I recently spent 11 days kayaking along part of the Maine Coast – with a little trip planning help from Dave Mention of the Maine Island Trail Association and Nancy Moore, a paddling instructor from Madison area with family ties to Maine. My intent is to post several entries highlighting parts of the trip. Though, I often have great intentions that don’t always pan out!
I launched from Old Quarry Ocean Adventures on Deer Isle (near Stonington) and headed out into gorgeous, sunny weather without much wind. Old Quarry is in a great little spot on Webb Cove. They have a small store, some great campsites and, of course, a good all-tides launching area with a place to park my car for an extended time. They rent kayaks and do tours, and also have sailing, cruises, and hike and bike activities on some of the surrounding islands. A great business.
I spent several days in the Merchant Row area, the highlight of which was paddling around Isle au Haut. A large portion of this island is part of Acadia National Park. The southern part is exposed, and was really the only open ocean paddling I did – otherwise I was in waters offering at least some protection from the ocean swell. The scenery here reminded me of parts of the North Shore of Lake Superior. In fact, I bet if I swapped pictures between groups of slides, no one would no the difference! There are boreal forests on most of these islands – as on the North Shore of Superior. I also did a day of hiking on Isle au Haut, disappointed because where I hiked offered limited (or no) views of the surrounding ocean and islands. But, pretty none-the-less.
Stopped back at Old Quarry to drop off garbage and take a shower before heading out again, going counter clockwise around Deer Isle, through Eggemogin Reach and spending several days exploring areas East of Deer Isle.
I had great, sunny weather the first 1/2 of the trip. Then, some rained mixed in later on. But, mostly at night and always after I had camp set up, so that was OK. The last 2 days offered classic foggy Maine paddling – good thing, or I wouldn’t have felt like I was in Maine!
Overall, it was nice to see a new area. Good practice with fog and navigation and tide charts etc. Best part is just getting away from the hubbub of the modern world for a few days. Paying attention to the world – sunrise and sunset, the phases of the moon, the times of the tide, the sounds of the birds and the wind and the rain on my tent, the height of the swell, the feel of the currents. All narrowing my focus to appreciate the world in my immediate vicinity – while simultaneously giving me time to read and relax and let my mind wander and ponder anything at all.