Monday, June 22, 2015

June 2015

Thursday June 11, we launched our Zodiacs and sent a crew of four volunteers to prepare our St. Helena Island Light Station for the arrival of a large group of boys, leaders, parents and mentors with Ann Arbor Boy Scout Troop 4 this Saturday. Principal keeper MaryAnn Moore sent us this photo she took at the island this evening.
Friday evening, our Executive Director Terry Pepper narrated a Shepler's Westbound Lighthouse Cruise, and after stopping by St. Helena Island to wave goodnight to our volunteers, snapped this photo of the sun setting behind White Shoal Light Station.
Saturday June 13 - UGLY ANNE pulled into the St. Helena Island Light Station dock and delivered the first group of boy scouts, parents, mentors and leaders of Ann Arbor Boy Scout Troop 4 for their 26th year of service at the station.
Saturday June 13 - The wonderful folks with Ann Arbor Boy Scout Troop 4 installed the first of four solar panels on the pole they installed during last year's Scout Week on the island. What a wonderful group of people.
Saturday June 13 - For his Eagle Scout Service Project at St. Helena Island this year, Boy Scout Jack DeBacker is restoring the east wall of the Assistant keepers dwelling, which has experienced some deterioration since the building was reconstructed as an earlier Eagle Scout project in 1996 by Steve Wise. Also, a recently discovered historic image of the building show that the window was located in the center of the wall between the door and corner, so Jack will he will be incorporating this change into his project.
Saturday June 13 -  For his Eagle Scout project at St. Helena Island this year, Boy Scout Dave DeBacker is restoring the privy roof. Originally restored as an Eagle Scout project by Chris Morrison in 1990. After 25 years of exposure to the worst that Lake Michigan could throw at it, the roof and vent stack both need replacing. Thankfully, we had a sufficient quantity of thicker shingles and cedar breather left over from the re-roofing of the dwelling last year, that Dave will be able to use these materials in his project. Here Dave and one of his Scout team mates can be seen stripping the 25 year old shingles from the structure.
When Boy Scout Steve Wise reconstructed the dwelling for his Eagle Scout service award in 1996, the only photo we had of the building was this one, taken when it was in its original location. However, concrete steps on the foundation of the building in its new location indicated that it was erected as a mirror image of the original structure. As such, we assumed that the window was installed tight against the door frame, as seen here in the historic photo, and when Steve recreated he building we designed the structure accordingly....
However, we recently discovered this second historic photograph of the relocated dwelling in the collection of the Coast Guard Historian's office in Washington DC. Showing the boat house on the left and the relocated assistat keepers dwelling on the right, it clearly shows that the window was actually installed midway between the door and the corner of the wall. As such, Jack DeBacker will be incorporating that change in his reconstruction of the east end of the building over the coming week.
Saturday June 13 - When we made our first trip of the 2015 season to our St. Helena Island Light Station in late May, we found that we were unable to open the door on the smaller of the two reconstructed assistant keepers dwelling at the station. While the key turned and the bolt sounded as though it was retracting, we were unable to budge it, even by placing a board against the door and "persuading" it with a large hammer. Since reconstruction of the building was completed by Troop 4 last year, we did not want to take the chance of damaging the door or frame, and decided it best to leave it for the Troop to evaluate this week. In order to ascertain whether the door was truly unlocking, or not, one of the Troop adults helped one of the Scouts to enter the building through the side window to check things out. Thankfully, it was discovered that the lock mechanism is fie and the door had simply swelled. It will be removed, planed and refitted over the coming week. Great job folks!
Sunday June 14 - It's a beautiful sunny day in the Straits of Mackinac today, and Boy Scout Jack DeBacker is busy working on his Eagle Scout service award restoration of the east wall of the assistant keepers dwelling at our St. Helena Island Light Station.
Wednesday June 17 - a second group of Scouts went out to St. Helena Island, and some of those where were o the island since Saturday, came off. Here they are loading supplies on the dock in Mackinaw City.
Wednesday June 17 - UGLY ANNE is loaded, and we will be heading out as soon as everyone dons their life jackets.
Wednesday June 17 - Captain Chris keeps an eye out for vessels as we make our approach to St. Helena Island.
Wednesday June 17 - The minute we pulled up to the new dock on St. Helena Island, the Scouts began transporting all their supplies down the dock and up to the lighthouse.
Wednesday June 17 - The area immediately behind the summer kitchen is serving double duty as lumber yard for the week's projects and as a dropping off point for arriving group's supplies.
Wednesday June 17  - Each Scout has his own dedicated sack containing plates, cups and silverware, which they hang to dry on lines behind the lighthouse after every meal's wash up.
Wednesday June 17 - The solar array erected earlier by Boy Scout Eli Levine and his team now has a brand new equipment building under construction. These structures were carefully located behind these trees so that it is not visible when moving around the light station proper. The building will be painted a flat greenish-brown so that it will be virtually invisible to those photographing from the south beach or from the lake.
Wednesday June 17 - A close view of the solar array and equipment building. This structure will house the solar controller, inverter and batteries. Great work Eli and team!
Wednesday June 17 - Boy Scout Dave DeBacker has completely stripped the old roof and was installing new rafters. Next will come underlayment, cedar breather and 5/8" saw-cut shingles. It will look beautiful again! Great work Dave.
Wednesday June 17 - Another view of the privy roof restoration.
Wednesday June 17 - Scout Jack Debacker was not actively working on his Eagle Scout project to restore the eastern end of the assistant keepers dwelling during the short time we were on the island, so he had covered his work with a tarp in case of rain.
Wednesday June 17  - UGLY ANNE slowly inches away from the dock for the return trip to Mackinaw City.
Wednesday June 17 - Back on shore in Mackinaw City, the departing group of Boy Scouts and family members paused for a group shot before heading home to Ann Arbor. Great Job folks - thank you so much for your service at St. Helena Island.
Thursday June 18 - A group of boys begin what is becoming a never ending task of building up the approach to the dock as the lake level continues to rise.
Thursday June 18 - Laying out the location of one of an electrical outlet in the keepers office.
Thursday June 18 - A new electrical outlet in the lighthouse living room. Being able to use a vacuum cleaner will be of invaluable assistance in keeping the building spic and span.
Thursday June 18 - Eli Levine (yellow shirt) and one of his team members pulling wire through the conduit leading from the solar array to the charge controller in the new power center building,
Thursday June 18 - Work is underway on one of the roof sections for the power control building. The elevated section in the center will have translucent panels installed to allow light into the building.
Thursday June 18 - This answers the question "how many people does it take to rip a 2"x10" for use on Boy Scout Dave Debacker's restoration of the privy roof
Thursday June 18 - Licensed Electrician Bob Joslin (right) works with scout Eli Levine. The Electrical permit was issued in Bob's name, and he has donated a full week of his time on the island ensuring that every single step of the electrification project is undertaken properly so that it will all pass final inspection.
Thursday June 18 - New soffit and fascia has been installed on Dave Debacker's restoration of the privy roof, and his team is busy installing the underlayment in preparation for the installation of cedar shingles.
Installation of underlayment continues on the north side of the privy roof.
Thursday June 18 - Almost ready for ice and water shield, cedar breather and shingles.
Thursday June 18 - Jack Debacker (green shirt) takes a measurement for the window opening on his project to restore the east wall of the assistant keepers dwelling.
Thursday June 18 - rain late in the morning brought out the taps so work could continue as plywood is installed on the wall of the assistant keepers dwelling.
Thursday June 18 - The plywood is installed, and we are ready for ice and water shield.
Thursday June 18 - Jack Debacker poses in the relocated window in the assistant keepers dwelling. Next comes the installation of the window, trim and clapboards.
Sunday June 21 - Eli Levine's team installed the pole for the solar array and buried the cable to the lighthouse in 2014. This year, his team erected the solar array and this building, which houses the charge controller and the rank of 8 batteries.
Sunday June 21 - Another view of the electrical building next to the solar array. After the wood has dried for a month, the building will be stained a flat greenish-brown so the building is as unobtrusive as possible.
Sunday June 21 - Jack Debacker's completed Eagle Scout restoration of the east wall of the Assistant Keepers dwelling. We ran out of white primer and used a cream color for the remainder of the new clapboards. Repainting the entire building will make a great project for our summer volunteer keepers.
Sunday June 21 - Another view of the restored assistant keepers dwelling. The window looks great in its correct historic location centered between the north wall and the door.
Sunday June 21 - Boy Scout Dave Debacker tackled the restoration of the privy roof for his Eagle Scout service project. Once he stripped the roof, it was found that all of the soffit and fascia and most of the rafters on the north side were rotten, so the rebuild was more exhaustive than anticipated.
Sunday June 21 - A closer view of the privy roof and its elegant tapered ridge cap and ornate vent stack.
Sunday June 21 - Back in Mackinaw City, everyone pitched in to unload the boat and transport everything down the dock to the parking lot, which was quickly filled with cars waiting to head back to Ann Arbor.
Sunday June 21 - The retired icebreaker MACKINAW serves as an elegant backdrop as everything is wheeled down the dock.
Sunday June 21 - on Wednesday when we took out a new group of scouts to the island, we brought a group back, along with all the trash generated on the island at that time. So, if you ever wonder how much trash a troop of Scouts can generate in four days of living on a remote Lake Michigan island, the answer is "this much!"
A Huge and Hearty THANK YOU to all the boys, leaders, parents and mentors associated with Ann Arbor Boy Scout Troop 4. Your annual accomplishments at St. Helena Island are truly miraculous. We can't wait to do it again next year - your 27th amazing year in a row at the island.
Dorothy Smith and her son Charlie and daughter-in-law Leigh stopped by the Cheboygan River Front Range Light yesterday. Dorothy's grandfather was John Duffy, keeper of the Cheboygan Range Lights from 1899 to 1931. Here, she paused during her tour to make an entry in the station journal.