Day Seven: Turn On The Light

22 January 2014 (Wednesday)

I woke up at 0130 and listened to the wind. It was blowing hard from the northeast. The forecast was for 20-25 kt winds, gusts to 35 overnight, 4-6 foot seas. By late morning it was to increase 25-35 kt winds gusts to 45 kts. I was thinking generally about the systems on the island and if they were secure. It dawned on me that I had not finished bolting the large solar panels to the frame. Would it be OK? I decided I could not chance that and got out of bed. I rummaged around for bolts and eventually found what I needed. I quietly made my way outside so as to not wake Kerry, who sleeps in the chair next to the living room heater. Outside it was 12 degrees F and blowing snow. First I checked on the inflatable boat which was secured on the east side of the house tied to the walkway and two large granite boulders. It was all well. On to the solar. I found the east solar panel lifting slightly due to the lack of a corner bolt and am immediately happy I came out. I do the repair quickly and returned to bed.

Awoke again at 0730. MDR is blanketed in snow and it is blowing 35 kts. The driving weather makes it impossible to see the ocean. Batteries were very low @ 23 volts flat. I need to get up earlier to start the generator before people start using electricity. In this weather the solar panels are useless. The big gas generator is acting very well in this cold weather, fingers crossed. I start the coffee and have cereal.

Very steep waves

Very steep waves

The seas steadily build over the course of the day. All of the windows on the north and east side of the house are iced.

Kathy collects an ice sample from the fog horn platform which sits at the base of the lighthouse tower. She returns and checks the salinity. This is a common practice during this study – collecting ice samples from various structures on the island and analyzing them for sea water concentration. The sample from the fog horn platform shows 18 parts per thousand (ppt) saline – so some sea water and some fresh water. Pure seawater would be closer to 35 ppt.

I notice seven missed calls on my phone and assume it must be the coast guard calling back about the light. While the cellular internet card (Verizon) works very well, my cell phone (ATT) has terrible service. I eventually get through to Steven at the USCG and he walks me through the reset process. It is a very simple procedure and I plan to do it at nightfall, or around 1630, so the light-sensitive lamp will illuminate if the reset is successful. At 1645 it is still not dark but I make my way into the lighthouse to complete

The dining room has become a great work space for Kathy and Kerry

The dining room has become a great work space for Kathy and Kerry

the reset. I easily find the reset button and press it, then go up the tower to check the lamp. It is not illuminated so I access the bulbs directly and change to one that seems not burnt out (there are a series of six that rotate). I change bulbs and return to the electronics cabinet. I hit the reset button again but realize that I’ve pressed the one for the fog horn, not the light, and I think that while the horn is still on, the tone has changed. No matter. I then hit the correct reset button and go outside to see that the light has indeed resumed. The beam is severely restricted due to a sheet of frost on the inside of the windows. But at the very least the light is on, good enough for now.


We make lasagna for dinner and Tanya beats me easily in a game of cribbage. My record is now 2-1 for the season.

We head to bed around 2130.


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