I’m going to keep this brief. Todd and I just took a longer than usual trip up the coast. Visitors to the gallery sometimes find me with charts spread out over my desk, but in the weeks leading up to our departure date, I had a whole new set of charts to study, and the anticipation of the trip kept me busy as gallery traffic slowed down. Before we left, if anyone asked, we said that we had eight days to paddle up the coast and see where it took us. Our hope though, if weather and conditions cooperated, was to make it to West Quoddy Head, in Lubec, the easternmost point in the United States.
We left Stonington on Wednesday, September 16th and camped that night on Big Baker Island, just off of Swans Island, a short first day to get us started. Our route then took us around the southern end of Mount Desert Island, through the Cranberries and into Frenchman Bay. Along the way, we paddled along the shore of Acadia National Park, where probably thousands of people were scattered along the shore at the popular sites. We were the only ones on the water... except for the tour boat and cruise ships.
Burnt Coat Harbor Lighthouse, Swans Island
In the early hours on Friday, we rounded Schoodic Point as the wind and waves picked up, and made it to an island just off Corea, where strong winds grounded us until Sunday morning. It was a good place to be stuck. We spent our time exploring the granite ledges, reading and listening to the weather forecast, wondering when we could continue. We ate pretty well, too.
We were on the water before sunrise on Sunday morning, which got us around Petit Manan Point in calm conditions, and gave us a long paddling day to make up for lost time. We saw a lot that day, islands that had been intriguing on the chart, but in real, 3-D life, just blew us away: the cliffs of Jordans Delight rising vertically from the ocean, the tempting rock gardening around Shipstern Island, the forlorn lighthouse out on Nash Island. The waves and wind kept us working hard. After nearly 30 miles, we made it to Halifax Island, not too far from Machias, a gem of an island with beautiful views.
I’ve been feeling a bit worn-out since we returned, but it’s a good kind of worn-out. I immediately became pulled back into my land-bound concerns, returning to my usual anxiety that I’m not paddling enough. Looking at the satellite images of the Maine coast with Deer Isle pretty close to the middle, it's hard not to think “why not a trip to Kittery?”