Week Two

It was a week of weather and winter repairs!  I believe I said something about the solar system last week. We figured out why they call it solar, lol. Three days of fog, rain & cloudy skies reduced the efficiency of the system. Fortunately we are able to add generator power to the mix when needed.  Without central heating in the old lightkeepers home, it was about 53 degrees inside, 50 outside this week. The 30 knot wind gusts didn’t help – ha! But we bundled up, just fine, waiting for that sunshine to come out again – and it did 😁. The last few days have been glorious!

These early days of our summer are really all about getting the lawns and trails ready for guests and cleaning & fixing up the house to feel like home. With the nicer weather, our tans are coming along just fine! (or is that the iron in the water??) Definitely getting our exercise and discovering some long unused muscles. Rick’s background as a master auto technician is invaluable here. When you’re living and working in structures that were built in the 1800’s, there’s always something that needs fixin’ or improvising. From yard & maintenance equipment repairs to clogged kitchen pipes, he has so far found a way to get things running smoothly on this amazing island. 

It goes without saying, but we’ll say it anyway.  The Seguin Island Light is the crown jewel and reason we’re here. She is the highest light in Maine with a powerful rare first-order Fresnel lens (pronounced fru-NEL). As the 2nd oldest light on the Maine coast, it is an honor to be entrusted with her care, including the task of gently dusting & cleaning each of its 282 glass prisms that have been here since 1857. (Well, maybe not all in one day…). The lens itself stands 9 feet tall and is a fixed light “beehive” design. Her new LED light can be seen 14 miles out to sea and puts out a magical glow around the house at night.  

In 1794, President Washington approved building the first lighthouse on Seguin. The waters here are known to be quite rough, with fast tides coming out of the Kennebec River meeting up with strong winds off the Atlantic. In fact our one day a week to come to shore can be cancelled or postponed because of those same conditions today. 

So the first lighthouse (1795) was a simple wooden structure which lasted only 24 years in the weather here. Its location is marked on the island, not far from the house. The 2nd lighthouse was built from stone but eventually succumbed to the weather by 1857. At that time the existing stone tower was built and this year celebrates its 164th birthday – now that’s endurance!  Of course she’s had some historically accurate touch-ups over time, but haven’t we all!! (I mean, I was a blondie my first 6 years, right?!)

We have become believers in the statement that “Seguin Island is one of the foggiest places in the world”. We’ve been here just 2 weeks and there are days we cannot see the ocean!  Loving the fog signal – 2 blasts every 20 seconds. It’s just loud enough to hear yet not be annoying. (Something we had wondered about!) We’ll share some fog stories another time…

We are getting ready for our 2nd trip to shore courtesy of Cap’n Ethan. He is the best! He grew up on the Kennebec River and when he’s not delivering folks to Seguin, he is hauling lobster pots. Our Maine man, thru & thru. So last week we caught up on laundry, groceries, things for the house & water. Mistake!!! Cuz when you do everything on one trip, that means you have to carry everything up the 1/4 mile hill by yourselves! In this case we were lucky, one of the FOSILS members had worked on the tram and made it available to push up the tracks. Hahahaha – did I say lucky? It took us 7-8 rest breaks to catch our breath and get up the hill – but I guess it was better than 3 – 4 trips up & down on foot. So as you may guess, we won’t be doing everything each week.

We are beginning to have visitors come up to the lighthouse now that Memorial Day has passed and the weather is so beautiful. What a treat to visit with folks and hear the stories of where they live, previous Seguin visits, where they’re heading next. Most are thrilled to get a tour to the top of the light, many for the first time. Its such an impressive piece of history, and the view can’t be beat! : )) We also are seeing that some boats come into the cove and just moor for the night without coming up. Unless its a NNE wind, the cove can be quite protected for a starry overnight stay.

Hope you enjoy the photos – catch ya next week!

You think we’re kidding?
Sometimes ya just gotta take a break!
Favorite benches facing west…
North trail is lookin good!
Lily checking quality of trail for any visiting dogs
A kitchen with ambiance!
Aaahh – the 1st order Fresnel…
Our favorite place for breakfast.
With such respect ~
~ a little bit each day.
The night glow…
…and Sooo many stars!!
164 years later…
Wednesday “go to shore” day
With typical view of Cap’n Ethan!
The 1/4 mile tram push back up the hill!!
Visitors :))
A view from the top
Did I mention Lily is having a wonderful time?

Summer ’21 On Seguin

After three years of anticipation and obstacles, we have made it to the beginning of our once in a lifetime adventure on Seguin Island!  We are Rick & Jan Gorman, with Lily, a young 35 lb. labradoodle (… you don’t need to know how much we weigh ;))

We are fulltime “nomads” living in a fifth wheel RV, traveling around the US for the last 6 years and are now thrilled to live 3 months in the lightkeeper’s house on the island!  The original plan was to store our RV at Cyndy’s home (executive director of Friends of Seguin Island Light Station – FOSILS) on Friday May 21st and travel out to the island on Saturday morning.  So we got to Cyndy’s, excited and anxious for the next morning.  However spring weather had a different plan – it was Monday before we could set out at 7 am!  You’ve probably experienced a trip where you arrive at the airport totally psyched and the flight is delayed or canceled…sigh… That was us – all packed, food in coolers, laundry done and nowhere to go!!

Though Rick grew up in Alaska and Jan in Michigan, we really are not mariners, so taking a lobster boat with Cap’n Ethan to the Cove, then a dinghy onto the rocky beach was an adventure all its own – especially getting Lily in and out of the dinghy!  Fortunately we were accompanied by members of FOSILS to help us along and help carry our supplies up the hill to the lightkeepers house. Another team thankfully had already brought some supplies up the hill on Friday.  Monday was a blue sky sunny morning and we could not stop smiling – at last we were here!!!!

Monday and Tuesday flew by – very very windy, but sunny.. Cyndy and Michael stayed on the island with us until Friday afternoon to teach us about life on Seguin, as caretakers, lightkeepers, and islanders.  We had decided to share meal responsibilities for the week, but I must admit, Rick & I got the better end of that deal – including our first island fresh lobster meal, including instruction for steaming and eating.

As our little group was the first to arrive after Seguin’s long winter’s sleep, we’ve all been busy this week inspecting for any winter damage, mowing, cleaning, sweeping, raking, weed whacking.  Adjusting to the reality of high iron content in our well water has been an experience.  However it is easy to remember to only drink the water we bring to the island each week, as the water from the sink is a lovely shade of orange, lol. And last but not least, Lily has got to be the happiest 2 yr old pup in the county, with acres of land & beach to explore! 

Friday brought us our very first visitors – 15 students from Seguinland Institute, Georgetown ME.  They are spending a month studying “The Good Life” and we’re honored that a trip to Seguin Island qualified for a piece of that category!  It was an enthusiastic group of college kids with which to share our first tours and stories.

We are looking forward to many encounters with nature this summer.  Coming up the trail on Monday we crossed paths with a very young gosling, who was both surprised and nervous to see us.  The next day the whole family showed itself near the house, took a look around and moved elsewhere on the island. Sooo cute!  And then Wednesday evening, just as the flag came down for the day, a storm rolled across us with dark clouds, strong winds, sideways rain, thunder & lightning!!  Couldn’t have been a more exciting night.  We were glad Cyndy and Michael were still with us for this first storm!!  Plus we enjoyed our nightly games of Gin Rummy with them.  We’ve also discovered some of the great trails on the island, had a full moon shine on us, and have seen a sampling of the amazing sunsets here.

We are feeling blessed to be here with the new solar power installed last summer, allowing us to have reliable electricity.  And even more importantly, it gives Seguin Island Lighthouse the ability to shine her light not just for us but for all mariners traveling the Maine coast.  She’s a beauty!

Will plan on posting once a week thru the summer, pleased to be sharing this awesome opportunity with you all.  Next time we’ll talk more about this historic lighthouse!

Thank you for your support!