Kayak Trip: Bangor - Rockland, 2002
~Kayak Trip: Bangor to Rockland~
July, 2002

Someplace I have some photographs from this trip, mostly taken by my father, but there are not very many interesting ones.. mostly ones taken while we were taking breaks.

Another trip which I did not keep record of as I was going; and now, about six months later, I'm getting around to making this page for it. This trip sort of had a bit more of a purpose (more than kayaking someplace for the heck of it) than some of my other ones. Ralph was selling his stained glass work at the Maine Lobster Festival in Rockland Maine and wanted to know if I could come down to help out with packing up or whatever. He said he'd pay for a bus ticket for me to get down there (only would have cost about $15 for the ticket, and about an hour ride on a bus).. but I thought, hey, that's just a ways down the coast from Camden. I'll leave five days early and kayak there! Wonderful idea! since I had just bought a second sea kayak and just about finished getting it outfitted (spray skirt, paddle, dry bags, other odds and ends), I invited my father along.. or he invited himself, I don't quite remember. anyways, it was his first sea kayaking experiance, though he'd had quite a lot of experiance sailing and SCUBA diving in the ocean, so maybe those count for something.

anyways, we left from the Bangor docks as I have on most of my trips out into the bay. withen five minutes of leaving I lost the sunglasses I'd just bought (and I hate buying sunglasses! I don't know why. never used to wear any because I wore glasses, but stopped wearing those a couple years ago when they broke and I decided they were not important enough to me to get a new pair. anyways, back on topic....)...I watched as my new sunglasses sank out of sight before I had time to reach for them.

from what I remember, the river was great. In the past it seemed to take a long time, but this time it just took as long as it took, if that makes any sense. I don't remember seeing any of the seals or sea otter-like critters this time while going down the river.. I may have mentioned this in one of my other journals, it would have been my first kayak trip to Camden, in my mom's Loon138.. somewhere around South Orington I caught a glimps of something flashing off in the distance, like a large splash or spout of water.. I never did know what it was, but now I think I do. Somewhere between South Orington and Winterport we saw some very large (long and thin) silvery fish jumping out of the water. Some looked to be as long as five feet. Sometimes they would jump in an arch, other times almost strait up.. which from further away, I think would look like the splash or waterspout I had seen further away.

I don't remember much about how the winds or tides were while we were on the river, which means they must not have been too bothersome. We found a very good campsite, someplace near South Orington if I recal. It was part of a gravil pit sort of area behind a cemetery. There was a high bank of sand next to the river, which leveled off at the top and had some good places for a couple of tents. Placing our tents back a ways from the top of the bank made it hard to spot them from the river. There was a small valley like area that we pulled the kayaks up into to make them less visable. Only a few people I know if have noticed me camping on there land in the past and they have not seemed to mind, one even gave me a bunch of food once. But it's still a good idea to keep out of site because you never know who might be around or what they might do.

We got up in the morning and went on our way further down the river. I do not remember for certain, but we must have made it well out into the bay on the second day, almost to Flat Island.. because I do not remember any other place where we camped when we were out in the bay. We must have been making good time because we made it quite a ways that day.

We stopped for a bit on Sears Island and had some lunch, which I had only past by before, never close enough to bother stopping at.

The trip over to Isleboro was windy, but the wind was from the side, not with with or against us.. so we sliced a big curving path across from Sears Island to just a little ways down from Turtle Head on the northern tip of Isleboro. Some good big waves, but not choppy, so it was a lot of fun and a little scary sometimes. Near the end of it I started getting a little sleepy and would sometimes realize I had started to doze off, then awakened when I'd notice my balance shift had shifted a little.

We made it down into the islands on the western side of Isleboro and the water was more sheltered there. there was an island I had never stopped at, but thought before that it might be good for camping so we stopped there rather than head on to Flat Island.. which I had camped on once before and it was not very good. This island was so good that I'm not going to mention what one it is, only that a lot of other people use it. We stopped at one end, which was the end that I noticed on an earlier trip and thought it would have a good campsite. We unpacked some of our stuff and my father followed a trail over to the other end of the island. He came back saying we were moving our campsite to the other end of the island. That he had found a better spot. He said that first he saw the walls of a large, mostly collapsed log cabin and went over to get a closer look thinking that camping withen some of it's still standing walls would shelter our tents from the wind or rain. Then he noticed the other even larger cabin just a ways down the trail, still standing in good condition. And as he looked around a bit more, saw an outhouse and another smaller cabin that looked like someone still lived in or used it. He went to the one that looked like it might still be used and saw a sign on the door that said something to the effect of "feel free to use these cabins, so long as they are nit missused" or something like that. The door was unlocked, so he went in to see what it was like, then came back and got me.

I carried some of my stuff up to the other end of the Island, then we paddled the kayaks around to the small cove near where the cabins were. We stayed in the smaller cabin, which had two beds, a table, several propane stoves with gas, dishes, all sorts of stuff. There was a rain barrel outside for washing in.. and a fireplace. We used some of their wood they had piled up, and chopped some more for them. We liked the place so much that we stayed two nights there. While we were there, several other boats came up close, checking to see if anyone was using the cabins, but they left when they foundout someone was in the smaller cabin. The very large cabin was nice. It was like two 2 story cabins connected by a long common room with a huge fireplace. There was not much furnature and no beds in that one. Some stuff was stashed away in places in both cabins and marked as being property of the owners. we explored the islands and had a pot of steamed crabs for supper the second night we were there. I spent a lot of time making maille, drinking coffee, and watching dolphins. Another neat thing was the collection of guest books that were there. They dated back several decades and the first one (of ten or so) had a history of the island.

I don't remember all of it now, but I guess it was once home to a herd of sheep owned by someone that lived on one of the islands. The cabins were built in the early 19's. I think there was something about one of them being a wedding gift for the island's owner's wife, though I might be wrong about that. The larger cabin had something in it's history about being where the group that the Boy & Girl Scouts were based on was originaly founded.

It was a very nice place, hope to go back someday. we left a couple cans of food and a few other small things that we did not really need.

The next morning we headed on towards Camden. The ferry in Lincolnville can be a problem, it runs from the mainland over to Isleboro and can make some good size waves, which can be scary or fun.. but either way, it's best to stay out of it's path. I might have pushed us a little to hard trying to stay out of the ferries way. it was like a race while it was going from the mainland to the island then back to the mainland, trying to get to the right distance so we would be crossing and well out of it's way before it left it's dock on the mainland again. We made it, but it was quite a lot of work. We arrived in Camden that night and hung out in my favorite park for a while. Then someone I talked to who knew a lot about the area but to whom I promissed I wouldn't say who or what he was, suggested a good place for us to camp near a public beach. He told us where it was, but we did not realize just how close it was and ended up paddling a good distance out of Camden Harbor before thinking that maybe we'd gone too far and missed it.. so we went back to a place that looked as though it could have been a public beach. There were some nice big swells in the outer part of Camden Harbor. It was very overcast now and the ocean had turned grey. we went back to the place we had seen before, playing in the following swells was fun... paddle fast and try to keep on the front side and you can feel the swell pushing you forward.. like surfing maybe, not that I'd know since I've never surfed before. but it was fun.

We made it back to the beach and hung out for a while. Some local kids (well, teens I supppose) showed up with some smaller loon and otter sort of kayaks. They hit golf balls out into the harbor for a while and slid down the steep grassy hill in one of their kayaks. We talked to them for a bit. They said that one of the large boats out in the harbor belonged to Jay Leno, and that one of them who works in a local restuarant had seen him earlier that day. Some of them went out and paddled around by his boat; said they talked to someone onboard, who told them that Jay was eating dinner at the time. not sure if I believe them. There was a flag on the boat, but we could not make out what was on it. something white or silver on an orange field.

After dark we pulled the kayaks off to the side, along a small rock wall and camped in the edge of the light woods there beside the beach. Slept pretty good. Some people were down walking along the beach late at night, but if they noticed our kayaks they did not bother them.

There were still a few days before I had to be in Rockland, so I'd have liked to stay in Camden for at least one more day. My favorite coastal town. but father wanted to move on towards Rockland, so we did. I think dad was expecting a much longer paddle, following the coast it would have been much further, but we skipped across the various islands and headlands. There was some fog early on but the sun broke through later. I think we were in Rockland sometime around noon. I had never been there in a kayak before. I think I had only been there once or twice before when I was much younger, and then it was only to walk out to the lighthouse on the end of the mile long granite-block breakwater. There was some sort of resort with golf courses next to the break water.. no good for camping. A lot of people were walking out to and back from the end of the breakwater.. tourists in for the lobster festival. Some large navy ship was parked out in the bay. we paddled around and into the harbor, following along the shore and looking for a place to camp. No place that looked very good. This was the largest and most industrialized harbor I had been in, which does not say much for the places I've been.. only that they tend to have far less people than Rockland.

We paddled in around the harbor and spotted where the lobster festival was, and saw a beach a ways away, so we cruised on into the beach. It was very hot and sunny. Father found that the only place with any good shade in the area had a nest of fire ants near it. I went to find some public restrooms and found the streets were swarming with people. I did not expect the lobster festival to be this big. We met a couple who had biked (bicycled) up from Massachusetts to work at the festival. talked about some trouble they'd had with someone who found them camping on his land. They wandered off someplace, father went in to check out the lobster festival while I stayed behind to keep an eye on the kayaks. Father found Ralph, who said that my mother and her friend had stopped by and talked to him earlier, wondering if he had seen anything of us yet. My parents met up and came back with mom's friend Rena to find me. I'd developed a nasty head ache and a bit of a sunburn from being in the sun all day, and prolly not drinking enough water, or eating enough.. Mom and Rena went off to find Rena's van to load the kayaks on it, but they forgot where they had parked it and got lost. They were back about two hours later. Got the kayaks unpacked and up on the van, all our gear packed inside the van.. then went into the festival to find the boss. Had decided by that point that I really did not feel like sticking around for a couple days waiting for the lobster festival to end so I could help him pack... tired, sore, hungry, head ache, sunburn... trip was over, and I had transportation home. Ralph seemed understanding enough.