Island Watch

How can I become an Island Watch?

You can become an island watch by reaching out and contacting the manager of Keri Selts MTÜ Peep Rada, who is in charge of organizing the shifts of island guards. The best way to contact Peep is by E-mail peep@keri.ee. As the wish list is long, we ask you to be patient and understanding. However, there might be occasions when a listed island guard cannot commit to planned watch week and the island can be free for a week right away. We recommend you also to follow posts on the Keri group Facebook page. 

How can I get to the island?

Transportation to and from the island is for the most dependent on the weather and availability of the vessels. So far no one has been left stuck on the island, but you need to be ready to reckon that trips can take place earlier or later than planned, from two hours to up to two days. In reality, one-day delays are more common. This is just something to consider. The duration of the week from Sunday to Sunday is more symbolic. It can also be from Friday to next Tuesday, as well from Tuesday till Friday. Typically, shifts are within weekend days. 

The cost of the boat ride to and from the island is 45€, kids 30€. This contains a round trip. 

There might be occasions when a boat comes from and takes you to nearby Prangli and to the mainland you would have to take the local ferry. Either way, the cost for the boat ride would remain 45€, plus then also a ferry ticket for 6€ one way. 

The more exact time schedules for the boat ride will be made within a week before the trip. In a case of the difficult weather situation, an exact time can be agreed in just a few days in advance. For this, we will keep in contact over the phone with every island watch separately.  

All the things you need for the week must also fit into the boat. So, the target is to take with you as little as possible, but enough to make you enjoy your week on the island. 

What’s the weather like on Keri aka what to wear?

The climate on Keri is different from the mainland climate. It is windier on the sea. Also on the island. The temperature of the air, when the sun is not shining, differs from the sea just by few degrees either way. On the other hand, during the sunny calm weather, hot rocks can evoke a “bubble” of hot air over the island and it can become very hot. For sure, you would need warm windproof clothes for every season. Even for the warmest summer season. 

The temperature of the water will rise above +15C only after midsummer and falls below +15C again in mid-September. So all season is milder than usual and in delay for a period of a month or so. This way you can see lilacs blossom still in mid-July.  

It does not rain as much on Keri as it does on the mainland. There are noticeably more sunny days. The grass can try off in July. You need to be careful with direct sunlight and sunbathing. Sunscreen is needed as, in addition to the direct sunlight, you will also be getting reflection of the sun rays from the surrounding sea. 

If you are choosing what to take with you, prefer older clothes, that you would not mind getting dirty. On the island, there is just you and your people, so the more comfortable you feel, the better the experience. 

What’s the boat ride like and how to pack?

During the boat ride be ready for the cold strong wind. In addition to the wind on the sea, there will be wind from driving and water splashes in case of a side wind. With nice weather, the speed of the boat will be approximately 45-55km/h. With higher waves, you have to be prepared for getting wet. Even on a hot summer day, I recommend wearing a warm winter jacket, hat, scarf and gloves. Perfect, if you have also a raincoat to pull over it all. 

For packing your stuff, it is better to make smaller lighter packs, so it would be easier to take them out from the rocking boat. Huge and heavy pack bags are harder to handle and accidents are easier to happen. It is best to divide your things by size and weight. Also, it is best to keep fragile and not waterproof things separately. All the bags are piled up on the bottom of the boat and they have to handle the concussion of the waves. Cardboard boxes are not recommended, as water from rain and splashes can turn them soft and soggy. It is best to either use waterproof bags or cover your own bags with bigger garbage bags. Or, you can pack your things inside your bag into smaller plastic bags. Be creative! 

Why can’t I take my dog with me?

Having pets on the island is complicated. As Keri is a nesting place for a lot of birds, cats and dogs are not welcomed on the island. 

There have been more than 77 different species of birds and animals on the island. There have also been chicken take onto the island (at its own risk). 

What’s already available on the island?

There are two rooms from the old island watch house to be used. You can find sleeping places for 5 people, but you can always find ways and room for more if needed. Beds have mattresses on them. You would have to bring your own beddings – sheet, pillow, blanket or a sleeping bag. Few of those things can also be found from the island for emergencies as well. 

Rooms can´t be heated at the moment, because the stoves are in a really bad condition.

There is also a sauna to use on the island. Norm is once per week. Of course, there have been island guards who will have a sauna every other day. For this, you either bring your own woods or you can buy them from the island for 6€ per bag. 

How can you cook on the island?

Each island guard brings its own food. It is wise to think through the menu for the week so that you would not end up having too little nor too much food. Always eat food with shorter “best before” date first, leave canned soups and such for the other half of the planned week. 

There is a fully functioning kitchen to be used. There’s all you might need – dishes, pots, pans, gas oven. From the shelves, you will find spices and food that have been left there by previous island guards. All this can and should be used up before it expires. Of course, it is also polite to leave something as a replacement from your side for the next islanders. 

It does happen that a castaway makes it onto the island, or an island guard has not brought enough food for the shift. In that situation, it is a blessing to have a pack of pasta and can of sardines to be found. 

There is also a grill outside. And hot goals can be used for cooking (ash potatoes) when sauna has been heated up. 

Food that spoils fast, you can drop down into a well inside a bucket. This is a local fridge. For making good coffee there is an espresso pot and a press jug. If you like sugar and milk on your coffee, it is wise to bring condensed milk. There is a mixer in the kitchen for a case you might have an unexpected appetite for something sweet. 

The best way is to call and talk to the previous island watch to find out what is needed and what can be left behind for this trip. For this, you can call on Keris own phone number: +372 5981 7421. 

Where do I get water from?

From the well, you get surface water, which has been okay to be used for washing so far. Until 2002 the water was even drinkable. Later on, the quality of the water got worse and worse over the years. In 2017 during the spring cleaning the well was cleaned and the quality of the water improved somewhat. You can drink the well water after boiling it and it can be used for cooking. 

However, there is also clean drinking water available from the mainland. Water supplies are being updated all the time. 

There is a pump inside the well that can be switched on from the kitchen. The pump is used for pumping the water from the well into the tank located in the attic. Over the sink in the kitchen is a red lever that needs to be turned to open so that the water can make it up to the tank. Once the tank is full, water will start dripping onto the kitchen window. That calls for turning the red lever and close the pump. The generator needs to be switched on in order for the pump to work. From time to time the tank needs to be cleaned. 

The water for the sauna can also come from the pump. The switch for that is on the halfway to the sauna. Just follow the hose. If you are pumping the tank in the attic, make sure that the switch for the sauna is closed. 

Is there electricity and the internet on the island?

There were bigger changes done on the island in 2017 regarding electricity and internet connection. There is a radio link of 20/10Mbs available as Wifi. Also, 3G and 4G are available on the southern shore. 

Electricity is coming only from the generators. Once the generator is on, it is wise to charge up all your gadgets, fill the tanks with water. There is no point in saving energy at that time. Do what and as much as needed. 

Solar power can also be used for charging your gadgets. 

A certain amount of fuel is meant for each island guard shift to be used.  

When Janek is on the island and generators are on, again, take full advantage and charge everything you need and fill all the tanks with water. 

What about the garbage?

No garbage truck comes to Keri. Biowaste goes into the compost box near the shed. There is a separate pin for biowaste in the kitchen. All paper and smaller plastic packages can be burned in the fireplace on the side of the house. Once there is too much ash on the fireplace, it should be cleaned and placed under bushes. It becomes a soil later on. Metal nails and such, found from the ash should be taken back to the mainland with the rest of the garbage, like empty soup cans, jars, etc. The garbage you bring, you should take back with you. Only that way we can keep the island clean. You can find garbage bags from the workshop. 

Biowaste has the price of cold as there isn’t much soil on the island and it is wise to reproduce as much as possible. 

Please also empty the tank in the toilet once you are ready to leave the island. Also the tank of the toilet located close to the lighthouse. Please make sure that there is a separate plastic bag in the toilet for tampons and sanitary napkins. These should not be tossed into the compost. 

Keep the bucket with sawdust in the toilet full. You can find more of it from the shed. 

Guests can also use the toilet inside the house. 

What do I do on the island?

Besides welcoming and entertaining guests with interesting discussions and stories about the island life, it is island guards duty just to be available, around and visible for approaching vessels. 

Find out if the guests are visiting Keri for the first time and if so, give them a tour around the island and end it in the museum room inside the main house. Sell them souvenirs, that way you can support the maintaining of the necessities of the island. 

All other tasks are optional and have to be done with goodwill and for your own enjoyment. Win-win situation would be if any of such tasks would be beneficial for the island as well, as there is always something to fix, update or improve. Different people have different skills, so it is not expected that a web designer will start changing windows or a head chef of a restaurant will start working on wiring. It is important that whatever you do, do it well. A lot of necessary things have been done by many island guards. A roof has been fixed, a whole house has been cleaned and scrubbed, benches fixed, made a new lid for the well. When you already know what you would want to do, Keri Selts can try to help you with the materials. There are loads of books to read on the island. You can also bring a good book from home and donate it to the Keri library. You can watch movies in the cinema. Many have tried fishing, with no bigger luck so far. You might catch some flounder by using the net. There is a glue gun if you feel like making something. Most of the tools should be available in the workshop. Be creative. No one has been board on the island so far.