second day dawned clear and calm. My plans for the vacation were
unambitious. The West Isles area was not large, so there was no need to
cover a lot of miles in a day. I intended to spend 2 nights in each
location, and do leisurely day trips to explore and enjoy the islands.
I decided to wander southward to the nearest group of islands, then on
to Indian Island which would take me all the way to the Western Passage
and the vicinity of the Old Sow. From there I'd head back up the other
side of the islands (red route, below). Pretty easy.
I didn't want to drag the kayak back down the beach again. An idea came to me....
Every beach has worn round logs washed up above the tide line. Three or
four of these were all I needed to easily roll the kayak up or down the
beach, doing no damage to the hull. This worked so well that it is the
method I used throughout the trip. it took about 10 minutes at the
is a big part of this area. Sometimes this is in the form of modern
structures in the water, but just as often one comes upon these herring
weirs. At high tide, only the tips show. At low tide they tower
overhead, nets slung with rockweed.
popped up now and again in openwater areas with lots of current. They
are the smallest marine mammals I've seen, perhaps four feet long. They
arc out of the water, phut-phut their little breaths, and are gone
again in an instant. They strike me as the hummingbirds of the sea
world, living on a different time plane than we do. I tried again and
again to capture them with the camera, and was always too slow.
eagles are a common sight here. I think every island must have its
pair, and there were many juveniles at this time of year. I used to get
excited when I would see an eagle, but now they have become
re-established. Even so, they are large and imposing birds.
minke whale passed by in Head Harbor Passage, between my route and
Campobello. This seems to be the avenue of travel, and I often heard
them here. Sound, rather than sighting, is the easiest way to locate
whales. Their blows carry for a long way. In the mornings, though, I
could often see the spouts misting on the horizon, without being able
to hear them.
abundance of birds was breath-taking. Large flocks floated, then lifted
into the sky, circled around, landed again. I don't know waterfowl
identification, but it wasn't necessary in order to appreciate the
richness of sea life here. It is such a dynamic place, water constantly
moving, seals popping up, whales surfacing, bird flocks calling and
wheeling, clouds forming and drifting overhead.
excursion to Indian Island was uneventful, and I had no trouble
returning against the waning current. By lunchtime I'd seen what I
wanted to see. Returning to the campsite for lunch, I then took to
exploring Casco Bay Island by foot.
island has a walking path around its perimeter (as did all the islands
that I camped on), so I spent the afternoon hiking and gazing out
across the water. The cliffs were a respectable height - even moreso
when the ebbtide revealed another 20 feet or so of rock. From here I
could watch whales in the deepwater space a quarter- to half-mile out.
For an hour I watched as a fin whale and her calf fed offshore in the
rising current. The occasional minke surfaced and dove. Pods of
porpoise came and went. Seals drifted through. I would like to have
paddled out to the whales, but the kayak
was far from the waterline, and the current would have made it
challenging to stay put while waiting for them to surface. I contented
myself with watching from the cliff.
Dinner = mac and cheese with pesto and dehydrated veggies