Waking to a fogged-in harbor, I feared our plans for a seafaring excursion would be scrapped, but by the time we’d finished the hearty breakfast quiche at our B&B, the heavy cover seemed to be slowly lifting.
I’d had to do some digging online and make a few calls, but I finally tracked down a boat captain willing to take us out to Seguin Island, a remote spit of land measuring only 64 acres, about two and a half miles out to sea, and this was the morning for our adventure. (When I contacted the captain who’d previously taken brave souls out to Seguin to ask for a recommendation, he laughed and said no one would be crazy enough to do it. Gasp!)
Captain Cal and his partner Katrina (pictured in the last photo) picked us up promptly as promised at the public pier in Boothbay Harbor, Maine. The vessel was a rudimentary lobster boat, not designed with passengers in mind. Instead of rows of bench seats, a couple of folding lawn chairs with a small table in between had been set out for us where the lobster pots would have been stacked up. This arrangement was more than adequate—and surprisingly comfortable.
Ribbons of fog lingered in the harbor, but if the captain was willing, I wasn’t going to be deterred from my quest to get out to Seguin. I’d heard so much about it, I needed to see it for myself. The paranormal stories alone were too enticing not to make the trek.
My husband, the trouper that he is, always goes along for whatever adventure I commit us to—cheerfully I might add. Perhaps he feels it’s his duty to escort me in case I get myself into a predicament I can’t get myself out of. (There’s a history that justifies his willingness to be at the ready.)
Although the fog seemed to be lifting in the harbor, it was still thick out on the open ocean. There wasn’t much to see during the ride out, except the dingy we were towing behind us, bobbing in our wake. At one point, a fishing boat emerged from the mist with an eeriness that didn’t take much to imagine there was no one aboard and was drifting aimlessly. However, I seemed to be the only one on our vessel whose thoughts went in that direction.
Nearly an hour into the ride, Katrina announced if it wasn’t so foggy, we would have been able to see Seguin by that point. Now I was even more intrigued by the island. What secrets was it guarding?
We finally got close enough to see the island enshrouded in mist, making it look like a mountain top in the clouds. Remarkably, as we approached, the wisps of white seemed to disintegrate to reveal the revered Seguin. Our able captain navigated through the waters, made treacherous at times by cross currents, and secured the boat at one of the few moorings available in the cove. It was oddly quiet and the fog lended a sense there was something seclusive about the island. Only those brave enough to get there would be rewarded with a peek.
Once moored, our captain reeled in the dinghy, hopped in, guided us safely into the vessel, and then rowed us to shore. The closer we got, the more surreal it felt. Was I really getting to see the island?
After the captain dragged the dinghy with us in it onto shore, we climbed out onto a small patch of rocky beach that all but disappears at high tide. I couldn’t scramble fast enough to the wooden steps to begin my ascent up from the cove. (My husband was behind me. I could sense it, but I have to admit I didn’t look back until both feet were planted firmly at the top of the steps.) A rugged hike up the hill with the framework from an old tramway running alongside, brought us to where the lighthouse and keeper’s quarters came into view—familiar from countless photos and paintings I’d gazed upon over the years.
It didn’t take long before the volunteer keepers discovered we’d arrived and welcomed us like they’d been expecting company. A brave new couple arrives each April to get the light and island trails ready for visitors starting Memorial Day Weekend and stays into October to maintain the island and give tours to sporadic visitors who show up unannounced. Steve (pictured below with us on the catwalk of the lighthouse) spent two hours showing us the grounds, taking us into the keepers’ quarters and up into the light, talking about their work, and answering all our questions. The third hour on the island we ate the lunch we’d packed and then explored the trails.
Of course, I asked about paranormal activity they may have experienced but was disappointed he only had one story to share involving his ear plugs that seemed to find their way to the floor by morning no matter how far away from the edge of the bedside table he placed them. He wasn’t convinced it was paranormal activity, but I got the sense it was.
The most common Seguin Island paranormal story I’ve heard involved a lighthouse keeper and his wife many years earlier. As the tale goes, she was bored spending so much time on a remote island, so her husband had a piano brought out to please her. The only issue was that it came with a single page of sheet music, and she played it over and over again until it drove him mad. He took an axe, chopped up the piano and then turned the weapon on his wife. Once he saw what he had done, the distraught keeper threw himself over the railing of the lighthouse catwalk. They say to this day, the strains of piano music can be heard on the wind.
I was disappointed not to witness this auditory haunting, but in all fairness the keepers’ house was abuzz with workers re-shingling the roof. It may have been too noisy for any spirits who usually hang out there. I did learn while I was there that two rooms are available for rent so an overnight stay on the island is a possibility. If I can’t talk my husband into volunteering to be lighthouse keepers for a summer, perhaps I can convince him to spend a night on our next trip to Maine. 😉