Monday, March 13, 2006

Island Day: Maritime Travels 9 Out Of 12

Of course, we found out how to get to the island and its lighthouse. The know-it-all-lady in the hotel parlor the previous day was actually extremely helpful, and by the time we escaped her soap-box, we had the phone number of a boat captain who took groups out to the island for short day-trips. So the next morning I watched the sunrise, we messed around for awhile, and then headed for the dock.

It's about a 45-minute trip out from Northport Harbor to what the locals call "The Sandhills." En route, we saw a flock of
golden plover -- practically a life bird for me, since I have never been far enough north to see them in breeding plumage in the summer; that ubiquitous Atlantic seaboard resident, the willet; and high, high in the sky, so high that you couldn't have seen them unless you were scanning the blue with binoculars, a circling pair of eagles. The other ten or so passengers on the boat looked politely when I offered them the opportunity to see the eagles, and then went back to their conversation.

Their purpose was to ride the boat, make the ten-minute walk from the island beach to the lighthouse, and ride the boat back again. I'm never sure how people manage in the world when they don't bother to look at anything -- they missed the the plovers, the willet, and most of the island. Well, we missed most of the island, too -- but we did get to stay for a couple of hours, since the captain was willing to leave us there while he took the others back, and make a return trip just for us. I would have happily stayed an entire day.

Mostly we just walked and savored our time as the only two people on a tiny island off another island, our only company the 40-50 great blue herons fishing in the bay, The lighthouse has been closed for several decades, but there was a time when someone lived out there alone all summer. I wonder if he walked the perimeter of the island every day to shake off the boredom. Or maybe the morning and evening skies were enough.


ChasingMoksha said...

Sounds like a wonderful trip. I would have looked through your binoculars and stayed on the island as well. Before you mentioned the blue herons your entry reminded me of Sarah Orne Jewett's short story "A White Heron." Beauty all around.

Kathryn said...

I love those square-pyramid type lighthouses. What a great birding day! I'm glad you got to stay longer on the island.

Last summer, my elder son and I sailed over to the very tip of the Cape to see birds and a lighthouse. It was the highlight of my vacation!

Paul said...

Some people travel just to check the sights off on a list. Your photographs show that you feel these places and absorb their essence.

elleme said...

You make the place come alive with your words and pictures. I can feel the sun on my back and a gentle breeze in my face, hear the birds calling and the water lapping against the shore as I sit on the steps of the lighthouse. Thanks for taking us there with you. Please don't ever stop writing.

Erin said...

What beautiful photographs! I don't know the whole story of this trip, but this piece is lovely. I think it's true that people get so caught up in "sightseeing" that they forget to actually see! I'm planning a trip to a beach this summer, and I'll be sure to drink it all in. (The view, that is, not the water! :-)

Anonymous said...

It is so wonderful to read these memories you made with your daughter. The pictures are just outstanding. Thank you for sharing your experience.

Carol said...

This series has gotten me enthused in a new way for my annual pilgrimage to Maine this summer. I will pack a pair of binoculars, stop to truly take in all the beauty and nature around me, and see the sights in a different way. And all the while, I'll be thanking Robin.

V said...

Beautiful addition to your series.

sunflowerkat said...

Absolutely breathtaking pictures Robin. Thanks for "taking us there".

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