120708 Shift Change & Loads of Tourists


The new shift arrived together with the first tourists. The shift change was fluent at the same when the tour guiding went on - fluent partly because the three new guards where old friends with Märket: Iiris, Merja and Marika were guarding the lighthouse already last summer. It was a happy rendez-vous!

The first task was to wave goodbye to the old crew and to prepare lunch for the radioamateurs. We had a very nice salad of smoked salmon. Then everyone started to settle down. Actually we didn't have time for that, as the next boat with more tourists arrived. It brought also a birthday party people, who came to celebrate Helena's 30th birthday. Congratulations Helena!

The radioamateurs having lunch, with a view

Riikka, Christian, Jouni, Helena, Satu, Sanna, Kristiina and Antti toasting for Helena's birthday

When the tourists left, radio amateurs started their 24h contact competition, which means that they want to receive more than 3200 contacts during the first day. We hoorayed for them and put out thumbs up whenever we had time. The last boat with even more tourists arrived at 7pm, and it also brought two more guards - or actually four - for the next week. Pia and Sofia from Åland and their dogs Toffe and Astrid completed this year's famous five.

Reporting from Märket for Radio Åland

When the boat left, we finally had time to greet the old places, have dinner on the cliffs and get to know each other. The sun was shining after some rain, wind and all kinds of weather.

It is so lovely to be here!

Märket over and out.

Iiris, Merja, Marika, Pia & Sofia


130708 Sunday Service


After a long night and tight sleep the guards woke up to a beautiful Sunday morning. Wind was between S and NW for the whole day, and sun was shining, so we expected many sailing boats to visit us.

While waiting, we had our breakfast porridge, morning swim and started our main task: painting the eaves of the brand new roof with wood finish. Indeed it was a perfect job for "the secretaries". Other guards did same time daily chores: wood chopping, water heating, dishes etc. And the radioamateurs were still taking contacts to the Outer World.

Painting the new roof

Sofia doing the washing up duty

No sailing boats in sight, so we cleaned the grill and started to make lunch so that we could eat when the amateurs' competition would end at 3pm. They finished with almost 2000 contacts, and that was celebrated with grilled meat, potatoes and salad.

Just after the hearty lunch Bob shouted: "a boat!", and we jumped up. It was a motorboat from a Swedish lighthouse island Svartklubben in Singö. Lars, Gun, Annlouise and Gunnar had visited Märket before, but not when the Finnish lighthouse society's guards were present. So they were really happy to have a tour and great guiding, and we were happy that they did lot of shopping, too. They were very nice guests, and told interesting stories. Lars was also the organiser of the "post route" competition from Eckerö to Grissleholm, which takes place every June. So no sailing boats today, but one great motor boat! They had a picnic on the rock, and left around 7pm, promising to come again.

Sofia guiding today's special guests Annlouise, Gun, Gunnar and Lars

Our guests from Singö in the outer rim of the lantern

The amateurs started to take their gear down for tomorrow's take off. We prepared some sausages for everyone and so the night fell over Märket.

Over and out.

Marika, Merja, Iiris, Pia and Sofia


140708 Departures and Arrivals


It was in the crack of the dawn, when the lighthouse guards woke up. The radioamateurs were to leave at 7.30am, so we started to prepare the breakfast little after 6am. It was a beautiful morning, wind was from SW about 5m/s. The amateurs took their gear down in an hour, and around seven Mats's boat came to pick them up. We helped them to load the boat, took the last pictures and waved goodbyes with tears in our - and their - eyes. Nice lads.

Radioamateurs Roger, Olof, Seppo, Markus and Bob taking off

Immediatelly after they left we started to clean up the lighthouse from the top to the bottom. Then we finished the roof painting, and soon after that Ville Holmberg with his family and another member of the Finnish Lighthouse Society, Bror Humell, arrived with a brand new door for the warehouse and some new tasks for us. We helped them to unload the boat and because the lunch was ready by then, we decided to eat right away. We had pasta with salad and a glass of white wine. Then Ville and Bror finished the tar covering of the roof and made some other jobs while kids, Tia and Tim swam in the "pool" and caught some little fish.

Ville and Bror working with the warehouse door

Around 4pm, when they were just about to leave, two boats approached our islet. Lotta, Bror's boat, made room in the northern harbour for s/y Arkheus and m/y Vuufs, with families Jaakkola and von Frenckell. It was like a 4 o'clock rush hour in the civiliced world. They were given a guided tour in Finnish and Swedish plus coffee and shopping, and we were happy to have them here. While they were taking off, Pia started to clean up the boat shed according to Ville's instructions. Now it seems better than new!

Four o´clock rush hour in the Märket harbour

It was about time to have a light dinner with sandwiches and tea, and then we realized that we are missing something! Of 40 tomatoes we bought on Friday, we had only 3 left - and we couldn't have eaten all of those. So it must have been the ghost of the lighthouse, who had also eaten some salad from the cellar...

Sofia was feeling a little bit sick with a flu, so Iiris, who's a physiotherapist and a acupuncturist, gave her a needle treatment. After that it was the time to call it a day.

Märket over and out.

Marika, Merja, Iiris, Pia and Sofia


150708 Sunny Tuesday


Once again we woke up to sunshine. Wind was still from NW/S, but even calmer than yesterday, so we were expecting a perfect day with some visitors, work and sun bathing. After a morning dip, breakfast and water heating we had some time to do some chores while waiting the boat to arrive (washing up, toilet cleaning etc.).

Around 10am the boat arrived and it was loaded with group of seven: one family and one bicyclist from Espoo. They had the normal tour in and out of the lighthouse, and then a great picnic lunch by the old harbour. The weather was more than gorgeous, so they didn't hurry to leave, but stayed with us three hours. Before their departure, we took an advantage of them and had our group picture finally taken.

Today's guests on picnic

Ladies of the lighthouse: Iiris. Merja, Marika, Pia and Sofia with Astrid. Toffe hides behind the tyre on the right.

After we waved our guests goodbye, we had another delicious lunch (chicken wok) and got our hands on to the tasks Ville left us: Sofia, Iiris and Pia started to remove an old cable above the main entrance while Merja and Marika sawed some old planks with a very big power tool. For a short time, we even had time to imitate seals on the rocks. After emptying the toilet tank it was time for an afternoon nap.

Sofia removing the old cable

Lady with a big tool: Marika working with the planks

The day was hot and somewhat windy, and we saw many sailing boats around, but none of them wanted to visit us. We followed the baby birds inside the inner wall growing and waiting for food with their mouth wide open. We finished the work, tried to spot the earn that has regurlary visited Märket this summer (didn't succeed) and burned the planks in a barrel. It was like under the Brooklyn bridge.

The wind raised, and when we had our evening picnic on the rocks, it was quite hard already. We expect visitors tomorrow morning, but the weather forecast says that the wind may rise up to 10m/s, so we'll see.

Märket over and out.

Marika, Merja, Iiris, Pia and Sofia


160708 Easy Life


Another beautiful morning on Märket. Wind had risen during the night, and was still about 10 m/s at 7.30. We were expecting the charter boat, but weren't sure if they could take off at 9am as planned. But it was business as usual: first water heating and morning wash, then porridge, eggs, bread and coffee. Fresh and perky we started to keep an eye of the horizon. At 11 we saw a blink, which soon grew to be a boat.

Today we had 10 guests from Sweden and Åland, so they had guided tour in Swedish. Like our visitors yesterday, they were quite impressed by the lighthouse and every-thing that has been done here so far, and to contribute their share, they also did some shopping which made us happy as crackers.

Today's guests listening the story about the old iron mast of Märket

Amongst the guests was one descendant of lighthouse guards, and another one who was determined to come to Märket next summer as a guard, so we had a lot to talk about.

Visitors on picnic with Yvonne

While the guests were having their picnic, we decided to finish the cable removing operation. It wasn't that easy because the screws were so rusty and it was hard to place the ladders against the lighthouse wall on the cliffs. But we got it done and indeed the lighthouse looks much better now.

Pia and Iiris working up in the tower

After the guests left with tanned cheeks and smile on their face, Marika got a phone call from YLE (Finnish Broadcasting Company). They will interview us tomorrow morning in the morning television, so some practical issues were settled (like all the phone numbers which to call in case the connection is bad). So Märket will be live on the air tomorrow at 8.45 am (EET)!

Then it was time for our own lunch. We had nice summer soup on the rock, and a short nap on it. Wind calmed down, sun was shining and the life was easy. Yvonne had brought us the daily newspaper, but we couldn't care less of those small little pieces of news in it. Märket is now our World and things that happen here are in the center of it. Like the woodcock up in the tower, the little baby birds inside the wall or the waves that cross strangly both from east and west.

We started to feel a little paranoid because the day went on and it was so still and quiet. No boats, no seals, no earn. We thought it might finally be the end of the World and we'd be the last people (and dogs) on Earth. We didn't really mind.

In the evening it was Marika's and Merja's turn to have a needle treatment, and the rest of the aches vanished to the sea. For the evening snack we had potatoes, cheese and garlic in a grill and feta salad on side.

Märket over and out.

Merja, Iiris, Pia, Sofia, Marika, Toffe and Astrid


170708 Messages and Surprise Guests


The wind was blowing quite hard in the morning, and unlike every other mornings, the sun was hiding behind the clouds. We did the normal morning chores, and after that, at 8.45am, Marika took Märket live on air in the national tv for 3 minutes. Like said yesterday, we are the centre of the World (at least for 3 minutes).

We knew there wouldn't be any charter boats today, so we started working. To please our generous sponsor, Honda, we placed their sticker to the door of the engine room. Honda has helped with the most important equipment, the generator, to Märket, and it makes it possible to have electricity for our mobiles etc.

Placing the sponsor sticker on the engine room door.

Iiris chopped some wood, and the old potatoes from the cellar were also chopped and thrown to the bio waste container. Sofia was walking the dogs on the shore, and she came back with a surprise gift from the sea: a German unopened cream tetra with an expire date 011008 - so it might go well with Thursday pancakes!

A creamy message from the sea!

Or maybe it was an omen of guests - and come and behold! On that very moment we saw a sail in the horizon. The boat went around an island and landed to the north harbour as the wind was still quite hard from the South, and the rain was coming from Sweden. It was the s/y Urd from Turku, and her owners, Hilkka and Pontus who had thought to visit us. They, like everyone else who visits Märket for the first time, were surprised that there is over 50 metres of water in the North side and one needs a hell of a long anchor rope to fast there. But everything went nicely, and they were very happy to have a guided tour, and sat and chatted with us over coffee during the rain shower.

Hilkka and Pontus from s/y Urd

After they left, we had lapskoussi (traditional dish from Rauma) for lunch and a short nap on it. And we finally saw a seal! We have missed them, as last year there were dozens, but this week none. The earn also visited us, so after all it was a plesant day.

For evening entertainment Pia decided to hammer new planks to the boat shed, and in the meanwhile the baby birds, who had been growing really fast, were leaving the nest. One had fallen outside, and we carefully lifted it up back to the nest and were relieved that it was still accepted to the herd. The wind settled down, and the sun came out, and we raised our glasses with some sparkling to the beautiful Märket.

It's a full moon tonight so it's going to be a special evening.

Märket over and out.

Marika, Merja, Iiris, Pia and Sofia


180708 The Storm


The Friday morning was sunny but windy. The wind was still from South, but so hard that it wasn't very warm even in the sun.

The smelliest job was saved for the last day, and right after breakfast Marika and Iiris got their hands on...well, on poo. It was the toilet emptying day. Covered with masks we emptied first the compost and spreat the contain to the cracks behind the lighthouse. Then we loaded the wheelbarrow with nice dirt and moved it to the compost. All the nice lunches and meals are now all the same - growing base for the flowers.

Waste management

Happy about the work well done we decided also to burn some trash - nothing cheers one up better than a big fire in a barrel. The wind got harder, and we started to wonder, if the boat and the guards expected can really arrive tonight. We were supposed to have two guards and new outer windows at 9pm, but it turned out that their arrival was postponed 'till tomorrow morning or even later. We have lot of water, pea soup cans and petrol left, so we weren't too worried. Instead we stayed out the whole day and enjoyed of the storm.

Storm rising

In the evening it was time to account the sales, clean and pack up and make everything ready for the next shift. It is going to be a busy day tomorrow with new guards, new windows, tourists, documentarist and platers who will install the new roof.

The last supper was melancholic. Thank you Märket, for showing us how beautiful and powerful you can be!

Märket over and out.

Marika, Merja, Iiris, Pia and Sofia

Jaa tämä somessa

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