130908 A lively autumn day on the rock
We arrived before 10 AM after a short night sleep in the sea rescue societys boathouse in Eckerö. Mats gave us a speedy trip over the waves to the lighthouse. With us came two guests from Sweden. On our way Mats took us very close to a small rocky islet that had a large number of seals on and around it.
At the lighthouse four sailors from Rauma together with Seija and Ilja were waiting for us. We were briefed rather rapidly by the last weeks keepers before their trip back to sivilization began.
We took the obligatory first pictures of the place and walked a bit around the island. We discussed some of the repair work for the houses with the sailors, who were architects. The sailors retreated to their boat for lunch and then sailed away and left us alone with our new home. After the meal we sorted the nets and put them to sea.
Tomorrow we will start some of the repair work. Weather has been cloudy with light to moderate wind from northeast. More news tomorrow.
Faithfully, your lighthouse keepers Markku and Jussi
100908 A gray Sunday
It has been a calm day over here. Weather has been mild with a weak wind around 5-7 m/s from northeast caressing the island. Unfortunately no sun today. Immediately in the morning there was a rim of clear sky in east. Initially, we were hopeful that that the rim of clear sky would grow bigger and reveal the sun for us. Well, unfortunately this did not happen.
Otherwise the day has been very pleasant. After the morning coffee we set out to check whether our nets had caught any fish. The catch was a slight disappointment, two herrings and one whitefish. Luckily catching fish is not a necessity for us because we have plenty of food from previous keepers and we also brought quite a lot of fresh food along.
This catch nevertheless made a nice starter for our dinner. We cleaned the fish and salted it raw and put in the refrigerator to "mature" for the dinner. Meanwhile we painted the handrail in the lighthouse staircase that Ilja and Seija had srcaped free of the paint.
Thereafter we made a delicious dinner with freshly salted white fish on dark bread as a starter. We then continued with grilled meat and fried potatoes that we had boiled previously. Even in the most extreme conditions man has to allow himself some pleasures! As the night fell we had a shower with heated seawater on the cliffs in front of the lighthouse.
Now we are feeling nourished and clean and are ready for a game of chess that we brought with us. The light of the lighthouse has lit and we are gearing for a new day here at Märket.
Yours faithfully, Markku and Jussi
150908 Friends from Way Beyond
It has been the busiest day so far for us. A group of ten men (from a society for young men and women that were too young to be in the army during the second world war, but who were still helping in the war effort in Åland) just left the island. They were brought here by Yvonne and Mats. Markku fetched them with our rubber boat from the buoy.
We gave them a tour in the lighthouse after which Yvonne offered them coffee and something small to eat. One of the guests had done research on war activities around Märket between 1939-1944. It was interesting to hear, for example, of the four Russian submarines that were sunk close to Märket during those years. We also heard other interesting stories from wartime.
However, our day started with Roland Calberg’s and Ingvald Eckerman´s visit. They arrived with Ingvald`s very seaworthy looking boat that they tied in the buoy and took their smaller boat to the shore. They worked in Roland´s woodworkshop that he built here when he worked here as a lighthouse keeper in the forties and fifties. Roland is turning 83 next week and is in very good shape for his age.
After Roland and Ingvald came, we went to take up our fishing nets. Because we managed to get one yesterday, we were somewhat optimistic that there would again be some whitefish in the net. The result was unfortuntely very meagre (read, zero fish). We will try again tomorrow.
So far we have had no sun, temperatures around 10C, pretty light winds, constantly from northeast. Discussed with Ville on the work to be carried out before our depature on Saturday. Looking forward to tomorrow.
Markku and Jussi
160908 Eagle Visiting
The weather pattern has kept us in this very stable grayish light. Market seems to have doomed us only to experience northeast winds, constant 9-10C daytime temperature and no sunshine. Well, there is always the tomorrow...
Today we sealed the open seam that existed between the very well built new boathouse tin roof and the lighthouse and the engine room buildings. The open gap between the house walls and the roof allowed rain, snow and melt water an easy access to boathouse. While I plastered the seam, Markku made a new tin roof for the outer part of a window. The old one was in really bad condition, rust having made holes in it. This exercise took us almost the whole day (excluding some lunch and other breaks).
In addition to this we put three nets into sea in hope for some whitefish. We had a very close encounter with a white tailed eagle. When we were making dinner with the boathouse grill, an eagle sat down on the wall that has been built on the north side of the lighthouse to protect the buildings from breaking waves and ice that the sea pushes over the island in the winter. The eagled clearly did not observe us by the corner of the lighthouse. For a minute he sat there looking at the sea and then unfortunately turned its head towards us and immediately took off and flew away. What a beautiful creature. In addition to this we have spotted some grey seals in the surrounding waters. However, none on this island.
Tomorrow we will start to prepare the lighthouse for the winter according to the guidelines that Ville gave us.
Markku and Jussi
Today the weather has been the same as during the previous days. After the breakfast, we went out to checkout our nets. Once more clearing the nets after taking them up was really easy as there was nothing in them.
In the morning we finalized the plastering work. Markku painted the handrail of the tower staircase. We then moved on to the tasks that Ville gave us. We carried in the remaining pieces of tin roof to the wood shed. We also burned paper trash in the barrel behind the lighthouse. We measured the ventilation openings in the ground floor so that Ville can get an upwards bent pipe that would snugly fit in to them. This could ultimately help preventing water that probably flies horizontally here in the winter, from entering the buildings.
While rowing out to set the nets for the night, we invented a new(?) tradition and competition here: Market round (In Swedish, Märket runt) rowing competition. After we had the nets in water, we started the clock and the challenge was on. We changed the rower halfway. The new, and at the moment unbreakable, record is 22 minutes anti-clockwise with a mild north east wind blowing.
During our challenge, we had to stop a few times to have a look at the grey seals the came to have a look at us. Other encounters with wildlife: Earlier in the day, Markku found the white tailed eagle sitting on the north side of the lighthouse again. Now the darkness has fallen and we are sipping our mugs of tea and getting prepared for bed.
Markku and Jussi
180908 Diesel in the air
Today we have had a busy day visitorwise. 9 o’clock three radioamateurs, Lasse Nikko, Ilmo Anttila and Pertti Simovaara arrived with Ingvald`s boat Bävern. Along in the boat followed their friend Åke and the old lighthouse keeper Roland Calberg. This was already our second beaver visit this week.
It was interesting following radioamateurs setting up their gear. One of the first things they did was to start the one and only functional generator of the four generators here on the island. Now the island is enwrapped in the constant humming sound of a diesel engine. This is how it must have been in the old days when electricity was produced with those generators. The engine room is pretty impressive looking and smells nicely of oil and fuel.
Maybe because of the sound of the generator, we did not see any seals today. There was at least a temporal change in the weather today. We had sunshine and the wind died out completely. This gave Markku and me a chance to go and have a swim in the sea. Water temperature is probably somewhere between 10-13C. It was enjoyable to sit in the sun after the swim, feeling fresh and clean. Our nets gave us three herrings, which without a biblical miracle will not be enough to feed us.
Otherwise, we have continued to prepare the lighthouse for winter by e.g. taking away the rope fence that was lining the few meters’ drop to the sea.
Tomorrow will be our last whole day here. Hopefully the weather will be kind to us.
Markku and Jussi
190908 Finishing the work
So, here it is, the last night on Märket. Today we were fortunate to have a change in the weather pattern. The clouds parted before noon and the rest of the day we had sunshine.
First, the wind was almost nonexisting and then started to blow from the south. During the day the wind picked up in strength and now there is a steady breeze. We finalized some work, Markku painted the final finish for the lighthouse staircase handrail. We also got some last minute work to do, such as reisolating the plastering from the new window frames of the south-east side.
We also lifted with Markku the rubberboat off the water and carried it into the boathouse. We also packed the lighthouse society´s shop into boxes and will take the stuff with us tomorrow.
Our fishing was a bit more successful. Nets that were in the sea over the night had cought one herring, one perch and nicely one trout. Unfortunately, the trout was only 35 cm long and thus we released it.
It is now completely dark outside, the generator is humming and we are having a cup of tea in the kitchen. It has been very nice to stay here and it is clear that this place is worth saving for future generations.
Yours Markku and Jussi
130908 A lively autumn day on the rock