Posted by: tflana | June 30, 2018

USCG come for a visit

     There are days when I sit down to write the blog when I realize I have nothing to write about, today this was not the case. We woke up to a beautiful morning with reading the forecasted temperatures for the mainland were going up into the 90’s for the next few days, but with the sea breeze and our position out in Salem Sound, we knew it would be a perfect day on Baker’s Island.


After yesterday’s rain, we needed to do some serious trail work before guests came on island, so after my second cup of coffee, off I went with the weedwhacker and Brian went off with the push mower. The trails didn’t stand a chance against us. It did become somewhat of a challenge because I was trying to avoid all the raspberry bushes, but some were sacrificed to make the trails passable. When I finished I walked up to the house for a cold drink and all of a sudden, I see a few guys dressed in blue walking around the lighthouse. This can give a person a start when no one should be on the island yet!


I guess I need to take a step back and explain the role of the United States Coast Guard here on the island. Even though Essex Heritage has the deed for the 10 ½ acres which the light house and the building stand on, the USCG is still responsible for the navigational aids on the island, the light on top of Pa Baker and the fog horn. Since we arrived on the island, the emergency back up light was open and flashed every 30 seconds even with the main red/white light was working. This should not be the case, the emergency light would only come on if the red/white light went out. This day in age, the lighthouses are not as important since most mariners have GPS on their boat but if you were looking for a certain light pattern on Baker’s Island Light, it would be wrong. Also, since we arrived on the island, the fog horn has never sounded, even on foggy days like yesterday.

Brian did call the USCG out of Gloucester yesterday to report the emergency light and fog horn. After sending an email with pictures showing the light, the USCG said they would investigate it. Now back to the guys in blue walking around the tower, it was the USCG from Boston to fix the navigational aids. Otis and Austin were the gentlemen completing the work which took most of the morning. By the time the guys were done, we had a new emergency light and we finally heard the fog horn. We also found out the fog horn still is activated by the older method of moisture detection and it appears the fog horn will be converted to mariner activated sometime next year.

IMG_0622 (2)

Notice the sideways tilt of the emergency light, this is how it was upon our arrival to the island

USCG Austin on tower
The emergency light was taken down to the gallery decks to repair, they ended up putting a new assembly up instead
repaired emergency light

The newly repaired emergency light is the correct orientation

  As the Coasties were still working, the morning tour was arriving. The boat today had 6 overnight guests for the Assistant Keeper’s Cottage, as well as a carpenter and roofer who were looking into some of the roofing and skylight problems we are having, as well as day guests. The island was hoping again. As the morning progressed, we got everyone settled in and the tradesmen were climbing ladders and making plans for work needing to be done. It really is amazing how quickly the first half of the day goes by when you are busy!

Once the boat headed back to Salem, Brian needed to go into Manchester by the Sea to get some much needed groceries. The rule we must follow is one of us is always on island while we are hosting guests, and this was the first time, he went off on his own with the boat. He was off with the backpacks and list and a kiss goodbye. Personally, I think he was thrilled to take off on his mini-adventure.Brian off grocery shopping

Once he returned, the rest of the afternoon was spent on the sun parlor with shade and a cool breeze, exactly what we planned when we started cleaning the porch up the week we arrived. In the gutters of the sun parlor, about 5 sparrows were hanging out there most of the day. I got the camera out when it looked like an army of sparrows was flying all around the gutters and the windows. It seems the 5 sparrows are juveniles and the parents swoop down and feed the little noisy monsters. Our overnight guests were spending time at the beach, the guys were fly fishing for striped bass, and then enjoyed a very spirited game of cornhole.



Brian and Sam Salem

Brian enjoying some quiet time with Sam Salem

Unfortunately, as we were cooking dinner, one of the guests came over to let us know the kitchen sink was backed up and there was a leak under the sink. Ok, time to get the tools and see what is going on. I am thankful daily that Brian is so versatile with his skills. He tried to unclog the drain trap, but it appears farther down the system in the crawl space under the cottage. The guests had a great attitude and informed us they are campers and they will make do with the other sinks in the house and Brian will fix the sink in the morning while there is more light everywhere.

Party boat at sunset

Sunset party boat going by the island, it was full of happy people with the music blaring

As the sunset, the guests came up to the plateau for a while to enjoy the scenery and just a chance to unwind even more before bed. The day was busy and full but, in the end,, we all fell asleep contented and happy!

Low tide: 6:47am
High tide: 1:03pm
Sunrise: 5:08am
Sunset: 8:4pm
Man hours worked: 8
Total man hours worked: 287

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