Saturday 11.8.2007 - Radioamateurs arrive
This morning we woke up to a message telling us that 12 people will arrive to Märket in no time. It is like good old times again, one week ago as we arrived, one boat after another. Mr Carlberg comes and continues the work for his old cabin. The 12 visitors arrive with the former lighthouse keeper Kee Erikson. It is too windy to come on land on the north side, so we get to row. What this place desperately needs is a proper rowing boat.
Now this is a proper boat
Also a boat with 6 people comes from Hammarland.
They stay for a picnic and a little bit more. The weather is sunny and warm. Divers float nearby. A few boats come near but not ashore. We enjoy our last day here and wait for the new crew who will take over this evening.
Old crew dining with a view
The perfect picture ??!!
And the new crew is here! We (Laura & Marko) met our company for the next few days in Eckerö. They are 5 radio-amateurs (Lasse, Pertti, Martti, Teemu and Rickard) and as said going to spend next days connecting people all over the world. We loaded boat Bävern with so many bags and boxes that our captain Olle just shook his head and maybe saw trouble in advance. The weather was great for inland-people like us: the sun was shining from a clear blue sky and the wind felt like a light breeze.
When we reached Märket the wind suddenly picked up and there was no way reaching the cliffs with the motorboat. Kristian rowed to meet us and then it was a lot of rowing and also some "huopaamista" and also carrying the rowing boat to the other side of Märket until we almost all (Martti decided to stay firmly onboard Bävern) got on this island.
Bävern's captain was in a hurry so there was no time for a thorough introduction on life as a lighthouse keeper. Thanks anyway Rea for the "Speedy Gonzales"-guidance and we hope we have time to settle down and get to know this place before the visitors of tomorrow arrive.
Now good night, let's sleep tight.
Brgds, Laura and Marko
Sunday 12.8.2007 - Busy day for the newcomers
At first, our most humble apologizies to the family from Åland who helped us (with their boat M/S Eckerö) getting ashore yesterday! We didn't remember to mention you in yesterday's report, but now, after a good night's sleep, our memory serves us right.
So thank you: you were an enormous help!
We thought this would be a place where the sound of the waves and the wind gently rock to sleep, but we were a bit mistaken.
In the evening, after some repairs, the radiomen started a diesel-generator in the machineroom to produce electricity for their needs.
The generator makes what I call an infernal noise, a kind of loud beating. Well, one can only imagine what it must have sounded like back in the old days when all four machines and the nautophone have been on at the same time!
Early this afternoon, we got some company from the coast guard. Two men visited the lighthouse and one stayed on their boat.
The chivalry arrives, at least if you use your imagination.
I was busy making pancakes because we expected visitors at 14 o'clock with B. Granberg's boat. That is why Marko guided the guards around.
A little while later we saw a boat closing from the North. It had also a small boat floating on its rear and people on board seemed to be searching for a place to get ashore.
Granberg's boat Felicia approached us at the same time so we decided to guide the unknown boat to the Southern side and I got on the rowing boat and rowed to greet four people from Åland.
The flag serves as the first greeting for the visitors on the reef.
On the Northern side of the reef, Marko helped 11 visitors from Felicia on dry land. After rowing one couple ashore I picked up also Bengt Granberg from his anchored boat with our little boat.
To our surprise, yet another boat anchored beside the two others. I approached by rowing and met Swedish father and daughter with her boyfriend.
They had started unwrapping their lunch sitting on the deck of their boat but they changed their lunch plans and, after two rowtrips, Märket was three visitors richer.
Now I am sitting well fed writing this report and planning to go for a night swim to rinse off today's sweats.
Märket over and out, greetings from Laura
On my part I don't have much to say except: what a first 24 hours! If we managed this, we'll manage lot's of more! But now nightswim and washing, perhaps some pancakes if there are some left. ;-)
Monday 13.8.2007 - All kinds of organizing
This morning, we woke up after sleeping tight all night. Inside the lighthouse, the radio amateurs had been working all night long.
They take turns confirming connections and while some of them work others can sleep. Lars takes good care of the rest: he is the chef, engine-operator and housekeeper all in one.
Monday started with breakfast: tea, porridge and bread. Then we began to plan what to do today. Weather was a bit misty and the wind blew from the South.
After yesterday's traffic, we decided to make future easier. We brought all T-shirts from the storage room to the shop. Having slept in the storage room for two nights, we know that everything, especially clothes, gets a bit moist there and that isn't good.
Today's big project was to organize the waste pile under the stairs. We took all garbage bags that were left here and filled them with pieces of "gyproc" (old wall material).
After working for several hours, the amount of the waste seems much more organized and hopefully much easier to transport away from here.
Laura got the waste pile organizing started.
Marko and the well cleared pile of gyproc.
Weather has been quite windy and due to that the only almost visitors we had today was a group of divers who did not come a shore. Wind direction has been from South varying some times from South East or South West.
Divers only went by without dropping by.
Please visit also the radio amateur website to see and read more about this weeks happenings: http://sm0w.com
But now it's time to say good night, sleep tight!
Tuesday 14.8.2007 - A day with a flying surprise and delicious food
This morning began with a beautiful sunshine. What we so far knew about today’s special tasks, was that we were expecting Ville Holmberg with some other men to study the lighthouse and its condition.
Nice flying route for the tern.
The boat Felicia came in about 10 AM and the men made a very thorough inspection all over Märket. To a nice end they were served coffee and some tiger cake.
Hasse was here for a second time this summer: he spent a week in June as a lighthouse guard.
Felicia is a frequent sight besides the reef.
At the same time that Felicia had arrived, the Finnish Frontier Guard’s Puma-helicopter also came to Märket for executing a landing rehearsal.
A handsome landing, boys!
Now we can say that the generator which is running here sounds like a gentle whisper in the background after Puma's visit! What an experience!
After our visitors left we packed sunscreen, the Märket-diary, binoculars, towels, water and the camera into a bag and set course to the Eastern cliffs to have a little siesta sun bathing. During siesta, we had fruit salad à la Marko for lunch.
The lighthouse is at its best under some heavy sunshine.
The wind has been blowing mostly from South today, according to Bengt (Felicia's captain) about 5 m/s. Later in the afternoon, it blew maybe a little bit stronger.
Gardening makes one handle some strong liquids.
Sea air makes one hungry. For dinner, we enjoyed cooked potatoes, carrots and cauliflower with lots of butter and delicous organic grain stake. Our recommendations!!!
In lack of "proper" paying guests, we made a very delicious contract with the radio amateurs for evening pancakes with strawberry jam and coffee, price negotiations are still going strong.
Time for some negotiations.
Now it's time to set fire on gas stove and start making those promised delicacies.
Reporting here 10 - Office 0.
Wednesday 15.8.2007 - New theory on frogs
After spending a few hours on top of the lighthouse yesterday evening, watching both the seals and the sun setting, we decided to wake up early to see the sun rising.
The evening was warm and when it was time to brush teeth, we decided to sleep outdoors. We carried our sleeping bags and mattresses out on the Eastern cliffs and set ourselves on horisontal level admiring the velvet August sky filled with millions of stars.
Lying under the Milky Way is something that everyone should experience! When it combines with solid Finnish rock under one's back it's a firm feeling of somehow belonging to this place.
We saw many shooting stars and Laura made a lot of wishes... Hope some of them come true like this one of being a lighthouse guard has!
While counting the stars we listened seals singing. Again I wished we could have turned the generator off for even a little while, because nothing can cover that noise (ok, the landing Puma yesterday did), and we both feel that that kind of noise doesn't belong here.
Light woke Laura up at 5 AM. We knew that the sun would rise at about 5.44, so there was still plenty of time to sleep. There was no luck falling back to sleep despite the attempt, so I watched Marko sleeping, light beams getting stronger and container ships passing us by as always.
Marko is having sweet dreams while the sun is rising.
After the sun finally had risen, I climbed to the lighthouse to get our cellular phone and started writing this report. We aren't used to walking around with phones in our pockets at all times, so this has demanded a little learning and still this marvellous Nokia E61i is usually somewhere else other where needed.
After breakfast, we made T-shirt inventory in the shop. It was easy since every shirt had been organized on Monday. The Lighthouse Society’s headman Pekka informed us with an SMS that the next shift is going to come here on Sunday and our journey home delays at least with a day.
The wind blows harder every minute. It must bee 10-12 m/s at this moment, and although the sun is shining, it's a bit chilly. It would be very difficult to come ashore with this weather and there isn't any chance to row our little red dinghy today.
The sea boils in white and blue and green and it invites us for a swim: wave surfing would be fantastic but maybe too risky.
How about surfing?
Today we cleaned the kitchen. Marko tested new Makita-tools and sawed rusty, almost loose iron bars and some concrete from the walking bridge. There is still more sawing to be done as the pipes and heating radiators should be taken off.
Generator isn't all bad: electricity is a great help in cleaning!
Makita, Marko's new best friend.
We'll see if we are going to meet our new friends: The Kermit Duo again! We have heard and also read about frogs wandering here around, and last night we saw them.
The bigger one were sitting beside the stairs and his companion, one third of size compared to the Boss, was sitting on the waste pile.
Saku, the Boss
Are they the horrifying ghost's of Märket? The legend says that here lives a ghost, but he hasn't identified himself yet. Well, we still have time to meet him and talk about Märket's future.
Thursday 16.8.2007 - Preparing for the lighthouse day
In the morning, the weatherman forecasted us a little bit sunshine, but one hour later the sky was gray again and gave small showers.
Wind is still blowing almost the same way than last evening. Last night it was quite strong as we heard it while sleeping. We were woken up by water showers coming in from the South end of the storage building where we sleep in a tent.
There is an old doorway to the storage building which has been blocked with board, but above the board block there is a big ventilation crack that allows water and wind come straight in.
There hasn't been any problems until last night because the waves haven't been this big. Luckily, the tent is waterproof! Today Marko blocked the crack some more. Let's hope ventilation works and water stays outside!
Today we took away nails from the wooden floor downstairs. Marko tried to saw old pipes loose, but it was quite difficult. Loosening the radiators was much easier and it's now done. Pipe and nail project shall continue tomorrow.
Working on the ground level.
Taking down the old heating system.
We decided to clean up places for the weekend as it's going to be the international lighthouse weekend and we hope to have many visitors here. There was a lot of sweeping to do and again we filled a few garbage bags with waste and dust.
Today we said goodbye to four radio amateurs as Martti, Pertti, Teemu and Rick got onboard with Bengt's Felicia and began their journey against mighty wind.
Bengt is a very skilful captain: in today's weather he just parked his boat beside the cliff and it looked like a walk in the park.
New radioamateurs: Simo (he is also a member of the Lighthouse Society), Tapani and Pasi had a minor setback right in the beginning as one of their laptop computer bags as well as Pasi's sleeping bag were shipped back to Eckerö by accident. Let's hope they get those important items back quickly!
The boys brought us a bottle of rum. We toasted for a safe sea journey and new friendship.
... and how to do with it! Cheers and have a nice journey home!
Weather is clearing, temperature at eight PM is 18,5 degrees celcius. Wind is still strong and the waves are big. Now it's nice to go for a swim in the safe lagoon.
17.8.2007 Windy Friday, no laundry day
The wind blows as if it were trying to send us a message that we should have a laundry day. Oh, how nice it would be to wash sheets and towels and hang them drying in the wind!
We made an expedition trip down to the basement. It's a fascinating place but in a poor condition. We were surprised that there was plenty of daylight and only a little use for forehead lamps.
We brought one chair up from the basement and placed it in the front yard to dry out. So, no laundry today, but drying out old furniture.
Refurnishing the lighthouse.
Speaking of furniture, Marko repaired one bench which had broken it's legs. Now our future visitors will have more space to sit down and enjoy both the great coffee serving and the view that we have here!
We had a lot of fun down at the basement finding old shampoo - and detergent bottles on the shelves in the potato cellar. Shampoo called Hellä Mietonen must have been very gentle for one's hair.
Gentle Mellowness - a free translation on the shampoo's title.
There's also a sauna in the basement, but it's in a really poor condition. Maybe some day there will be a new one and perhaps it could be with a view!
There is a minor setback in our renovating project. Heating pipes are harder than they seem and Makita's blades won’t bite. We need a more powerful tool before we can proceed.
Marko measured the amount of the boards in the storage, the size of the roof between the lighthouse and the engine room and also the nearly broken part of the bridge. Measurements are needed in order to plan future repairings.
While Marko was busy with measuring, Laura prepared delicious "Pasta de pimienta roja y cebolla" for lunch. We both think the gas stove here is splendid: it's fast and, in a way, more sensitive when boiling pasta.
Today we had also time to remove paint from one door downstairs. Now that we have unlimited amount of electricity here, we have decided to make the most of it and use devices that need it. We leave painting and other that kind of jobs for crews to come.
The hard labour continues.
Despite the weather we had one boat with three men visiting us in the evening. They were Mattias Sidström, Johnny Siren and Mats Sjöström, volunteers from Sea Rescue Center in Eckerö and they were kind enough to drive their boat here and bring misplaced but important things from yesterday. They told us that the wind speed is 13 m/s at present.
The boat from Eckerö arrived.
Now we head out to hit some waves and a bit later it's time to finally test the grill.
Greetings from the two musketeers.
Saturday 18.8.2007 - The long awaited day branded with T-shirts
The International Lighthouse weekend has begun! For us, members of the Finnish Lighthouse Society, it means PR-work and events on several other lighthouses besides here at Märket.
Laura and Marko are hosting Märket on the International Lighthouse Day.
The radio amateurs have similar goals: They try to activate as many lighthouses as possible and contact each other and all people interested in radio amateuring and lighthouses.
Here on the Märket reef events started at 3 AM as the radio amateurs started their RTTY (Radio TeleType) competition which takes place every year at this same time.
Radio amateurs from Kirkkonummi: Tapani Juhola, Simo Sorvari and Pasi Vesterinen have planned this event for several years and finally it's happening.
The radio amateurs printed their own T-shirts to celebrate this event.
OJ0MI is their call sign, which consist of Märket's own country call sign OJ0 as a prefix and MI stands for Märket Island.
Today it was time to empty the bio toilet. Ventilation outside is great but still we had our share of some many interesting odours. Actually, the kitchen waste smells a lot worse than toilet products.
According to plan A, this was supposed to be our last day here. Due to weather conditions that isn't the case and the new crew arrives tomorrow.
We are happy to stay here a little extra and, in fact, it wouldn't bother us one bit if the weather got much worse and we would be stuck here all week long..
It's funny how our world has diminished during this week we have spent out here on this almost deserted island. Although it hasn't been as quiet week as we anticipated we don't know just about anything that has happened this week elsewhere. This was a nice getaway from everyday life.
The reef's most pertinent inhabitants are the terns that decide who is allowed on which rocks on Märket.
Just when we thought there wouldn't be any visitors today we saw a big vessel closing up on us from the South. It was the research boat Aranda sailing for the Finnish Institute of Marine Research.
Aranda lowered her anchors with the distance of about 500 meters from Märket and, after a little while, we saw a small red boat coming towards us. There were four men onboard, two of them were dressed up in diving suits.
The Aranda men arrive...
... and directly after coming ashore go down for a dive.
After they had explored the North Eastern corner of Märket's coastline, we were able to convince them that it was worthwhile to visit the lighthouse, and so we succeeded again in collecting money for the Finnish Lighthouse Society again by serving men coffee and pancakes.
The Aranda crew also shooted some video footage that should be seen later this autumn at the website of the Finnish Institute of Marine Research.
All objects and documents found on Märket are historical treasures for the keepers.