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Day 116 – Wednesday, February 1, 2012

“Draggers, Divers, Rails & Ways”

Overnight, a grey and fully formless fog had hard-pressed its whole self up against every one of the decidedly glorious and grand, 15-pane windows that sweep toward the ceilings on all four sides of this Keeper’s House.  It then patiently, and I think quite wryly if fog can do that, waited for me to wake, having little else to do, and no where else to go.  I rose early, the result of a fitful four-hour “long” sleep and an imagination once again barreling the wrong way, down the wrong street, and waited for the sun to rise and bring me coffee.  Despite a hollow lightness slowly building beyond the glass and in the process giving the outside a seeping sense of presence, it developed into nothing further.  The hue simply, slowly, became similarly lighter.  Rubbing a small amount of sleep and a larger portion of the night’s bad dreams from my eyes, I still-stagger-stepped from the kitchen to the living room windows, only to stand staring at the same scene, showing the same show – simply nothing.  That grey blanket had wrapped me wholly, and tight, and after a short trip outside, my finding a few cautious strides toward the boardwalk that ends abruptly where the sea begins, it was blindly clear she was wrapping a good deal more.

“Fog” takes many forms here in Cutler.  This one did not fade in her departure, but instead employed an exit of instant evaporation, at precisely high-noon, on dead-low water’s cue (which it was), her obligation or perhaps her folly, finished.  The incoming tide would rule over the next six hours, and she was free to go, to find something, or nothing, to do.

(Here’s the Keeper’s House as taken from the foghorn at the end of the boardwalk…)







Taking advantage of a rare day above freezing I headed over island to the Boathouse carrying with me a cordless drill, four packs of screws, and 78 white, domino-sized blocks of teflon.  Dave and Cheryl Corbett had provided them to me in hopes that affixing them at 18″ intervals along the angled inside of the rails that spill from the Boathouse down to the water, or conversely reach from the water up to the Boathouse, would make for an far less frictioned trip than I currently contend with.



I secured 42 of them before the icy drizzle soon rendered my fingers deaf to my brain.  I will test them over the next couple of days, winch-made-wonderful or not.  


Now it’s clearly correct to call them “rails“, but a lot of folks around here refer to them as “ways“, stemming from the old but still in use nautical term slipway, meaning a ramp on the shore by which ships or boats can be moved to and from the water.  They are often used for building and repair, but are also used for launching and retrieving small boats and sea planes.  Just sharing…

I headed back over the still half-covered iceway that is otherwise the safest manner across island, having hoped for enough rain that it would at least soften and slush to the degree that I might successfully shovel and sling it over and off the sides, thereby allowing me to return the tractor (make-believe gas-powered winch) to the Boathouse.  I’m pretty sure that the light rain only made the problem thicker.

Anyway, by this time of year only a few boats remain, and on even fewer days.  Yes, even the “Draggers and “Divers” have dwindled.  Dragger is another name for scallop boats due to the fact that they pace slowly and and sentry-like, methodically back and forth (in my case out beyond the front yard), dragging their nets for scallops.  And while this season seemed to start with solid promise, from what I understand it’s ending prematurely, and sadly.







Divers on the other hand are the men who dive in frigid waters and flexing currents, for urchins or uni, a delicacy in Asia and found in sushi here.  No, the “warm” winter is not bringing warm pockets.  Here’s one diving right in front of Little River Light.







And I came across this great gem today…   Right on the heels of Farmville’s amazingly successful “Lighthouse Cove“, here’s “The Lighthouse HD” (only for ipad and only $4.99), where you take on the role of an all-seeing lighthouse operator helping ships get across hazardous waters.  Apparently the graphics are quite stunning.  I think this is a fantastic way of using technology and gaming to teach young people about the role of lighthouses, even just a bit.  Here’s an illuminating review and trailer link, and I predicted right here, months ago, that “Lighthousesare the new Black“.

Today we began officially taking reservations for this summer’s stays here at Little River Lighthouse.  It in unquestionably a magical and once-in-a-lifetime experience, and your holiday adventure helps fund our ongoing restoration and programs including The Lighthouse Endeavor.  These dates will fill quickly so if you’re considering it, please review all the particulars at our “Friends” site and yes, I’ll probably be your Keeper.

As some of you already know, there’s been an equipment failure at the access point that feeds me internet connectivity.  A dedicated Axiom team is working on it round-the-clock but the ice is making getting to the equipment and antenna’s extremely difficult.  It has taken me about 8 hours to get this post up and out, and it’s still not the way I had intended.  I appreciate your patience and understanding.  It could be fixed as early as tomorrow, or as late as next week.  Will keep you posted as best I can. Thanks for reading, “Liking”, sharing and supporting The Lighthouse Endeavor.  I’ll leave the Light on.  Good Enuf.




10 Responses to “Day 116 – Wednesday, February 1, 2012”

  1. Seamond says:

    Great post, Bill, and by the time you leave you will not only be calling them ways, but walls probably will be bulkheads and the toilet a head. Nautical terminology slips up on you before you know it. (The hall, by the way, nautically is the passageway!)

    • Arthur says:

      The name’s Arth’ah.

      Seamonds right about walls bein’ bulkheads, ‘cept those are the inside walls, not outside and they generally run larb’ard to starb’ard but ya could have one or two in between runn’in bow to stern. Them pads sounds like they’ll work fine. “A clear thing.” (mean’in a good idea that works real fine.) Back in the Light Service days they kept a bucket of lard in the boathouse to grease the ways using a wood paddle but be’in real careful not to git any on the deck. Worked good but not so good to step on those lard coated ways or you’d have been launched faste’rn than ya boat.

      One other thing to mention is Nor’east. Thats a landlubber term. On a vessel the term is No-theast. Them other compass points is So-theast, Nor’west and Sou-west.
      These words were said such that there’d be no mistak’in commands to the helm for noise from wind in the rigg’in.

      Time and tide waits for no man but on island on the coast man often spends lots of time wait’in for the tide.

  2. Linda in Dennysville says:

    Your journal posts are marvelous and your writing excellent. What a joy it is to drop in from time to time and read of your adventures! Thanks!

  3. Dave says:

    Bill, Hope those teflon pads work out for you. You certainly did a nice job installing them. Keep us posted on how they work. I was working on the house back in 2004 I think when a terrible fog set in just as you have described. In my case I was lucky. I had to do some work on the windows on the second floor. So all I had to do was hack steps out of that thick fog and climb up to do my work.
    Keep the faith

  4. Carl & Marcia Jahn says:

    awesome writings, we really enjoy all the entries — I especially enjoyed reading about the Church Members and their hymm-sing for you via VHF radio. Your descriptions of some of the things Kathy Finnegan has done getting to/from the Island are amazing.

    Thanks for what you are doing to educate people, especially the next generation, about lighthouse life and work.

    Great Lakes Lighthouse Festival volunteers

    • Bill Kitchen says:

      thanks so much for saying so. yes, i am blessed on many counts.
      and thanks for my birthday wishes too!
      glad you see the value in educating too, especially the next generation.
      stay in touch!

  5. Aaron Ackley says:

    hey Bill,
    ever get that haircut? we met in the grocery store parking lot. i really enjoyed your post and would still like to come and visit with my camera…

    • Bill Kitchen says:

      hey aaron
      yes, i did, thanks very much. turned out good.
      would love to have you out to shoot. definitely stay in touch and lets see what the weather is like over the next few weeks.
      great to meet you both and we’ll get you on island soon. don’t hesitate to drop me a msg if you don’t hear from me within the next couple of weeks. bk


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