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Grand Manan Island, NB Thu 9/7 - Mon 9/11/2023

Joseph Berkovitz

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Janet Lorang and I are organizing a trip to Grand Manan Island in New Brunswick, just past the Bold Coast. The trip is planned for a long weekend, arriving the afternoon of Thursday September 7 and departing on Monday September 11, 2023.  We will be camping at the lovely Anchorage Provincial Park, where spots have already been reserved for this trip.

Grand Manan is a large island of almost 60 square miles in New Brunswick, Canada that sits right at the junction of the Gulf of Maine and the Bay of Fundy. While it faces the Bold Coast across the Grand Manan Channel, the island is completely different from the mainland. Grand Manan features an enormous range of landscapes, including towering basalt cliffs, sea arches and an archipelago of low-lying islands. The eastern side of Grand Manan is lightly settled and features an active fishing and aquaculture industry. On the other hand, the rugged western coast and outlying small islands to the south and east are completely wild and uninhabited. It is an incredible place to visit and to paddle. You can read about my experience there last year with Bob Levine in this trip report.

The trip will consist of about 8 paddlers.

This is is not an area in which to paddle casually, and all of the trip should be considered as L3+. Paddlers joining this trip should be prepared for:

- Daily trips of 12-15 miles, with limited bailout options. Much of the area is roadless wilderness, often with no opportunity to land safely,
- Strong currents (> 4 knots in some places) and turbulent eddy lines.
- Cold water, often in the low 50s even in high summer, with air temps in the 60s. Assume that a drysuit is essential most days.

- Rough water conditions on a very exposed coastline where waves interact with rocks, weather, and current.

Sudden changes in weather and sea conditions. The island sits well offshore in the Atlantic Ocean with plenty of wind fetch on all sides. Dense fog and poor visibility are common.
- The need to stay in a cohesive pod and maintain strong situational awareness.

- An international border crossing requiring a passport.

We will organize daily paddles Friday-Sunday. Some may leave directly from the beach at the Anchorage while others will require a drive. We will determine plans for each day based on weather, sea and tidal conditions. We want to stay safe!  (If paddling is ruled out for any part of the trip, the island is also a world-class hiking destination.)

In terms of logistics, plan for 6-7 hours of road travel to reach the Blacks Harbour ferry terminal from the Boston area. Individual arrangements can be made to extend your stay earlier or later subject to availability of campsites.  Please work that out with us up front.
Each person's share of the campsite rental will run to a total of $50-75 USD for the 4 nights - the exact amount will depend on the final group size.

The ferry rates run about $35 USD per vehicle, $10 USD per person. We'll figure out the ferry cost when we know the number of cars.

Please indicate your interest in the trip by filling out this form:


Based on responses, Janet and Joe expect to finalize the list of attendees in the next few weeks. We don't want to bias the trip towards those who are able to respond to this post right away, so we'll use random selection plus some personal judgment to form a group. Once we've done that, we'll respond to everyone who expressed interest. At that time we'll collect a deposit from everyone who wants to commit to the trip.

Hope to see you there!

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Googleform to indicate interest will close tomorrow evening - Wednesday 3/22 - at 10pm, after which time Joe and I will get in touch with the attending group directly for deposits. 

Thanks for all interest in this trip, 


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Seeing that the Google signup form is closed, I turn to this mode to amend my previous sign up with one detail. I had said that I cannot transport an additional paddler and boat in my car. I can do so — from the MDI ferry terminal to the island, and back again to their car. I hope this will be useful. 



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