October 22, 2014
It’s almost a week now since we left Seguin Island for the season and combined our efforts to close down the island for the winter. There were many alumni caretakers who worked from Labor Day to Columbus Day to address issues that needed to be resolved in order to leave the island in good condition to withstand the harsh winter lashing of sea and air and be ready for the new caretakers who will open the island once again to the public next Memorial Day. I was fortunate to be part of the crew that worked the last two weeks, and will report here some of the work we accomplished as well as the adventures we experienced. Every day brought weather that wasn’t always predicted, interesting and sometimes surprising visitors and unanticipated challenges that kept us alert and energized. We worked hard and we played hard.
Sunday, September 28, 2014
Cyndy and I met Captain DeBery at 8:30 a.m. with egg sandwiches from Percy’s. (Dave and Tracy were working their last day of the season and giving away breakfast to all the regulars. I didn’t qualify, I’m hoping, only because their son at the register didn’t recognize me. I guess I’m just a sporadic regular.) It was a beautiful day and the seas were as calm as I’d ever remembered them.
Mary and Greg and a cast of Coast Guard helpers had already made a trip to bring out provisions and made fast work of hauling them up to the house before we arrived. (Mary has made this correction:
It was the Navy kids not the Coast Guard however, who helped us, carrying supplies and painting.
Unfortunately the tram is under repair and off limits for use. For the next few days, we’d be alone on the island. Tim and Lynn met us on the shore and helped bring in what little we had in the red rubber dingy, alternating trips to get their supplies out to Ethan’s boat. We were arriving and they were leaving. I was sorry we didn’t get to spend more time with them. Hinkley seemed right at home and led the way up the lighthouse trail. Unpacking was a chore but Tim and Lynn had left the island in great shape and ready for the caretaker relay.
By lunchtime, Cyndy and I were at the picnic table outside the kitchen planning the menu for the next two weeks. This would be mostly up to me as the designated cook but no meal can be fun to prepare without willing sous-chefs and dishwashers. And then the visitors appeared!
Throughout the rest of the day we greeted 9 people, led tours, took in $31 in donations, $37 in gift shop sales and $55 in a family membership. Visitors were still arriving as I set up the grill for the last barbecue of the season. It was just burgers, but there were still green beans to harvest in the garden and we bided time with hors d’oeuvres from the East Village until the last couple disappeared for a hike on the North Trail.
Monday, September 29, 2014
We awoke to a glorious sunrise but the sky soon clouded over and Cyndy and I went to work on the tractor mower in the Whistle House. Tim and Lynn had left notes indicating that it would only go in reverse and needed a new drive motor belt which Cyndy had brought out from the mainland.
After a couple of hours and a successful installation, we walked outside to gale force winds coming out of the east. Back at the house the flag was whipping relentlessly at a spot 153 feet above sea level some say is the windiest on the ocean, and the porch door at the museum entrance would not stay closed. The frame had settled just enough that the backset no longer lined up with the cross bore. I had to look that up. The thingy that came out of the door was now too low and didn’t catch in the plate screwed into the hole in the doorframe. Anyway, we’d have to figure out a way to fix it or there would be a drift of snow inside the porch come December.
The wind didn’t let up all day. Cyndy made a delicious crab soup with home baked bread for supper and we settled into games of gin rummy and scrabble.
May 1, 2015
I’m picking this up so that I can finally post my record of how we closed the island last fall, before I leave to go back in a couple of weeks to open up for the 2015 season.
Last September, our To Do List was as follows:
- Paint catwalk rail on tower.
- Put belt on Mower
- Secure boards on tram deck
- Secure ways at boathouse
- Finish painting boathouse
- Paint eaves (Anne’s project)
- Finish painting hall in guest quarters
- Pack up the contents of the museum the last week before closing (Beverly)
- Empty composting toilets in the Caretaker and Guest quarters and in the cove
- Fan for Keeper toilet (Ken)
- Guest toilet (Greg and Mary)
- Haul stuff up from Boathouse
- Fix porch door
- Send Vantage Pro 2 to Davis Instruments for repair
Tuesday, September 30, 2014
From my notes, I will summarize as follows:
Pancakes for breakfast. Explored North Trail. Fixed the door jam on the porch. Spent 2 hours cleaning the quarters. Leftovers for lunch. Then we turned into sloths.
Wednesday, October 1, 2014
Greg, Mary and Bev arrived to early nibbles, crab cakes and heirloom tomato pie.
Thursday, October 2, 2014
Ken and Jeff arrived for the day to do some repairs, mostly to the king post at the top of the tram. Mary and Greg painted at the boathouse and under the eaves of the keeper house. The fog horn sounded when there was no fog. We ordered two dozen lobsters. Bev put together a fantastic southern style shrimp boil which we enjoyed on newspaper at the picnic table.
Friday, October 3, 2014
Mary continued to paint on a high ladder. Greg cut up huge logs in the cove with a chain saw so that the tides would not pull them out and cause more damage to the ways, etc. More sumac was cleared. Bev swept the tower.
A terrific chowder was made of the leftovers of the shrimp boil. It was enjoyed by all with tomato pie, cucumber salad, chicken roll and chocolate tart.
The cove was a mess.
Saturday, October 4, 2014
My sister thought I should add the story about the rogue wave that caught Cyndy and I off guard in the cove as we pushed off in the dingy. We had ordered up lobster from Jackson, who kept a keeper box tied to a moor in the cove, on Thursday for Friday for the evening meal on Saturday. When it was time for supper I put the water on to boil in the lobster pot on the stove and headed down with Cyndy and Bev and Hinkley with our big white plastic pail. Usually the cove is calm but on this day the wind was from the north and there were big swells. But there was only one way to claim supper so we untied the dingy and hauled it down to the shore. I was smart enough to leave my walkie and cell phone on a rock but not my glasses. Candy got in the bow, Bev stood on the shore with her camera and I shoved off just as that rogue swell reared up under Cyndy and suddenly instead of seeing the horizon behind her, I was the sky and her looking down on me! It happened very quickly: before I knew it, I was under water, had lost my glasses and Sequin hat my brother-in-law had specially embroidered with Summer 2010, and was gasping for air. Luckily we were at the shore and Cyndy wasn’t hurt, nor was I really. Be was ready to take a photo but was so alarmed when it happened she forgot to click the shutter.
We still needed the lobster and fortunately I’d brought a spare pair of glasses which were up in the quarters. I got out there and claimed them and had a great meal and quite a story to tell. When I told Captain Ethan by phone all he had to say was that he hoped we didn’t lose the lobster.
Sunday, October 5, 2014
We had nine visitors today and celebrated Thanksgiving on Seguin. Before I had arrived, I sent a shopping list and the refrigerator was stocked the day before we landed on the island. I asked Mary what was with the 14 pound turkey is discovered, which wasn’t on the list. She said what could be easier: you just throw it in the oven. It turned into a feast.
There was a gibbous moon.
Monday, October 6, 2014
Greg and Mary worked on the gates. Bev, Cyndy and I began painting the rail on the catwalk even though the wind was prohibitive. Bev brought up the boom box and we danced to oldies. I got some mowing in and we all enjoyed pot roast at sunset.
Wednesday, October 7, 2014
Rich Gilmore came out to pick up Bev, Greg and Mary. We had a burn on the beach in the cove, worked to pack up the museum and gift shop and cleared sumac from the helipad. The grill was put away and the cistern went almost dry, gearing up for the winter.
Friday, October 9, 2014
Weather station was packed to be shipped to Davis Instruments for replacement
Finished packing up museum items for storage for the winter.
Saturday, October 10, 2014
Final tally of tasks accomplished:
Dresser in bedroom repaired
Greg winterized the gas
Hornets under the eaves on the porch were sprayed and hopefully discouraged from further nesting
Faulty light switch repaired in museum
Here are some random photos from the week together closing the island for the season follow. In the end, we sailed away on the Bridgman’s boat. Thanks to them for getting us safely home.
Cyndy and I are planning to sail out again on the 16th and help to open the island for the new caretakers. Hinkley won’t be with us and we will miss him. I’m so grateful for the opportunity once again to be part of The Friends of Seguin Island Light Station in their continued effort to make this splendid place one that we all can enjoy.