Wednesday, November 30, 2011
Herrick Bay, Flye Point
At the Naskeag Point launch, fishermen unloaded boatloads of lobster traps, stacking them on the pier while I readied my kayak nearby on the beach. The overcast sky was dark for mid-day, and though the air temperature hovered up around fifty, a cool breeze blew from the east, accompanied by small, but persistent waves. If I hadn’t gone to the trouble of getting all loaded-up and driving there, I might have easily decided that the sea didn’t look too inviting, and found some warm, dry place to spend a less eventful afternoon. Thanks to other commitments and a trip to the Midwest though, I’d just gone three weeks without a paddle, and I was itching to get out.
As I paddled into the waves and wind out toward the point, I felt a bit sluggish- such hard work after the weeks off. I focused on a clean stroke, and it didn’t take long to fall into the familiar cadence. I rounded the point and made some turns between the rocks, letting the waves do some of the work: nice and splashy, salt water on the tongue. It felt good to be paddling again.
I followed a shoreline of crumbling bluffs topped by a few small camps, finally curving into Herrick Bay, where the wind and waves diminished. Much of the time when I paddle in developed areas, I end-up checking-out the houses, which in more and more places seem to be large and seasonal, designed to look impressive - the sort of places featured in those magazines selling a fantasy Maine lifestyle.
I usually go for their smaller counterparts, which end-up being guest houses or boat sheds. I liked the neighborhood around Herrick Bay. Largely undeveloped, the dwellings tended to be humble, including a small travel trailer, a couple of yurts and the sort-of falling-down equipment sheds that I could almost imagine living in- if I could just find room for the art collection.
But the surroundings make-up for diminished wall space. The view changes at low tide though, when much of the head of the bay flats-out. At high tide, it felt like a lake.
I did find some art though, on the Crabtree Seafood barge, beached in a cove. I liked how the artist depicted the fishermen harvesting crabs from the crab trees. This is why it pays to paddle into every cove: you never know what you’ll find.
As I paddled out to Flye Point, the wind and waves had greatly diminished, and I followed a series of ledges out to the Flye Islands, where, just an hour after high tide, a swift current had begun to funnel through. About a mile off the point, I came to the Blue Hill Bay Lighthouse and drifted there for a few minutes as the western sky began to show hints of sunset - at three-thirty in the afternoon. With a little help from the current, I dug-in for the paddle back to Naskeag Point, arriving at the launch as the sky turned dark.