Thursday, August 14, 2014

The Bold Coast: Cutler to Haycock Harbor

On Monday morning Rebecca and I got up early and drove up the coast to Cutler. The forecast called for calm seas, so we decided to exercise our "closed Mondays" option to celebrate Rebecca passing her L3 Instructor assessment with a paddle along the Bold Coast. It was a gorgeous, sunny day, a bit cool even, and we felt lucky to be out. We launched on a rising tide, hoping to catch the current east, but as we left Cutler Harbor and headed out, the current in the eddy was against us and stayed that way until we were well offshore, passing a few puffins along the way until we had gone at least a mile closer to the distant cliffs of Grand Manan. It was obvious enough that we'd found the dominant current as we passed an eddyline and entered the bumpier water where the current and eastern breeze met.

But paddling well offshore gets a bit monotonous, especially when the wind and current both increase against each other. The current moved us along quickly, but the wind and waves gave us plenty of resistance. We pounded-along for some time, up and down, keeping an eye on shore, trying to keep track of our location. But from that distance, the shore appears almost wall-like and you get little sense of the details. Finally I conceded that it felt a bit tedious, and suggested that we head-in toward what I hoped was Moose Cove.

Fortunately, it was indeed Moose Cove. We took a break on the stony beach beside Little Moose Island, and it might have been a quick break if Rebecca hadn't become distracted by the polished stones.

We continued further east, around the tall cliffs of Eastern Head, and since the tide was high, into the long narrow strip of Haycock Harbor. This is one of the few settled enclaves along the Bold Coast. Of the roughly 16 nautical miles of shoreline between Cutler and West Quoddy Head (not counting all the indentations like Haycock Harbor) 12 of those miles of shoreline are public, part of the Cutler Reserve, the Maine Coast Heritage Trust preserves or Quoddy Head State Park. Of course, most of that shoreline is also steep and formidable, with few landing areas, even on a calm day.

Since I'm always curious about possible launches, we followed the narrowing channel of Haycock Harbor to the end, past forested banks until, at the end, we encountered a patch of lawn near the road, where a man rode in circles on a riding lawnmower.

We might not have progressed as far as we did, to the edge of Bailey's Mistake, had we not been having so much fun playing among the rocks.

There are plenty of rocks along the Bold Coast.

As we followed the shore back toward Cutler, we got to know a lot of these rocks much more intimately...

 ... some a bit more intimately than we planned.

Despite having caught the "Bold Coast Express" offshore to get to Moose Cove quickly in the morning, the rest of the day was leisurely and slow, and we found ourselves returning to Cutler Harbor not long before sunset- an eleven-hour paddling day.

Maine: the way paddling should be.


Paddle2See said...

Is that the Delphin 155? It looks like the perfect boat for your adventure in the rocks! How is it working out for you?

Michael Daugherty said...

Yes, Rebecca is paddling a 155- she loves it. At first that day it seemed like she might have been better off with her Coho, but once we stuck to shore the Delphin was perfect. I was wishing I'd brought the 150, which is maybe even more fun... but I was glad to have the Cetus when we were offshore- the Cetus is a better all-around boat.