Mystery Harbor Fall: Seguin Island

December 2023

Editor’s note: Holy smokes did we get tons of email after posting the October/November Mystery Harbor. I’m only half-joking when I say we could have published an entire issue of Points East that just featured correct answers. If you submitted one and don’t see it here, it’s likely because it was similar to someone else’s. That said, thank-you, everyone, for playing! It’s encouraging to know that so many folks out there are still picking up this little magazine.

And the winner is . . .

The Mystery Harbor in the Oct./Nov. issue of Points East is Seguin Island off the coast of Maine. A few years ago, while cruising the Maine coast in our Tartan 37, we decided to make a stop at Seguin, where we found a handful of moorings in the cove. We took the dinghy ashore and ascended the steep hill up to the lighthouse. We were greeted by a gentleman who was mowing the grass. He identified himself as the volunteer lighthouse keeper and invited us to go on to the lighthouse where his wife would be happy to show us around. She was delightful and more than happy to answer our questions. It turns out that this couple has served as volunteer lighthouse keepers for several summers at various lighthouses. Each year they vie for another adventure, and they obviously enjoy the experience. A weekly boat makes a run from the mainland for provisioning. In the photo is a long conveyor (currently out of service) that was used for years to haul provisions up the hill for the lighthouse keepers. Needless to say, the view from the top was spectacular. We have passed Seguin for many years on our way Down East and are grateful that the conditions were perfect that day for our visit to the island and the keepers.

George and Kathy Gillis

Cataumet, Mass.

Tramway gave it away

The harbor pictured in your Oct./Nov. 2023 issue is Seguin Island. The tramway was the clue for me, as far as recognizing the cove. I have been traveling down the Kennebec River for many years and currently keep a boat at Robinhood Marine, in Georgetown. I have enjoyed swimming around the cove after catching a mooring there; it’s protected, and an enjoyable place to swim.

Charlie Brown

Naples, Maine


Two Coast Guard moorings there

Last month’s Mystery Harbor is none other than Seguin Island, off the mouth of the Kennebec River. The bluffs on the right of the photo and the raised tramway jumped right out at me. It’s not the most protected anchorage, but the two heavy duty U.S. Coast Guard moorings there make it a great picnic spot. And a hike up to the lighthouse, with its amazing view of midcoast Maine and Mount Washington, is always worthwhile.

Tom Woodruff

Ipswich, Mass.


Is it really a harbor, though?

I’m not sure last month’s Mystery Harbor qualifies as a harbor – anchoring is restricted due to cables and depth, the moorings are few, and the swell intrudes in almost every wind direction. There is nothing ashore but a difficult hike to the one dwelling. But the view from the top of Seguin Island is wonderful. You can see from Cape Elizabeth to Monhegan, and the dwelling and lighthouse, which are maintained by the Friends of Seguin Island Light Station, are fascinating. My first trip there was in the late 1960s when the Coast Guard still maintained the light. The fresnel lens was – and is – amazing, and power required for the light is remarkably low.

Jesse Deupree

Portland Maine

Can’t beat the view

The Mystery Harbor is Seguin Island, just south of the mouth of the Kennebec River. With my SeaRay still in the “hospital” with a blown motor, I rented a 23-foot center console and took one of my brothers and two friends out of Bath in early October. A picture-perfect fall day, we stopped at Perkins Island Light in the Kennebec, and then pushed through a hefty swell left from a tropical low in the Gulf of Maine, to a mooring in Seguin’s small inner harbor. One sailboat was moored ahead of us – plus a plethora of logs and seaweed pushed up against the stone beach, making landing a challenge. But once ashore, you can’t beat Seguin for its trails, its lengthy nautical history, and un-matched 360-degree visibility.

Tim Plouff

Otis, Maine


A treasure worth seeking

Our very first cruise of the 2023 boating season included a wonderful visit to Seguin Island, your latest Mystery Harbor. Our 32 Nordic Tug, Luna, hails from South Bristol, Maine. This year’s first cruise in June was a short, four-day trip to Boothbay Harbor to catch the lobster boat races, and then out to Seguin, a place we’d passed by for years, intending to visit one day. After picking up a guest mooring and kayaking ashore, we hiked the trail to the lighthouse and were enthusiastically greeted by this year’s volunteer lighthouse tenders Rick and Lee. Rick treated us to a spectacular tour of the lighthouse and its history. Finally, it was time to head back to Luna and reflect on what a treasure the Friends of Seguin Island Light Station have preserved for the public to enjoy.

Steven Shannon

Scituate, Mass


A Whaler will get you there

This is the mooring/access for Seguin Light in the mouth of the Kennebec. The first visit there was with our kids. We beached our 15-foot Whaler, and the Coast Guard gave us a grand tour.

Our most recent trip was with our grandchildren in the same Whaler. The ladies with the Friends of Seguin Island Light Station set up the kids with balsa-wood gliders that they launched from the light tower.

Jeff Knapp

Rye, N.H.


Hey, Dad, I recognize that place!

My dad was reading your magazine when I looked over his shoulder. Then I saw a place that was familiar. I said, “I recognize that place – it’s Seguin!” I remember once when I was on a cruise with my family, we went to Seguin. We walked up to the lighthouse. The toy maker was there, and me and my sister made wooden boats with him. My boat that I made sailed a lot. Here is a photo from that day. (Note from Julian’s dad: We were there in July on a foggy day. The volunteer caretakers were excited to see us, as they had not had a lot of visitors due to the rainy weather in June. We always try to stop at Seguin for a visit if we’re in the area, as it’s a great place for a walk, and the kids love the lighthouse.)

Julian (age 7) and Gregg Carville

Freeport, Maine


We know this place quite well

Seguin Island is no mystery to my family and me. We were regular volunteers out there for about 20 years. We helped with the seasonal opening and closing, and helped complete maintenance projects and needed repairs from the winter weather and storms. Our son, with the help of many other volunteers and donations, built the composting toilet there as an Eagle Scout project. And both he and our daughter served as summer keepers at the lighthouse.

Dave and Linda Power

Phippsburg, Maine


Exit your dinghy quickly

My educated guess for the Mystery Harbor in the fall edition of Points East is Seguin Island. My eyesight isn’t what it used to be, but I think I can make out the rail that was used to haul up oil and goods for the keepers when it was manned. The original structure on the island was built in 1795, and the current tower there, which was erected in 1857, is 180-feet tall. Landing on the beach at low tide isn’t too bad, but high tide puts you onto large rocks. With a swell running it can be hard work to stay dry. Sage advice is to get out the dinghy quick before the next wave hits.

Ian and Claire Marshall

Harpswell, Maine

Painted the top of the light twice

Here’s what the harbor looked like on Oct. 4, looking out of the harbor to the north as we were waiting for a lobster boat from Fort Popham in Phippsburg, Maine, to come and pick three of us up and take us ashore after doing the last steps to “close up” the island for the winter.

I have been traveling to this month’s mystery cove for better than 30 years to visit the island and to perform volunteer projects for the Friends of Seguin. This is a non-profit organization that took over care of the buildings, etc. after the light was automated in the 1980s. Amongst my upkeep projects, I have repainted the top of the light – twice! ’Tis a wonderful place!

Greg and Anne Bridgman

West Bath, Maine

Wife still talks about the place

My wife has a slight obsession with lighthouses. I was talking with Dave Powers (a member of Friends of Seguin Island Light Station) one day while looking at tools on his tool truck. I mentioned that my wife wanted me to take her out to see Seguin Light. He suggested I go the following weekend, because he knew another member was going to be out there working to get things ready for winter. We did, and the fellow gave both us and another boat that had arrived a personalized tour that included a trip up into the tower and of the museum. Such a great experience with someone so passionate about caring for a piece of our history. My wife still talks about that trip 20-something years later.

James Longe

Walpole, Maine

Highest lighthouse in Maine

Your Mystery Harbor (if the mooring area at Seguin Island can be called a harbor) is the landing area at Seguin Island. It’s easily recognizable by the tram railway that the keeper and U.S. Coast Guard once used to get supplies up to the light. We stop there frequently on our annual cruise to Penobscot Bay from our home base in South Portland. I’m sort of a lighthouse nut, and in 2023 I completed my long quest to take a picture of all the Maine lighthouses from the water. Seguin is the answer to two lighthouse questions: What is the highest lighthouse on the coast of Maine? (180 feet) and; Where can you stand in Maine and see the most lighthouses? (at least nine).

Jerry Senger

Scarborough, Maine


Overnighters beware . . .

My wife says this is a creepy harbor to spend the night. Maybe because it and everything outside this small harbor’s protection leaves you feeling quite exposed. The swirling waters around Seguin Island are due to the strong flows from the mouth of the Kennebec. Strong current can combine with open ocean swell to make passages through this area feel dangerous. The night we arrived there it was late, and the only remaining mooring in the harbor was a bit close to shore. We figured we’d be OK, but then woke up in the middle of the night feeling our keel clunking around on the rocky bottom with each gentle swell. It was dead low tide, but we decided we’d better move. We tied up to the steel Coast Guard mooring, visible in the front of the picture, at 3 a.m.

Allen Smith

Greene, Maine


Passes the island each summer

I had always wanted to visit Seguin Island, as a friend from Kingston, N.H., had described her experience growing up there as the daughter of one of the keepers. We arrived by Drascombe Lugger with no dinghy. So I dropped my wife off at the shore, tied to the Coast Guard mooring and swam in. Yes, the water was very cold. I did wear a life jacket, though. In those days (20 years ago) you could actually climb the light into the Fresnel lens. On our last trip two years ago, I appreciated using a dinghy to get ashore. And you can still climb the tower and walk around the platform outside the lantern. We pass Seguin each summer traveling up the coast to Maine and Nova Scotia and it is always a temptation to stop in.

John M. Maull

Exeter, N.H.



He always wanted to go, so . . .

This is the cove at Seguin Island. It’s located off of Popham beach, Maine, at the mouth of the Kennebec River. The ramp in the picture goes up to the lighthouse. On a clear night my old friend and fellow sailor, Henry Meyers, could see the light from his home on the back side of Peaks Island, in Portland. Henry would always say that before he died he wanted to sail to Seguin. I always told him we are not going! Henry finally passed over the bar. On a cold, stormy day in October, Points East contributor Albert Presgrave, Henry’s wife Mary and I sailed up to Seguin in Albert’s motorsailer and buried a little memento of Henry’s near the summit. May he rest in peace.

Fred Goguen

Harpswell Maine


Disaster averted

Your last Mystery Harbor looks like Seguin, with the long ramp leading up to the lighthouse. We were at the top of that lighthouse when I looked out and saw an ominous dark cloud in the distance. We quickly headed back to our Cal 2-29, put on our life jackets, and headed for Small Point Harbor in Casco Bay. The squall struck us before we got there. On CH-16 we heard several pan-pan calls regarding capsized sailboats, and a report of a tornado north of us. We got wet, but were prepared and made it safely to the basin for the night. Too bad we did not have more time to explore Seguin.

Paul and Anne Duval

Winthrop, Mass.


We experienced the spring equinox there

It’s Seguin Island, which is a small island off Cape Small, just north of Casco Bay, in Maine. The first time we stopped there was on our way north on our first season of full-time cruising in Maine from South Portland. After walking up the old ramp to the lighthouse and hiking the wonderful trails, we sat on the bench overlooking Cape Small where the lighthouse keeper told us there was a special event that night. It was the spring equinox, and the sunset and moonrise coincided. It was a pretty auspicious beginning to our adventure. The second time was the next year on our way south, when we almost ran out of diesel coming back from Down East via Monhegan. A wind shift had us tacking laboriously upwind for the final hour, and we used our last precious drops of diesel to maneuver into the harbor. Our stops at Seguin were bookends to our two seasons in Maine that reflected the range of experiences of life on a sailboat.

Natasha Salvo and Will Gerstmyer

South Portland, Maine