Monthly Archives: March 2015

Fairwell And Discovery

My extended stay on Jewell Island due to weather is over.  First, I will head over to the group from Rippleeffect, the ones who created the post “Fearfull” as they were departing from Cocktail Cove in two trips via a boat from Cow Island, where the camp is located.  I wish to say goodbye to Scott. He truly impressed me.  In fact, tears welled up in my eyes during one of our conversations.  The catalyst for such a depth of emotion came form how remarkable this young man is and will become.  His passion and love is for young people.  His capacity for growth is immense and everything that he learns will leave its mark upon the hearts of the kids he works with.

The boat now loaded with kayaks is ready to depart.  The fairwell between Scott and myself comes in the form of an endearing hug.  I’m proud of you, Scott.  He climbs into the boat for his ride back.  I think about him and the kids while exploring the lowtide exposure of the bar between Jewell Island and Little Jewell.

The pilings for a dock possibly built by was most likely built by Henry Donnell in 1945.  He is the first documented resident for Jewell Island.  Henry ran a Cod fishing operation which was set up in Cocktail Cove, Long Cove in Henry’s time. [A name I prefer.]   This may have have been where Henry’s dingy would end the day of fishing, once the off loading was complete along a larger wharf connected to Little Jewell Island, named Harbor island as the time.  This is most likely where the fish were processed as there were two fish houses located on the Island.  The only other building became a fortified home at the top of the hill on Jewell Island where the two pilings are located.  (These pilings havce been converted  cement with iron rings. (built for the occupation during the period of the U.S. Navy’s period on the island.)  I should have photographed this area as there is much more to add as to the work that went on this far up the cove.  I’ll do so when I go back.  However, my first trip will be a snatch and grab if I find at least one of two rocks.

I found them during my exploration of the exposed bar approximately halfway to the low tide water  level.  I’ve never seen anything like them and photographed these extensively.

This finding is part of my research time and was the inquiry I sent to the scientist in the U.K..  He did not reply to my questions.  However, the retired geologist who just moved here from Alaska gave me some insight.  I used the information provided to do further study, which was extensive and I’ll spare you the pain from the huge amount of information gathered.

This is the reply I received,  “The rock in your pictures is from what is called the Casco Bay Group—metamorphic rocks that are Ordovician around 445 to 475 million years old. The rusty colored tannish rock is quartz that filled a crack formed in the gray, thinly layered metamorphic rocks. There must be some pyrite (iron sulfide) in the quartz because of the rustiness of the quartz, but the pyrite is probably only in tiny crystals and not easy to see.

I’ve never seen anything quite like the round black things. The big question is whether they are geologic or biologic. If geologic, the color suggests manganese oxide. If they are of geologic origin, the black things would be cross sections through spheres. But what mineral forms relatively large spheroids like this in small quartz veins? I can’t think of any. By default, I have to lean toward a biological origin, say the broken off holdfast of a marine organism.

If you ever go back to this place, grab a sample and we can figure out the mystery.”

My studies have brought me to the conclusion is that the manganese oxide was formed by the bacteria Leptothrix discophora, which is a filement in form and lives in aquatic environments.  It is able to oxidize maganese.  Whether the patterns on these rocks were from by the bacteria or some other creature is not definative.

Questions regarding the mining that went on in thise area ahsould be brought into the equation as well.  One of the bi-products produced was maganese oxide.  However, I have no idea as to how these patterns would form and do so on the mineral make up and size of the rocks. I chose to photograph the rocks as I like to leave nature where it is, nor did I wish to add to the weigh and space of Abbie B.  So,if I do find them, they will be returned.


Untold History

I gave a lot of thought to as to how I should end this portion of my journey. How do I wrap up Jewell Island? What I’ve shared barely scratches the surface of a very unique history.

There was an attack upon the Island’s inhabitants during King Philip’s War by a group of Abenaki “Indians” back in 1676. There is much truth documented as to the true story and later embelished by local storyteller so as to assign a meaning to the name, Indian Rock.


Mining took place as an aside from Cod fishing by two different owners. The second ought to have learned from the first which was a complete failure.

Samuel Butts attempted to mine the pyritic shale to abstract Alum. The operation became known as Butt’s Boondoggle. Capt. Chase leased the land to the newly formed, Portland Mining and Railroad Company. This time Copper was the chief end and Alum as a biproduct of leftovers. The available pyritic shale cost more to obtain than to process, another Boondoggle for sure.

There have been shipwrecks, one of which the men washed ashore.  Capt. Chase owned the island at the time and buried them within the interior of the island, complete with headstones.

The island changed hands many times over the years.  At times, it was divided on a diagonal, having two owners for awhile on separate occasions.  The longest held ownership spanned about sixty years.  The government take-over for the conversion to a light and observation station followed this final ownership.  The Mckeen family farmed the island, clearing much of the southwest end for fields of hay and a few potatoes as as well.  There was a main house, a cabin, guest house and barn.  A wooden wharf was built extending to a single pilon of rock and wood (Later transformed by the military into something more formidable.)  The history of this family’s attachment to Jewell is both interesting and amusing.  I also find it hard to imagine the island as it was then.  The forest is thick and referred to as trees that “reclaimed their land.”

Photo credit Corey Templeton  Foter  CC BY-NC-ND

Oh, there is so much to say.  And, within the desire to speak, I am left with the need to head back to Jewell Island once more.

Treasured Rocks by C.R. White, “By the Sea” 1887

All Jewells of the crown I bring to place before thy feet, o muse, with countless treasures from the earth and air wirth sunbeams from the caves of abondaire:  But none my Jewels can compare with jewels that the sea gods wear:  All in a golden setting sun, where Jewell’s Island on the wave is hung, Like emerald jewels on the bosom fair of the sea nymph Arethusa.

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[Historical information from “History of Jewell Island, Maine” by Peter Benoit.  I tried to contact him for photo permissions, especially of the farm but he is away at this time.]

The Effect of the Sun



The sun gifts us with joy, delight, and pleasure.  It brings out the best, the beautiful.
Subtle Colors thrive amidst the bold.
Spring brings forth its bounty.  Summer explodes into full bloom.

I’m looking forward to both but summer is winning the race.
The heat of the sun upon my skin.  Its warmth delves deep, right down to the bone.

Good bye frigied cold Randolph, NH winter of 2014-2015!

The View

I imagine that most of you have had enough of Jewell Island. Me too. I’ve been on this island far much longer than planned. I’ve walked all the trails and explored most of the shoreline, including the conglomerate places at low tide. Now that I’m home researching the island, I must go back. There are questions that need answers and the off-trail places to explore.

– Back to the journey.

I let go of the rock steps one more time, eyes gazing out over the quiet water. The vision before me changes with each blink of the eye. The reality is that everything I see alters its variables at speeds far beyond true comprehension. The pathway from eye to brain to understanding utterly fails to keep pace with nature.

Colors are mirages blending, melting from one to another; magnified, dimished, refracted, bending. Sun-dogs and rainbows, the aurora borealis, and stratified skies, create large spaces within the depths of self. These are special memories, larger than life creating magical spaces that eclipse even the most difficult circumstances.

Land forms, be it island or rock, a stick in the mud, or the top of a mountain outcrop, fathomless in their own way. Constantly shifting from minsicule displacement to large catastrophick events.


The rest of the constituents above and below, the ocean conveys the most powerful forces that delight and destroy.

Photo credit USFWS Pacific  Foter  CC BY

Photo credit USFWS Pacific Foter CC BY

I was going to wait for a more appropriate time to share another quote from “The Pine Tree State.”  However, I believe it fits within this post rather well, even though the place being referred is Old Orchard Beach, Maine.

“One of Taine’s charming bits of description fits admirably into the scene before us: “The coast stretches into the vapor its long strip of polished sand; the gilded beach undulates softly and opens its hollows to the ripples of the sea. Each ripple comes up foamy at first, then inensibly smooths itself, leaves behind it the flocks of its white fleece, and goes to sleep upon the shore it has kissed. Meanwhile another approaches, and beyond that again a new one, then a whole troop, striping the blue water with embroidery of silver. They whisper low, and you scarecely hear them under the otucry of the distant billows; nowhere is the beach so sweet, so smiling; the land softens its embrace the better to receive and caress those darling creatures, which are, as it were, the little children of the sea.”

This is the picture that the summer visitor knows, all greace and feeling. there is another, known only to those who have stood here when some autumnal gale was storming along the coast as if it would crush it to atoms, when destruction rides upon the tempest, and all the world of waters seems at war with itself. Silence falls on every tongue at sigh ot the great ocean running riot without a guiding hand; for any disturbance in nature’s orderly movements brings home to us, as nothing else can, what shadows we are and what shadow we pursue, —

… and we fools of nature,
So horridly to shake our disposition
With thoughts beyond the reaches of our souls.”
John Taine Click for more ino on this author

Humor On The Sea

I’ve had a busy day today after a long trip to Boston and back yesterday.  Lots to do and tired as well from the trip.  I did a little reading about Casco Bay while icing a knee injury.  I found myself laughing out loud.

The book is now listed on my Recommended Books Page, “The Pine-tree Coast” by Samuel Adams Drake.  Published in 1891.  It’s a book about the coast of Maine as observed from the sea.  The following is a story told from an event on a large vessel in Casco Bay.

The open sea! Ah, that is something to which a first introduction may prove no such agreeable experience, after all! It was even so today, judging by the sudden disappearance of the greater part of the passengers from the decks, the wholly unconventional attitudes of the few who dismally hugged the benches in sight, as well as other and even more unmistakable signs of physical prostration that the boat now presented. As I was making a zig-zag course along the lower deck, from one object of support to another, a sudden lurch threw me into the arms of the mate, who was coming from the opposite direction. “Most alluz find an old sea runnin’ found the “Cape,” he said, then adding, “Most alluz makes more or less folks on well, the motion doos. We had two gents aboard of us last trip. One of ‘em was a lawyer. My grief, wasn’t he done up, though!  T’other wasn’t a bit. There he sot, smoking as calm as a kitten. He was a high-up judge goin’ down to hold court. “Can I do anything for you” says he. “Yes, gasped the seasick one; ‘I wish your honor would overrule this motion.’ ”

You may not find this funny but I paddled the area where this occurred and it is a bit wild on its own.  Add some wind and weather, there be some trouble.

Enjoy your evening and I’ll be back to Twenty Twenty Days At Sea and other Posts tomorrow.

Be willing to let go.  Stay in the moment.  Live in peace.

A Little Rough

A Little Rough

Author a Passenger on Vessel

Author a Passenger on Vessel


I spent a good deal of time exploring the stone steps and so did many of my readers.  For this reason, I am re-posting the photo before continuing my journey.  It will all fit together.

[Those of you who have not read yesterday’s post will find it helpful with this post. Click to read.]

Originally posted in A New World

The colorful stones are part of what is referred to as The Casco Bay Group.  Specifically, The Jewell Formation with the description as being  Rusty and non-rusty weathering mica-rich schist and phyllite of the Ordovician period some 445-475 million years ago.  Source:

The Ordovician period was a busy time for geological events.  I’ll still to the “rocks” here.  The source article states the following, “Partial closing of Iapetus Ocean brings about collision of island arc of western New Hampshire with North America resulting in the Taconic Orogeny.  Collision of Casco Bay island arc with AvaIonia results in deformation of rocks of Casco Bay Group.  Deposition of formations of the Casco Bay Group; volcanism associated with ocean 485 lithosphere builds island arc.”

What I’m most interested in is the phyllite as it is the chief component of the rock steps and of the southwestern portion of Jewell Island.  “Phyllite is between slate and schist in the spectrum of metamorphic rocks.  Phyllite has flat or crinkled cleavage faces and shiny colors, and schist has intricately wavy cleavage and glittering colors.”  Phyllite generally is in the pelitic series—rocks that are derived from clay sediments—but sometimes other rock types can take on the characteristics of phyllite too. That is, phyllite is a textural rock type, not a compositional one. The sheen of phyllite is from microscopic grains of mica, graphite, chlorite and similar minerals that form under moderate pressure.” Source:

…  I turn toward the sea and find it as magnetic to my senses as it has been since we first met.  I am greeted with kaleidoscopic variables every time I visit, with each glance or blink of the eye. This space, where my feet are planted is as ever changing and enchanting as the previous moment. However, I feel compelled to let it be for now and take advantage of the low tide.  I wish to investigate the features of the southwest end of Jewell Island.

My feet sink into finely ground stones with each step, adding a personal contribution toward geological history.  The high bank has a distinct rusty colored belt.  This feature adds pyritiferous shale to the phyllite picture.  Pyrite is all sparkles and fun to look at.  But when these crystals are exposed to the elements, they disintegrate.
“Metamorphism can cause the pyrites to grow as quite large crystals which are hard and shiny when the slate is freshly split. But beware! Pyrites are notoriously unstable when exposed to air and rain and will soon rot away to a rusty stain, leaving a hole. Some pyritic slates will rot away completely.


This “rotting away” is clearly demonstrated at the bank by the stone steps.


There is significant erosion due to the oxidation of pyrite as well as the sedimentary nature of phyllite.

A New World

The rain that dissipated to a mist no longer exists.  I’m up and out to see the new world.  Glad to be outside of my boring tent.  That’s right boring.  Don’t get me wrong.  I love my tent.  We’ve been together a very long time.  I would never betray it!

My tent is roomy but always arranged in the same way.  Every piece of gear and stuff has its place.  That’s my grove.  My organization.  It makes for easy living and efficiency in packing and unpacking.

However, the decor is no different.  It never changes.  My tent is always the same size, shape and color, both inside and out.  The light of the sun and moon are the only variables that create some variation . However, the degree their influence is minute.

I stretch and then walk down beautiful steps made of island rock and stone.  I want to stand on the naked shore, open and exposed, as the tidal forces have pushed the sea elsewhere.  And like so many times in other journeys, I must grasp this moment.  I want to see it all as if in a bubble, memorizing every detail so as not to forget.  I smell the air and look out over the sea.  I feel the air, moist against my skin.  And then, I stop.  Still as a statue.  What was that behind me?  I turn and face the steps.

Someone had a vision, an idea for preserving this place.
Others understood and gathered round.
I see furrowed foreheads weighted with concern,
For the concert between an island and the sea.
Someone drew up a plan.
Others commented.
After a short time,
The many agree to the final draft
Of what was only a thought.

The work begins.
A group of volunteers,
Bearing no thought for pay or compensation.
All that matters is to repair the damage,
And preserve the future.
Stone and rock are chosen,
Sifted and Sorted.
Infrastructure completed.
Erosion contained,
Preparing the way.
From one to the next,
The stones are set in place.

I imagine grit and laughter.
Problems to solve and problems solved.
I certainly know this.
For now I stand,
On just one step.
Firm beneath my feet,
Enjoying the feel of this new world.



I’ve just spent three hours researching one of my more interesting discoveries at Jewell Island. Boy, was there a lot of material and science far beyond my intellect. I can speculate and draw conclusions from what I’ve learned so far. However, the good news is that I found someone who if he so chooses will be able to solve the mystery. We will have to wait until I hear back from him which I hope is soon. I’m extremely curious about this one.

Until then, enjoy your night and I’ll greet you tomorrow with another story from Twenty One Days at Sea.


Kids from Rippleeffect


Alpine Glow

IMG_6689 copy

Alpine glow at sunrise ablaze from my backyard Mt. Crescent.

I’m wishing for spring and the warmth summer.
But a glorious display changed my mind this morning.

What’s the hurry?
Why be impatient?

Give in to the day
And savor its treasures.

A Silly Moment

I find this scene inside my head, while relaxing inside my tent.  I can’t help but have some fun.
A mischievous moment under the sun, as the rain shrinks down to a little misty drizzle.


Giggling girl just out of site.  This photo world holds its breath.  
Uh, Oh.  Cartwheels and Handsprings across the foreground!