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Despite the disappointingly high number of 11th-hour cancellations and "no-shows", we managed to have the grandest time anyway. Early Friday arrivers Greg, Yong, Sandy, Christian, Marcy, Barbara and I enjoyed the always-pleasant trip to Dix, most of us opting for the 25-minute stroll around the perimeter path, before weaving around the ledges and islets in the quiet archipelago. An unanticipated octagonal "STOP" sign planted in one of the rocky ledges halted our progress to another beach break, so we opted for the direct course back to the campground, aided by the 10kn tailwind and swells. Back at the group site we were happy to find Cath, Marty, Andy, and Pat setting up for the pot-luck, which delivered, as always, an exceptional array of culinary delights, to the backdrop of a rising full moon No gill was left unfilled, and we retired early, without a fire to watch, or a worry to tend to. Day 2 was a clone of Friday, and 9 of us headed to Port Clyde to partake of Kyle's trip to the beautiful island chain SWerly. Using the lee of the islands when possible, we paddled close to Hupper, Teal, Stone, Seavey, McGee/Barter (between), and Thompson, before landing at the nice, partially protected MITA beach at _______. After lunch and sunbath we hopped over to _______ to stretch our legs during a short hike. Winds had apparently abated, so the group opted to straight-shot it to Hupper, via Shag Ledges. The smaller group of Marty, Sandy, Stu, Barbara, and Greg opted for a trip to Tenants. Word on the street is that they didn't quite make it, opting for playing in the mud (X2?) instead. Five of the group went to the "Waterworks" eatery, others dined by streetlight at camp, and still others left town. By Sunday am, all campers were sent packing by the SCA, which failed to materialize. Thanks to ALL who came out to play-I thoroughly enjoyed the time together! Link to other pix: http://www.meetup.com/Southern-Maine-Sea-Kayaking-Network/events/233766121/ gary
On a sunny Friday, seven of us gathered at the bustling Dolphin Cove Marina in Harpswell to begin our paddle to Jewell Island, where other NSPN and SMSKN paddlers were already converging from Winslow Park and Cousins Island. The skipper of the lone sailboat we encountered called out "isn't it a little cold for that?" as we paddled across calm, 48 degree water toward Eagle Island. We enjoyed a leisurely lunch on Eagle, and admired the view from Admiral Peary's fortress-like house. Landing in a deserted Cocktail Cove on Jewell, we soon found our other pods of kayakers camping along the southwest side of the island and quickly established our camp. And then it was time to eat, and eat, and eat some more. We snacked on guacamole, cheeses, and smoked salmon while pots of lentil soup and lamb curry simmered. Cookies, cakes, and pies emerged from kayak hatches to end the evening's excesses. As the sun sank to the horizon, a lone paddler approached across the dappled water, and another round of food was prepared for Paul's arrival. It was a glorious night to linger by the fire, but eventually we all drifted off to our tents. Rising early on Saturday morning, I wandered over to the Punchbowl to watch the sun try to rise through the low clouds. Fresh deer tracks lead down to the water, and evidence of deer and raccoon was everywhere on the island. The Punchbowl was deserted, save for a few dozen gulls scavenging after low tide. I followed the western shore for a bit, climbing to the site of the 90mm anti-torpedo boat guns that were installed during the second World War. The view from the walk back along the still water of Cocktail Cove to camp was breathtaking. Our pod paddled over to join the SMSKN group for the day's adventures. The group decided to paddle to Little Chebeague, passing the south tips of Cliff and Hope Island on the way. We landed at Little Chebeague to stretch our legs and re-confirm our group plan to circumnavigate Long Island. A new brood of privy warblers will soon be gracing the island. We paddled past the lobster boats on the west side of Long, and gathered together one final time at the south tip, where an intrepid foursome split off from the main group to round Peaks Island while the rest of us headed back toward Jewell. We squeaked through the rocks between Jerry Pt and Overset Island, and then found a sandy beach for our lunch. We continued up the east coast of Long to the Stepping Stones, and then lined up for an orderly crossing of Luckse Sound back to Cliff, and onward to Jewell. The Peaks Island crew made good time and arrived a bit later. A group hiked down to the south tip of Jewell to view the campsites in Smuggler's Cove, and to take in the views from the fire control towers that directed the island's gun batteries. Saturday night featured another campfire, with even more dessert options than the night before. 2AM brought rain and lightning, and we woke to a blanket of fog surrounding the island. Our pod was the last off of the island, and hopped from island to island by compass bearings until the noon sun finally burned through and we were back at our cars. The kind owners of the marina waived our parking and launching fees when we gathered in their restaurant for one final meal together, which was a perfect ending to a thoroughly-enjoyable weekend trip.