In my enthusiasm, I arrived at Seascape before anyone was up and around. I pulled out all my gear to stage on the beach, then went for the boat, which had to be carried from where I stood for this shot, down to the beach. The kayak was new to me, bought one month ago, and I'd never tried to carry it by myself. Now was the time. I slid it down the back of the car, then hoisted it onto my shoulder. I could do it! Well-balanced, not a bad carry. Even so, when Bruce showed up halfway through the carry, I gratefully accepted his help.

I loaded all the gear in the hatches - always a creative effort, fitting everything in and balancing weight fore and aft, side to side. When I put the last drybag in, I was amazed to find that there was still room for more! This had never happened with the Avocet. Hooray for Dora, all 17 feet of her! I ran back to the car and pulled out some luxury items: a small pillow, a beach towel, and a nylon tarp.

Glen and Debbie came down to the beach to chat and see me off. It was a lovely and companionable send-off, and beautiful weather for the start of the trip.

chart casco

Here was the route for the day - out the harbor, down the coast, then cross on a flood tide, setting a ferry angle for the 1-mile crossing to Casco Bay Island. I was getting used to Dora, the pink Explorer LV, fully loaded. I was getting used to the location and the feel of the current. It was somewhat anxiety provoking. I began the ferry across, and at about mid-point encountered strong current and riffles, my first experience of what Fundy offered so lavishly. A very dynamic paddling environment! But the crossing continued uneventful, and before I knew it I was at the island.

casco site

Bruce had suggested a camping location on the inside of the island, facing Deer Island. As I paddled around, however, I found a lovely cove on the outside, facing toward Quoddy Light and the Head Harbor entrance. It felt private and wild, it had a view of prime whale territory, and the beach looked to be cobble for a long way out (important in this place where tides create beaches of 70 or 100 feet and one could be stranded behind rocks as the tide goes out). There was a beautiful high-ground campsite possibility. I unloaded the camping gear and set up.


Then it was time to explore!

As the tide went out, rocks quickly began to be exposed. The view at low tide is vastly different than at high tide. All sorts of rocks and islands appear, which one had been paddling over just a few hours earlier. As rock began to be available, seals from all around the island gathered on them to bask. It was a diurnal ritual. They lounged and moaned to one another with their beautiful mournful calls that could be heard from all around the island. Seals were common throughout the West Isles area, constant companions.

quoddy light

On the last of the outgoing tide, I did the half-mile crossing over to Campobello Island to drift out to Quoddy Light. Just offshore is very deep water with strong current, which seems to be where the whales most like to feed. Whale watch boats gather there. I had seen minkes and fin whales from afar as I paddled over, and I hoped to get closer. But it was not to be - they were well offshore and I was unwilling to paddle that far on the off-chance that I'd be at the right place at the right time, in the midst of what was still unaccustomed current. I watched from afar.

As the tide began to change, I began the paddle back to Casco. Again, it took me by surprise how quickly the current switched, and how strongly it flowed - more like a river than any sea venue I'd paddled.

rope pull

I arrived at just past full ebb. It was a looonngg way from water's edge to the top of the beach. How was I to get my partially loaded boat there? I decided to let the water lift the kayak for me, little by little. I tied off the boat with 30' line, and went down to pull it up every 10 or 20 minutes. Even so, I realized this was not the ultimate answer. High tide was after midnight. I wasn't going to wait around all that time. I would have to drag the boat some of the way. I was not happy about this - so hard on the hull to drag it over the rough cobble. Even this sturdy British boat shouldn't be subjected to a week of such treatment.

casco field
As the sun went down on the other side of the island, I secured the kayak well above the last high tide line. I knew it would be a higher tide that night, so chose a location way higher than I really thought was needed. Then I tied the bow lines to a sturdy log up even higher, and went to bed.

That night I awakened to the sound of waves very high up on the beach. I wondered about the kayak - was it high enough? I dressed and went out to look. Waves lapped at the stern - and it was still an hour to high tide. I dragged the boat even higher, and then sat in the tent reading for an hour. Checking again at that point, Dora was high and dry. I could sleep easy.

Dinner (people always ask what food is taken along, so I'm including each day's dinner) = Trader Joe's multigrain pilaf with Campbell's veggie soup in a box as sauce.

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