This is part of a series of posts about my 200 mile trip up the coast of Maine by the Maine Island Trail. Previously: Mount Desert Island and Acadia National Park.
View Bar Harbor to Downeast in a larger mapMore good weather and more challenges. Today I had to round both Schoodic Point and Petit Manan Point which are difficult in a motorized boat and more so in a kayak. Schoodic Point, which guards the eastern reaches of Frenchman Bay, is cliffy and exposed to currents and wind. I toured the shoreline here on foot not too long ago and loved watching the waves crash into the cliffs shooting up water 25 feet into the air. This didn’t help my nervousness when I returned in a kayak.
Rounding these exposed points is always a test of judgment and control. One must fight the desire to hug the coast thus shortening the distance. However submerged rocks and waves make this a dangerous choice. It’s a difficult obstacle to keep the boat comfortably off shore without getting too exposed to currents and wind.
|Rough Waters and Currents at Schoodic Point|
As I ate lunch on one of the hundreds of uninhabited islands, I had a peculiar sense of loneliness. I had been alone up to this point, but I always seemed to be just close enough to a small port or a group of lobstermen which was comforting. Past Schoodic Point, even the lobster boats thinned out and I made many of my longer crossings alone. The weather was hazy today and although it did not inhibit travel, most of the views were obscured and it amplified the loneliness.
|Near Corea, Maine|
Petit Manan is similar to Schoodic Point but the reef extends extremely far out off the coast. The reef is so extensive that the Petit Manan Lighthouse is located over 2 miles off shore on a small island. On a kayak it wasn’t necessary to go that far off shore but I had to keep a good eye out for those submerged rocks. Speedy and confusing currents made for slow going and constant heading adjustments.
|I saw fewer lobster boats the further I went|
With nearly six days of kayaking under my belt I'm beginning to feel fatigued and worn. I can't say I enjoyed this day as much as the others although I was satisfied with the progress. I covered another 5 or 6 miles from Bois Bubert island and found another wildlife refuge island I could stay on. I had a gorgeous view of a sunset.
|No shortage of gorgeous sunsets and sunrises|
Veritable swarms of mosquitoes covered my tent, poised for an all out ambush should my bladder force me out of my refuge. For all the natural glory that is Downeast Maine, I've never, ever seen more mosquitoes in any place on this continent. This includes other places famous for mosquitoes- Alaska, northern Minnesota, Michigan's Upper Peninsula, Ontario, central New Brunswick... Downeast reigned supreme. I was the only inhabitant of this island so by my estimates, there were about one hundred million mosquitoes per capita. I was probably the only meal they had in weeks.
All things considered, it had been a good day; I safely rounded two of the most exposed points on the coast and covered an additional 28 miles. I was nearing the end of this adventure.
Next: Jonesport to Machias and finishing the Maine Island Trail