Thursday, August 25, 2010
A nor’easter came through yesterday with winds at 30 knots turning over heavy benches on the lawn and blowing leaves from the sumac all over it. The waves were huge, crashing up against the shore, and the wind fierce, standing on the catwalk of the tower on the north side. It blew me into the rail. Behind the glass it was no less comforting. I felt a draft and saw water on the floor inside and thought a pane had blown out but it was only an open vent below the glass.
Needless to say we didn’t get off the island and since it’s now been longer than two weeks, I’ve started to thaw stuff to eat. Fortunately we haven’t lost power. How did people do it when it was months sometimes between boat visits in the winter?
Ethan came for us late today because the swells are still significant even though it’s clear and sunny. We had so much stuff to take back to the mainland including four empty water cubes (200 pounds when full), multiple garbage bags and laundry bags. France rowed valiantly in the dingy, which has sprung a leak, against the current and across acres of seaweed. By the time she’d made the second trip to get the last of the stuff and me, I basically had to throw myself across the stuff in the bow wearing my backpack and hers and carrying two water cubes in my left hand. By the time we got to Captain DeBery’s boat, my left foot was still covered in a mass of seaweed tangle. By the time we returned, the tide and reversed wind direction had taken most of the seaweed away from the shore but high on the rocks was still a mound several yards across to climb over with now full and heavy coolers, clean laundry bags and oh yes, the water.
Once we finally sat down to our traditional meal at the end of “shore leave” day of crab cakes from Gilmores and a fresh tomato and cucumber and feta salad, after bringing everything across the seaweed, up the steps, and onto the tram car, hauled it all off from the top and put everything away and in its place, and having showered, nothing tasted so good as that first bite and thinking back to a day more physically taxing and thrilling than any I can imagine back home in New York. And with stocks replenished there is abundant drinking water, wine for the table tonic for the gin and nuts to go with it, bread for toast in the morning and peanut butter to put on it and a fridge stocked with all the things that will see us through until we shop again next week.
Saturday, August 28, 2010
It seems each time there is a full moon, it rises in the east just as the sun sets in the west and the last few nights have been spectacular. While France and I carried on an interesting debate in the living room, centered mostly on an important Coast Guardsman who was unexpectedly expected with his wife to be accommodated in the guest quarters for two nights and who could arrive at any moment, and who finally didn’t because of possible rough seas due to hurricane Danielle’s arrival on Sunday up the coast, Ethan’s voice came over the VHF radio in my side cargo shorts pocket asking if we wanted to do a flashlight show on the tower from the catwalk for his sunset cruisers who should be coming by the west side of the island shortly. Without a word, France and I each grabbed flashlights and headed outside and through the backdoor of the tower and up the winding staircase to the top. We could see the boat approaching and as we blinked our flashlights, the running lights of the boat blinked as well. We could hear light conversation and laughter from the sunset cruisers drift up toward us as we played our lights against the base of the tower in probably the first ever Seguin light show. Ethan thanked us and came on the radio a few minutes later to ask if we were still on and up top. By that time we were inside the lens marveling at its beauty when he pointed out the beautiful moonrise in the east. We had to go back out on the catwalk to admire it as well. This night was magical. We watched for some time as the Leeward moved slowly toward the north end of the island and toward the mouth of the Kennebec. As my dad would say, it doesn’t get much better than this.
What’s with the flies on this island? They’re not the hard to catch ones that get out of your way. These pests are the in your face kind that materialize out of nowhere when you enter a room and just get in your face. Well, mine anyway, France doesn’t seem to be bothered by them. In the kitchen is the worst. As soon as both my hands are occupied, they begin their maneuvers, first landing on the back of my head. Then they cleverly land on my hands and begin the frontward assault bashing my forehead and nose and for the final volley, they go straight for the ears with a loud buzz never before deployed. With fingers full of bread crumbs or batter and often wielding a very sharp long knife, I begin to flail, putting myself in far worse jeopardy than I could possibly come close to injuring one of them, especially since I always fail to put down the knife before the swatting begins. They laugh at the old fashioned sticky strips I’ve hung in practically every room. But they are getting slow. I can bare hand them now and don’t even waste time crossing the room for the fly swatter. That is, if I only had a free hand. The ugly side of island life.
We’re sorry our last guests weren’t able to make it and hope they will reschedule for next weekend. Lucia postponed as well so she will now arrive on Wednesday when Geof is expected from Chicago, and return with us to New York on the 8th. We are ready for them though. I’ve put the weather stripping on the bottom of the door where the rain came through on Wednesday drenching the inner porch, patched the hole in the bottom of the dingy, and mowed the grass. I still can’t get over the feeling while I’m riding around on the sit down mower dodging the rocks, and look up every once in a while to see the immense expanse of sea in all directions from this perch 150 feet above sea level, while I’m inexplicably trying to tame the grass on this island paradise. I do feel like the luckiest guy alive.
We failed to capture Ollie J for the hoped for transport to the mainland and a possible mend for his broken wing on Thursday. France tried to throw her fleece jacket over him while he was practically eating out of her hand but he was too fast for her and she felt she may have lost his trust. It seems to be back though. We restocked the supply of dog food and haddock, which she is feeding him up high on the rock near the flagpole where he has taken to hiding out now that the wind has abated. I hope he doesn’t get pecked off up there by a Great Black Back. Next Wednesday is our last chance to bring him in. Otherwise he’ll have to fend for himself, in which case we may have set him back by feeding him. It’s hard to know what the right thing to do is when you choose to interfere with Mother Nature.