As the season at Old Quarry wound-down, we pondered our next move. Returning to Georgia was not much of an option. When we left in June, the owner of the business was ill and it seemed a long shot that Sea, Surf & SUP would begin to thrive enough to provide ample work. The owner died over the summer and the business has since gone into yet another phase, with another name. So we weighed our options.
worked really hard all summer- barely a day for a break, and, while the
pace was sometimes a bit stressful, we loved it. We loved being active,
kayaking all the time, in good shape, in close touch with the natural
world. I loved the tan lines from my sandals and the constant
sore-muscled feeling of being a bit worked. And money in the bank. When
we returned from the symposium in Nova Scotia, it felt obvious that
summer was over and it seemed prudent to get south while the getting was
good. We might find some kayak work in a warmer place and just keep at
it. Or lay low for a bit in the Everglades.
weighed this dream of warmer climes and more frequent paddling with our
love for the Maine Coast, even in the colder months. Several people had
very generously offered us winter living accommodations. We couldn't
quite make up our minds. Rebecca needed a good spot to paint- a large
enough space with good light. The ability to get out and kayak
frequently would be a bonus. It seemed we would probably go south for
But then one day I was giving a lesson and
my student told me she had a house that needed sitting for the
winter... and it was on the water. It would give us long months to
focus on painting and writing. So here we are, still on Deer Isle. The
house is in Sunshine, looking out over Mud Cove toward Eggemoggin Reach
and Brooklin. We've been here about a week and a half now. (The first
time I wrote that it had been a week, but we don't have internet here).
weekend I led a camping trip for College of the Atlantic, and with
winds from the northwest gusting into the 30s, we looked for a more
sheltered area. We settled on Naskeag Point and camped about two miles
from our new winter home. It had been awhile since I'd paddled around
here. For the past couple of years I haven't had a lot of personal
paddling time to explore semi-local Maine waters. I've usually either
been teaching & guiding or researching the guidebook, which took me
away from Maine for awhile. So it's been with particular joy that I've
found myself revisiting familiar islands, some of which have changed
hands since my last visit.
isn't to say we don't have second thoughts. I woke up in my tent Sunday
morning and it was pretty cold- just under freezing. Okay, it could be
worse- it will be much worse, but you find yourself thinking "is this
really necessary?" My outlook improved with a little coffee and
we're getting into a routine here. Most days we stay put for the
morning and get work done. At some point after lunch we head out for a
paddle, getting better-acquainted with the neighborhood, gaining an
understanding of what we're looking at from the living room window.
Between us and Plumb Point are a couple of islets and ledges. One is
barren of trees, with only a few distinctive boulders that catch the
light just so. It already looks like a painting, and I find myself
looking toward it compulsively, as if waiting for subtle changes to
re-arrange it somehow.
little farther out there's Bear Island, ringed with pocket beaches and a
trail running its perimeter. There's Conary and White Islands, and
across the Reach we visited the Babson and Torrey Islands. Little Babson
has become a MCHT preserve since my last visit. And the Torreys now
have posted signs welcoming responsible use.
the mouth of Greenlaw Cove, Campbell Island is in the hands of the
Chewonki Foundation and still on the Maine Island Trail, despite it's
being for sale. As we paddled along its shore I remembered my first
visit there, looking for the campsite as it grew dark after a long day
Toward the end of Stinson Neck we visited
some of the smaller islands, savoring them, taking comfort in their
nearness to our winter home. Of course, we don't take that nearness for
granted, realizing that at any time the weather might turn cold enough
that we won't want to paddle. But for now we're reveling in the
abundance of both time and less familiar shoreline to explore.