Wow, what a crazy few days we have had, but a good kind of crazy! Brian and I have been waiting for the day when we finally arrived on the island for almost 6 months and this past Saturday was the big day. As sailors, we watch tides and multiple different weather forecasts to give us a better idea of what we are going to face on our daily travels. Of course, the wind and a high tide was forecasted for Saturday morning to make it a bumpy ride out to the island and a wet landing in the cove. We were off on a “rocky” start but nothing was going to put a damper on our excitement to step foot on this rocky island out in the ocean.
Bright and early Saturday morning we packed the van with all our provisions and followed Cyndi down Rt 209 to Popham Beach to meet the Wednesday Warriors and Captain Ethan to make the 20-minute trip out to Seguin. Brian, the dogs and I were greeted with smiles and laughter from the 6 volunteers that woke up early to make our first day on the island go as smoothly as possible. We unloaded all our provisions and belongings on to the dock to load into the launch and hope most of it arrives to the island in one piece and dry. I think the hardest part of the morning was convincing Phinneus and Pickles the ride was going to be short and the boat would not be heeling over at a 30 degree angle the whole time as on our sailboat.
It was not an ideal landing but nothing was destroyed along the way! It was high tide (no beach to land) and the waves were surging on shore but Anne (one of the volunteers) safely maneuvered all our belongings, dogs, water jugs and people ashore. Next order of business was getting everything from sea level up the hill to 125 feet above sea level. The dogs and I started up the hill so I could get them settled and come back down to help but half way up the trail and the view stole my breath away. I needed to stop and just look at what nature was giving me as my back yard for the next 4 months, incredible.
Saturday was a quick study of all things Seguin, tramway, donkey engine, catwalk, water pumps, wells, cisterns, composting toilets, and the location of everything, yikes! The volunteers have been opening the island as a group for years and worked like a well-oiled machine and Brian and I tried to absorb all that was taught. My day mainly consisted of cleaning the care keepers house and staying out of everyone’s way and Brian got to play with the group getting the tram running. The tram could make 2 trips up the hill with all the water jugs and our belongings which saved many hours and future sore muscles of carrying everything up the hill.
In the first 4 hours of being on the island, the grass was cut, all systems started and inspected, hurricane shutters down and spring cleaning started in the gift shop and museum. Only one malfunction from over the winter and that created a small water leak in the guest cottage, but was soon fixed and the puddle was wiped up before any damage was done to the hard wood floors. By early afternoon, the volunteers needed to head back to the mainland and I went down to the cove with dogs to see them off and take my first turn at rowing out to the launch. The water had calmed down and the tide had gone out giving me a nice sandy landing area. All went smoothly until I realized I was alone on the beach, Brian and Cyndi were up at the house and I needed to drag the dinghy up the beach to the high tide line! Made it half way but admitted defeat when I reached the rocks, another trip up the hill to have Brian come back down to help! This is the best boot camp for weight loss anyone could imagine, there is no shortage of cardio available on the island.
The island does not officially open until Saturday, May 29th but on our first day on the island we had 6 visitors, 2 kayakers from the mainland, 2 sailors that picked up a mooring for a short visit as they were delivering a boat to Connecticut, and 2 guests from a small power boat. Not bad for not even being open yet!
At the end of Saturday, we felt at home, had a warm dinner with Cyndi and the dogs (I forgot to mention Cyndi’s dog Grady, a 185 lb Newfie/St Bernard Cross) and felt we had about a 25% grasp of our life here for the summer. Saturday nights sunset was spectacular, almost nature’s way of celebrating our arrival here for the summer. We could see a snow-capped Mt Washington on the horizon and the sun set directly behind the mountain. Brian and I have seen many sunsets on our 3 years sailing the east coast and the Bahamas, but this will absolutely be considered one of the best we experienced. Afterwards, the flag was lowered on our first day as the 2017 Care keepers of Seguin Island.
Sunday morning arrived all too soon but with a cup of coffee in hand we were ready to face the never-ending list of chores. Today’s goal was to get the grass cut near the Cove and Tram, clear out the Cove Trail, make sure the campsite was ready, finish taking down the hurricane shutters, cut the grass at the helicopter landing area and get the Cobblestone Beach Trail cleared. With the 3 of us working, we had everything completed by 3 pm when we declared and afternoon of laziness. This also included hot showers for everyone because the cistern was finally full enough for us to use. The afternoon was spent reading, knitting and catching up with Facebook. As Cyndi and I lounged around with the dogs, Brian was kind enough to cook dinner. He agreed to make one of my favorites, a spicy sausage stir fry. As we sat around the dining room table with a great dinner, we put together Monday’s plan of chores and went through more of the weeks agenda. It turns out we will have a day off from the island on Wednesday but so too will Cyndi go back to the mainland, when we arrive back Wednesday evening we will be alone for the first time on the island.
After dinner, we finally climbed the light house tower to watch the sunset. The steps were painted on Saturday so our trip up had to wait a day. The view was beautiful and the clouds were filling in on the horizon for the expected rain on Monday. Cyndi gave us a few quicks highlights of the tower and the Fresnel Lens and I am hoping I can absorb as much of this information by Friday when our first tour of 14 people arrives. I am still learning the names of all the buildings and the use of each, I have yet to walk the North Trail, maybe Thursday with my trusty friend, the weedwhacker, as company.
We end day 2 with muscle fatigue, a full stomach and a sense of wellbeing that we were meant to be here on Seguin Island for another Flanagan adventure.