I’ve wanted to use that title for some time now. Tumbledown Dick Head is a steep section of shoreline on Pleasant Bay, in Addison Maine that until a few days ago I’d only experienced as that – a feature on the chart that just naturally seemed to invite exploration. Nate and I have been fond of using it during tabletop navigation exercises, and last year, when Rebecca and I camped nearby during our Upwest and Downeast trip, I kept looking forlornly up the bay, wanting to check it out. We finally managed to get there.
We had a day off and drove to the Addison Point launch, where we caught the outgoing tidal current on the Pleasant River that helped us along. The wind from the south made it a bumpy ride, and by the time the river turned to Pleasant Bay, fingers of dense fog began drifting in. We navigated buoy to buoy, a quick ride to Mink Island, a tiny MITA island, where we stopped for lunch and the fog thickened. We found ourselves, as we often do, off in our own little world for a bit.
We were already feeling good just to be away from work, off the island (Deer Isle) for a day, to be off doing our own thing for a change. I hadn’t driven to many new places to launch for a while, and it all felt familiar and good… stopping to pick up a submarine sandwich to take along for lunch, chatting with a local guy who’d just returned to the launch after tending his recreational lobster traps, watching the current heading out to sea, knowing we’d planned well and we’d get a considerable push from it. And then finally, landing in a place we hadn’t been before, checking out the campsite, taking it all in.
Since this is the Maine Island Trail’s 30th year, they’re doing a challenge called “MITA 30 in 30” that encourages people to visit at least thirty MITA islands this summer by offering a cap for those who manage 30 islands. I’ve been posting photos on Instagram as I’ve visited the islands, which has been a fun challenge and an easy way to document it.
If the fog had been less dense, we would have continued to Sheep Island, which we enjoyed so much last summer that we stayed there twice, and even spent a zero day hanging out there. But the fog was about as dense as it gets, so instead we paddled through the Birch Islands and followed a bearing over to the Addison shore, where we visited Marsh Harbor Island, another MITA island, and then followed the shore north to Tumbledown Dick Head.
As far as I can tell, the odd name of the place probably comes either from Richard Cromwell, a 17th century English head of state whose ineffectiveness earned him a short time in power and the nickname, or from a pub named after him. Either way, it made me want to go to this place, which is worth visiting – a steep cliff rising from the bay – but perhaps less singular than its name.
Of course, by this time, low tide had come and gone, and we had a nice push from the current to help us the 6 or 7 nautical miles back to the launch.
You can see my Instagram photos here. I've more or less stopped using Facebook except to post this blog - for several reasons, but I enjoy the photo sharing more than the sharing of just about everything else that you find on Facebook. I know - you probably followed the link here from Facebook... probably the only reason I still use it at all.