Day paddle on the northern coast of Maine

TRIP LOG: Submitted by Timothy Eaton, July 17, 2011

We arrived at Port Clyde Kayaks, located on the southern most tip of the St. George’s peninsula, at 8:45 am to rendezvous with our Maine guide- John Sibley. The kayak shop is located on the harbor in Port Clyde, once famous for the canned Port Clyde sardines, now famous for its lobster harvest and kayaking.

We make a quick visit to the General Store for water and snacks before meeting up with John on the harbor to launch our kayaks. Our guide makes sure each kayak’s foot controlled rudder system is set-up properly before shoving off.

Our route today will explore only a small potion of the huge Muscongus Bay since we have only three hours and will be paddling with our 2½ year old granddaughter, Georgia, who is out for her first on-the-water experience. Our route takes us inside Hupper Island with our guide John pointing out first Chief Justice Roberts’ summer home, and next, the now deceased, famous painter Andrew Wyeth’s summer home. This short trip will prove to be a history lesson of both contemporary and early-settler land barons by guide John.

We paddle through a sea of lobster buoys around Hupper’s point into Deep Cove where we stop 400 yards off shore. Resting in the water we soon hear sounds…the sound of porpoise breaking for air. They are swimming into our area but the first mammals to break water are several sea lions who poke their heads above the surface faster than I can focus and click the shutter of my camera they disappear. Soon the porpoises began surfacing and swim amongst the kayaks. The show lasts for 15 minutes all the time remaining elusive to my attempts to capture them on camera.

We move on, paddling west across the bay to Gay Island where an American Bald Eagle is perched high up in its nest. From here we paddle southeast to the Caldwell Islands. On the leeward side between two of the islands we beach our kayaks for a short rest and snack on Whole Berry Blast snack bars made for Whole Foods by Pro Bar. These were a treat and provided the energy we needed for the paddle back to Port Clyde.

Heading eastward back along the inside of the Caldwell Islands we cross the bay and head for Hupper Island and the channel that will lead us back into harbor. Three hours after our journey began it ends with a leisurely paddle sheltered from the wind by Hupper Island and in and amongst the lobster boats moored in Port Clyde.

Port Clyde is about a 4½-hour drive from Boston and 1½ hours if starting in Portland, Maine. With either departure point follow Route 1 northeast along the Maine coast through Freeport, Brunswick, Bath, Newcastle, Waldoboro to Thomaston. Here, pick up Hwy 131 traveling south on the St. George’s peninsula to Port Clyde, the end of the road.

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