On the Island

“What’s In a Name?” from the Concord Monitor

UCC I Conferee Phil Daley sent us a link to the new “What’s In a Name?” column from the Concord Monitor.

“Back in 1985, Daley and his family were vacationing on Star Island, part of the Isles of Shoals off the New Hampshire coast, when his wife, Barbara Lois, went into labor…”

It’s a charming, short anecdote that we’re sure will amuse you.

Neighbors in the Shoals

Appledore Wind Tower Project

The Shoals Marine Lab (SML) on Appledore Island has an exciting pilot wind project you will see from Star Island this summer. The Marine Lab is constructing a single 80-foot high wind tower on Appledore this spring. This will provide the off-season energy needed to support one of the UNH research projects that has been on Appledore for the last several years. Right now that program gets its power from Appledore generators which not only cost more to run but also add fuel emissions to the atmosphere.

SML has achieved endorsement letters from the bird banding projects and other environmental groups on the island. It has also achieved permission from the NH Department of Environmental Protection, Maine Inland Fisheries and Wildlife and, the town of Kittery, Maine for construction. As we search for green energy sources, all involved groups see the tower as part of their research on wind tower impacts on various parts of the environment, so this experiment could help the cause of safe wind generation on a number of levels.

As you may be aware, Star Island Corporation owns Appledore Island and leases it to the Shoals Marine Lab. In June of 2006 the Star Island Corporation board granted SML permission to construct the tower in support of the potential long-term environmental benefits this pilot project could bring to the Isles of Shoals. One great feature of this wind tower is that it lowers to the ground on a pivot point, so the ability exists to raise the tower in the off-season and lower it for the summer season (see film clip below). The board granted SML permission to keep the tower up for the entirety of 2007 including the summer season. Over the summer we hope you’ll share your thoughts on visual and auditory impact. We expect and hope the tower will be moderate in its impact and will continue use throughout the years, and also recognize that if there are significant negative impacts to those at Star, we have the ability to ask SML to keep the tower lowered during the summer season in the future.

Note: nothing really happens for the first 30 seconds of the video. Hang in there.

On the Island

May 2nd Conference Waitlist Update

We have updated the Calendar page with new waitlist information.

All Star I, All Star II, International Affairs, Institute on Religion in an Age of Science, and Life on a Star I are currently reporting a waitlist. Contact the relevant registrars for details—short waitlists can sometimes clear due to cancellations!

Neighbors in the Shoals

Ram Island, Maine, for Sale

Interested in your own island off the New England coast?

Ram Island, off the coast of Machiasport, Maine, is for sale on eBay today. It’s a 16-acre, uninhabited rock known for its bird habitats. Bidding starts at $795,000!

From the description:

The island has a hill in the center some 60 feet above sea level. That’s a good height. From up there you can see the entire island. You can see the entire world. To the north, the main island, Foster Island, the Cutler towers and stone Island (with it’s virgin forest.) To the east the Libbys, and Libby Island light. To the west which was my favorite view, were the beautiful sunsets. Then, Scabby Island, The Brothers and Cadillac mountain in the distance. And to the south is the open ocean.

Ram Island is very far to the east, very quiet and very private. Its too far east for most cruising boats. It’s special and exciting to spot a sail. Ram is raw nature. It’s all about the sea, and the sky, the waves, the wind and the tide. It has a big tide, around 18 feet. It’s really two islands, a high tide one and a low tide one. It’s filled with wonderful sounds. Big waves crashing against the cliffs, and small waves quietly lapping the stone beaches, rolling the round smooth stones over and over. New sounds that appear for a while as the rising and falling tides uncover crevices and canyons in the cliffs.

For a week we live like Swiss Family Robinson, cooking over an open fire on the beach. Living outdoors, sitting by the fire until late at night and sleeping in our clothes. There’s nothing to do on Ram Island. Just walk, sit, look at the sea, lay on your back in the grass and watch the sea gulls play tag, and think.

Sounds like something all of us Shoalers would enjoy!

On the Island

Nor’easter Update

Update, April 20: Sumar & Kristen were on WMUR news last night, talking about the storm! Check out the online companion article “Workers Stranded On Island During Storm”. It includes video (requires a Windows PC, sorry). The story has also been picked up by WCVB in Boston, under the headline “Nor’easter Strands Pair On Island.”

Intrepid Facilities Manager Sumar Maji has reported back with more information on damage to Star over the last few days as high winds and tides repeatedly pounded the island.

“As far as damage goes, we’re in good shape structurally,” he told the office by phone yesterday, but went on to describe some fairly serious weather-related destruction that became evident after he and the Pels examined the island more closely.

He noted a breach to the floodwall around the main pump station that receives waste water from half of the island. Flood waters tossed rocks and debris under the truck trestle, damaging pipes and destroying the pump station’s manifold.

The top surface of the pier was scarred and damaged after being basically underwater through high tide. The entire upper surface has been pockmarked and cracked and the railing washed away.

There was also damage to the roof of Sandpiper which has resulted in a waterlogged and ravaged ceiling.

Tons of debris has washed ashore around the wastewater treatment facility and across the front lawn, which will require significant clean-up.

In general, Sumar hopes the open-up crew and volunteers can help get the island back on track in time for the summer season. More updates to come!

You can check out the great article “Three are stranded but OK on Star Island” by Karen Dandurant in today’s Portsmouth Herald, which features an interview with Sumar.

More photos, courtesy Athena Steinkraus: