Our lighthouse journey took a bit of a beating as heavy seas pounded our trusty Miss Cuddy II, parted her newly installed Hazelett Marine mooring at Graves Light and cast her ten miles to smash her on Strawberry Ledge at Situate.
Minot’s Ledge Light is seen in the distance as the guys from Sea Tow Boston and South Shore recover Miss Cuddy II, upright her, and float her away.
The North Atlantic’s merciless thrashing on the granite reminds us of the dangers of the sea. Yet Miss Cuddy II’s hull was left intact – testimony to the shipwrights at Safe Boat who built her for the US Coast Guard.
Fortunately the crew was safe at Graves Light the whole time. Many thanks (again) to Capt. Jim of Boston Scuba who came out to get us two days later when the seas were calm enough. The treacherous rocks and waters of Graves Ledge are no stranger to Capt. Jim, who rescued Miss Cuddy II a year ago.
As for Miss Cuddy II – she was floated back to shore and got a ride on a trailer. Meanwhile, we brought a group to dive around Strawberry Ledge and pick up the wreckage. Many thanks to state and local authorities for their help.
Not everything at Graves Light is happy and fun. Our trusty Miss Cuddy I went to the scrap yard. The former Coast Guard Defender-class boat ferried us all back and forth from the lighthouse until bad seas dragged her on her moorings to a terrible beating on Graves Ledge.
We removed Miss Cuddy‘s pilot house and turned her into a service barge. She spent all of 2019 doing the drudge work for the Oil House and footbridge.
This week we took her to a scrap yard in Everett. We gave the pilot house to a local tugboat operator and one of the engines to our roofer, and salvaged a bunch of small parts for her replacement, Miss Cuddy II. We had to strip the two big orange flotation collars off her hull.
At the scrap yard, she weighed in at 5,200 pounds of aluminum hull and other metal parts, including the old Coast Guard gun mounts.
It was a sad sight indeed to see her crunched up and tossed onto the scrap heap like an old toy. Afterward we saw Toy Story 4.
Miss Cuddy I sure did give us years of great service. Using her hull as a barge worked out great for ferrying the stone, copper, and steel parts for the reconstructed Oil House and footbridge.
“Twilight and evening bell, And after that the dark! And may there be no sadness of farewell, When I embark; For tho’ from out our bourne of Time and Place The flood may bear me far, I hope to see my Pilot face to face When I have crost the bar.”
Since then, she’s hauled about 19 tons of steel, stone, and timber to supply us with materials for summer projects.
These five pictures show the process.
Using a big two ton-crane at the Winthrop Town Pier, Harbormaster Larry and his crew gently lower the supplies into her hold. We secure the load and begin the hour long haul to Graves, where we fasten Miss Cuddy tight to the rocks at high tide and pull the supplies using a hoist and cable trolley system designed by Nelson Metals in Maine with Nelson Wire Rope near Philadelphia.
Why such a crazy scheme? Well, due to the topography of Graves Ledge, a traditional crane and barge rig can’t get close enough to set the pilings for the new footbridge, or set the granite blocks for the Oil House.
So we devised a low-impact, greener (much!) method of transport.
At the end of the season, we’ll haul away the scaffolding, tidy up the worksite, and (sniff!) cut up Miss Cuddy for scrap.
Good ol’ Miss Cuddy I!
(Yes, we now have Miss Cuddy II, another Defender-class boat.)
Graves Light is a historic landmark. At the outermost entrance to Boston Harbor and the tallest lighthouse in the Boston area, Graves Light is privately owned but continues to serve as a navigation aid run by the US Coast Guard.
The new owners welcome the adventurous public to enjoy the sights of Graves Light, but warn that there are no electrical, water, sanitary, first aid, or other facilities of any kind available to the public at the lighthouse or on Graves Ledge.
Graves Ledge is dangerous. Submerged rocks present a navigation hazard. We insist that visitors enjoy the ledge and lighthouse from the safety of their boat or kayak.
Meanwhile, follow us through this website, Facebook, and on Twitter @GravesLight.