The Lighthouse Keeper of Seguin Island

We sailed our home into the snug harbor of Seguin Island, made fast to the last of the moorings, and rowed in to the rocky beach that was midway through the rising tide. We’d read in our cruising guide that the island was home to one of the last manned lighthouses in the U.S. so we had to (at the very least) check it out. After making landfall (which is always a big deal when we’ve been underway for a while, being as though “Terra Firma” is rather hard to deal with after being on a small, constantly moving sailboat for more than a few days) we made our psych-adjustments and headed inland towards the lighthouse beaming at the top of the island. The trail leading up to the actual lighthouse station was a perfectly manicured 4 foot strip of soft mowed lawn that winds its way up to the station house. Everything on the grounds seemed to be as well kept as that trail. The station was perfectly painted, all the grounds were mowed with quite a few trails leading away off down to the cliffs all around the island. Looking back at our boat on the mooring in the snug harbor was awesome! We were met at the top of the trail by Larry, one of the two volunteer summer lighthouse keepers. Him, his wife T’Ann and the (unofficial) lighthouse mascot, Bandit the oddly dignified chihuahua. As it turns out the lighthouse is only “manned” during the summer months, and only on a volunteer basis. The Coast Guard maintains the light and the horn, but the rest of the island belongs to a non-profit org called Friends of Seguin. T’Ann was the daughter of a former Seguin lighthouse keeper from the days when the Coast Guard staffed the[…]

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Smooth Sailing Is Hard to Write

We just recently saw ourselves in a distorted mirror. I (James) was talking to my friend and woodworking client, Don, who expressed his understanding, based on our blog posts, that we were miserable. From pulling the engine cabling into the transmission, to running out of fuel, to the toerail breaking, to boats bumping us in the night, he thought we were “living in hell”. Screeeeeeech. No, Don. Not at all. It dawned on me that what we write in the blog are the mishaps because they bring contrast to the beauty of what we do. They provide the spice in what otherwise would be a fairly monotonous tale. Not boring to live, but with enough repetition that it’s hard to find new ways of expressing the beauty. We found out a long time ago that photos are faster, easier, and more effective at communicating the experiences of watching the sun set, of staring at our dinghy as it wags behind us like a tail, of sitting and watching the world of other boats come and go around us. Words are powerful tools, but bringing them to bear on largely non-verbal, maybe even pre-verbal, experiences of the senses is hard work. When you’re living your dreams, even in very moments of the mishaps, it’s absolutely beautiful.

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Widget Reticulation

Here we are, Mount Desert Island. I (Dena) am mildly irritated by the name, because Desert is pronounced in a French style (dessert) but then why wouldn’t it be Mont? I feel tricked. Really, it’s just that I’ve been saying it wrong and I have an aversion to exhibiting my ignorance. So we snapped! popped! the toerail and tossed off the jib sheet and pulled the jib in and tacked under main and finally anchored in Somes Harbor. Quite a lovely place, and plenty of people know about it. We knew a blow was coming through and we dropped the anchor in 20′ at low water and the tide is almost 12′ so 7-to-1 at 32′ is 224′ and we rounded up to 230′ of chain and rope rode. No one else used that math. We ended up surrounded by boats, an ever-changing group, mostly anchored with about 100′ of chain. This means that any good blow pulls that chain off the bottom, creating a broader and broader angle all the way to the anchor, which is designed to break out of the bottom when the angle gets too broad. The first night we were in Somes Harbor, a boat dragged its anchor. The guy pulled it up and put it back down, way too close to us for comfort, but dragged it again until the boat behind us pulled out their air horn and blew it at him over and over. By the way – full dark. Yep. No fun. As he pulled up next to us again, he was screaming his frustration in blue language. While that sort of thing doesn’t offend me like it does some, it also fails to instill confidence in the coping mechanisms of the screamer. While I (James) was laughing my fucking ass[…]

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We had a pretty good run

Although internet access has been for shit, we have been out here, doing that thing, that living the dream thing! Yeah! Ok, we’re professional adventure writers now so let’s have some adventure shall we… and what would adventure be without a little madcap hi-jinx, eh? …Sailing! We talk about the work, the preparation, the joys, and of course the hours of monotony punctuated by the moments of heart-stopping intensity! Hold on a second, let’s back up… There we were, weeks of sailing along in our ship of dreams, all systems functioning as per our design. Anchorage after anchorage, gunkhole after shagged mooring… …Nothing but our imaginations revolving around our creativity and the air filling our sails and our ship guiding us through our earthbound universe. Cheesy, yes… But real. Proof. Cradle Cove, Belfast, Tom Cod Cove, Orcutt Harbor, Brooklin, Goose Cove… And the no-internet-having version of weather, a VHF Perfect-Pete Wx forecast, suggested a snug harbor for the following night, with gusts to 20 and buckets of rain predicted. We beat toward the bar between Bass Harbor Head and Great Gott Island, pushing hard into the wind, when… Crack! Remember that big toerail-rebuild project from this past fall? Well… It didn’t work out so well beating hard in a stiff and freshening breeze with a building sea at 20 degrees of heel on a 54-year-old piece of (shit) wood that had been revitalized (ok, that’s being kind) by quite a few hacks prior to us. That run-on was apropos, right? Anyway, CRACK is not what I (James) thought I would hear from that part of the boat right then. Dena was on the lee side tucking the second reef in and I didn’t even recognize the sound as coming from the fucking freshly rebuilt portside toerail! Why would I? We[…]

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