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A few Western Rivers (part deux)-Coastal Maine 5.14


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Skip report; go straight to slideshow HERE
Despite my 5:30 AM start to Maine, I was worried that I would be facing the early flood tide up the Damariscotta, after the 1145 predicted slack at Cavis Point. The Damariscotta PD was receptive to my overnight parking X2 at the municipal lot, allowing an easy put-in at the paved/float launch site. Shoved off at 920 at lower ebb, aided by a 5-10 northerly. Numerous oyster farms beyond the launch reflected the thriving, resurgent industry in these parts. An overcast, random sprinkly, uneventful nine-mile paddle down the quiet waterway brought me to a quick, leg-stretching stop on _____, then a short paddle to Fort Island across the river. The pine-needle-laden open forest floor carpeted innumerable candidate tent sites.


A privy and two nice landing beaches encouraged me to file away in my "future trips" folder. Paddling south beyond the constriction at Fort, I met more than a little resistance, the early flood winning the battle vs. late river ebb. Meandered down the east side of steeply-sloped Linnekin Neck to rocky Ocean Point, where owners/caretakers of seasonal cottages were “opening up”, hoping for a better weekend than today's off-and-on dreary weather.
Rounded the corner, faced the now headwind, and set a course for 309 to Burnt I. light, then through Townsend Gut to my home for 2 nights on the Sheepscot. Not the worst landing by any stretch, but improvised, as always, with scroungable log rollers and vagabond planks. post-100430-0-36204600-1406763190_thumb.
Polished off my Amato’s and chips, then settled in for a restful sleep, planning the next day’s trip.
As luck would have it, with only 2 days notice, Cath agreed to join me for the Arrowsic [a-RAU-sik]/Georgetown CW circumnav. She had left early from her Old Town home to launch at Knickercane in W. Boothbay, and was surprised to find John and Pru prepping for an on-water instructional/boat trial. They kindly escorted Cath to my seaweedy doorstep, where we exchanged air-hugs and goodbyes in short notice, splitting in opposite directions.
The weather was calm/sunny and seas flat as we slowly paddled eastern Georgetown, through Five Islands post-100430-0-81526700-1406764704_thumb.
(open weekends only; would be lucky to grab a lobster roll at Red’s the next day), then on to Reid, where Cath made a respectable landing /launch through the breakers for a quick stop. post-100430-0-01957700-1406764626_thumb.
By the time we arrived at Fort Popham post-100430-0-44147400-1406764814_thumb.
we were 1 hour beyond the predicted slack ebb of 1328. The current in our favor now, we rode the Kennebec to Perkins I. for lunch (day-old soggylicious Italian). post-100430-0-89698500-1406764882_thumb.
We thought better of the idea to do the complete circumnav., as there is a 5-hour window of opportunity between the slacks at Popham and Lower Hell Gate, when paddling CW. We determined that an average paddling speed of 3.8 knots in the remaining 3-hour window we had was unreasonable, even if aided by the ?2 knot current. So we explored the beautiful campsite(s) and walked the trail to the lighthouse, stopped short by a massive spread of PIV before us.
Back in the saddle up the serpentine Back River, headed for Hockomock Bay, a shore-side barn ”leaning towards Sawyers” (or moved to this launch spot?). post-100430-0-06953200-1406764985_thumb.
Even with a chart and compass, this marshy route had us scratching our heads at one point beyond the bridge. Pity the stranger without any nav-aids! We arrived at Lower Hell just at slack, and landed at the pepply beach at Beal’s southern terminus to explore the beautiful (a recurrent theme!) campsites, snack, and privy (verb)post-100430-0-33745200-1406765038_thumb.
With twilight nearing, we shoved off and rode the building current through Goose Rocks Passage, an ominous sea-born fog bank steam-rolling up the Sheepscot. post-100430-0-47364600-1406765083_thumb.
We guesstimated 15-20 minutes for the darkening, fogbound, 1-mile crossing from Whittum to Ram, and arrived mid-island after 17 minutes of dead-rekoning at 70 degrees. Now fully dark, we tucked into the familiar easterly cove to jury-rig my compass light, then handrailed (occasional residential and bridge lights, thank you) over to Knickercane, to see Cath off safely by 10pm. Creeped back through the creepy fog to base camp, where a hot mug of soup and crusty bread topped off a very long, but spectacular day!
An uneventful overcast last day had me retracing my route back to the car, wind and current my friends, then on to Topsham to the Black Lantern http://blacklanternbandb.com/ for a good nite’s sleep before heading to Pott's Harbor the next day to launch for the annual Jewell trip.
Edited by gyork
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