around noon and had a great time enjoying all aspects of the island.  They even managed to get outside around 2 am to watch the August Perseid shower happening this week.  So many shooting stars!  It was a pleasure to learn one of the visitors has been following our blog since she made these plans.  She thanked us for volunteering by making 2 wristbands for us with an imprint of “Seguin Island” and its gps coordinates.  Amazing!   

And even with guests and tours, we still had time to spend with the kids in the cove and of course, enjoy a true Maine lobster dinner.  We’ll cherish every moment of this special visit – and it’s just started :)) 

Inspiration for writer’s block
Happy Lighthouse Day!
Henry & Barb Visit Seguin – Coast Guard 1976
Boat house in Cove 1976
Winter on Seguin
No thank you!!
Start of a 5 year project
Lookin good, Rick!
Going up!
Raining & swells!
Getting closer!
Whose idea was this??
A night tour!
Enjoying the island
And they’re not even Mainers!
Our Seguin tradition
Thank you, Janine!!
Chocolate & Vanilla
Our sweetie Jamie & awesome son-in-law Michael
Just another Seguin sunset – sigh…

Week Nine

Yesterday, today, and tomorrow.  The past, present, and future.  A continually moving target.  Yesterday we were talking and dreaming of our summer on Seguin Island.  Today we’re living the dream and greeting visitors.  Tomorrow we’ll be traveling south for the winter.  How quickly today becomes yesterday and sometimes it feels like tomorrow will never come.  Or it comes too soon!  This week has been a constant example.

Early July Cap’n Ethan mentioned he was bringing over a former Coast Guard who had spent time years ago on Seguin Island.  We looked forward to his visit, but it was a ways off.  And then Tuesday, this week, Henry and Barbara Lipian arrived.  What a great visit!  

A little background.  From 1796 through 1963, Seguin Island Light was cared for by a series of dedicated and hard-working civilian lighthouse keepers appointed by the Federal government.  The keepers‘ families were not only permitted to live with them, but encouraged.  Lighthouses were usually in remote locations and not easily reached by visitors, nor deliveries of supplies.  The more hands available to work the light station, the better.  They grew gardens and raised livestock.  Often there were as many as 3 keepers and their families, which created a need for small schools.  Usually on a cape, head or an island, the weather they experienced could be rough.  It was a challenging life, and having family nearby was a benefit.

In 1939 the USCG merged with US Lighthouse Service and assumed responsibility for our nation’s lighthouses.  As electricity began reaching our nation’s lighthouses, the workload was eased and upon retirement or transfer, often a 3rd keeper was not replaced.  Eventually logistics of maintaining a family station on Seguin Island were deemed unsafe by the USCG administration in 1963 and Seguin became a “stag station”.    Men who were un-married or willing to leave their families ashore became the keepers.  

It was in February 1976 that Hank Lipian left his family in Ohio and spent a year here.  This week in 2021 was the first time he returned to Seguin and brought his wife to see the wild beauty of his station.  As we walked, he shared story after story as memories came alive.  Obviously time had changed things on Seguin, but so much was just as he remembered.  The fog bell stands pretty much where it was in ’76, yet it was missing for nearly 30 years in between then and now (a story for another week).  Indeed, the desk he used in his room is still here in what is now our living room!  We found a photo in the museum of Henry talking on the marine radio.  He had also brought photos with him and it was interesting to compare views.  We found it a bit disconcerting to realize the freshly painted walls & floors, and the shine of all things brass in the photos, put present-day cleaning routines in question.  A possible motivation to bring back some of that luster to Seguin (but maybe not the sideburns – ha).  

When we first arrived at Seguin, we were shown a lamp in the kitchen that is traditionally left on 24/7 by caretakers – fondly called the ghost light for fun.  On Hank’s visit we discovered that our bedroom used to be the guest room, tho the guys referred to it as the “ghost room”.  Not sure I want to know all the facts on that – something about the hidden panel in our closet ceiling!   

While touring the light Hank was amazed to find that the rope “coxcomb” on the railings in the watchroom was his work!  At the time, his fellow mates had advised it was “time wasted” since someone would surely take it all off within a year…45 years later still here.    Rick learned how to operate the “soundphone” with Hank’s instruction – basically it was a sophisticated version of the “tin can telephone”.  It did not rely on power.  Now if he forgets his handheld radio, Rick can reach me in the house – lol.

We had the privilege of reading a letter he wrote to his family on July 4, 1976 – the Bicentennial.  It is a beautiful testament to his high level of patriotism and love of his family.  He recorded the difficulty of being away from them for a year.  A feeling shared by many armed forces.  He commented on both the isolation and beautiful surroundings of Seguin.  It brought tears to our eyes.  That letter will always be cherished by the Lipian’s.  

The visit was way too short.  They want to come back and bring the (now adult) kids next time.  Show them why Dad was gone for a year.  We texted after they left and he commented on the day. “…I will remember it always.  For a while I was 26 again and it was 1976.”  

Yesterday, today, and tomorrow.

Today was excitement of a different kind.  Cyndy, our executive director of FOSILS, contacted me before we had even arrived in Maine.  She wanted to make sure we were comfortable with the plans for her daughter’s wedding on the Island at the end of July.  We had just celebrated our daughter’s wedding in October at Heceta Head Light House in Oregon!  So it sounded like a great event for our summer island home.  As these last weeks progressed, there was a certain “mother of the bride” aura growing stronger around Cyndy each time we saw her.  Originally volunteering with FOSILS in 1995, she eventually became a caretaker here in 2007.  Her daughter Carney fell in love with Seguin alongside her mom.  What better place to stand with your partner and commit to a new life and future together!

The day started out with glorious sunshine and blue skies.  Cyndy had stayed the previous 2 nights to prepare a working lighthouse/island into a photographer’s backdrop.  The wedding party and family made it up the hill today, both on foot and some help with the groomsmen pushing up the tram. (Ah, to be young again.  Hmmn.  Wonder if they’d come up on Wednesdays to help with our supply run?)  Lots of chatter, laughter, music and questions as participants and guests prepared for the ceremony.  And it turned out beautiful.  Photos, tears, toasts and a tempting charcuterie board for after.  Plans for a larger reception tomorrow evening on the mainland.  And of course celebrating their dreams coming true.

And then life in Maine happened.  The clouds rolled in, the wind kicked up and the scurry began.  How quickly can they get everything picked up and make it down to the cove?  Will the 3rd dinghy make it onboard before the skies opened up?  What did they forget to grab?  Bridesmaids in dresses – no time to change.  I commented on the quick change of weather.  One remarked to me – No problem – “We’re from Maine – we’re used to this!”  

And so another past, present, and future.

Signing off as the storm rolls in, from our yesterday, today, and tomorrow on Seguin Island!

Never tire of this ride!
Change yet still the same
So many have walked thru this door to catwalk
Original fog bell
Ghost light
Hank’s coxcomb…
…45 years later!
On the left, 2nd down, on the radio
Tin Can phone
Seguin’s sound phone
wondering if Hank played checkers on USCG table
Tram exercise
Here comes the bride
Cyndy staying calm
Carney & Cliff
Charcuterie Yum!
Do you have an invitation?
Proud to serve
Rolling in…

Week Eight

Cincinnati Enquirer, July 18, 1944:  Take a Stay-cation instead of a Va-cation, this year!  This slogan was found in a list of “Red-White-And-Blue Reminders”  in an ad for Felsenbrau Supreme beer.  Other wartime reminders were about planting victory gardens and writing letters to our soldiers on the frontline.  And we thought we had a new word in the early 2000’s – ha!  Our recent threat from Covid-19 has brought new energy to this blended term indicating a time to vacation at home, rather than travel afar.  And that’s what’s happening on Seguin Island.

We have had so many fun and interesting boaters come ashore the last few weeks.  It would take pages to tell their stories.  A young family that sailed all the way up from Boston.  The 10 guys who have been getting together every year since high school (lets just say approximately 30 years) with quite a cheese and wine spread.  A charming young woman who motored over on her own from Five Islands in a dinghy, taking a day break from her sailing companions. (They’ve lived onboard for 4 years, wintering in the Bahamas.) And then she meets up with some aggressive seagulls on her hike here!  A couple on a year long cruise spending one of their last days on Seguin, awww.  The 4 moms on an annual overnight, making lobster rolls with the first official catch for one of them – out past sunset, laughing til midnight.  They brought us leftovers – yum!  Three families with little munchkins came out just for an evening with a huge blanket spread, watching the kiddos run around and the sun set, despite a strong wind blowing.  I could go on – we feel privileged to share a piece of their adventures. 

We had our own little adventure last Saturday evening.  Rick headed upstairs to turn on the lights and I hear a scream, (manly, of course) and then “BAT!!!“   Trying to keep Lily away from the excitement I ran up and we laughed and yelped our way with brooms thru 45 minutes of a swooping bat until we got him out the bedroom window.  Rick said “film this” but no way was I showing that to anyone – hahhaa !

We are taking our own mini “staycations” during our care-taking weeks this season.  We have company come stay with us 🙂 . This past week we had family and friends visit on 2 separate trips.  My nephew, wife and 2 boys (9 & 16) showed us new ways to explore Seguin Island, mostly by climbing on rocks that we have only admired from afar & will continue to admire, not climb 🙂 . It was a joy to see how they appreciated the history and beauty of the island including the lighthouse.  They also had the dubious honor of sharing one of our wildest days this summer.

We might have guessed early on that the visit may be a bit hectic.  We got a text that morning that their boat ride from Popham was in jeopardy because of the captain’s unexpected illness.  Thankfully he was able to make other arrangements for them.  With the trip rescheduled 2 hours earlier than planned, they hustled from Portland and arrived on Seguin in time for lunch.  The smaller dinghy had sprung a leak and been replaced with a larger one, which was beyond our ability to bring above high tide mark, so their first activity was to be commandeered to help carry the raft.  Then they were welcomed by our recently arrived seal carcass which the last high tide had managed to squeeze in between rocks right at the bottom of the steps.  Not sure squeeze is the right word – one of them thought it might be a manatee – big.  A seaworthy aroma indeed!  We also had a group staying in the guest quarters that night – so lucky to share that pungent welcome.  The campground area was soaking from all the recent rain, so the 3 teen girls from that group slept out in the oil house with their sleeping bags.  Rumor has it that Seguin had its first “rave” that night when they danced & sang their way to midnight inside their quarters.  Never heard a sound!  

The morning following the first night for everyone started simple enough. Beautiful sunrise, breakfast outdoors and morning hikes.  Lots of conversation and laughter all around.  Much earlier than usual, the summer staycation day-visitors began to arrive.  So our quiet little island now had a more resort-like feeling with groups of 6, 7, even 13 boaters showing at once.  The majority of the visitors were neighbors to Seguin out to enjoy a truly magnificent day following several rainy/foggy days.  Comment most frequently heard?  “I’ve seen or sailed by so many times, this is the first time we stopped!”  We hear that often.  We are so glad they visit at last, and they are too!   

And then, one of the overnight guests called Rick aside with the gruesome tale of an overflowing compost toilet.  Followed by a quick check on ours – close, but something was definitely wrong!  And more visitors arrive wanting lighthouse tours.  Quick, hurry, what do we do?  Will spare you those details, but before long we also notice the marine radio is not working – now what?  Electricity to entire house and museum is out  – best time to use OMG!  No electricity means no water or fridge.  Do more tours.  Open the windows to freshen the museum.  Greet more visitors.  Try to get the generators going.  And still trying to figure out what to do with this smelly seal in the cove.  And thank goodness, more tours and visitors – couldn’t help but stay too busy to be overwhelmed by everything that seemed to be happening at once.  We and our family visitors were laughing later, but boy oh boy – what a day!! 

As the evening approached we knew we had help on way the next day (our day in town, yay!).  We settled down for a  delicious lobster feast with family followed by several hands of Uno, with lanterns and jugs of water, while keeping generators from running low on gas.  They were such good sports.  We left for Popham early the next day, family returning to their travels, with only one event of seasickness among them.  Again, will spare the details… But all ended on a high as we watched a humpback whale spout and take a dive, fluke in the air – a thrill for all of us.

Our return voyage on Wednesday included longtime friends staying 2 nights.  Oh, but first you must climb the dock ladder cuz the tides too low.  Yes, we need your help with the dinghy.  But too bad, the seal is gone – seaweed aroma only.  Much to their chagrin, they discovered all their daily time in the gym and swimming had not prepared them for hauling their stuff (we had groceries, too) the 1/4 mile uphill hike to the house.  And even though we still have to stop often to catch our breaths, we realized maybe Rick & I were getting better at this than we thought!   We returned to fixed toilets and solar up and running. (Phew!) We chattered non-stop thru a late lunch and even later dinner, toured the lighthouse, and enjoyed the almost full moon night.

We had a great visit, both of them helping out with chores (you should see him with a weed whacker!) and meals and guests.  What a surprise – 44 kids and adults from Small Point Summer Day Camp showed up!  This has been an annual outing for the camp for over 20 years and with lunches, tours, and what they refer to as “Seguin Games” (lots of running), it was a fast few hours and they were on their way back.  Overall we had over 75 visitors yesterday and the day flew.  I am happy to report we were able to have yet another scrumptious lobster dinner, thanks to our favorite Cap’n Ethan.  I mean, you don’t come spend a couple of nights at a Maine lighthouse without Lobster, right??  The evening ended with more laughs and a new card game for us, “Golf”.  Rick and I will be playing tonight. 

This morning Cap’n Ethan & Lindsay came up for a bit with their 2 adorable boys.  We fed them ice cream at 10:30 (am), just to make it special – lol!  And with hugs and sad smiles, we sent our close friends on their way back to New Hampshire this morning, ending another awesome memory of a staycation on Seguin.

Well, I’m a day late getting this out to you and I’ve been rambling on, but we just needed  you to know about all the wonderful visitors from near and far that are making this a summer we won’t forget.  And of course the seals, bats and compost toilets of island living : ))

Welcome family!
Ready to explore
Its the Atlantic!
Flag lessons w/Uncle Rick
So many rocks, so little time
Waiting on a sunset
Watching for whales
New arrivals
Get to work!
Low tide Hang on!
Lily found new friends
High school bff
Lobster on the way!
Earning her keep
Day Camp Seguin style
Evening storm
Ice cream!
Til next time
…and always…

Week Seven

Last week we ended by running off to batten down the hatches – and it was good we did… Tropical storm Elsa sent buckets of rain our way and this rock of an island called Seguin got pretty soggy!  However our sturdy 164 year house never let a drop of rain enter.  And we were rewarded with a view of our first Seguin rainbow.  As the storm moved east and north, the sun just lit everything up for a beautiful evening!

Now, we didn’t actually batten down any hatches.  This phrase began in the late 1800’s when the navy prepared for storms by fastening down canvas over doorways and hatches on their ships with strips of wood called battens.  We just closed doors and windows – my, how easy life has become!  

In the last week, we have had only 3 days which were partly sunny.  Between rain and the famous Seguin fog, we are not getting a lot of outside chores done!  Remember the list of things we haven’t gotten to?  Well. During those 3 days of rain over the 4th and adding the latest weather, we had been working on that puzzle.  It took 10 days of either rain or evenings, but success!  Now, we were warned we would find it challenging and with over 500 small wooden pieces, it proved itself.  I dare you to make your next puzzle purchase a wooden one!

We also are doing a bit of historical reading and finding ourselves viewing life on Seguin a bit differently.  Those late 1800’s and early 1900’s seem a little closer.  “The Lighthouse Keeper’s Wife”, an autobiography, was written by Connie Scovill Small in 1986 when she was in her 80’s.  She and her husband spent 24 years (1920-1948) as lightkeepers on the Maine coast, 4 of which were on Seguin.  An eye-opener to read first hand experiences in this very same house starting in 1926.  So much the same, yet oh so different.  (They did have a working tram to carry their supplies up for them – definitely a struggle in 2021!).  The kitchen had a black iron stove and a sink with a hand pump. There was a door directly into the lighthouse.  There were 3 lightkeepers w/families on the island.  Before long they had regular deliveries of coal, but when they first arrived, their only source of fuel, after burning the boxes in which the books were packed, were stones found on the beach, identified as coal, washed by the sea, many years after coal vessels had been wrecked on Seguin!  Ahhh – gotta love our solar!  

Connie had to wash and iron the linen lens cover by hand – no easy task at 12‘ long and 4 sections 6‘ wide – would’ve been a deal breaker for me – lol.  I’m guessing the “I don’t think so” for Rick may have been having to row the 2-1/2 miles to Popham – sun or storm.  And they had some wild storms in the winter!  Thank you Cap’n Ethan!!  We still have the snakes that kept another Captain from visiting, but we don’t encounter many.  And we still have the amazing views she describes – from the catwalk, seeing the many coastal lighthouses light up at sunset for one.  And my favorite – “I opened the outside tower entrance door which looked over the north part of the island at Popham Beach and the entrance to the Kennebec River”.  Still a breathtaking view.  But I refuse to compare their experience of finding a body floating in the Kennebec to our finding a decapitated seal on our beach this week…‘nuff said about that.  Although I must publicly thank one of our visitors who valiantly lassoed and dragged aforementioned seal out to sea…

As you may suspect, weather is constantly on our mind – and in our recent reading.

It was a hurricane that killed more than 6000 people. Rick is reading about the worst hurricane on record, not long after the Weather Bureau Service was formed. He is reading the book “Isaac’s Storm” by Erik Larson.  It was Galveston, September 8, 1900.   In those days the weather was the weather.  If ships were lost at sea and people died, it was just the way things were.  It was a time in our history when the word hurricane was avoided for concern that it would cause panic. And now most of us track these world wide events daily. 

Rick’s dad was a meteorologist – during WWII and later in Alaska.  We have always been proud of that fact, but never really realized all that he did and how it impacted others lives.  He would have enjoyed this book.  As Rick is reading he is discovering the deeper meaning behind words like barometric pressure, understanding how high pressures and low pressures are formed.  He is now using this information to help us figure out what kind of weather is ahead.  Although as we sit and listen to the fog horn, we wonder, when will it lift??  Oh yes – one of the foggiest places in the world!  

Unbelievable. We are 1/2 way thru our Seguin adventure. What a mix of comfort and sadness. Comfort because we have settled into such a wonderful routine.  Sad to think about our time here ending. This 1/2 mark came so fast, we just know Labor Day will be here quickly.  We’ve had some amazing visitors on our last few sunny days, but I will save those stories for next week.  One of my photos shows a poem hanging on the wall in the dining room.  We share her thoughts. 

Storm leaving us
Magic of sunlight
At peace…
Painting before fog comes
A challenge!
Wish those pulleys worked!
Catwalk to watch lamps light up
The very same doors 🙂
Need the fog to see this
Waiting on Grasshopper
Even in Popham
Fog doesn’t stop a lobsterman
Home sweet home
Left to ourselves
Comfort and warmth
What is it?
Next week’s stories
Once you’ve slept…

Week Six

As I’m working on this week’s blog (where did that term come from anyway?) Rick is out getting some needed weed whacking done (lucky guy).  We’re both very aware of the weather right now.  Last night we went to sleep on the hottest night we’ve had in the house, windows wide open.  Lily (not typical) wanted out around 2 am, just to cool off – I was happy to step outside with her!  Refreshed, back to sleep.  And about 2 hours later, we all were awakened by a crazy ENE wind coming right past our window – and it hasn’t stopped since.  Right now its blowing pretty steady at about 15 knots with rain due anytime.  Pretty much guaranteed we won’t have any visitors – lol.

Friday thru Sunday of 4th of July holiday, with similar weather, brought zero visitors – such a let down.  However Monday made up for it a bit.   With an outstanding day of sunshine, we had more than 45 people show up to enjoy the island and visit the Light!  It really was such a fun day.  We even got to watch a momma swallow feed her babies in the birdhouse.  One little bird was so anxious, he would about fall out when she came in with the goodies.  By next morning they had already flown off to expand their horizons.  Tuesday it was back to wind and clouds, still we had 2 different families come up.  One couple was on a week trip aboard a small 24’ sailboat!  Need I mention they were young?  They really just stopped for a much needed break to dry out a bit.  Fortunately they decided to come up the hill, so we had a chance to visit with and take them up the tower.  I’m hoping they had a great day yesterday while the sun was shining and made it back to dry land today.  

Luck was with us for our “go to shore” day this week.  The sun was out, temps were up.  Got our errands done quickly, and with a planned appointment cancelled on us, we played tourist for awhile.  Took the 30 minute drive to Freeport, known for being the home of LL Bean’s flagship store.  It felt so extravagant to stroll around the town, shopping a little, admiring all the fun LL Bean merchandise, eating out at Linda Bean’s Maine Kitchen (granddaughter of LL).  It was a busy day and fun to people watch!  

We realized on this trip, that really the favorite parts of our “days off” were the 1/2 hr. boat rides to and from Popham Beach.  In the experienced hands of our USCG licensed Cap’n Ethan, we sit back and enjoy the fresh air, waves and views along the way.  Sometimes the water is relatively calm; other times, like yesterday, rolling swells might be one way to describe it!  It’s a good thing that neither of us tend to sea sickness!  You never know when you’ll catch sight of seals, or an occasional porpoise.  There is mention of white shark sightings by some of the local fishermen, but nothing we’ve seen. (Thank goodness?)  And then there’s the short little jaunt in the dinghy, carrying us & supplies to the beach, bringing the Wednesday warriors & their supplies back to the lobster boat “Grasshopper”.  Almost a guarantee that someone will slip and get a little wetter than hoped, usually to everyone else’s amusement.  This week was a little more exciting. Due to a so far unrepairable leak, the dinghy was losing air fast enough that someone had to be aboard pumping it back in. I knew we had crossed some sort of “islander line” when we thought this was more funny than it was scary.  There are plans to replace this dinghy before long – lol!

Popham Beach is quite the village.  Since we arrived in May, we’ve had time to do a little exploring and look forward to more.  The beach itself is a sandy 3 miles ending at the Popham Beach State Park.  The place can be packed on a warm summer day, cars parked quite a distance down Route 209 when the lot is full.  At the northeastern end you’ll find historic Fort Popham, a civil war era fort built from granite blocks.  Though used by the Maine Infantry, construction was never completed.  It is an interesting place to spend time scouting around and learning local history.  The most fascinating thing to me is that Popham was the first location that the English established a permanent colony in America. Before Jamestown, before Plymouth, the Maine colony began in August 1607.  The “Virginia” was the first ship built in North America at Popham during that time.  There is currently a huge project in Bath, ME building a life size replica of the Virginia – it’s called Maine’s First Ship.  There is hope of a launch this October!  

I’m still reading about how the Popham colony came about and why it failed to survive after just 13 months.  Imagine if it had flourished, how different would our history books look – and how different Popham and Phippsburg would look.  Hmmn – I’m thinking the residents and summer visitors are glad that things turned out the way they did.  It is such a cozy place to live or spend time.  And of course there’s Spinney’s Oceanfront Restaurant – a long time favorite for both visitors and locals alike.  We were disappointed to learn they aren’t open on Wednesdays – Darn!  

Well, with tropical storm Elsa on her way northeast tonight, a gale watch and high surf advisory in tomorrow’s forecast, we need to make sure our hatches are battened down – and what the heck does That mean???      

So pretty…
…even w/clouds coming in
1st one to notice birdhouse
Hungry babies!
Day off!
Feeling the waves
Waiting to come home
Almost there!
Grasshopper’s meeting place
Soon to be retired, lol
Popham docks
Atkins Bay from Popham
Reflecting on Popham
Looking across Kennebec River
Popham Chapel
Seguin – waaay out there
Fort Popham
From the boat
Spinney’s – yum!
Time to batten down the hatches

Week Five

Recently we’ve been reflecting on our roles as caretakers vs lightkeepers.  One definition of a caretaker is a person employed to look after a building.  Or similarly, to look after people or animals.  Other words that show up are janitor, warden, custodian, steward.  Aaah. Steward. We like that – to manage or look after another’s property.  Very fashionable today to talk about being stewards of our environment, or nature.  It feels like being a steward brings about a responsibility of relationship with or warmth towards this property.  And I gotta say, that’s what’s happening with us here on Seguin Island.  Yes we clean, trim, clear out and fix things, but as each day goes by, we are becoming more attached to these 64 acres and its buildings.  And as we meet and greet our visitors, it feels more and more like guests in our own home.  Wow…

Now – a lightkeeper.  Sounds very relaxing and romantic.  Read books, watch the waves, follow the sun’s path across the day, listen to the birds.  Just make sure the light comes on at night and you’re set!  Actually, take the “caretaker” portion out of the mix, and your not all wrong.  However as you’re up in the lantern room polishing the amazing prisms, sweeping out the daily accumulation of dust, a feeling of connection with history overtakes you.  A lighthouse keeper’s life was not easy.  310 articles of instruction and 37 “plates” or illustrations in the 1902 manual.  They worked hard all day every day and because of their dedication, mariners avoided hazards and found their way to harbors all over the world.  Walking up the same steps as previous Seguin keepers, caring for the very same lens is just a bit awe-inspiring…actually, more than a bit.  Even following the paths of the modern day caretakers of the last 25+ years that FOSILS has loved this place, is an honor.  You might think automation and gps would eliminate the need, but these beacons deserve all our care and attention we can give.  So most of our photos this week will be all about her.

We had foggy, rainy, crazy wind days this week, followed by an absolutely lovely day on Tuesday.  The water was so calm and sun warm, that our visitors that day swam in the cove after their tour.  Yesterday 3 folks swam from their boat!  Understand that all these people are “Mainers” and grew up around here.  I just don’t see too many out-of-staters diving in these waters just yet – including us!  Although as the temperatures soar, it is starting to look inviting.  We did wade in a ways, and of course Lily jumped right in fetching sticks.  Check back with us in a couple weeks – we did pack swimsuits 🙂

The museum displays look more interesting each week and our gift shop inventory is expanding. Summer is happening.  Unfortunately, our first overnight guests last Thursday had to give up their 2nd night because risky weather was moving in for a few days and they couldn’t skip work.  A family with a 9 & 11 year old, they took full advantage of the one sunny day and explored most of the trails and beaches with enthusiasm!  We’ve had over 50 visitors this week.  Some bring lunch up and appreciate the picnic table, others just to sit after climbing up the hill!  Most everyone wants to go up in the tower.  And we can’t say it often enough, love hearing their stories!  One gentleman from Connecticut was on his fourth visit – his 1st was 45 years ago.  He actually watched the USCG shoot waterhoses over 130 feet up from their ship to the vicinity of the keepers’ quarters (this took several attempts) in order to fill the cistern.  And we thought walking down to the pump house each day was a task – progress!

Another thought on polishing the lens.  If the sun is out, it is HOT in the lantern room.  Somehow we just can’t seem to coordinate lens time with cloudy days.  With that sun, though, you see the beauty of all the little rainbows of light flashing on the walls and steps.  And when you look out from the upper part, the view is upside down, ocean above, sun & sky below.  Enchanting!  In the 1820’s Augustin-Jean Fresnel designed this lens that now carries his name because of his fascination with optics.  Little did he realize the impact his idea would have over time.  “A Short Bright Flash” is on our read list.  His life and how he came to this unique discovery comes highly recommended by many of our fellow lighthouse enthusiasts.

We were blessed a couple of nights with a beautiful full moon coming up over the water.  The sunsets (& occasional sunrise) continue to thrill.  The rain is keeping the grass a wonderful green.  A special treat came on our way back from town yesterday – Cap’n Ethan’s day on the water resulted in a rare blue lobster in his catch – so amazing.

If this heatwave going on is getting to you – come see us.  The high here this week was 74 degrees with a slight breeze.  (Hate to brag…)  

Happy July 1st!

Water above, sky below
Shining on

Official manual
Mainers 🙂
So green
A place to read
Sunset from catwalk
Seguin storms!
Strawberry full moon
Just another sunset
1 in 200 million!
Got a haircut!
Did I mention Lily’s having fun?
Up or down?

Week Four

It’s hard to believe we’ve been here a month already.  Even when time has seemingly slowed down, it still zips by as fast as ever.  Our days are very full on the island.  Have not really gotten around to the things we brought to help us pass the time – a challenging wooden jigsaw puzzle, a “yoga over 50” dvd, a book of sudoku, a Mancala board.  We even have high hopes for a “ballroom dancing for beginners” dvd – lol  :))

Even without “streaming” to fill the time, by the time we cook and clean up dinner, we are ready for sleep once the sun goes down.  Although thanks to Cyndy and Michael who spent the first week with us, we are a little obsessed with gin rummy first…

Today is Wednesday – our usual trip to shore has been postponed until tomorrow.  With fog, rain and winds most of yesterday, our little cove here was not very inviting for an early morning visit today.  We have been learning a bit about and feeling some of the isolation that comes with living on an island with no boat.  Curious Lily got into a food composting pile this weekend and was not feeling too well.  Fortunately a cellphone call to a vet helped us through that, but made us realize that any sort of health emergency is not a quick car ride away!  (Thankful for the Coast Guard if we needed them!).  Grocery shopping can wait.  An appointment for today will be rescheduled for 2 weeks.  It’s all okay.    We had learned the name Seguin is believed to come from the Native American word sutquin, which means “where the sea vomits”.  You’d think we would’ve guessed that they weren’t kidding at our interview when asked if we would mind occasionally being marooned on the island for 2 weeks – hahaha.  Truthfully, what we really feel here more than anything is “peacefulness”.  It is indescribable.

Unfortunately rougher seas also prevent visitors from coming to Seguin.  Meeting and visiting with these folks is definitely a highlight of being here, so we miss that. We’ve already met some wonderful people with so many different stories (and gorgeous boats!)

Today was a fun visiting day. Four families with about 8 to 10 kids combined all came up to picnic and celebrate the end of the school year together. Lots of questions from the kids. Some of the parents grew up in the area and Seguin is a longtime favorite. They were headed home to cook up a huge batch of Paella to end their day – yum! They were quickly followed by a family of 4 plus dog, also celebrating the end of the school year. Only this was their maiden voyage in a sailboat just purchased mid May! Two weeks to randomly sail and decide the next day’s adventure each night – that’s how to kick off summer!

Last Friday brought 4 kayakers up for lunch and a tour of the Light.  Their time at Seguin was one stop on a weekend journey along a portion of the Maine Island Trail.  Obvious avid fans of the sport, they educated us about MITA.  The “trail” is a 375 mile waterway extending from Kittery to Cobscook Bay (which means the entire coast of Maine!).  It is considered a recreational water trail that connects over 240 islands and mainland sites open for day use or overnight camping.  It is a combination of private and public landowners sharing a commitment to coastal access and stewardship of these special places along Maine’s coastline.  Members also volunteer their time to help with projects that benefit this environment.  Seguin Island became part of this adventurous trail in 2011.

One of Rick’s regular duties is checking the tower each morning.  He unlocks the doors and sweeps up for visitors.  Then comes the less than pleasant activity of clearing the catwalk up-top outside around the lantern room.  Now you would think that would be a special moment in the morning, circling the tower, taking in the beautiful views of the Island and surrounding areas.  Not so much… We have at least two, if not more, Peregrine falcons hanging out on Seguin.  Now they are known as spectacular fliers with tremendous speed when pursuing other birds.  And we have a lot of birds here.  They catch them on the fly, then bring them up to the catwalk for a leisurely meal.  Unfortunately they don’t seem very fond of the head, so leave those behind for Rick to find – ugh – right on the ledge at eye level.   Kind of ruins the bigger view.

Now the gulls are a whole ‘nother story!   They have been very busy nesting and hatching eggs on the cliffs at the end of two of our most popular trails.  Just about the time you break out of the greenery excited to view the wondrous expanse of ocean surrounding the island, you are greeted with high pitched and frankly, kind of angry sounding calls.  We suggest you travel no further.  Of course you don’t want to disturb nature’s breeding area, but speaking from personal experience, you do not want to be at the receiving end of their highly effective aim with droppings.  Now scientists are saying all that seabird guano is very valuable – worth millions as commercial fertilizer and vital for contributing nutrients to marine ecosystems.  As I see it, I just want to get into the shower as soon as possible – high iron content or not!

I don’t think I’ve mentioned poison ivy yet – as long as we’re talking about hazards.  It can be found in a number of locations on Seguin, but as long as you don’t leave the trail, you’ll be fine.  The itchy reaction comes from its oil called urushiol.  It’s taken us awhile to learn to identify the plant.  In fact when I was choosing some flower pics last week, I didn’t realize one was actually poison ivy!  We were looking for “leaves of three, leave it be”.  Who knew it flowered?  Ha!

I was going to show you the photo of the birdheads, but Rick nixed that.  Probably a good thing… hopefully we wont have any ivy rash pics next week!  Enjoy your week – thanks for taking the time to read about our summer so far.

A little rough out there!

Family time
A Lily training a Lily
Maine Island Trail fans
A Peregrine!
Don’t come any closer!
3 leaves – But the flowers are so pretty!
And now the peaceful scenes
Good Night

Thank you for your support!

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