Handcrafted World War II cribbage game returns to Graves Light

You just never know what’s out there.

Two friends alerted us that a certain cribbage board was for sale on eBay, and being the only bidders, we are happy to say that after 77 years, this beautifully hand-crafted game is returned to the watch room on the 5th floor. 

Made by (or for) USCG Keeper Peter Rondeau during the war in 1943, the finely made wooden board just needed pegs and cards, which were thoughtfully provided by our pal Lango.

What a wonderful way to spend a quiet hour surrounded by heavy fog this morning!

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Rebuilding the disappeared granite wharf

When first built, Graves Light included a substantial wharf, built of huge granite blocks.

The sea has swept away all but four of the original massive stones. For years, divers have searched the bottom of the harbor around Graves Ledge and never found any of them.

So we rebuilt the wharf with 2-1/2 ton granite blocks recycled from an old New Hampshire railroad bridge. It was a complicated job.

With ACK Marine, we set three courses of granite blocks extending below most of the elevated wooden dock and a bit further into the harbor.

Guiding the blocks into place with precision required calm seas and a dead low tide. ACK set the first of the three courses of granite in a day.

The blocks were set in place in wet concrete with large holes bored through them.

To slow the inevitable destruction by the sea, the blocks were doubly held into place with massive steel pins that run through holes drilled through the entire thickness of each block and down into the ledge itself. Each pin was attached to the stone beneath the sea with high-tech, environmentally friendly epoxy.

ACK Marine then installed the wooden forms and poured a massive concrete slab behind the blocks to try and prevent heavy winter storms from knocking the whole thing to pieces.

Never know until you try!

Extra thanks to Mike S from King Pine for the helicopter photos and Michael B for the breathtaking overhead picture.

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Let’s talk about pillows

Let’s talk about pillows! We found these great old Navy signal flags and sister Sue expertly crafted them into colorful pillows for the patio furniture at the Oil House.

The letters spell “N-A-Y-O-V.”

What can you spell with the letters “A-N-O-V-Y”?

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A little weather

At Graves, you can always see when it’s about to rain.

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New baby seal

Here’s the newest member of the Graves Light family.

A brand new little critter lounging on the rocks today in front of the lighthouse.

About two feet long and as happy as can be!

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Happy Independence Day

Cheerful signal flags festoon Graves Light as we celebrate another Independence Day.

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Oil House gets a new second-story mahogany deck

Big week over at the Oil House brings master carpenter Karl and his crew back for a 7th straight season. 

While Peter pulled up the mahogany decking, Karl and Sunny, with assists from Rowan, built this magnificent upper deck, complete with a stanchion railing salvaged from a World War II minesweeper.

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Traditional maritime rope completes the oil house interior railing

We had the good fortune to bring in the talents of master rigger José Hernandez Juviel and his wife Becky to weave and knot a traditional rope railing for the oil house. 

Few are skilled in his maritime trade, and it was a privilege for him to design and build it out of sturdy hemp, with a pine tar finish. So many able hands have touched Graves Light to make it shine. A hearty “Three Bells” to José and Becky!

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Not wrecked yet

Graves Light’s Miss Cuddy II is bashed against Graves Ledge, being rescued by a line from Cap’n Jim and Master Diver Luigi aboard Boston Scuba’s Keep-ah.

Dramatic sea rescue! Proof that no matter how well you know Graves Ledge, the area is always treacherous.

Saturday’s calm seas beckoned us to the lighthouse for a maintenance check. Within an hour, a bit of wind sprang up and pulled Miss Cuddy II off her mooring to be thrown mercilessly onto the ledge, roiling in the surf and battering her hull.

These former Coast Guard Defender-class boats are built to take a wicked beating. Their work on Graves Light put them through the toughest tests..

We lost Miss Cuddy I in 2018 due to powerful seas that dragged her mooring and dashed her hull on the ledge. So we turned her into a barge to finish reconstruction work on Graves, and sadly scrapped her last year.

So on Saturday, March 28, 2018, the seas broke Miss Cuddy II from her mooring and slammed her viciously into the basalt ledge.

But just as quickly as bad luck strikes, good luck came our way. The mighty men of Boston Scuba, passing by after work on their trusty dive boat Keep-ah, noticed our plight. Using their expert seamanship they threw us a line and towed us off the rocks to the safety of deeper water.

The culprit: The new mooring had been chewed down to a thread below water, a grim reminder of the relentless power of the North Atlantic.

We raise a glass to our rescuers Cap’t Jim and Master Diver Luigi! Thank you for saving Miss Cuddy II!

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Winter work in the shop gets us closer to spring

Winter is a great time for projects back in the shop. Finishing off the custom bridge railings and connecting them to the Oil House was this weekend’s focus.

The sections will be hot-dip galvanized and ought to be ready in a few weeks. Then we can prefab the porch, take down the hurricane panels and be ready for spring.

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