Monday, December 6, 2010

Cape Rosier

With the forecast calling for some wintry weather for the week ahead, the weekend looked okay: air temps in the the 30s with light winds out of the north. It’s all relative. Knowing it would soon be colder and stormier, I decided I’d better make the most of it, so on Saturday I drove to Brooksville and launched at Betsy’s Cove town launch in Buck(s) Harbor.

If you paddled directly from Bucks Harbor to Blake Point, you’d go just over three miles, but the southeast shore of Cape Rosier is indented with coves reaching far inland, multiplying the paddle-able shoreline to over twelve miles. I launched just after high tide, so my timing was off, but I was eager to check-out Horseshoe Cove. This narrow finger of the sea stretches over two miles inland, with a zigzag about half way in.

The half-hour paddle to the mouth of Horseshoe is past surprisingly unpopulated shoreline. Condon Point is undeveloped (and for sale- hey land trust people). I knew I was paddling against the flow, but it wasn’t obvious until the cove narrowed in front of Seal Cove Boatyard. I dodged the current, following eddies where I could, rounding the corner into the zigzag, where I encountered a constriction creating a tidal rapids.

I got out and watched it for a bit and ate the first of my sandwiches. Definitely a spot to check-out at other tides. And there’s more than a mile or more still to go upstream. I headed back out just in time though, scraping along the bottom just south of the boatyard.

The mouth of the cove is marked by Dog Island, a small island connected to the mainland by a sandbar at lower tides. Next is an area called “Barneys Mistake”. I’m not sure who Barney was, but I would guess his mistake had something to do with the numerous ledges here. The cove is looked over by a few residences, closed for the winter. Actually, that can be said for pretty much all the shoreline in the area- all privately-owned with discrete cabins that have been there for generations.

I paddled as far as Bakeman Beach, then headed back via Spectacle Island and the Thrumcap, arriving back as it grew dark.

On Sunday, I picked up where I left-off, launching at Bakeman Beach, which is owned by the town. I parked just off the road, at the top of the beach and headed west, out around Head of the Cape. Here, I felt the wind in my face and paddled into small wind-driven waves that collided with the steep, rocky shore. This would obviously be a committing section of shoreline, so I took a moment for a reality check, considering the risks versus my preparedness.

Reality check out of the way, I followed the shore north. A couple of obvious bailouts stood-out, predictably in Ames Cove, Orr Cove and the coves approaching Harborside. The grey sky spat out sleet and snow, sometimes veiling the shores of Islesboro, Dice Head in Castine, and in the distant north, Sears Island and Cape Jellison. I ate my sandwich on Holbrook Island, beneath the watchful gaze of a bald eagle, and headed back the way I’d come, arriving back at the beach just before dark. I saw no other boats underway all weekend. It’s been fun to car-top the kayak to other launches, paddling unfamiliar shoreline, connecting the dots with previous trips. But now, with the kayak and the car obscured by snow, I may want to put the boat away for a few days.

We just watched a video about Andrew McAuley’s 2007 fatal attempt to kayak from Tasmania to New Zealand. A very sad, but amazing story. You can watch it for free here.


Sandy Stott said...

After a cold dusk run near Walden Pond, I hoped for some sort of water story. Glad to read about Rosier and trace your paddle on the chart pinned to my wall; glad to that you are writing from beneath the snow.


jbxpro said...

Horseshoe Cove definitely can be a lot of fun. Several times I've put in at Bakeman Beach about 90 minutes before high tide, headed right over to Horseshoe and rode the last of the tide all the way up, almost to the Cape Rozier road. When my grandmother was young, growing up in Castine, "the boys" would row the group down around the Cape and up Horseshoe, then portage over to Smith Cove and row back into town. BTW as far as I know, old Castine residents uniformly call it "Dyce's Head," though modern charts differ.

Speedbumps said...

Thanks for the comments. I'm pretty excited about exploring Horseshoe Cove more. I've heard about that portage- I guess it must be over private property, but I'd love to try it someday. Seems like a long haul to carry a rowboat.


jbxpro said...

Hmmm, now you've got me thinking! It might be good to do this in reverse: a) put in on the Smith Cove side of Indian Bar neck in the Holbrook reservation, b) paddle to the head of the cove, c) at high tide portage over somebody's yard (waving at the home-owner you've asked permission of) and the 500 yards(??) up the road, d) put in at the head of the marsh, e) paddle down Horseshoe and around Cape Rosier and up to Harborside, and e) finish on the Ram Island side of Indian Bar.