Thursday, August 17, 2017

Deer Isle to Eastport

The second part of the trip has gone quite differently from our first month paddling. If you're just tuning-in now, we've been paddling the coast of Maine since July first, a trip that began in Deer Isle with a meandering route and pace that took us to Portland and back to Deer Isle- some 330 miles in 34 days, with a few zero days for weather. Part of our aim was for Rebecca to do some painting on the islands along the way, and I of course would at least write an occasional blog to keep up with things. 

We were guests for three nights in Greenlaw Cove at the house where we house-sat last winter- time that included some resupplying and other tasks, as well as some socializing... which was great but a little weird. I felt very preoccupied, anxious to be back on the water. Unfortunately, Spider-Man, which had been scheduled to play at the Stonington Opera House, was cancelled. 

We got underway again on Sunday, August 6th, paddling over to Naskeag Point where Steve Stone from the website Off Center Harbor did a video interview with us. It probably won't be out until after the trip is done. We said some brilliant things as well as some goofy things, but I understand they can edit it to make it go in either direction. Camped that night on Little Hog Island. 

Since I'm still in the middle of this trip, and I have adventures yet ahead of me this evening, I'll be super-brief, but overall, this stretch of the journey has been a bit more rushed than the upwest (southern) portion. Leaving on the sixth, we had less than three weeks to get up the coast and back to Deer Isle before other commitments loomed. This stretch of coast has a few longer stretches between campsites, and a few areas that we'd rather paddle in not-too-huge days. Also, resupply opportunities are a bit scarcer Downeast, so it just makes sense sometimes to paddle some longer days. We've had far less time to hang-out and do any painting or writing. I'm still only half-way through the novel I started reading a month and a half ago. Internet and cell service is sketchier. We've had some early starts and late finishes and more or less pass-out after dinner. In short, it's the way life should be. 

Hopefully after I return I'll get some maps on here, but for now, this will have to do. From Little Hog Island we went across Blue Hill Bay, rounded the southwest end of Mount Desert Island and camped on a small MITA island near the Cranberry Islands. From there, we followed the southeast corner of MDI (Otter Cliffs, Thunder Hole, etc) and crossed Frenchman Bay, around Schoodic Point and on past Corea into Gouldsboro Bay, where we camped on another MITA site, this time on a ledge/island, that kept us about three feet above the full moon high tide.

On out to Petit Manan Island (puffins and a lighthouse!) and in to Bois Bubert for lunch and across to Sheep Island, a Downeast Conservancy island, newish to the trail, to camp. We refilled water bags and bought some convenience store fare the next day in Jonesport before continuing on to Ram Island in Machias Bay, and then to Cross Island before making the 34 nautical-mile hop up to Sumac Island near Eastport.

This doesn't scratch the surface, I know. In Eastport, we unsuccessfully tried to clear customs by phone and opted to stay in the US. A kind woman (kayak guide now watching-out for marine mammals at the pier construction site) leant us her car so we could get groceries. Topped off water at the Port Authority. We spent three nights in Eastport before grabbing our weather window for the return trip down the Bold Coast in total fog. There is much to be said about this experience beyond the mileage (34 nm again). I have kept copious notes. From Cross Island, we came here, to Dickenson's Reach, a remote mainland property on a millpond in the far inland reach of Little Kennebec Bay, in Machiasport. This was the home of simple living philosopher and yurt-guru William Coperthwaite. We're trying to soak-up that simple-living vibe. And sitting-out a Small Craft Advisory. We've got about a week to get back. Yesterday, our 47th day on this trip, the tripometer (don'T all kayaks have them?) passed 500 nautical miles. But that's just a number. It's been fun. Dinner time.


J Cline said...

You went from Deer Isle to Deer Island.

Michael Daugherty said...

Sadly, no. It's easier to clear customs in a car.