Categorized | Uncategorized

Day 204 – Thursday, April 26, 2012

“Shake, Rattle and Rollers”


The clock in the living room’s tick tock is being drowned out by the whip and whine of the 40 kt. wind, the rain sheeting across the windows, and the roar of the sea pounding mightily against the rocky barrier that serves as this front lawn’s “white picket fence”.  Not the fiercest storm I have encountered here, but certainly in the top 10.  The house literally vibrates, reverberates, as if there’s a freight train right outside.  The windows knock and rattle, upper frame challenging lower frame, and while I have become accustomed to that, I am frequently startled into thinking that someone is knocking at the door.  Or maybe even the window.  Who would be here?  Who could be here?  On this island.  So late, and in the dark and windy wet.



It sounds like jets.  On the tarmac.  Louder than behind the thick glass that one finds in the terminal airport lounge.  I do not have that glass.  Mine is thin.  And while there are indeed storm windows, they do little to muffle the sound.  In fact, I think they increase it as they are just another player in my percussive symphony.  The smoke alarm battery upstairs must be on its last legs as its every 30 second chirp is audible, albeit only every 5 minutes or so.  The red snow shovel, which has been leaning against the grey and peeling front porch wall for months, has been blown over with a clack and clatter.  It is dark outside, but not quiet.



As I open the front door, turn the knob, and release the latch, I have to pull.  There is a vacuum out there.  The door wants to stay shut.  Sucking.  Sucking the frame and windows outward, toward the night.  The wind has picked up, out of the South, which is a good thing, but it sucks nonetheless.  As if it might swallow the entire house into its womb.  Gulp.  Then gone.  In an instant.

I sit in the dark, with only an oil lamp burning, thinking about the Keeper’s and their families, and the Coast Guardsmen of years ago, who sat in this very house through many raging storms just like this.

The next day is clear.  But as is the norm, the storm surge remains.  The waves are a muted green.  A light grey green.  And especially foamy.  In fact, there are strings of orange and brown foam stretching for miles, unbroken and tethered, end-to-end, across the eastern expanse.  Odd.  The waves are actually surfable.  Crashing headlong just short of the Keeper’s House with sprays splaying twenty-five feet in the air.  Explosive in their attack.  Slo-Mo on their descent.  Up Fast and Down Slow.  Sell High and Buy Low.  It feels like a series of underground explosions.  Rumbles below and rattles above.



The flag has taken a beating.  Ripped from its edge, and now torn along its stripes.  It will not waver.  Just holds tight to the staff, and takes what Nature throws upon her.

The grass is now fully green and will need mowing.  Five days is all it takes.

The oven alarm beeps to let me know dinner is done.  Tonight the smell of steamed Lobster fills every room in this house.  Lobster is funny like that.  It is unmistakeable.  A welcome aroma and the first of the season.  Nick gave me some claws to take home after I helped them load some traps onto his boat, the F/V Phantom.  I also spent some time today helping Norb and Lee as I unloaded 100 traps off the trailer and onto the F/V Christina Marie.  Hard work on the wharf.  Which brings me to the Lobster Thief…

Last week I picked up a 1 ¾ pounder, a Select, after doing some trap loading on Dean’s Wharf, Little River Lobster Company.  By the way, lobsters have names according to their size…

Shorts or Snappers- A lobster under the legal size limit
Chickens- A lobster weighing about 1 pound
Culls- A lobster that has lost one or both claws.
Quarters-A lobster weighing 1-1/4 pounds.
Selects- A lobster weighing from 1 ½ to 1 3/4 pound
Deuces- A lobster weighing about 2 pounds
Jumbos- A lobster weighing over 2-1/2 pounds

And a Shedder is a soft-shelled lobster that has recently molted.  You won’t get many of these in stores or restaurants far from Maine as they do not travel well.

Anyway, I bring the Select back to the house and put him in a 5 gallon bucket of seawater and set it on the front porch.  A few hours later I come out and this is what I see….



All that remains is the full bucket and one blue lobster band alongside.  Now I don’t have anything larger than a squirrel on this island so it’s a true mystery.  A friend of mine that’s an eagle expert, (there are two eagles living on this island), is pretty certain it was not an eagle, but the fishermen in the Village say they’ve seen the eagles do some pretty crazy things including swim underwater and take lobsters right out of crates on the docks.  Coincidence that I have seen the eagle land in the front yard twice in the last couple of days and I’ve never seen that before in years of coming here?  I think not.

On a couple of other notes, as Lighthouse Digest continues to celebrate its 20th Anniversary its new issue is printing as we speak.  Subscribe today so you don’t miss it.  You can do so here .  Also, we have launched a specific campaign to raise funding to paint The Tower, which is in desperate need.  It is only $3,500 but it is $3,500 we don’t have and need your help.  All contributions are fully tax-deductible and come with a special “Thank You” gift.  You can help us here… .  Oh and last night I opened a bottle of Magic Hat Elder Betty and was warmed by the saying on the inside of the cap and wanted to share…“It’s Still Home If You’re Alone”.  Nice.  Lastly, I am still grappling with some significant computer issues and have a batch of snaps I cannot upload, and a memory card I cannot clear.  When I finally get this worked out I will post them and fill you in on the few days they accompany.  And here’s a snap of a beautiful cloud that blew through yesterday…





As always, thanks for checking in, reading, sharing and Liking.  Please support Little River Light Station and The Lighthouse Endeavor project any way you can.  The Foghorn sounds, and The Light burns bright.  Good Enuf.













13 Responses to “Day 204 – Thursday, April 26, 2012”

  1. elayne kitchen says:

    Oh I am so grateful……here I am waking up to 74 degrees of heat that will surely hit 100 unless “a measurable amount of rain (here in Phoenix that means about 1/4 inch)” arrives to COOL us off. So we may be in the 90s. But you have transported me to a magical place as usual, where I can enjoy a visit and be “mainly” in Maine. Thanks… the pictures and hope the money will roll in like those waves…..stay positive.

  2. Donna says:

    Simply “good stuff”….

  3. Cheryl Crigger says:

    Great reading & pictures, as usual. I love the one titled Best seats in the house, also, bold coast cloud, both are beautiful. So sorry about losing your “lobsta”!

  4. Betty Hatzikon says:

    Loved reading your log. As the daughter of a lighthouse keeper living at Gay Head Lighthouse during the 1950′s & at Nobska Point during the 60′s & 70′s to this day I love the sound of wind & pounding surf, I would be sitting in those chairs. My Dad was the last civilian lighthouse keeper for the Coast Guard retiring at age 70 in 1972

  5. Barby says:

    Ok, now I’m going to have the real experts about this! They are in your yard now? At least you didn’t get snow from the storm, but looks pretty wicked. Glad you are enjoying the netflix reco. Needless to say, right up your alley. Great story, as always :)

  6. Epona says:

    Bill, (I say this with no disrespect to your friend who is an eagle expert) Any self respecting eagle would look at the lobster in the pail as dinner to go or a part of a take out meal.

    In addition you say you do not have any other critters on the island. I am willing to bet you do have some. Many of the islands off the coast of Maine have some small in size animals that are down right fast and sneaky about making themselves seen to humans. I am not joking about this because I have seen them. Lobster for dinner oh yes, mmm. In fact for the most part they will not want to either hurt you or be seen by you.

    Anyone want to guess what type of small cute animals I have in mind and I have several different ideas on this.

  7. Arthur says:

    That the bucket remained upright is not surprising. This for the weight of water contained–8.34 lb/gallon. Interesting that a claw band remained beside the bucket.

    Your uninvited dinner guest might have been an eagle. It may have been a mink. Mink have a noted taste for seafood (fish, crab, lobster) and are highly skilled swimming and diving to retrieve such.

    Suggest you might try placing some other tempting food objects in your bucket, with or without water to see if you receive a repeat visits. Because food was once found there the “critter” will likely return.

  8. Epona says:

    Arthur – Yes I was thinking that it might just be a mink. I have seen them at several different locations on the Maine Coast. Mink to me are smart and cute critters.

  9. Bill,
    Here’s a true story about the howling wind, sea spray, and the dark of night that happened there at Little River Light. Back in the late 1930′s my grandmother, Velma Johnson ( Roscoe Johnson’s daughter) Corbett was left on the island because my grandfather had to attend to some official lighthouse chore else where. It was winter and as you say the windows were rattling and it sounded like some one was trying to get in or at least knocking. On that particular night she was attending to here chores when she heard a weak knocking sound at the door that goes out to the back porch. When she went to investigate she found a half frozen sailor who had been washed overboard and had battled through those frigid waters to the island coming ashore on the rocks out in front of the house. She helped him into the kitchen and sat him by the wood stove (it sat right where the electric stove now sits). She made him some warm broth and tea and nursed him back to health. When my grand father , Willie Corbett, returned the next day he saw to it that the sailor made it safely to shore. Velma remarked “just another day on the Light” I wonder how many other lighthouse keepers and their families had “just another day on the light”?

  10. Arthur says:


    This story you posted parallels a story about a ship pilot who appeared at the door having rowed ashore at Little River Island during stormy winter weather after having brought a ship down the bay. At the time in years past ships would pick up or discharge the pilots off the shore from Little River light. When a ship master needed a pilot he would signal and one of the pilots who were staying in Cutler would row out to the ship to then guide the ship to points north in Maine or New Brunswick.


Leave a Reply