The New York Times Life on an Island: Silence, Beauty and a Long Wait for the Ferry On remote islands off the coast of Maine, small bands of residents stay through the long winter. They embrace the emptiness and a frontier sensibility. By KATHARINE Q. SEELYE – FEB. 23, 2018
[T]he 75-foot vessel Sunbeam, which is operated year-round by the nonprofit group Maine Seacoast Mission, is seen as a lifeline, especially in winter. Often breaking the ice in the coves and harbors it visits, the Sunbeam provides a communal gathering place for islanders, who go aboard for meals and stay for the fellowship.
[Island Health director Sharon] Daley has been the Sunbeam’s nurse for 17 years, and has built up relationships with many of the islanders.
She makes home visits on the islands and sees patients for routine procedures like flu shots. Using specialized equipment, she also conducts telemedicine sessions from the boat with doctors from the mainland, tackling physical ailments and mental health issues, including depression, addiction and even marriage counseling.
Douglas Cornman, another Sunbeam crew member, is the boat’s director of island outreach and its chaplain. He tries to combat the islanders’ feelings of isolation, publishing an anthology of their creative writing, counseling island students on the transition to mainland high schools, and officiating at weddings and funerals.
February 10, 2018 — The Sunbeam cruised to Frenchboro last night. Islanders and crew gathered in the garage of the Community Building to play a couple of lively games of BINGO.
Here is a photo of me calling out numbers to the players. There aren’t a lot of opportunities for communities to gather together on an island in February. It was great to see how many folks braved the cold to join in the fun!
Douglas Cornman, Island Outreach Director
Learn more about the Island Outreach Director’s work on Maine unbridged islands.
CHERRYFIELD, Me — The Final Phase construction on the Weald Bethel Community Center is on target for completion by June 1. To better accommodate the skilled, hardworking, volunteer groups who travel here to help, the addition will house 49 volunteers, complete with bathrooms, showers, commercial kitchen. The new space can also be utilized for other Mission programs for students, families, and seniors.
Housing Rehabilitation Program Coordinator Scott Shaw especially cited Lee Watrous (CT) and his work crew, Cumberland Congregational Church (ME), Ascension Lutheran Church (PA), and Assabet Valley Vocational School (MA) for contributing time, materials, and resources to ensure the Final Phase is completed on time.