Saturday, September 6, 2008

Foggy Trip To Bear Island

With Tropical Storm Hannah approaching, there's been a lot of talk about what weather we'll get and when, but early this morning, the bright, swirling colors were still at the edge of the Weather Underground map of Maine. Rebecca was still out at Bear Island, and I planned on paddling out to meet her and paddle back. At seven this morning, I headed out of Sylvester Cove into the fog.

Paddling alone in the fog can be almost surreal at times. The land I've left has disappeared quickly, reducing my world to two shades of watery grey: the undulating dark plane of waves and the drifting fog above. There's a lingering uncertainty in the back of my mind, fueled partially by the doubts expressed by those who knew I was going, partially by my own doubts... and partially, well, are those waves getting bigger? I've been over it on the chart: a two-mile crossing to Eagle, keep the compass just shy of 300 degrees. Okay, the waves are tossing me back and forth, so it's 270 to 300, which should be fine. After 25 minutes, I hear a bell, which should be the buoy I'm aiming for. I change course slightly and head toward the clanging.

After I've passed the buoy, I see land, but it isn't what I was expecting. For a moment, the world stops making sense, but I know I'm looking at the Porcupine Islands, at the southern end of Eagle, rather than the point with the lighthouse. That was the buoy with the bell, not the one with the gong. Oh well, this course works too, maybe even better. I make the remaining connections: along Eagle to a point, head west to Fling Island, then a straight line to Bear.

After meeting Rebecca, we reverse the course, or attempt to. We miss Fling and see a little more of Eagle Island than planned. We take a few minutes to look at the polished oval stones on a beach on one of the Porcupines. We eat some cheese and crackers left over from last night's gallery opening.

Then it's back across, aiming a little upwind to account for the waves pushing us north. Amazingly, we come out of the fog right at the red nun we were aiming for.

1 comment:

Debra and Steven said...

Great post and navigation! We are missing Maine. Best from Brooklyn!