Yesterday wasn't a promising day for a paddle: fog, rain, potential for thunderstorms and more fog. But I had the day off, and finally decided I'd head somewhere. So at high tide, I followed Hatch Cove into the calm, protected waters of the Inner Harbor. I've attempted this circumnavigation of Oceanville a couple of times before, but have been thwarted by lack of time, lack of water, and ice.
This time I had all day. Sure, I'd go around Oceanville, but why not also head up into Holt Mill Pond? The pond separates Stonington from Deer Isle, and getting into it requires a high enough tide as you paddle beneath the Route 15 bridge. I've often driven over the bridge and wondered what it would be like to check it out. I passed a few houses discretely built up in the woods, but farther in, the shoreline was purchased by the town and is managed by Island Heritage Trust. I followed it to the end, where several creeks meander across salt marshes to the edge of the forest. Following them requires some tight turns, and some backwards paddling to get out. A couple of deer watched me try to find my way.
I exited the pond and headed past Warren Point, into Southeast Harbor. I didn't have any big plans, but curiosity got the better of me, pulling me onward toward all these areas I'd never paddled. I aimed north, toward an area called "Deep Hole", a popular "hurricane hole" for sailboats. I paddled against a mild current through the thorofare, checking-out all the houses, many of them large and fairly close together. Despite feeling a bit hemmed-in by civilization, I didn't see one person here- not at any of the houses or the boats kept moored in the channel. I found myself thinking "this will be different in the summer," only to remember that it is more or less summer.
Same with Deep Hole and Long Cove, although I did see some cars on the road. I'd always admired this area from the road; about time I saw it from the watery perspective. I ate my sandwich on a small island, and rode the increasing current back out, along the shoreline of the Tennis Preserve (another IHT-managed preserve which I'd previously seen from the trail).
I was getting a bit tired by then, and headed home, focusing on a good, clean stroke to make those last miles go past. They added-up- 17 miles, by my calculations. Not bad for a lot of puttering around on the "inside".