Saturday, July 22, 2017

Island Snapshot: Crow Island, Casco Bay

We wrote in the MITA logbook that we liked Crow Island so much that we came back for a second night. We'd stayed there Tuesday night after a couple of nights on Jewel. On Wednesday, we packed everything up and paddled to Fort Gorges where, in a short window of less-fog, we had a glimpse of the Portland waterfront.

You could almost feel all the activity around you there, like a hum in the air, which was occasionally split by the surprising, all-encompassing thunder of a jet, having just taken off, rising overhead. On the return trip, we paused at Cow and Little Chebeague Islands, where we also could have camped, but maybe we wanted to distance ourself just a little more from that urban buzz.

We kept going until we found ourselves, once again in the fog, drifting into the familiar little cove on Crow Island.

Our campsite lay in a grassy clearing beneath the stout, spreading limbs of a mature oak. Only steps below lay a crescent of crushed white shell beach, pocketed between grey, rocky outcrops where we did our cooking and lay clothes out to dry (when the sun poked through).

Though I'd had a positive image of the island from previous visits, I hadn't first gravitated toward it, probably  due to its proximity to the mooring field and anchorage for some 40-50 vessels. At the head of the cove, maybe a quarter-mile away, a boatyard, store and Post Office bustled. But bustle is relative.

We'd arrived in the fog and quickly found ourselves in our own world. Lying in my hammock, hung from another stately oak, I could hear the clang of rigging against an aluminum mast, and the occasional chug of a power boat off in the fog, but our island - on a clear day an easy day trip for rec boaters launching from the beach at the head of the cove on Great Chebeague - could have been miles away from anything.

There's an old cabin in the middle of the island, and you can camp inside it or on its covered porch if you want, but I liked our spot near the shore better. There are logbook entries, in childish scrawl, that describe the cabin as "wicked scary."

When the sun comes out, the true proximity to other people is more evident, and the liklihood of sharing the island more probable. The lobster boats come nearer, their rumble unending. But at high tide the water along the sandy beach looks inviting enough for a swim. And Casco Bay is a bit less cold than waters Downeast; you're more likely to stay in for a bit.

So, like a lot of islands along the Maine Island Trail, it's tough to leave. On FRiday, when we wanted to head east and have some current behind us as we made our way up Harpswell Sound to Strawberry Creek Island, it made sense to wait until after lunch to launch, so we had the sublime luxury of a few hours hanging-out, painting, reading, writing... just soaking in Crow Island's ambiance. When nineteen kayaks paddled by young teenagers and their slightly older leaders arrrived on the beach, we were ready to move-on.

1 comment:

Sid the Squid said...

Diane and I explored Cow Island home of
Rippleeffect several years ago and we found a little landing area that was completely periwinkle shells and sea glass and a lot of that sea glass was well-cooked indicating that it was probably an area for recreational power boats and sailboats to gam and do some drinking. In olden days they just chucked the bottles overboard.

Those 19 young teenagers might have been the Rippleeffect campers.