Wednesday, May 20, 2009
Rebecca and I met Nate and Peter in Pretty Marsh Harbor Monday morning, and found our way to the Bartlett Narrows launch, where we set off in a counter-clockwise circumnavigation of Bartlett Island. Three and a half miles long by one mile wide, Bartlett is one of the largest privately-owned islands on the Maine coast, and is home to a herd of award-winning cattle.
We didn’t see any cattle, only the more predictable seals & eagles, and a fleeting glimpse or two of a porpoise. With the wind from the northwest, we found some pleasant waves as we rounded The Hub and North Point, and enjoyed some contour paddling along the rocky west shore.
After mostly solo paddling over the winter, it has been a nice change to get out with a few other paddlers lately. It’s also a good excuse to check-out a different area. Peter had driven up from Belfast, while we drove an hour and a half each way.
Every time we extend our paddling boundaries, we see our coast a bit differently. From Stonington, Western Mountain appears as a distant profile that we simply refer to as “Mt. Desert”. As we paddled through Bartlett Narrows, I discovered a new context for my landmarks, and found myself seeking out others, like Blue Hill or the tower on Swans Island. It’s like putting together pieces of a puzzle, a process we continued after the paddle when we hiked up Beech Mountain and looked out over a maze of yet-to-be-paddled-by-us islands.