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  1. Skip report; go straight to slideshow Like a Siren’s song, drawn to the only prominent cabin in the cove, six ill-prepared “navigators“ had a deuce of a time locating the new MITA site. At fits and starts, each grassy meadow became more acceptable as we meandered westerly, and a couple hundred yards from the target cabin was the telltale worn path to bare granite. We finally accepted defeat and pulled out the GPS and coordinates, embarrassed by the gaffe. Six new and established friends set about claiming tent real estate about the beautiful grassy meadow, and surveyed the lay of the land. A NOAA forecast of “light and variable” is always one to take full advantage of, so our destination was the Roque Island paradise, northeasterly. We set off at 8:00 and had an easy crossing to the “secret” entrance of Bunker Hole, tagging Mark Island along the way. At that point, two options were considered; two of the boys opted for exploration of Halifax/Brothers, the remaining group circumnavigating Roque, with an estimated similar beach lunch gathering time. Dana’s sharp eye spotted a raccoon on a steep seaweedy cliff face, scavenging for seafood, occasionally poking out of the rockweed curtain. At other times of the trip, we would debate whether weasel-type critters were mink (favor), sea otter, or marten. Upon entering the expansive, well–protected Roque harbor, we were surprised to see so few vessels anchored-a solitary sailboat, and two motor yachts. We enjoyed a fine lunch and stroll on this mile-long, fine-sand beach, a rarity this far north. The mirror image northern beach [off limits] had similar enticing qualities, and I paddled up to an aid to navigation in the middle of Shorey Cove: What did I see?. In no hurry on this bright, sunny, calm day we meandered back to our home base for the evening routine. Day three called for possible showers in the afternoon, with a possible “sod soaker“ in the middle of the night. We were happy to split up as short-destination paddlers and island hikers for a quiet day. I was eager to check out nearby Sealand, the moniker for the community located deep in the cove easterly from camp. The topo map shows evidence of a road network, though we were flummoxed by the GPS, despite repeatedly walking back and forth over the map-designated roadway, deep into the woods. On the way back we stumbled upon such a road, mined granite to either side of a raised, overgrown path which we followed to the end, arriving at the locus of a former shoreside quarry operation. The smallish area of mining suggested that the granite harvested here was used to establish a landing zone and wharf, the latter estimated to be 20 feet tall at the then-current low tide. We suspected a larger, inland quarry, but neither the topo map, nor our bushwhack disclosed evidence of such, save for the random, rusted inch and a half cable coursing through the woods. A nearby granite-block foundation, measuring roughly 40’ x 50’ was possibly the site of a dormitory for the granite workers? In preparation for the forecasted heavy rain in the evening and overnight, we rigged Dana‘s new 9’ x 12’ sil–nylon tarp next to my woods campsite, in such a way to take advantage of the downsloping mossy floor, and the expected SW wind of the upcoming storm. We gathered there for dinner and convo, and the shelter performed supremely all night; everyone wants the link! By morning on day four the rain and high winds had diminished to drizzle/mist and negligible breeze. Our plan was to circumnavigate great Waas, clockwise, first exploring the lighthouse on Mistake. It would be overcast and breezy in the afternoon, but no deterrent to this intrepid group. We launched early enough on the outgoing tide to avoid being trapped by the seaweed wall that extends out to Middle Hardwood Island, finding the last available passage, and continued along the coast, short-detouring into Hall cove, before landing on the bar between Knight and Mistake. Access to the boardwalk that leads to the lighthouse on Mistake is difficult. Never attempt to climb the steep, slippery wooden ramp to the boathouse-no reasonable place to store boats from this approach, and an accident waiting to happen. At or near HT, we’ve parked on NW end of the island in the past, and bushwhacked to a path that leads to the boathouse. Having arrived at mid tide, D, glad to be wearing his drysuit on this damp, overcaast day, waded to the small slot adjacent to the boathouse, easterly, and negotiated his way to the top. All but one of the others followed. The under-dressed straggler waited for the tide to drop another half inch, worried that his weeny panties would get wet. All would sample some of the offerings from the boardwalk – blueberries, raspberries, and an occasional cranberry. We continued our clockwise circumnav, passing an inaccessible (tide) nearby MITA island, and agreed to avoid the larger swells in the deeper, outer, Mud Hole Channel, by crossing to Little Cape Point, then proceeding across Cape and Popplestone Coves, and around Little Pond and Red Heads, and Pond Pt., finally landing at a small pocket in the rockweedy shore. Lunches were enjoyed, followed by a short walk for a look-see of The Pond. By now, the wind had picked up from the SW, and, by degrees, we slogged to the NW tip of Beals, pit-stopping at Unnamed I, then completed the last leg, under the bridge, through Pig I. Gut, and finally, capitalizing on the well-deserved wind assist, we (6 little piggies) cried “wee-wee-wee” all the way home! Thursday, our last full day, would be a shortish paddle, anticipating an early start for Friday’s obligations. A circumnavigation of Head Harbor Island seemed appropriate; Mother Nature accommodated, with flat seas and sunny skies. I hoped to discover the cemetery on the western tip of the island, designated on the topo map. We came close to it on Tuesday, whilst hiking, but were stymied by the obvious wetlands crossing. After landing, we scouted the area designated on the topo, aided by my GPS. Puzzled by the location, in the relative wet of the lower hill, we extended our search uphill, and, at length, came across the small square cemetery with a dozen graves, a couple hundred yards away from the designated spot my GPS was relaying to me. We found nearby cellar holes and flattened, contaminated (glass, metal parts) shell mddens, evidence of ancient and more recent civilizations. We were soon about the rough waters of the SE island tip, some of us rather enjoying the sporty action that the swells/deep water to shallow/headlands offered us as a playground. R recommended a stop on Man Island, having visited earlier that week, and nobody was disappointed, as we climbed the rocky jagged mound, and lunched atop, with spectacular views. Some were eager to get back to camp to organize and pack, while others dawdled in Nature‘s splendor. Per usual, it rained heavily overnight, and abated in the morning, just enough to allow packing of the final provisions before making our way back to Jonesport Shipyard and our cars, thankful for a glorious several days in this kayakers’ paradise. Reflections: We have had great luck using Jonesport Shipyard in the past as a launch site. Overnight parking fees are very reasonable, and amenities of toilet and fee-showers are quite welcome after several days out. When possible (HT), plan to launch/land in the small cove near the parked cars, so as not to bugger up the working ramp. Though many MITA sites, including private, make no mention of LNT principles, we should all be in the habit of carrying out our own waste, as a thank you to those landowners that have graciously offered their “little bit of heaven“ to strangers. Although I brought a dry suit for possible rainy day(s), I was able to get by with my summer paddling outfit. Our group was equally divided between dry suit and summer attire during this second week of August. The >5-hour drive for most of us was rewarded by the special features of this part of the Maine coast, especially for an extended stay. Consider extending your invitations to new (to you) kayakers. You won’t be surprised that you have much in common, and will likely paddle together again. You're apt to find this waypoint helpful: N 44°30.462', W -067°33.184' Feel free to contact me for information about a trip to this area. Special thanks to MITA and the generous landowner for adding this beautiful site to the Trail.
  2. Skip report, go straight to slideshow Tide schedule (E. Boothbay) Mon, 8.5: LT-0904 HT-1521 Tues, 8.6: LT-1000 HT-1617 Wed, 8.7: LT-1055 HT-1715 Th, 8.8: LT-1154 HT-1814 Susie had given me marching orders to make room for her annual Girls’ Week. Of course I complied and schemed up something that involved sea kayaking. I had invited a bunch of my buddies, but Dan was the only one who could make it. As time goes by, (and it does, in my seventh decade) I often wonder “Will this be the last time that I “______“ (fill in the blank: back-country ski, scuba dive, sea safari, post a trip report). Through the clear lens of the retrospectoscope it is obvious, but we rarely know in the present, that this is the last time. I supposed that it might be my last safari, as I expected this trip to finish “connecting most of the dots” from Kittery to Eastport. G's paddlelog.pdf We had picked a very nice weather window, and rendezvoused at Wiscasset Town Landing around noon, to spot a car. The line @ Red’s was >1hr; better luck on the way home? We doubled up and drove 20 minutes to the Waldoboro Public landing. We were on the water by 1310 and floated lazily down the flat, tidal Medomack River, two orange kayaks containing two happy paddlers. Very little current, a few hours before high tide, as we marveled at the undeveloped shoreline for most of the way. On this bright, sunny day we took a shady rest at a small promontory, complete with bench, and nearby trails to some ?preserve. We meandered unhurriedly toward our first night’s destination, and came upon a small sailboat off its mooring, knocking against the shore. We paddled on, but as someone who has more than once had a sailboat (and kayak!) adrift, we agreed to circle back and do a rescue and tow. Easy to pull her off the rocks, harder still to attach her to the nearest vinyl mooring ball. We tried hailing the home nearby, the only respone a bark. We figured they could sort it out, and paddled on. Crow Island is to Muscongus as Hells Half-Acre is to Stonington, a crowd (hopefully not tonight!) favorite. Visions of Troop 88 saturating the island quickly dissolved, as we happily saw two adult kayakers emerge from the island woods, the only residents. Mark and Red from Amesbury, Massachusetts were trying their hand at kayak camping, having launched from nearby Round Pond. Dan had a gut feeling that he had met these two before, and in fact, they had attended one of the recent NSPN holiday parties! Our request for permission to camp was granted, as the island has two separated group campsites, and I was certain that they had offered us the premier one. Boats were unloaded, tents set up, and preparations for the evening repast commenced. Dan was game for trying a famous Amato's sandwich, and I had picked him up two (tonight’s supper and tomorrow’s lunch; ditto me) at the Portland store on my way by that morning. The overhead squawking as we supped was very familiar to me, as similar birds at my house are constantly entertaining me. I was happy to be enlightened by Dan that these were “sharpies“-sharp-shinned hawks, a whole family nesting above us. At twilight we pored over charts in preparation for tomorrow’s long day. Dan tried to convince me that the decimal degree scale on his laminated charts was the wave of the future, and at the same time I felt my leg being pulled. Paddle track Day1(8.4M): here We hoped to be around the “danger area” of Pemaquid point early, and by taking advantage of an outgoing tide (LT=0950), we were upright @ 5am, and launched @ the pre-planned 6am target. The water was glassy, and Dan almost lost his head in disbelief. No worries-he had 2 extra lobes in this reflection. A stop at ____ I., our alternate camp for the previous nite, made us thankful; we had a deuce of a time navigating the rock/seaweed landing zone. Beyond that, two nice tent platforms, one western cliffside, and raspberry bushes aplenty. Thank you, private owner, for including this on the MIT! Back in the boats, and soon bewildered that we had covered enough ground (water) to be crossing into New Hampshire already! Houses atop steep rocky shoreline were our beacons for the next few miles to Pemaquid Point. The slight breeze (2-4kn) was much less than the point forecast of 8-10; what would we face after rounding the lighthouse? Not much-just more glass. Conditions were ideal for extending the trip westerly, a 1.5M open-water crossing to the Thrumcaps. I was a bit “at sea” that my 240°M course didn’t seem to get us closer after our ½ hour paddle. The highly visible, and appropriately named White Islands had the lure of a siren, but Dan could see the error of my ways (off), woke me from my trance, and steered me to the 2 nearby islands within spitting distance. We wandered up the Thread of Life, a sometimes-lively trip, but dead quiet this time. We stopped at the S. Bristol public launch, climbed up to the picnic area nearby, and feasted on still-fresh, day-old Italians. A quick leg stretch to the drawbridge and back to the boats, with only a 2+M trek to our camp, a favorable tide assist upriver. Fort I. is to Damariscotta River as Crow is to Muscongus, and we shot through the narrows to the N landing zone. Teenagers were coming and going in various John boats, though this was no Scout Troop, rather, locals out for a few fun nights of camping. Again, plenty of room to share quarters, and we pitched tents at the grassy, breezy, flat, southern promenade. I managed a cat-nap, just before the music started, a “moldy oldie” to appease this member of our duo. The “yutes” were respectful as twilight approached, with dimming of the music, and focus on the campfire. The next day’s (Wed) forecast called for cloudy skies, with increasing chances of showers late, lasting into Thursday. Would Dan mind if we shortened our trip and sretched out Wednesday? Quickly “No” as he pondered being stuck with me under a tarp in the pouring rain @ Ram I., waiting until noon before heading up the Sheepscot! Day2 track (18.8M): here Fog is to be expected any time along the Coast this time of year, and we were not surprised to wake up to it on the last morning. We took advantage of the max ebb, and shot through the narrows @ 0800, averaging 4+kn before sidling up to Linekin Neck. A few minor foggy crossings before entering Linekin Bay, then to Boothbay Harbor Public Landing, where we hitched the horses to a float. I searched for a bakery, without luck, and settled for a delicious slice at Pier Pizza, then one more. Dan was still digesting his triple D (double-dose dinner) from Fort, and opted out. We strolled back to the boats and were off by 1215, making our way to Ram, through Townsend Gut. We surveyed the tenting options, enjoyed a snack, and launched into the Sheepscot, taking advantage of the last 1.5h of max flood. Both water and paddlers were confused at the confluence of the Back and Sheepscot Rivers, opposite Fort Edgecomb. A nearby cove is named “The Eddy” on the chart. We landed, double-kayaked back to Waldoboro, and headed our separate ways (until a reunion shortly thereafter, after crossing into Damariscotta, where paddles exchanged hands). Dan was driving south when the thunderstorms hit, 15 minutes after leaving Wiscasset. Where do you suppose I was (with umbrella, napkin pile, and smile on my face)? Track Day3 (20.8M): here REFLECTIONS: -Thank you MITA for providing sleeping accommodations! -If you want a great paddling partner, invite Dan. Great sense of humor, savvy nav skills, expert camper/outdoorsman, and easy-going. Perhaps this was NOT my last sea safari! -Be prepared for implementation of the decimal-degree wave coming your way; 0.01°=0.6M😜 -A one-way paddle lets you enjoy double the coastline. Consider different options besides car spotting to make this possible, including a bus ride. The $12, 3:10 from Wiscasset to Waldoboro was an option for this trip. -Local officials are very receptive to grant permission for overnight parking. Police and Harbor Master are best avenues. -Tidal advantages are important considerations when paddling big coastal rivers-plan accordingly. -Amato's Italian sandwiches take the guessing out of what food to pack. Day1 lunch or supper and Day2 lunch can be savored, thanks to the preserving qualities of their famous sour pickles!
  3. Join MITA and the Northern Forest Canoe Trail (NFCT) to learn about Paddle Quest 1500, John’s epic 1500-mile expedition tackling the NFCT and Maine Island Trail. When: June 1st 5:30-7:30 PM Where: Newbury Kayak & Canoe, 291 High Rd, Newbury, MA 01951 What: A presentation by John, conversation with fellow paddlers, and refreshments (including Maine Island Trail Ale!) Please RSVP to this free event so we can make it the best experience for everyone! Follow this link or email [email protected]. For more details about John's PaddleQuest, visit www.paddlequest1500.com About the Quest and Presentation: On June 25th, 2016, John Connelly became the first to both canoe the Northern Forest Canoe Trail and kayak the Maine Island Trail, connecting them with the Saint John River and Bay of Fundy in New Brunswick, Canada. This 1,500-mile solo expedition was followed by thousands online and proved challenging, rewarding, and eye-opening. Find out how John met the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and survived violent storms. Be inspired to seek out these water trails and experience portions of them for yourself. flyer 1 Final.pdf
  4. 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
  5. MPBN is broadcasting a 25 minute film shot by Doug Welch, the Executive Director of the Maine Island Trail Association as part of their Maine Community Films program on Thurs. 7/14 at 10PM and Sat. 7/16 at 11AM. The film documents his trip along the Maine Island Trail last year in his Boston Whaler The film can be viewed on Vimeo any time: https://vimeo.com/143125306 Featured in the film at 7:08 to 10:05 minutes is Ram Island in Machias Bay, one of the trails wildest destinations that has been on the Maine Island Trail since 2000. It is being marketed for development. MITA and Maine Coast Heritage Trust are working to acquire the island for conservation and continued recreational access. Consider joining other MITA members who have stepped forward to ensure its protection by making a contribution today. Click here for more information, or contact Nicole Connelly at [email protected] or207-607-4361.
  6. Skip report; go straight to slideshow HERE Why I thought this trip would be the completion of my bucket list I’ll never know; perhaps I’ll get out a new bucket and start filling in the gaps of the Maine coast I haven’t paddled. This brainchild was hatched a year or more ago, and, from the start, included (newly-named) Bearded Socialite, a proven steady companion on previous treks. We were pleased to be joined late by Paul, who was able to squeeze time from work and family. I had worked out a scheme allowing us to do a one-way trip from Milbridge to Machias at a leisurely pace, relying on West Bus Service http://westbusservice.com/#SCHEDULE%20OF%20SERVICE for transport back to the launch site. Paul and I drove up separately to join Rob and the rest of the MDI party on Friday, for an 8am Saturday start from Bar Harbor to Milbridge. Rob kept tabs on the 3 kayaks while Paul and I drove to Machias to drop off our cars, and secure seats ($14 each-thank you Paul) on the van back to Milbridge, where we were dropped off a stone’s throw from the public ramp. A sunny, calm, warm day had us stripping out of the drysuits at the half-way point, and the easy paddling beckoned us to the longer CCW route around Bois Bubert to the camp site. We spent too much time trying to locate the rather obvious site, and wrote notes to “self” to read the MITA description before landing! A very pleasant site with room to spread out 3 little tents, without crowding. Route for Day 1: http://www.gmap-pedometer.com/?r=6722011 Day 2 dawned slightly foggy with a 5-10 easterly, our general direction of travel. Off to Jordan’s Delight with its prominent, solitary saltbox perched on the southern high bluff, cozying to its rugged shore, then NE to Shipstern I., aptly named , before making our way towards the Mainland of Cape Split and Moose Neck. We followed the coast to Eastern Harbor, noting the absence of C “1”, before heading to Green I., via Tibbet and Ram. A rocky, choppy (my bad) landing preceded our lunch, warmed by Sol on the rocks. Stevens, our home for 2 nights was nearby, and we made haste to the sandy, welcoming cove to set up camp, cozy little alcoves for all. Route for Day 2: http://www.gmap-pedometer.com/?r=6722336 A little rain interrupted the night, enough to create a big puddle in my poorly-pitched tarp, and fog was on the menu for an anticipated lengthy day trip to Great Wass. The dauntless 3 Amigos set paddle for Norton and found the middle of it after the 1-mile crossing. We handrailed CW to a westerly cove, then broke for Pomp, given the circumstance, hugging its western shore, before heading for the Beals bridge. We found relief from the 10-15 SW in the lee of Great Wass, and tucked into Sand Cove North for total calm and lunch on the rocks. With the fog disappearing, but the wind steady, we decided to tackle the trip to Sprucehead, and enjoyed a bumpy ride through Mud Hole Channel, splitting Knight and Mistake for a gander at the light. Into Head Harbor, inside Black, Crow Pt., Middle Hardwood and western tip of Head Harbor Island with beam to rear-quartering seas, before retracing our route back home, briefly bedazzled by the close-up display of Bald Eagle following the rules of Mother Nature. Norton and Pomp were slightly barred, and a short portage and rest before the long slog into the last, bumpy crossing to base camp at Stevens. After landing, a paddler slumped over his rear hatch brought concern for a pulled muscle, but max doses of vitamin I, and a few downward dogs, cat-cows, and cobras inside the tent brought partial relief. Route for day 3 http://www.gmap-pedometer.com/?r=6721770 By morning the worries for the sore paddler had abated, and we broke camp in an unhurried fashion, eyes on our next camp at Halifax. We followed a now-familiar route to the Beals bridge, under calm conditions, then eddy-hopped (bridge abutments) to the northern Jonesport side, to search for water. We chatted up a wharf-mate, who seemed a bit puzzled as to where to find restaurants, groceries, and potable water. We started easterly for the town dock before he hailed us back with welcome advice. The fire station across the road had an outside spigot AND public restroom! Rob and I filled our 3 depleted 6L dromedaries while Paul stayed with the boats at the strategically-placed pocket beach near the bridge. I had hoped to show the buds my grandparents old homestead on the way to Kelly Pt., but my prolonged absence (35 years) boggled my brain to its precise location. We had a nice lunch at Kelly Pt, Rob assembling his PB&J with the still-uncrushed, half-consumed bread loaf. Prominent signage at the shoreside, deserted, apparent park warned us to “not spoil our children’s fun”. We didn’t, and eyed the gentle 2+-mile crossing ahead to the Spruces, entering the southern channel, and passing bleating sheep on Little and a solitary cruiser at anchor near the thoroughfare. Roque Harbor was deserted, and the mile-plus sandy beach was admired from afar, as we paddled to Halifax’s NW cove, countering the fairly strong ebb seaward. A very cozy designated rectangle on the berm was agreed, at length, to be called “home” for at least one night. We would wait until morning to decide if sleeping like the Flinstones (sorta-we had air mattresses) was acceptable for the planned second nite. After setting up camp amid too many mossies, we gathered up provisions for dinner atop the western rise, then bushwhacked up the hillside to the peak, where we enjoyed supper, breathtaking views, including sunset/moonrise, and skeeters (not!). Route for Day 4: http://www.gmap-pedometer.com/?r=6721559 Despite having slept OK, and ignoring warnings about the numerous radiation-emitting military towers and a creepy house, we decided that 2 nights on Cross I. would be favorable, so we meandered off in the general direction of Roque Bluffs State Park. We had expected to see some tall cliffs (why?), but the unimpressive coastline turned our kayaks to another MITA island , and we paddled bee-line under warm, sunny skies and flat seas to its northern cove. Lunch and a stroll around the island through long, then short grasses, had us guessing what the asking price was for this remote paradise. A range of 35K to 1.8M was elicited from the dubious voyagers, knowing that it included these residents: We now had Cross in our sites, 4 miles off, and aimed for big N “2”, passing NE Libbys, arriving at a taste of the “bold coast” along southern Cross, with slots, a sea cave, and precipitous cliff faces. Rob backed his way into the mostly submerged sea cave but didn’t get too far; we would attempt to check it out from land tomorrow. We arrived without fanfare to the old CG station, after passing the remains of the “older” CG building, now a pile of wood scrap near the shore. The old (haunted) house has served as base camp for Outward Bound sea adventures in the past, but we doubted it had seen these visitors over the preceding summer months, judging from the paucity of entries in the indoor log book. We spread out tents in the front field and enjoyed a quiet night under a starry/meteory sky, the red-blinking towers invading the otherwise bliss. Route for Day 5: http://www.gmap-pedometer.com/?r=6721561 Thursday was to be a non-paddling day, we decided, so Rob and I donned our hiking shoes and set off for the famous sea cave. A jog before the privy led us to a boggy trail that brought us to a sandy cove, the dilapidated CG station in the distance. Try as we might to locate the coastal trail (dotted on the map) further along the shore, my bushwack in and out was fruitless, so we regrouped to head back to camp, and lunch. We decided to follow the more prominently-marked (thick dashes) trail leading to the cave, and had better luck, eventually leading to the cave at half-tide, but no entry. Back to camp around 5, salt- and fresh-water showers, critique of my repair kit, supper, and review of Tom Tieman’s 25-page copy of his trek along the Maine Coast, left behind from his trip several days before, as he finished the entire coast by patching in the last bit of Cross-to-Cutler with 3 other paddlers. Route for Day 6: http://www.gmap-pedometer.com/?r=6721563 Another quiet paddling day for Friday, and we got on the water by 8:30 for the tedious slog to Machias, passing the very quiet Naval station shore, a large fish farm, and nondescript islands. I had promised the boys lunch at Helen’s, famous for their award-winning (a generic accolade, employed by any eatery, but well-deserved here) homemade pies. As we approached the ramp, my tired eyes tried to focus on the storefront sign on a building east of the causeway-stripes of orange and green with a central logo shaped like…….No, it couldn’t be. After all we’re now in Machias, Maine. The gal at the Irving station validated my impression, that, yes, that building down the road IS a Pat’s Pizza! I had to renege on my promise to Helen and the guys, but they were very agreeable to lunching at Pat’s, and we devoured most of the food in short order, stopped for take-out pie at Helen’s, then off (Rob and I) to Muscle Ridge for the next adventure! Route for Day 7: http://www.gmap-pedometer.com/?r=6721564 NOTES: Food: oatmeal or granola bars (breakfast); PB&J (lunch); simmered grains/root veggies, box soup, Indian foil meal (supper) Water: 13L over 7 days; re-supply @ Jonesport Fire Department Camp: Hubba, NeoAir (thermarest), 40 degree synthetic
  7. As many of you are aware, NSPN is a club supporter of the Maine Island Trail Association (www.mita.org), a non-profit association that developed and continues to maintain a network of islands from Kittery up to the border of Canada - all available for day or overnight use. As a club supporter, we have adopted two islands in Casco Bay for beach cleaning and trail maintenance, and try to fundraise for MITA as well. Many of us have visited this jewel in our backyard numerous times for day or overnight trips. Our annual holiday party raffle is the way we raise money for MITA. Last year, we stepped it up a bit, soliciting donations from local vendors - with great success! We had dry tops, wool socks, several paddles and more! We are doing that again this year, and hope to have some great raffle prizes to offer. How Can You Help? Many club members are talented artists - whether they make their living through art or practice it as a hobby. We'd like to ask that members consider donating a small piece of their artwork to the raffle. It could be a wood carving, framed photograph, needlepoint, painting - whatever. We will provide a donation letter for tax purposes and if you have brochures or business cards, we will display them with your piece. I hope everyone will consider this opportunity to support MITA. Please contact me at cathy folster at verizon dot net or via PM if you would like to donate or have questions. Looking forward to seeing everyone at the holiday party (Dec 6th) and viewing the talent of our club as well!
  8. Skip report; go straight to slideshow: https://plus.google.com/photos/104527482892165688266/albums/6062416108708979217?banner=pwa Having completed yet ANOTHER best-ever Sea Safari, buddies Bearded Recluse and Solo Wanderer had best consider changing their monikers! As always, these brainchilds are hatched in the depths of winter, with details scrutinized over and over. Sadly, our other paddling buddy Pru had to bow out because of her land-based (typical) kayak accident. A multi-day "loop" trip was planned in the MDI area that would include many of the must-see locales that had accumulated on my bucket list. When asked by Rob why the trip was to proceed counterclockwise (CCW), I had no good answer, other than to say it feels RIGHT to keep the coast on my LEFT! Route for the entire CCW trip: http://www.gmap-pedometer.com/?r=6445869 The Wooden Boat School was kind to offer overnight parking and a convenient ramp; we launched nearly on-time @ 1230 to a 5-10 NE, and a late flood tide (HT=1447). We bee-lined easterly to Naskeag Point, then on to Pond to check out the MITA site. The still-steady NE wind and tide guided us around western Swans, and we headed for the visible building charted as the lighthouse to Burnt Coat Harbor, where we tucked into the lee for a needed rest. A short paddle from there brought us to our home for two nights-Big Baker, with its beautiful needle-laden cozy campsite in a spruce grove. I was feeling a little disjointed after a long first day! Route for day 1: http://www.gmap-pedometer.com/?r=6445831 Clear skies greeted us on day #2, and we pushed off with plans to spend the day on Marshall, the largest uninhabited island on the eastern seaboard. At the get-go we were a bit “at sea” getting our bearings, an apparent "ledge" between Harbor and ___ not indicated on the chart. The "ledge" morphed into an obvious commercial fishing enterprise, a string of huge pens enclosing jumping and rising salmon, fed through a series of pipes from the mother barge at the western tip. We enjoyed the last bit of lee from the ledges between Harbor and Green before paddling head-on into the10-15 northwesterly and 2.5 foot seas. We opted for the nearest quiet landing, rather than suffer a big-surf landing (northern tip) or possible difficult paddle back to camp (SE Sand Cove). The two-mile direct crossing to Little Marshall just offshore drained 60 minutes from our day. Along our (CCW) 5-mile land trek we encountered expansive meadows, pebble beaches, spacious campsites (one with newish tent platforms), an abandoned airstrip, potable well water, and Marshall’s crown jewel, Sand Beach. By mid-afternoon, we had retraced our Route back to camp, and enjoyed a fine hot meal in the cozy grove. Route for day 2: http://www.gmap-pedometer.com/?r=6445838 With a big paddling day facing us on Day 3, we chowed breakfast, packed the boats, and shoved off (typically one half hour later than previous nights’ plans) for our trip to the Cranberries. Next in line though was Frenchboro, Long Island, and a possible sandy (chart) landing at Big Beach. Nearing the steep beach, it was clear that this was of the course-grained variety, with the average grain weighing in at 50 pounds! We had hoped to hike the MCHT trails (CCW) for a stretch, but the unstable footing (fully-loaded boats) and difficult access (we have since named this spot Big Be-atch) gave us a smart-attack and turned us away, but not before an extended search for the perfect rock for Pru. A 70 pound granite sphere fit the bill, but not my hatches. Luckily, Rob found room in his boat, which was sorely in need of more ballast, weighing in (estimate) at only150 lbs, pre-rock. We turned the corner into placid Lunt Harbor, parking at the gas wharf, followed by an ever-so-quiet walk along the cove road to the ferry terminal, gladly interrupted by two amorous felines and a newly-transplanted spouse (after seven years, she was not convinced this was "home"). After lunch and (flush) privy, we aimed for Little Black, explored its campsite, then snuck into the tiny opening of the magical “green lagoon” nearby. At length, via E Great Gott, we arrived at our destination after a 4-mile open crossing, gently aided by the 5-7k NW. Route for day 3: http://www.gmap-pedometer.com/?r=6445841 Day 4 was planned as a local day. A few sprinkles throughout the night and morning would be the only “weather” we experienced on the journey. Baker Island lighthouse (Acadia) was in our sights, and we beached at the small NW cove to explore the lighthouse (no entry) and surrounding history, including a quaint, shed-like museum. Next, off to NE Harbor, CCW, of course, Little Cranberry to port, past Sutton and a quick stop at the gas marina, but nobody home. We peeked around the corner, further into the Harbor, and beached at the public boat ramp, amongst a semblance of bustle. Two tourists chatted us up, and revealed they were from my home town! I have since run into Al at the Town Office; he didn’t recognize me out of my drysuit! The hunt was on for a restaurant meal, and we were pleased with the offerings from Colonel’s Restaurant and Bakery-good meals and a pastry for our “midnight” (8pm) snack later. This action shot is the only proof that we did, indeed, travel together! Since we had topped off the dromedaries at the visitor center, I felt safe to let Rob in on the bad news I was carrying-I had inadvertently left one of Rob’s filled 6L at Big Baker. I had carried it behind my back-band on day 1, but hadn’t realized my gaffe leaving Big Baker-I instead placed my 2L (filled @ Marshall) behind the seat. To my relief, Rob was quick to share his secret-he had scooped up the water sack when I wasn’t looking! Shouldn’t have been a worry to begin with, as we were carrying 26L between us! A quick stop at Islesford on the way back “home” found mostly closed stores, including the museum, much to our disappointment. Day 5: We were up at Dawn’s crack for our next leg-E side of MDI to Lamoine State Park in Trenton. This time Rob shared his version of “bad news”-3 to 5 foot swells, SW, with a period of 15 sec. I was happy to hear the report of light wind, ~5W, and was optimistic for our sojourn up the E side on a glorious, blue-sky day. The seas were gentle, and we enjoyed cautious play time off the rugged coast before a pit stop at the Bar Harbor public beach/ramp, where I was unceremoniously dumped in 3 inches of water! (Note to self: Must figure a way to get my too-long legs out of the cockpit before landing-quite a trick!). The town was hopping with throngs of tourists from an anchored cruise ship (~3000 passengers, by Rob’s estimate), as many as 5 ship-borne water taxis shuttling to and fro. Tourist season was far from over in Bar Harbor that day. The local police offered the Downeast Delicatessen up the road for good eats, and he was spot on-fast-food pace, but quality sandwiches, enjoyed on the grassy knoll overlooking the Harbor, as we waited for the incoming tide to cover Bar’s bar. The remaining leg to Lamoine State Park was uneventful (terminally sluggish into the wind), though we enjoyed the cliffside “Ovens” on the north shore. Just as we neared the end of a lengthy walk to the Park check-in booth, the attendant backed out of the doorway, locked the door, and muttered “good night”-a fine Howdyado! She soon softened to our charming personalities, and offered 1 of 2 sites near the water, still a long walk from the boats. “Could we pretty-please set up our tents on the grassy picnic area near our boats? We’ll be gone before the Park opens.” “No-those are the rules. But if you don’t have cash, don’t worry about it. BTW my name is FRED”. Hmmmm… We enjoyed lengthy coin-less showers, hot meals, the company. Route for day 5: http://www.gmap-pedometer.com/?r=6445850 As each day rolled on, we were gaining efficiency with boat packing, and we launched at last night’s pre-agreed time. On flat seas we eased over to the bridge connecting the mainland. We had envisioned an expansive structure, but was surprised to encounter a <100’ long X 21’ high bridge that is the gateway to the second-largest island on the E coast, welcoming 2.5 M visitors annually, home to 10K. Our plan for the day was to check out the 3 little MITAs scattered about Bartlett Narrows. The northernmost “Hub” was first in line: easterly, seaweed landing, ledgy, and a single, nest-like, 1-tent site, surrounded by windbreak shrubbery/trees. We were surprised to find little current at the narrowest of the “Narrows” on the late ebb. Johns was next, seaweed landing, small area for a tent or 2 in the grass near the grove. We enjoyed lunch on Jolly N, in the shade on this warm day, and watched the separated rental kayakers part further, both of us surmising what a tedious job the leader must have. Our “hike” for the day would total <100yards. Our last crossing kissed N Hardwood, and we CCW’d N Tinker for the most glorious campsite ever, mid-island, arriving early afternoon, to warm sun, rest, and clothesline duties. Route for day 6: http://www.gmap-pedometer.com/?r=6445854 We would have liked to loll about the campsite the next day, but Muscle Ridge was calling us, so we launched before 7, cruised through the ledgy area about Flye (HT), landed @ 0930, and made haste to Muscle at the same time Dave drove in-12:30. Route for day 7: http://www.gmap-pedometer.com/?r=6445857 A spectacular trip, perhaps my best yet! Thanks to Rob for being such an excellent companion at every step. Link to Rob’s pix: https://picasaweb.google.com/TippyDazey/MDI2014?authuser=0&authkey=Gv1sRgCMDb8a7noOWLeg&feat=directlink TAKE-HOME NOTES: WATER: We estimate using 20-24L for the trip. Re-supply points include Marshall (iron, cloudy, but tasty: 44.07.332N 68.30.514W), NE Harbor (visitor center), Bar Harbor (?anywhere), and Lamoine State Park EVACUATION PLANS: Frenchboro (flush privy), Baker (Acadia; two-holer), NE Harbor, Bar Harbor, Lamoine DON’T EVEN THINK OF LEAVING HOME WITHOUT A WAGBAG OR THE LIKE (http://www.lowes.com/pd_367048-1703-KH550_0__?productId=3474867 )AND USE IT! ROUTE SELECTION: Travel CCW whenever you can-your trip will be easier. FOOD: Breakfast: oatmeal, usually, hydrated at nite (last am breakfast stolen by raccoon during a 5-min night-time beach gathering), granola bars. Lunch: PB&J X 4 (3 of which were eaten on the last day (#8, for breakfast, lunch, and supper), Amato’s Italian (day #2), restaurant when you can find it! Supper: Indian fare pouch (1/2 package added to grain [hydrate in am]; risked poisoning (really?) by eating second half 3 days after opening), box soup. Root vegetables cooked with grain included carrots, beets, and yams-kept very well. Snacks: Almonds, granola bars, Dove chocolate squares. CELL RECEPTION: Rob (Iphone5) had clear reception on ALL the islands. I, on the other hand (I4), was continually teased by Ms. Verizon, the texting green status bar always falling 1mm short of “sent”. OTHER: My “40-degree” synthetic bag will be left behind on a similar-season trip; a 35-degree mummy will take its place. Last, but most important: Thank you MITA and MCHT for providing beautiful, restful temporary “oases” for this multi-day sea safari. If you are not already a member, I hope this report inspires you to make a contribution to these and/or other organizations to ensure these still-wild places remain so.
  9. Dear all, Please join Maine Island Trail Association Executive Director Doug Welch for his upcoming presentation at Newbury Kayak and Canoe. Doug will share what the Trail has meant to him over the course of his life, including highlights from his recent two-week trip island-hopping up and down the Maine coast. We'll also serve a few snacks and some delicious Maine Island Trail Ale from Portland's Rising Tide Brewing Company, on us! Maine Island Trail and Ale! Wednesday, September 24, 2014 6:30 PM at Newbury Kayak and Canoe Please RSVP if you would like to join us, either by email at [email protected] or via direct telephone line, 207-699-4373. I hope to see you there! Sincerely, Jack Phillips, Maine Island Trail Association
  10. Check out these beautiful, barely-used boats, for sale: http://www.mita.org/support/boats?page=2 They are significantly heavier than most skin on frame boats (~50 pounds). They are currently stored in Boothbay; please contact Maria Jenness @ MITA to schedule a look-see.
  11. Link to synopsis of MITA cleanup and circumnavigation around Isle au Haut can be found here
  12. If you plan to visit, or have already visited any MITA islands this year, submit your favorite photos to the contest. Details: WHAT IS THE ROCK HOP PHOTO OP? The Rock Hop Photo Op is a community event celebrating 25 years of the Maine Island Trail. Together with MITA members, friends, and family, we're creating a virtual trip down the entire Trail with recent photos of PEOPLE having fun on the islands and taking care of them as they go. Our goal is to collectively visit each and every island on the Trail during its 25th Anniversary season, and to show off all the ways we can enjoy the Trail together by posting the photos on the interactive map above. There are countless ways to enjoy the Trail, so show us how you do it! MITA will be accepting picture entries for the Rock Hop Photo Op from June 1st to August 26th, 2013. We'll be celebrating our collective journey and awarding prizes for exceptional pictures at our 25th Anniversary Small Boaters' Conference on August 31 - the capstone to our program of 25th Anniversary events. Prize categories will be announced on the same day, but are likely to include: - Most creative mode of transportation - Best siesta photo - Worst bed head - Weirdest trash removed - Coldest swim - Best photo of children enjoying the islands HOW TO PARTICIPATE: Head out to the islands this summer and snap a few pictures of you, your friends and family having fun and taking care of Trail sites on the way. Because our aim is to celebrate the 25th Anniversary of the Trail, pictures must be taken during the 2013 season in order to qualify. Remember - be sure to put the phones and cameras away at some point and leave plenty of time to experience the natural beauty of the Trail! Once you're safely home, email your pictures to [email protected]. Please remember to turn on the geo-tagging feature of your phone/camera (if available), or just tell us in your email where the photos were taken. MITA will accept photos between June 1st and August 26th. We'll post your photos on the map above by the end of the following work day! Save the date (August 31, 2013) for the 25th Anniversary Small Boaters' Conference at our home base in Portland, where we'll be viewing the Rock Hop Photo Op virtual trip and announcing prize winners in several categories. During this day-long event, there will also be waterfront activities, a Fort Gorges cleanup, multiple speakers, and a celebratory dinner. We can't wait to see you there!
  13. Hello fellow paddlers! MITA has a booth at two upcoming shows and is looking for volunteers to help staff the booth. Responsibilities would include greeting visitors to the booth, explaining what MITA is about and answering questions to the best of your ability - there are always other volunteers around to help if needed. There are maps, guidebooks and storyboards there as well that cover the MITA story. This is a great way for folks to give back to MITA for the priviledge of enjoying all of their beautiful islands. Below are the times of the show and when volunteers are needed. Please PM me if you are interested and available for even a few hours on any of these days. Maine BoatBuilders' Show - This Weekend! Portland Yacht Services, Portland ME Friday March 15, 2013: 10 - 6pm Saturday March 16, 2013: 10 - 6pm Sunday March 17, 2013: 10 - 4pm Kittery Trading Paddlesport Show UNH, Durham NH Friday April 19, 5 PM 9 PM Saturday April 20, 9 AM -6 PM Sunday April 21, 9 AM-4 PM
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