Tuesday, July 16, 2013

South Islesboro Islands

As often happens, plans for the excursion happened quickly. Peter and I were talking one day, speculating about getting away the next. I sorted through my mental file of trips I wanted to do and chose one in the MDI area, but by the time we left Stonington with kayaks strapped atop the car, we were headed south to Lincolnville. I knew Nate had been going back and forth on the ferry a lot lately, since his kids had been visiting grandparents on Islesboro, but I didn’t expect to run into him.

 As Peter and I passed in front of the about-to-embark ferry, I pointed the video camera and turned it on, just as I noticed someone waving from the bow. It took a moment to register: Nate, his wife Casey and Kili the dog. We pulled ahead and the ferry started moving. It was one of those strange moments that make the thousands of contorted miles of Maine coastline feel a little more intimate.

photo by Nate Hanson
Peter and I pointed to Philbrook Cove on Seven Hundred Acre Island and tried to keep a range. The tide was rising and the current should have been moving us north, but the 5-10 knot north breeze won-out, pushing us south. Despite the breeze, the day felt calm and warm—my first day of the summer without a dry suit.

photo by Nate Hanson
 We followed the shore around Seven Hundred Acre Island, passing a couple of small cottages. Ahead I saw the tell-tale water surface slither that otters make. I turned the video camera on and drifted toward them. One of the otters stuck its head above the surface only feet away, right in front of the camera- a great, almost comical shot. As it turned out though, when I thought I’d turned the camera on, I’d actually turned it off after leaving it running for about 7 minutes. So we still rely on memory for some of the fun parts. And I do lots of editing.


There’s a learning curve to the video, for sure. I’m aware that eventually, all these amateur paddle movies will probably look about the same to anyone but me (perhaps even to me) but for now I’m not concerned- just having some fun with it.

  Our paddle took us down through the Ensign Islands, around the southern end of Job Island and back north past Minot and back to Seven Hundred Acre Island. Seven Hundred Acre Island is privately-owned, apparently by descendants of illustrator Charles Dana Gibson, whose house still stands on the eastern point near this structure, which I think is the miniature castle he built for his kids.

Around Islesboro, the recreational boats far outnumber the work boats. It feels like just about everyone is on vacation. And for the day at least, so was I.

Warren Island (right)- the beach just below site #7
 We followed the shore of Warren Island, where a few campers were arriving in kayaks at the State Park Campground. A short distance away, we paused beside the lighthouse on Grindel Point, took a bearing for Spruce Head and started across West Penobscot Bay. The outgoing current had increased- maybe about 2 knots- and we kept a steep ferry angle to avoid getting swept down-current.

We arrived back at Lincolnville as the ferry once again departed, then drove home drinking iced coffee from Dunkin' Donuts, scheming about getting to the islands we didn't quite reach this time.

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