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.
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.
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.