Busy weekend on station as we install our new bank of solar panels on the shed roof.
The Coast Guard’s solar panels to operate the navigation light and fog horn occupy the south and east faces of the watch deck, 100 feet above sea level. So the only place left to install panels is on the next-highest point – the new shed roof, about 25 feet above sea level.
This is a challenge because the shed replaces the one washed away in the big gale a few months ago.
Karl and Will, our Nantucket cabinet makers, teamed up with Randy and Dave to design what we hope is a hurricane-proof system to lock down the panels on the sturdy shelf roof. High winds and working over an angry ocean slowed us up a bit, but we’re almost ready to wire it and say good-bye to the gas cans.
Coast Guard solar panels are at the top of the lighthouse, so the new shed is our only alternative.
Windy conditions made panel installation a challenge.
Lots of teamwork to make us 100% solar powered.
Installation nears completion. Batteries will ensure 24/7 power.
Pat attached the spliced line to an antique US Lighthouse Service block.
Cap’n Pat splices line to hang a lamp.
Staying at Graves during the nor’easter meant that the guys would spend the eve of St. Patrick’s Day eve having some quiet fun when the storm hit.
We took an antique U.S. Light House Establishment (USLHE) dock lantern, and repurposed it to become a hanging lamp in the kitchen.
The kitchen is on the watch deck just below the operational U.S. Coast Guard navigational beacon.
Cap’n Pat spliced an old length of line through an old USLHE pulley block.
Then we hung the lantern from the apex of the arch formed by the recovered First Order Fresnel Lens, just beneath the navigational beacon.
Then we hung the lantern beneath the actual navigation lamp.
The twin double-decker mahogany bunk beds have their own lighting now. We used brass marine lamps salvaged from an old ship.
For the first time in 40 years, the Graves Light living quarters have electricity again.
The staircases on all levels of Graves Light now shine with the new electrical system.
It was big day “on station” as Jeff and Jacob from Nor’East Marine powered up the lights.
Not only do we have LED lighting on every floor and stairwell, but we’ll have regular house current for tools and toasters.
For nerds only: They’ve installed a dozen 2-volt marine batteries and we’re running all systems on 24 volts DC. Right now, the batteries are topped up with a generator.
The plan – if we can make it work – is to do some solar and wind next season.
Art Graves drills into the cast iron ceiling to prepare installation of restored ship’s lanterns.
Power up! The next big project is running the wires for lights and outlets.
Graves Light has no electric power of its own, except for the solar-powered lamp to guide ships to Boston.
Since it’s an unforgiving environment atop a stone ledge four miles out to sea, every connector, fixture and device must be marine-rated.
Here we have Art Graves (yes – that’s his real name) drilling into the cast iron ceiling to mount the antique ship’s lamps we restored over the winter.
Refurbished bronze ship lanterns will provide electric light to Graves.
Soon we’ll install bronze lamps salvaged from old ships as interior lighting at Graves.
We cleaned up and reserved the lamps over the winter, so they’re ready to go.
Tough drilling overhead!