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W2W-WALDOBORO TO WISCASSET, the long (and more scenic) way


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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.IMGP0083.thumb.JPG.ab75b0c976e2b6748f53230a7d1145b3.JPG

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. towdan.jpg.4c66fb481538ec1d85332b73f796efd8.jpgWe 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. IMGP0093.thumb.JPG.0f7746add88a719fb1e0e485b6a7f591.JPGDan 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.IMGP0098.thumb.JPG.15538075876bc0d0d2aa407c884bbc46.JPG














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! IMGP0103.thumb.JPG.abfacd827b608ba743dfbcac09207aee.JPG


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. IMGP0105.thumb.JPG.b5826084ac699feb6616143a3abb1739.JPG













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.IMGP0108.thumb.JPG.c2924604f50e484257d999889f7f4b98.JPG













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. IMGP0114.thumb.JPG.7f4efeec638546b3bd4f330773322804.JPG


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.  IMGP0117.thumb.JPG.81d60d8704d6c7f979f203618a8a6c81.JPG

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. IMGP0118.thumb.JPG.d97837580dc326429ccfe1b1c8f37352.JPG














Both water and paddlers were confused at the confluence of the Back and Sheepscot Rivers, opposite Fort Edgecomb.edgecomb.jpg.cc12c08caa6c2df93e72fe230263ab41.jpg 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



-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!



Edited by gyork
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Gary is of course being understated in his descriptions of how fortuitously he had matched up the tides to our paddling schedule, how idyllic our campsites turned out to be, and how wonderfully the trip turned out in terms of weather, conditions, and companionship. It was a near-perfect trip, in my estimation, and was one I won't forget soon.

My takeaways from the trip:

 - Things that you cut off when folding or making a custom chart can be important! Crossing from Pemaquid Point to the Thrumcaps was not in our original plan, but got added in once we saw that the conditions would allow for it. We rounded the point, made visual contact with the outermost-island on our chart, confirmed a rough bearing, and started paddling. After the crossing allotted time, our visual target wasn't getting any closer. Sure enough, there was another set of visually-similar islands, just left of our destination and a few miles past, that were beyond the border of my chart.

 - Do your chart prep ahead of time and dust off your nav skills before you actually need them. I showed up for this trip with 5 beautifully-crafted, laminated custom charts, each missing magnetic north lines, bearings for our few crossings, and with a decimal 0.01 degree grid rather than our beloved 1NM-based grid of minutes of lat/lon. And despite Gary's loan of a sharpie and two leisurely nights in camp with charts and compass readily at hand, I still found myself unprepared when the fog rolled in on our final day.

 - MITA is an absolute treasure.

 - Gary has got this kayak camping stuff dialed in, and there are dozens of tricks to be learned if you pay attention.

 - There are multiple ways to put on a spray skirt, but only one correct way.

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"I supposed that it might be my last safari, "  Say it ain't so Joe. 

That said, I know the feeling and often take a second look after I remind myself that I may never be be back.

I believe the attitude of Peter Habeler is worth following.  He said when could no longer do hard climbs, he would do easy ones; when he no longer could do easy climbs, he would do scrambles;  when he could no longer do scrambles he would hike; when he could no longer hike, he would walk in the pastures; but he would never stop enjoying the mountains.  Of course he did the North Face of the Eiger when he was 74 which shows, Gary,  there are miles to go.

Ed Lawson

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