221210 Märket is open again!
Märket is open again! Today at 5 PM four lighthouse guards stepped on the Märket rock and are to spend the Christmas in this special place.
It all started in the end of November. Eliisa and Heidi were at the Christmas party of the Finnish lighthouse society and heard that there was no one planning to go to Märket on Christmas time. They felt it would be spectacular to experience a Märket Christmas and started to consider the options. Within a week, the deal was done. Märket would be theirs for a few days in December!
After some equipment shopping, changes of the trip plans and almost the whole night of packing, this morning finally came. Thanks to our flexible employees, we headed to Turku at 6 o'clock AM sharp, all packed. One day earlier as planned.
We were a bit nervous about the boat trip to Märket rock since the weather forecast wasn't too good for today. We knew the unloading would happen in the dark, but at least there was a chance to get to Märket. Tomorrow the chance would probably be gone due to the change of the wind and then we would have had to forget about our memorable Christmas.
We were half a sleep during the ferry trip, but the excitement started rising while driving through the snow covered countryside of Åland in a beautiful cold weather to Mats's boat, for the last part of our trip. The sea was unbelievable calm and the sky was clear.
We couldn't believe how lucky we were - especially when we saw Märket right after the sunset: There was snow (and ice of course) all around the rock! Beautiful. We could only see parts of the rock, thanks to the strong lights of Mats's boat. Can't wait for the sunrise tomorrow!
Mats couldn't find a good place for us to tie his boat for going ashore because the waves were still pretty rough and there was too much ice on the usual aboarding places. Instead of the usual parking, he drived the front of the boat nicely against the icy rock and held the boat there with the engine so that we could step on the rock. That was the best part of our day.
Without such a good service by Mats, this wouldn't have gone so smoothly. After Mats and our very good friend Mr. Humell, who helped Mats, were gone, we started to carry our stuff to the lighthouse. We got off the boat pretty far from the lighthouse, so it was a real exercise for us to carry all inside. We also had to be really careful because of the ice and snow which made it hard to see the level differences on the rock. Since it was dark and we only had our head lights we hope we haven't forgotten any of our stuff outside. The work was done in an hour (so far nobody was feeling cold) and it was time to carry chops for the heating. Of course they are in a different building, so again we were walking up and down the stairs in the lighthouse, still exercising hard.
At the moment we are heating the lighthouse carefully, since this is the first time after October, and we have bread covered with tomatoes and cheese in the oven. The temperature of the kitchen was -3,5'C when we came and after five hours of heating, it's already above zero! Outside it is -7,5'C.
Good night from the Märket guards!
Eliisa, Heidi, Klaus and Ville
231210 The first full day on the rock
(ATTENTION! Radio Suomi may interview Märket people live on Christmas Eve end Christmas Day. Check Your radio between 6 PM and 7 PM on each day!).
Last night the moon was huge and almost full. The night was beautiful. We woke up to a bright light coming from the attic window. The windows had such a pretty ice coat on them.
The day was clear and we had a good night sleep behind finally. We made a huge pot of rice porridge, each bowl covered with cinnamon and sugar. Delicious.
One bird seems to have made the lighthouse his home. Even though we are making a huge effort to warm the lighthouse up, we had to keep a window open for letting the bird to find its way out. Yet he was back later.
We were really happy about this beautiful and clear weather, and spent few hours outside walking around the whole island and taking lots of pictures.
The outside temperature is still around -8'C. In the morning the inside temperature was 0'C and by the evening it has risen to +9'C! We can already leave hats and jackets off.
We had some troubles with the generators here, but finally the boys managed to get the little one started and we can recharge our phones, computers and cameras. The cold windy weather empties them quickly.
Tonight we are having some salmon and baked potatoes. Eliisa has also prepared some of our Christmas delicacies already. Tomorrow is a big day.
Greetings from a special island!
Eliisa, Heidi, Klaus and Ville
241210 The Christmas Eve
251210 The Christmas Day (and memories of the Eve)
”Merry Christmas to everyone” said Eliisa quietly first in the morning in the attic room. Christmas eve at Märket, we all thought while slowly getting out of the sleeping backs.
Room was cool after the night and quickly we were back in the reality of the lighthouse life. Breakfast and fireplaces needed some attention again to make our life comfortably. We knew also that this was the day to do some cleaning and to get all the bird outcomes off from the kitchen floor.
Due to the wind there was some trouble to get the fire places to work smoothly without too much smoke inside. Maybe that was why our problem later in the evening was too high inside temperature: we were forced to take some of the food out from the kitchen shelf and take outside clothes off and put back on while going out of the warm kitchen and coming back in.
Just after the traditional Christmas porridge with almond (Ville got it for some luck) and listening to the declaration of the Christmas peace from Turku of Finland we headed to outside to enjoy the wonderful windy winter sea weather. More chops to inside, some chops under the water heater - which is outside by the way. A lot of water from the sea to make Christmas ”sauna” possible later in the evening. Well, bath in the cold Little Märket with a half a bucket of warm water. Even if it sounds bad to go out to -9 degrees and 14m/s wind it was absolutely great once one was inside the Little Märket. Time stopped right there and no need to hurry out from the bath.
Just when it was turning dark we were ready to start enjoy a traditional old time Christmas eve. Eliisa prepared some spawn breads while Klaus and Ville brought Christmas tree from the downstairs to the kitchen and Heidi was getting ready to give our first interview for Radio Suomi.
After the refreshing Märket winter bath experience we had wonderful snacks ready. Even if there were five breads for everyone we ate them all at one seat. At the same time we noticed that we reached the new inside temperature record of new Märket era, 19,5 degrees on winter time – too hot we said.
Ville had some business downstairs as usual. No one wondered why he spent half an hour out of the kitchen when Santa suddenly surprised everyone. Especially faces of Klaus and Eliisa were worth of seeing. Heidi propably saw the reindeers landing near to shelter as she was just laughing when she saw Santa coming in.
Santa brought a long wanted gift to Märket: a big wooden porridge spoon and some kitchen towels. From the towels can also be found receipts for different meals.
After Santa's visit everyone was hungry again and the Märkets guards decided to skip the long report and just send some pictures.
Traditional Christmas dinner took place while wind shouted outside. The guards enjoyed the evening and spent some wonderful hours together without any hurry before going to sleep.
Next morning took place late, just as some of us had wished in the evening. ”It would be so great to wake up just to see it's already eleven AM.” And so it was, with the amazing view from the window of the attic room: huge waves hitting the rock of Märket.
Last rice porridges were prepared with the routine already. After last nights experience we decided to let the fireplaces wait for the evening. Quick look to weather forecast promised some winter storm so we decided to carry a lot of chops inside during the day.
We also knew that this might be the last day to get nice photos outside so we were out within the minutes after the breakfast. All the clothes and safety equipments on. For a couple of hours we just enjoyed the power of nature in form of wind and waves.
Eliisa lost her clove to the sea and Klaus went inside to put the dry suit on. Well, the dry suit was for getting some beautiful photos from the eastern part of the Märket. The springs were too big to go to the Eastern side with normal shoes.
As daylight is so short, it was soon time to go back inside. After the weather forecast and view to the sea we decided to take all the equipments in from the front yard, including the water heater.
It was only about 13 degrees in the kitchen and much cooler in the other rooms. Fireplaces in the second floor were a bit problematic. Wind was blowing the smoke back in but finally fire took place in them nicely.
The attic room caused some more troubles and finally we had to open the door to the roof of the lighthouse to get all the smoke out. It was no wonder as we heard from the radio that the wind was blowing 18m/s from the north east.
Now it's time to prepare some food again while we are excited to see the results of todays photographing and especially how the weather will change for tomorrow.
Eliisa, Heidi, Klaus and Ville
(From the webmaster on the continent: they also gave great report to Radio Suomi at 5.45 PM and will do so also on Sunday at around 6 PM. The radio got some 700 extra people to visit this web page!)
261210 The Boxing Day
The Märket crew woke up to a chilly morning in the attic room. Due to the windy weather yesterday our heating project didn't go as planned and we could see our breath vaporazing.
After breakfast we headed outside to enjoy the ever changing views of Märket. 3 meter high waves were wiping over both the eastern and the western parts of Märket and we had only about half of the island for us to walk around safely. We could have watched this show forever. Unfortunately the sun set came too early for us.
Again we had a delicious snack in the afternoon: ginger bread with blue cheese. And of course some glög (gluhwein) and espressos which have become the speciality of this Märket visit.
From the continent came a word that there had been such a good frost in Eckerö that Mats, our boat driver, had to use his excavator to free his boat from the surrounding 15 cm thick ice. We'll see if it's possible for us to leave Märket tomorrow.
Even if there is not too much ice in Eckerö and the wind is not too bad, the waves might not settle down within 24 hours. At the moment the spot where we went ashore on Wednesday cannot be seen because of the waves. We are relieved of the service of Viking Line, since it's never certain when we actually are in the ferry and we might have to change the reservations back and forth sometimes.
Again Radio Suomi contacted us in the afternoon. Eliisa told them how we have been doing here and then we asked to hear the original song Myrskyluodon Maija by Lasse Mårtensson.
We are spending the evening enjoying the last Christmas supper and feeling a bit sad for knowing that we might leave tomorrow.
Eliisa, Heidi, Klaus and Ville
271210 Last Day
On the morning there was a surprise for us: drift ice was coming closer to Märket from all directions! We weren't sure if this was a good or a bad thing considering our trip home, so we called our driver Mats. He said he'll try to pick us up this afternoon, so we hurried to clean the lighthouse, pack our things and take the last pics and just enjoy the moment for the last time this year. This much ice isn't usually here until in February. If we had waited for tomorrow the sea to calm down some more, the ice could have been too big of a problem for the boat then.
In the middle of all this, we got a call from Finnish meteorological institute and tried to help them with a battery that was not charging their equipment on the island. Unfortunately we weren't able to be much of a help.
Mats appeared from the icy sea exactly at 2 PM as he had promised and because we already had carried our stuff to the northeastern part of the icy rock, our boarding was fast. However, it was a challenge. The drift ice had calmed the rough waves a lot, but still the boat was swinging a lot while leaning to the rock for us to jump in. (Spikes on shoes is a necessity here as well as ice picks and a life vest - anywhere on the rock even just for a walk.) Mats was persistent and after a few backings and retrials he had us all in his boat.
The sea around us was fascinating: the ice carpet was slowly waving under us. We saw a few seals in the distance resting on the drift ice in the sunset. Feeling bittersweet, we watched how Märket got smaller and smaller in the horizon. Thank you for the memorable Christmas! Until next summer.
221210 Märket is open again!