Tony took us out on the Julia—that’s always good. He realizes Meg has a bit of trouble on the trips out and back, and we even talked about motion sickness; he gets it if he reads while on a bus or a train. The tide was very low—down to the sixth rung on the lower ladder—and he had to pull in next to it, rather than at the foot of it.
“Can you do it?” he asked, as I looked at the bottom rung.
“Yeah,” I said. I always look only at where my foot has to go on the ladder.
Everybody was able to get up and on to Jeff’s platform.
“You got the key?” Tony called.
“Yeah,” I was happy to shout again. “Thank you!” I watched him pull out of the cove, turn, and pull away.
We got a lot done, though some plans and ideas did not turn out as I’d hoped. I thought we could end up varnishing the surrounds on the entry doors to the rooms, but the work is too formidable. I also hoped we could clear the glass in the round windows if we got them out—they were painted green on the outside. Coop got them out, but the glass is very pitted after being there for about 140 years, and we could not get the paint off. I took them out to the plinth and put Peel Away on them—figured it would work in a couple of hours but it didn’t. So we have to either put Peel Away on them and leave them overnight or find another solvent that will dissolve paint on glass. Even steel wool and razor blades were ineffective.
Eileen and Nan finished the caulking and putting a second coat of paint in Mae’s room. Coop got a round window in Jacob’s room out and what a blast of air! The higher you go in the tower the breezier it gets, another possible explanation for why some windows were not made to be opened. Then he went to Mae’s room and got two more out.
It was my idea to put Peel Away on the glass. I figured it would set in a couple of hours under plastic, and then it would be a cinch to get the paint off the glass. But no—the surfaces were too pitted, plus we need to make sure we are ok using Peel Away. Even with scrapers, razor blades, and steel wool we could not clear the glass.
Nan’s such a joy and went around using up the last half inch of paint in her pail. We swept up and shop vacced. Coop and Meg had been messing around seeing how much we have to do in the stairwell; we can sweep a lot of the peeling and chipped paint off. Eileen finished painting Mae’s closet. Coop messed around with little things, and we examined, measured, and photographed the hinges on the kitchen door. They are big and quite handsome but they probably will have to be replaced; one of them is cracked. Coop wants to take care of that door now to give a very nice “finished” look to everything we’ve done so far. It needs a piece of glass for one of the windows in it.
I was outside scraping paint off a round window when a voice came from the ladder.
I nearly jumped out of my skin because for a second I thought it was someone from Miller’s, and if it was, it would have not boded well. Thank heaven it was two firefighters from Marine 8. Lovely as firemen usually are, they asked what we were up to, came in and looked around, asked who was paying for what we are doing. I said volunteers, Miller’s, and the museum. Our folks were working, and they were appreciative of their efforts. (I of course felt like asking them to put together a volunteer crew.)
I sounded the call for retreat. We all did the vaccing and clean up—lugged another plywood and sheet metal window cover to the Anthony, captained by Ray, and got out of there with garbage, our packs, rags, brushes, and inventory of what we will next need out there.
Lots of things to think about; lots of priorities to order. Ray’s a careful captain and we sped back safely—Coop, Eileen, Nan, Annie and Meg outside in the wind.
This whole adventure is powered by Glen Miller and his staff. They are amazing.
Lighthouse Log Book is a series of stream of consciousness writings by Executive Director Erin Urban after each Crew date at Robbins Reef. It’s informal and meant to impart a sense of the energy of the volunteers and the work they accomplish in regular seven-hour workdays to Robbins Reef Lighthouse.