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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
(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.