261010 Märket in the end of the Rainbow
We arrived at Märket as this season's last lighthouse guards this morning. Our shift is a combination of two Märket veterans and two first timers.
One highpoint of the trip occured already in the beginning. We met the captain of Viking Line´s ms Mariella aboard his ship and presented him the society´s work on Märket. We also gave him some calendars to be shared with his crew. Viking Line is one of our main sponsors with Märket.
We have documented our trip here along the way, the pictures and the story of the routines will be added to this site later as a short lesson. Maybe you'll find it helpful when planning a volunteer´s trip to Märket. We had fun with the documenting it in the different places. Our special thanks and greetings to Hugo's! We nearly got a 15 kilos box of bananas with us from Hugo´s– by a mistake. We thougt it was full of our food. Luckyly they noticed the mistake just before we gassed away!
We enjoyed the rising sun aboard Mats' brand new boat on the way here.There's no better way to start the day. What a great feeling it was to see Märket appear in the horizon, shining like a diamond in the morning sun. Mats took us with a small motor boat from the anchor place to the old harbour. His new boat is a former Swedish pilot boat. One could do a trip to Märket with that even in a storm, but You couldn´t land here because of the lacking harbour.
There was also time for a quick cup of coffee with the leaving lighthouse staff, Kiki and Malin. and to do some catching up with them before they headed back home. Their story will appear soon in the Nya Åland newspaper and a picture show on the site www.nyan.ax.
After that it was time to get to know this beautiful and personal lighthouse, our home for the week, to learn about the history, to see the rooms and take a walk outside. It's amazing out here! We have had sunlight and a little bit of rain. Pekka and Antti saw a beautiful rainbow arching over the lighthouse. We're hoping to see some seals too. It actually feels like we've had a million different skies, only today. It's great!
After a short night sleep last night we won't start too heavy. The guys did some work with the maganize wall, the girls started warming up the rooms and cooking. I guess we all could spend half of the day just looking at the clouds in the sky, the sun, the waves.... but we won't.
We took some cement with us here and intend to use it all during this shift. And to take a lot of pictures, of course. Antti and Pekka did some preliminary work with the wall, plus they checked the old harbour bottom, in case they would have found some missing things from the storm some 10 days ago. But they didn´t. They nearly got perfect photos of Märket under a complete rainbow, but only nearly...
For the lunch we ate tradional canned Finnish pea soup. This evening we will have some mullet wine with home made sushi. It's all about being creative... Goodbye now.
Rauha, Heli, Antti, Pekka
271010 Blowing in the Wind
This morning we woke up feeling relaxed and ready for the day's challenges, which are: keeping the lighthouse warm, plastering the maganize wall and taking a shower in Lilla Märket. We had a heavy breakfast with porridge, some left-over salmon (more precicely a rainbow trout) from yesterday's sushi party and coffee, of course.
The morning was beautiful and sunny as we watched another Märket sunrise, different, yet as beautiful as yesterday. Then it was time to get busy. Washing the dishes here is not as simple as at home. If you don't already know, we will tell you how it goes: First the water must be carried from the sea and then warmed up outside. That means you must get the fire started no matter how windy or wet it is. When the water is hot the dishes are carried in a bucket outside where the hot water is. Then they are washed, the dirty water is thrown away and the dishes are carried back inside up to the kitchen. Easy, right? It akes only about an hour.
We also continued the work with the maganize wall. We mixed the cement, put together the construction racks and plastered the wall from Southern and Western side. You would think that's nasty work to do out here, but you would be wrong... yes it's windy and yes it's the end of October but when you're working it isn't cold out there. Plastering the wall is quite fun and the sun was warming us up. It's really nice to think that we can leave our mark on Märket.
For lunch Rauha (Ms. Peace in English) made rolls and tomato soup that warmed us nicely on a chilly autumn day like this. She's a magician in the kitchen!
While having lunch we happened to look from the windov at the exactly right moment: we saw a flock of some 30-50 rooks (Corvus Frugilegus/råka/mustavaris) to fly over the lighthouse yard. Clearly they had flewn via Märket to see if there is something to eat for them. Sorry rooks, if You can´t swim or fish, there is certainly no food for your kind of big birds on Märket. You better continue to the wealthy Sweden, as You seemed to do... According to Tammi´s Linnut – Suomen Peruslajisto -book You were coming from the Satakunta region (greetings to all our members out there like the 15 days lighthouse keeper Teemu) and going to Central Europe. But welcome back next summer, maybe the film crew that is planning a film to be filmed on Märket will need You a la Hitchcock, if they plan a horrow movie!
In the afternoon it started to get windy and the waves got bigger and bigger. We think the waves are most beautiful here when they come from the South: then they break magnificely on the Southern cliffs – or in fact just before them. It feels that You are more on the Pacific Ocean in Santa Monica than on Märket by the the Baltic Sea.
We first admired the waves from the kitchen window, then took the cameras and went lying on the rocks and photographing. We'll go outside later this evening to wonder the waves all together. The weather forecast promises the wind to rise up to 15 ms in the evening. Even that is really not a very hard wind, we know, but it makes you wonder the incredible power of the nature. Luckily, the lighthouse can take the weather, it won't sway in the wind.
We don't have our most loved ones here with us, but yet it feels we have everything we need. It's the moment when you're standing on the construction rack repairing the old wall, the sun is shining over your shoulder and others are working there right by your side, it's when everything just feels perfect. It's a ll we have here, the nature around us, the work we do for the lighthouse and each other.
The darkness came quickly. We had still so much to do: warming up the rooms, warming up the water, listening to the wind and waves, eating a dinner by Ms. Peace and watching the film of Christmas 2009 on Märket. We have heard the Santa Claus did visit Märket and will appear in the film. We MUST see that!
PS. The photographer of Nya Åland newspaper, Malin, has now put her photo gallery of their Märket trip now in the net. You can now find it here:
http://epaper.nyan.ax/includes/gallery/xmlgallery.php?gallery=Nyans reportrar p[aa] M[ae]rket
We have also added some photos to yesterday`s page, including our visit to the captain of Viking Line´s ms Mariella!
Bye bye now!
Antti, Heli, Pekka and Rauha the Peace
281010 Paradise on the Rocks
The night was stormy and windy, but the wind started to calm down in the morning. We started the day with good porridge with some apple marmelade made by Pekka, and read shocking news: the beavers in Lappeenranta are facing a death penalty – in town where two of us have homes?! What kind of threat to the human inhabitants of Lappeenranta are they anyway? Who is afraid of beavers, really? Immediately half of the crew here founded a pro-beaver movement and will not rest until Lappeenranta beaver death penalties are cancelled. Also the rest of the 100 % Eastern Finland team (¼ Southern Savo and ¼ Northern Carelia) will support the fight.
To calm ourselves down before heading back to work, we watched the waves hit the shore through the kitchen window. They looked like the perfect waves for surfing. Feels like we're in Hawaii! A call from Kuopio confirmed this view: They had sleet coming down while we had 10 degrees Celsius and sunny!
Then we went back on the wall and continued the plastering. Everyone participated, when the girls ran out of height the guys continued upper and upper on the wall. Teamwork! We are very proud of the quality of everybody´s plastering – we did excellent work with no hazzling!
After a quick coffee break we went photographing to the Southeastern cliffs. Funny it would have been to an outsider to watch four people lying on the rocks taking pictures. We did have one observer nevertheless – a seal peaked from the waves curiously. But just one, and of course we weren't quick enough to take a photo of this loner. Hopefully tomorrow we'll see all its friends, too!
An hour went quickly photographing and then back to work. Heli, Antti and Pekka continued plastering and Rauha made quick lunch from yesterday's leftovers. Here the food just tastes so good and the appetite is enormous after enjoying the sea breeze and working for our friend, the lighthouse.
After lunch the working continued. Rauha stayed in the kitchen making rolls, also sweet cinnamon rolls with Pekka's marmalade. Heli helped Pekka empty the bio toilet that we have here. You'd think that's a nasty job to do, but no, not stinky or messy at all. We hope that next spring´s flowers on the Swedish side will like the earth that human´s have produced here!
After a long day's work we formed a shower queue in front of Lilla Märket and everyone had a refreshing sea-water shower. First you must mix just the right temperatured water outside, carry the water in a bucket cross the yard to the bathroom (Lilla Märket) and then enjoy. You just feel reborned!
The fifth member got a friend (if You know anything about these mysterious persons let us know and send a SMS to the lighthouse +358-40-8499333)!
The girls intend to write a message in a bottle tonight and cast it to the sea, hoping someone will someday find it and be in touch. Everyone will write also postcards from Märket by the candle light, there is a special kind of stamp that you get only here!
Antti, Heli, Pekka and Rauha the Peace
291010 A sudden end for a Great Season
The morning was beautiful, as always on Märket. The sun rose slowly to clear blue skies and the temperature was 10 degrees. Almost worth a summer day! We started the day with Rauha’s special, today it was left-over porridge, which was delicious, naturally.
This would be our last whole day, so we started to prepare for the closing of the lighthouse. Rauha and Heli made an inventory of the shop’s products and Antti counted the cash. Pekka spent a lot of time on phone, but we only found out later why.
We had our traditional coffee break before noon and the walk outside on the cliffs. It’s important to document the life on Märket, and the girls just want to have fun with the camera – you just won’t have too much pictures from this lovely, rocky island! Pekka has taken this whole time millions of pictures of us – for educational reasons, according to him. Then the memory sticks were full and it was time for lunch.
After lunch came the news: we would close the lighthouse today and leave the island tonight. Pekka and Mats had a couple of long phone calls wondering whether the stormy wind would prevent tomorrow’s guest for arriving and us leaving. If the wind was too hard Mats cannot come close with his new red boat. So their decision was not to risk anything, Mats would pick us up tonight.
Again, it was time to get really busy. We had a lot to do before 8.30 PM when Mats was arriving (that is also the reason why this report was delayed for several hours). We took down the construction racks, took down the Lighthouse Society’s flag, cleaned up the kitchen thoroughly packing away all the food that could not be frozen. There were also many little tasks to take care of before we could leave the lighthouse on its own for the winter. Like carrying the pee (urine) tanks down to the harbour and the terrace benches to the storage.
For the lunch Rauha made great Norwegian frozen fish. It is incredible that You can´t get fresh local fish even when You are living literally in the middle of the sea!
Yesterday evening the girls wrote a very important message to put in a bottle. There was a special greeting from Märket lighthouse and this day would be the day to throw the bottle into the sea. During the coffee break the girls noticed the sun was rapidly setting so there was no time to waste. Here’s a picture of the happening. If you find our bottle mail, please follow the instructions in the message!!
Then it was pitch dark. The dishes were washed, the bags were packed and carried outside the lighthouse. We locked the doors for the first time with Lighthouse Society´s own brand new Abloy locks (made in North Carelia, Finland). We felt pride!
We left one light shining.That was the same yard lamp on the machine room wall that can be seen in Seppo Laurell´s book Finnish lighthouses in the photo from the time when the lighthouse was manned. It is a sign that this lighthouse, this magnificent island, is not forgotten any more.
We saw a light approaching from the sea and suddenly we saw Mats’ boat approaching and shining like a lighthouse in the dark sea. Then we carried our all our stuff, including urine tanks, into the boat and headed to Eckerö. The mere one hours trip was a bit mystic. It was totally black on the sea when Mats took the boat and us to Eckerö.
We dived in to the darkness with no fear whatsoever. We were pleased that we had the privilege to close the dear lighthouse as well as we could to wait for the opening next spring or for the Christmas time. We did it as well as we ever could. We were also thankful for Mats, the great driver who will take care of our our folk in any circumstances, like his fellow driver Bengt has done. We have great friends and partners in Eckerö and on Åland in general. That helps us to continue next year.
Goodbye now! We don´t know who will write the next notes in this diary, but certainly that will be interesting!
Antti, Heli, Pekka and Rauha the Peace
261010 Märket in the end of the Rainbow