In her first month at the Mission, Sunbeam nurse Simone Babineaux is getting her metaphorical sea legs. She has traveled to Great Cranberry Island, Islesford, Frenchboro, Isle au Haut, and Matinicus. Along the way she has met with community members, and learnt more about the islands and the people that call them home. As the nurse, she has made home visits, scheduled appointments, and coordinated care for those who need it.
While Simone has been working in healthcare for more than 25 years in far-flung regions on two different continents, her time as the Sunbeam nurse has been unique. “I think one of the things that surprised me is how much the islanders are like family to the crew and vice versa. The sweetest thing is that when they come on the boat, they say to me ‘welcome aboard.’” Simone says.
Simone has also started to learn the ins and outs of being on the boat. One that she was not expecting was the list that the Sunbeam experiences when the tide goes out on Matinicus. When she came back from making home visits, she found the boat leaning on the dock. What surprised her was how everyone went about their day, tilting to the side, and never commenting on the change. Islanders would come on the boat leaning to the side and Jillian had set the table with a special runner to keep things from sliding off.
She has learned that each island has its own Sunbeam traditions, including Capitan Mike Johnson blowing the horn as Sunbeam enters Isle au Haut’s harbor. This tradition always brings a few community members out of doors to wave. She has seen how much the islanders value the visits the boat makes. “They want to know when we are coming back, how long are we here for, when are we leaving. These visits really seem vital to their well-being,” Simone adds.
And while she is starting to learn more about the residents and what makes each island unique, she admits that she has only just got her feet wet. “I am looking forward to getting to know everyone and them getting to know me. I want to provide whatever services they need in a way that would serve them.”