Saturday, June 20, 2015

Easing Into Maine

Sunday morning, Old Quarry Ocean Adventures, Stonington. We unload our boats and get our gear together, and the people start to arrive. We’re here for the third annual Wreck and Round Islands cleanup trip. When we lived full-time in Stonington, I was the steward for these Island Heritage Trust islands, and since I also worked at Old Quarry, it seemed like an obvious connection- provide a free guided trip to get a bunch of volunteers out to clean up the islands. After we left, we were pleased to learn that Island Heritage Trust planned to continue the tradition - Anne Douglas had agreed to lead the trip in our absence. But we were even happier when we realized we would be able to join the trip personally.

It takes awhile, as people trickle-in, to get us all ready and on the water, but eventually we’re all pointed toward Indian Point- a very familiar route. The day is warm and calm, and since it’s a Sunday, largely free of lobster boats. In the group we have three tandems and nine singles, three of whom are guides. Our group includes a couple of pre-school girls who ride with their parents in tandems, as well as a few people trying sea kayaking for the first time. We head across the Thorofare to Russ Island and I glimpse Stonington- my first view of it since that frigid morning in January when we left.

The path to Wreck Island is very familiar, and on this calm day, an easy, hour and a half trip. We land and have lunch before splitting into smaller groups to clean-up stretches of shoreline. I paddle over to pick-up the shores of Round Island with two friends. A couple of hours later, we’ve assembled large caches of garbage above the beaches- mostly fishing-related. A skipper from the Maine Island Trail Association arrives in one of their distinctive red Lund skiffs to haul the garbage back for us. Marissa, the organizer from Island Heritage Trust, passes around a tin of home-made cookies and we get ready for the trip back.

It’s one of those rare days when it seems we have wind and current behind us the whole way. We hardly need the break on Little Camp Island, but I figure it’s worth it for anyone who hasn’t experienced the sweeping views from the top.

As much as the trip’s purpose is to clean-up a couple of islands, it may be more important to get a few people out there enjoying them who might not otherwise have the chance. And even though we guide and teach to make a living, a trip like this seems to embody the real reasons we do it.

1 comment:

Maria said...

A great job cleaning the island really!!... and good people enjoyed a paddle trip as well(: