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Circumnavigation of Southport Island, Maine - August 24, 2023

Ricardo Caivano

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I decided to go for a paddle around Knubble Bay the day before Dan Foster’s organized trip to the area based at the AMC cabin of which I was part. So early on Thursday morning I parked by the cabin and paddled to Beal Island, always a good place to camp with a paid reservation from AMC.  After setting up, I was soon paddling with the ebb to meet Cath at Five Islands.

We crossed the Sheepscot River towards the lighthouse at Hendricks Head. Big difference from my last time here when a dense fog made the crossing very interesting. This time the sun was shining, the temperature in the low 70’s and the wind was calm. Visibility? All the way to Seguin Island. We kept an eye open for a humpback that Cath had seen early in the week in front of Five Islands. No sign of it so we decided to continue SE to check the Cuckolds and complete a circumnavigation of Southport Island.

Our route took us on the outside of Lower Mark Island, which has two small cabins that are about to fall and a very nice coastline, pass Cranberry Ledges, and on to the Cuckolds. We landed on soft rocks where the lighthouse is. The building and ground have not received much love lately although the roof of the house seemed in good shape. At the end of the pier (which has several holes) an osprey nest lays empty. Funny place to make a nest!

After lunch we paddled north looking at real estate. Saw the same cruise ship anchored at Boothbay Harbor I had seen a few weeks before and made our way through the Townsend Gut. We decided to take a break at Spectacle Island, always a nice place to stop or camp (thank you MITA). It seems that someone had plenty of time in his or her hands  and decided to be artistic (see pics). From there a bit of fighting against the tide and wind to Five Islands where Cath and I parted ways, she to her home and I, with the flood and the wind on my back, to my tent on Beal Island for dinner and sleep after the 21 NM paddle. Thank you Cath for the company and the local knowledge!

The rain came in the middle of the night, sooner than forecasted, and early Friday morning I packed and paddled back to the car parked by the AMC cabin.

Friday was rainy, gray and windy, in other words a beautiful day to drive around Georgetown Island, have breakfast at the General Store (which I highly recommend) and lunch at The Osprey in Robinhood. Of course the Red Lobster House at Five Islands was closed, probably because of the weather. Reid State Park was deserted and gorgeous with the wind blowing the rain hard towards the coast line and my face. It does have nice bathrooms and outside showers. I tried to find public access to Indian Point or Indian Beach but I did not see any. Does someone know if there is one?

I drove to Bay Point, no legal parking anywhere but left the car alongside the road as no one was out because of the weather, and had a quick look at the stormy Kennebec River’s mouth from this high vantage point. After lunch at the Osprey, which has nice views of the Sasanoa River and the marina, I drove back to the AMC cabin to wait for the group and more paddling. (But that is someone else’s trip report).










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The keeper's house on Cuckhold's was rebuilt/renovated several years ago to be a luxury B&B.  Locally it was a contentious and controversial project which eventually failed.

Which was good for paddlers because it is a great stopping place.

Ed Lawson

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