The weather was favourable to us and we were able to leave Käringsund on time on Saturday morning. Our group for the week consists of two Märket veterans (Anne & Juha) and three first-timers (Jarmo, Joonas & Maija).
Due to the wind, we had to use the dinghy to reach Märket, but changing the shift went smoothly and quickly nonetheless. The winch gave us some gray hair at first, but with the help of a screwdriver, our team of masterminds was able to make it work eventually. Turns out, it’s good to have a bit of a McGyver mindset out here.
The telescope was set up almost immediately after arrival and our sightings for the day include a white-tailed eagle (Haliaeetus albicilla) and a boat we suspect was carrying a group of divers. A lonely greylag goose (Anser anser) is also currently inhabiting Märket and his droppings can be found all over. We are a bit worried he will bring friends along next year.
One of the tasks for the week is to re-paint the ’pönttöuuni’ (heating stove) in the third floor chamber. We kicked off the project today by covering the floor and testing out the paint stripper.
In the afternoon, the sky turned from grey to blue and there was good time to clean the vessels that collect rainwater. Fresh water is a rarity on a lonely island so keeping the rainwater barrels clean is part of water maintenance duties on the island. Also the service water outlet hose was fixed as part of today’s environmental maintenance duties.
Last night we got some close-up bird watching opportunities as a group of goldcrests (Regulus regulus) took shelter from the wind and spent the night on the lighthouse stairs. The stairs were not enough for one brave great tit (Parus major) who decided to come inside the lighthouse. Anne and Juha had to chase the poor fellow around for a good 30 minutes until they caught him and took him out in the middle of the night while the rest of us were sound asleep.
After breakfast, the day was kicked off with heating some sea water and washing the dishes Märket style. We also continued the 'pönttöuuni' re-painting project by applying more paint stripper and then wrapping up the whole thing into plastic film to let the paint stripper take effect. The weather was great so we took the party outdoors and started preparing the rest of the day's tasks. Anne even got around to some circular sawing.
After lunch it was time for rock drilling. The task was to make the new compost heap a bit more wind-proof. Let's see if the end result will deliver.
We also swept the toilet floor and cleaned the floor rails. The 'pönttöuuni' project continued as well -- we're finally down to the zinc.
The day's bird sightings include a lively wren (Troglodytes troglodytes) and a dead dunlin (Calidris alpina).
Today was another sunny day on Märket. As a matter of fact, we've had enough sunshine to keep us powered up for the third day in a row with no need for the generators.
In the pic above you can see the morning diswashing routine. Actually, today Jarmo washed the dishes not once but twice (!) because we've been cooking so much. Today we baked too.
Another heroic act was performed by Anne and Juha today as they emptied the bio-toilet urea canisters. We also chopped some wood to get smaller logs and chips. The wood is a bit moist so having smaller chips should make it a tad bit easier to light up a fire. Also, the floor under the wood pile pallets in the upper storehouse was cleanead up.
We had a nice afternoon coffee break in the sunshine today with a bit of geocaching (one cache found) and Pokemon hunting (none found).
Today's duties also included shop inventory and the 'pönttöuuni' project has reached the end of stage one: the paint is finally gone!
Todays bird observations are the following: blue tit (Parus caeruleus), female common eiders (Somateria mollissima), goosander (Mergus merganser) and some more white-tailed eagles (Haliaeetus albicilla). Also, a couple of gaggles flew past the island but our beloved Hannu/Henna did not want to join them.
Last night we didn't feel like cooking food so we called a local pizzeria and soon they landed on the helipad and delivered a gigantic family-sized pizza to us for dinner. It was delicious and we ate it all to the last crumb (no frozen leftovers, sorry).
There were beautiful aurora borealis and shooting stars at night and a couple of us slept on the lighthouse terrace under the starry sky. It was a very warm night with western winds.
In the morning we woke up to a misty weather but by noon it had all cleared away and we had another sunny day. Batteries have been at 60-80% and still no need for the generators. We celebrated the beautiful weather by having a picnic on the rocks.
Today's job achievements included washing the sauna and the terrace. The pönttöuuni also got a brand new coat of paint. Now it'll have to dry for a couple of days before another layer of paint is applied.
Bird-wise, today gave us some unidentified hawks, eagles and swans. Also, two little birdies came inside the lighthouse today, one of which faked a dramatic death on the museum items on the third floor windowsill until taken out where he suddenly revived and took off without even saying thanks. Today we also had the first sauna of the week.
There was rather heavy wind last night, so much so that we had to close all the doors for the night and reinforce the bindings of the dinghy cover. In the morning, the anemometer was giving as much as 20,7 m/s in gust. Jarmo went outside to wash the dishes nonetheless -- no amount of wind can shake that sea dog. The cargo vessels travelling by Märket were conducting business as usual too despite the heavy wind.
Hannu/Henna the goose is still around and we spotted him/her curled up trying to keep warm from the wind. We spent most of the day curled up indoors too studying the many lighthouse books found around here, playing cards and baking again. The floor was swept too so we weren't completely useless. Also, business was blooming in the lighthouse shop today. This is definitely our favourite shopping spot right after Viking Line tax-free.
Towards the evening, the sky cleared though the wind kept on blowing. We ended up having enough sunshine today as well to keep the generators from turning on.
The day started out as grey. With such little sunshine, the generators finally started up. Light rain began in the morning and as the day progressed, the wind started growing heavier. Still, the weather was good enough for us to get some chores done.
Once again, the dishes were done amidst the impressive Märket scenery. The dishes didn't dry too well in that weather though.
After breakfast, we also chopped a little more firewood and emptied the compost heap.
The tool and paint inventory was also finished today. In addition, we cleaned the vents in the lantern room.
After lunch, we cooked a pancake in the oven and played cards indoors while waiting for the rain and wind to calm down a bit. The rain stopped and we took the rugs out and vacuumed the museum, the shop and the rooms.
We have only a few sightings of Hannu/Henna the goose today. Did he/she finally decide to leave us?
There's been heavy wind since yesterday. During the night, the wind had knocked over the pile of firewood in front of the lighthouse so today's duties started with re-stacking the pile and securing it with covers and straps.
Our week at the lighthouse is coming to an end so today's main task has been the final cleaning. Besides vacuuming, mopping, sweeping and swiping inside the lighthouse, we gave the upper toilet a full clean-up and scrubbed the dishwashing sink.
The third floor 'pönttöuuni' also got a second coat of paint today. The paint will have to dry for several weeks so unfortunately, the third floor chamber will be out of use for the rest of the season.
In the evening, we had a farewell sauna and cooked dinner from whatever was still left in the fridge. The day ended to another beautiful sunset and now we're waiting to find out if tonight is our last night on the island. There's probably going to be heavy wind tomorrow morning too so let's see what Mats decides regarding the boat ride.
Though we woke up to a beautiful sunrise and clear blue skies, the waves were too heavy to board Märket on a boat or to use the dinghy. Hence, our lighthouse shift got extended with one more day.
The wind has completely ripped the flag so we changed it today.
We're running out of fresh veggies so today's lunch was pea soup.
Four little birds flew inside the lighthouse today and it took quite a while to get them all out.
The beautiful day ended with a beautiful sunset.