Last summer, I made this same trip in an Oldtown Loon 138, a kayak made mostly for lakes and not-too-rough streams/rivers. After that trip, I decided that if I want to do more stuff like that, I should get a kayak made for that sort of stuff. So I did. For my first multi-day kayak/camping trip in my new kayak, I decided to redo the same trip I did before... partly cause I knew the area from last time, but also to see how the new kayak compared to the other one, and cause Camden is such a swell place. But Camden was not my final destination... I had six days off from work (not too special, I only work at my real job one day a week), and last time it only took about three days to get to Camden. So depending on how the weather and other such things were looking, I thought I might continue down the coast, or across the bay (the bay is about 10 to 15 miles wide) to Stonington and see whats over there.
Anyways, here's journal entries, notes, and pictures from that trip...
Day 1, July 30, Monday, 11:37pm
My 1st long trip in Millinium 174
I left Bangor at a little after 1pm. Original plan was to paddle from Bangor to Camden, then maybe over to Stonington, or further down the coast...
But todays paddling was not very productive. Only got about half as far as I was hoping.. The tide and wind were both against me. I'm up stream just a ways from Winterport; camping next to some long abandoned, but purhaps recently occupied cottages. One has only one big room, the other has a kitchen, living room, bedroom, a small loft, and a couple sheds outside... the adjoined shed seems to have been a bathroom at one point. There is no road that comes down to the cottages, just a path through the woods to another cottage that seems to be one some one still cares about. From there, I think the path kept going up across a field, but it was to dark to tell.. it looked like there might have been a mobile home at the other end of the field, and I could here traffic on the main road not too far off.
I would have camped out in one of the abandoned cottages if the weather forecast had been worse... both buildings still had beds, chairs, and couches.. and a lot of stuff that made it look like a squater had been holed up, but dates on all the newspapers and other stuff I found were from the early 1980's. I decided that it would be better to set up my tent and camp cause this looked like a fine spot for someone to come down and go fishing early in the morning.. and if I were them, I'd rather find a strange tent on my property that find someone sleeping in my old cottages.
oh well, going to work on maille for a while then go to bed.
Day 2, July 31, Tuesday, 6:42am
Woke up a little while ago. High tide is at 9:50am, but the waters calm right now so I'm thinking about leaving earlier. I like to be leaving when the tide is high cause it's easier to get my kayak thats packed full of stuff down and into the water... and its easier to paddle down river when the tide is going out. not sure how far I'll get today, maybe to Turtle Head at the norther tip of Isleboro. I think I'll get a little more sleep before packing up.
just woke up again, time to pack stuff and leave.
Passing by a pointy bit of land a few miles up river from Fort Knox. This is where I camped for the first night of this trip last summer.
The remains of an old pier at Sandy Point, near Searsport. I stopped here for a short break. There's three osprey in this picture, and at least two young ones in the nest.
Camping at Fort Point on Cape Jellison (near Stocton Springs). Got here at about 6pm and decided I would not make it to Turtle Head or Sears Island before dark.. tide was changing again and winds from the south-west picked up again. At least this time the tide was going the same way I was for most of the day. high tide is supposed to be at 9:52am on wednesday.. so if I get up early like I'd like to, it'll be against me for the first few hours and with me for most of the afternoon. I also went and wandered around whats left of the fort earlier, and found a foundation of an old brick building in the woods nearby. I wish they'd build a reconsrtuction of this fort, it was really small but the drawing they had of it were cool.
I met the park ranger and told him where I was kayaking to and from.. partly cause I saw the ends of two sea kayaks in a window of his garage.. I asked him if it was okay for me to camp down by the beach, or if there was some other out of the way place I could camp for the night.. he was somewhat reluctant at first (its not an overnight park and they don't want people thinking they can come and stay), but I told him that I didn't need a fire or anything.. just a place to pitch a small tent, and that I'd be out by about 6am. He gave me directions to an out of the way place to camp, then came down later to get my name for his records or whatever, and we talked about where I was going and stuff. He looked familiar, I think I've seen or met him someplace before. oh well, I'm going to bed. my brain hurts.
Day 3, August 1st, Wednesday, 5:30am
Getting up and moving on... last nights animal encounter was a skunk. I encouraged it to go away and it didn't spray.
The beach at Fort Point State Park.. meant to get a pic of where I camped last night, but this is nearby.
..and here's the light house at Fort Point, also happens to be the park rangers house.
If this is unreadable, it's cause I'm writting in the dark.. a light might attract unwanted attention to myself. Today was a long day of paddling. I'm in Camden now. Got up at about 5:30 this morning and was ready to leave an hour later.
Followed Cape Jellison for a while, slowly drifting out towards the middle of the channel. Passed Sears Island from a couple miles out, then cut strait down to Turtle Head. The water was very smooth and the tide current was going out (or I found the other outgoing current), so I made pretty good time.
Turtle head is that slightly higher part of the dark ribbon of land, right in the middle of the picture. Thats where I'm headed.
Halfway between Turtle Head and Sears Island, I spotted a large looking boat coming up the bay towards me. It was just a dot in the distance, maybe five miles away, but could tell it was slowly getting closer. I turned and paddled to the side it wasn't going for.. then it turned to face me again.. so I turned and paddled the other way.. it turned to face me again.. this happened several more times until it was just a couple hundred yards away (not very far when this part of the bay is four or five miles wide), I was about to give a "what the F*CK are you doing" signal with my air horn when it finally turned to a direction that was not pointing at me. This was the biggest, skankiest looking tugboat I have ever seen.
Big ugly tugboat.. it was junkier looking in real life.
Turtle Head was a lovely place, got pictures of it. Neat rock formations/deteriations along the northwest side. The rest of Isleboro looked good too... The forests looked like they'd be fun to wander around in. It sounded like lots of people were working on houses or something. A lot of hammering and sawing noises. Also saw some people working on a small drydocked tugboat.
Three pictures of Turtle Head's northwestern side.
I was tempted to get out and have a look around on Ram Island, but I didn't bother because there was a lobster boat working the area. I stopped for a break on Flat Island, one of the places I camped last time I was down this way. Ate lunch and walked around to stretch my legs. I was prolly the first person to legally set foot on the island since last spring... No Trespassing from April to July 31st cause of nesting sea birds.. and July 31st was yesterday.
Flat Island, This is the small island I camped on when I made this trip last summer. Looks great from a distance; but nooo, what looks like a field is 4-5 foot tall brush.
A view towards Camden from Flat Island. Camden is on that dark line of land on the horizon, right about in the middle of the picture.
From Flat Island, my plan was to cut strait down to Camden.. But soon after leaving the island, the winds picked up against me and the water got a little too rough for my liking. I pulled into Spruce Head (just above Lincolnville) to decide if I wanted to camp there for the night or continue on. It was prolly about 3pm, and if the ocean stayed like it was, I might be able to get to Camden before dark. Thunderstorms were forecast for tommorrow, a small craft advisory for today and tommorrow was also forcast... but no thunderstorms for today, so I slapped on my wetsuit and continued on. I also slipped on some seaweed covered rocks while I was there.. stepped in the wrong spot and my legs flew out from under me in several directions.. somehow I ended up sitting down on the rocks, with my right shin all banged up and bloody. I was just happy I didn't break it.. I think in the way down it sort of got wedged in between some of the rocks I slipped on. Putting a salt water soaked wet suit on over that fealt some good. Oh yeah! ouch.
Stayed close to shore for the rest of the trip. I stopped in Lincolnville to call home cause my parents were expecting a call from me when I got to Camden today, and thought I might end up camping somewhere along the way. Didn't get an answer so I moved on. Just after I left Lincolnville I passed one of the two hour tours that come out of the kayak rental/touring place in Camden. Their guide was kinda snooty. Sometime after Lincolnville, the choppy waves turned to swells, which was much better.
I made it to Camden about an hour before sunset.. didn't think to take off the wetsuit and sprayskirt before walking through town to find a telephone. got a few strange looks from people on the street. No answer again, so I left a message on the answering machine. I waited until dark, then changed into dry clothing in some bushes. I pulled the kayak up to where the tide wouldn't get it.. and here I am now, sitting in the park with my kayak and other stuff, next to the old granite boat launch... I've never slept in a public park before; not sure how much sleep, if any, I'll get tonight.
Last Day, Thursday, August 2nd
I actually slept very well last night. I had pulled my kayak up so it was sitting on the granite slab at the top end of the old boat launch in the park, and spread my sleeping stuff (small self inflating sleeping pad and wool blanket, drybag with clothing in it for a pillow) out on grass on the other side of the kayak. This morning and last night I talked to several people who were curious about where I was paddling from and stuff like that. I decided to call an end to the trip because of a big offshore storm that was causing 12 foot waves at Old Orchard Beach... but I kind of wish I would have bummed around the park for a few more days.
The park I slept in, viewed from the parking lot area on the other side of the harbor. It's low tide in this picture. My kayak, and where I slept last night, can barely be seen... it's right about in the middle of the picture.