Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Mathew Cove, Moosehead Lake

Driving into the area, over Indian Hill
Seeking a change of scenery we headed inland to Maine's largest lake, Moosehead.  It's forty miles long by ten miles wide, with a maximum depth of 246 feet.  We could spend weeks paddling its shores.  But we were just looking for a day's adventure.
Lazy Tom Bog from the road
We began our morning with a Moose-sighting hunt.  We started at the Department of Transportation building in Shirley, then drove through Lily Bay and Kokadjo without success.  At Lazy Tom Bog, we hoped into our kayaks and headed upstream.  In less than half a mile we saw a nice male moose, his still growing antlers covered in soft velvet.  Unfortunately, we missed the picture, but we had the experience.
Probably the moose is just to the left here, but when we turn and see him, off he'll run.
  We continued up Lazy Tom to a beaver dam, and took that as time to head back to explore Greenville.

Some other paddlers exploring just off the Greenville Jct Launch
  There are launch in Greenville and Greenville Junction which we were considering.  Greenville Jct. seemed to have a better set up; more parking, changing rooms and bathrooms. (Always a plus)   But both meant exploring a shore line of vacation homes and avoiding boats, seaplanes and everything else.

   We spotted the lovely Katahdin at its dock in Greenville.  It's 100 years old this year, and had a birthday celebration recently.  I include the link because it tells the tale of its distinguished work career. 
Since neither of south end launches had much paddling appeal to us on this particular day, we went to Lily Bay State Park and launched from Rowell Cove popping in to explore Mathews Cove, especially the shallow island filled area.
On Moosehead Lake by Sugar Island.  I can just see a distant Mt Kineo.
In the shallows of Mathews Bay
Mark liked the tiny islands, with just a few trees.

I admired the way a single tree stump could become a home for an entire community.
Nature does some impressive design work.
A second angle on the same roots, giving them a more "circle of life" appearance.
 It was just a couple short paddles, but a nice accent to a fun day of exploring!

Summary:  Lazy Tom Bog (Stream), north of Kokadjo:  Launch is a turn off the road just after the bridge.  I'm not sure teh road has a name, but it's in the DeLorme.  No facilities.   Maybe a mile to the Beaver Dam, Google Earth shows the stream narrows considerably from there.
Greenville Jct Launch.  lots of parking, seperate long term lot nearby.  Bathroom open 7AM-9PM.  Paved. beach and playground.
Lily Bay State Park, Beaver Cove, fee to enter, two launches each with docks and ramps.  Pit toilets by launch, it looks like flush toilets by the beach.  Beach, camping if you make reservations far enough ahead. 

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Belfast Harborfest - Cardboard Boat Race

This weekend was Belfast Harborfest- which included a Pilot Gig Rigatta, a small boat display, the boat building challenge, (where teams were given three hours to build a boat), a 5K Road Race, and much more.  Sunday was the cardboard boat race. 
   There were two main styles of boats, canoe-like and row-boat like.   The full rules are here, but a summary we were given was:  Cardboard with water soluble glue and water soluble paint.  Duct tape is allowed only at the seams.
  Style mattered, as there was a People's Choice Award.  Three boats were decorated in Viking style.  But heart mattered too.  Apparently the Rollie's Bar and Grill teams began work at 9AM and were able to make the 10:00AM start with two entries!
   It was a moist morning, those who brought tarps used them frequently.  After the boat parade the vessels rested on the beach.  Most of the first heats were two boat races; one was three.  Waiting contestants lifted their boats, rested them on paddles, or in some cases cardboard.  There were three Viking themed boats, this shows two- Angry Dragon and Valhalla.  In front is an international competitor- the Rondy-Turcotte family from Quebec, Canada.
 Like a Rock 2.0  the Dutch Chevrolet entry paddled with confidence.  Their heat was against Rollie Red, which barely left the starting point.
  But Rollie Pink did better; here they are battling against Coburn Shoes' Boat Shoe.
    Unfortunately, the unfinished boat did not hold up.  But the race was held in shallow water at low tide, so after the back paddler rolled out, he was able to push his boat to shore.
  The Waldo County YMCA set the fastest time in any heat, finishing the course in just under 2 minutes.
   Size matters, originally  Barque Ahoy, built by the Penobscot Marine Museum was going to be paddled by three people.  But Archimede's displacement theories held, and after a quick sinking, a second attempt was made with just one paddler.  (She has a life jacket under her shirt)
   Yellow Submarine, sponsored by Searsport High was built at a Penobscot Marine Museum Cardboard Boat Camp in June.  It won its heat and placed fourth overall.
  The Norseman Nightmare, by the Vanderhoof Family, also suffered a quick roll at the start.  But they quickly got back into the race.
  Perhaps because the boats were fading fast, one final heat was done for the winners of all previous races.  There had been six heats, but only four opted to participate in the final race.  
   The Angry Dragon wound up with the overall prize.   (This picture is from their first heat.)

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

August 11, Hermon, Maine

   What is this floating down the Souadabscook Stream?

   Is it from this branch above?   Surely this must be an aberration.

   But here's another tree on shore.


    And a whole series of tree  along the shore of Hermon Pond.  
    Like it or not, fall is arriving in Maine.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Postcards from Stonington

Friday was an ideal day for sea kayaking in Stonington.  We were down at Old Quarry Ocean Adventures shortly after 8AM, and finished well before the afternoon thunder showers.  

But I really don't have a story from the day, just some lovely pictures.

Crossing between the Coombs near high tide
Little McGathery Erratic, boat for scale
Two boats on a beach
Seaweed floating over a shell beach
Granite marbles on shore, with a head for scale.
Islandscape, with Mark for scale again
Lobster boats heading in between Green and Russ Islands
Stonington at low tide
A classic paddling view
Summary:  Launch 8:40AM from Old Quarry Ocean Adventures.  Fee to launch and park, restrooms, camping, rentals, tours,shower, supplies and more available.  High roughly 9AM.  Out by Grog, Hell's Half Acre, through Coombs, over to Goosberry, along McGlathery, Round, Wreck, Steves, St George to Sands.  By Rock Green and Russ back to Old Quarry.  about 12 miles, two stops, finish at 1:30PM.

Other visits:  Stonington with Schooners in the Harbor
                   Stonington:  The Search for Jem's Island
                   Stonington:  Two Wonderful (with Baffinpaddler)
                   Stonington Maine

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Castine: Smith Cove with a side visit to a regatta

Here are four highlights of a late July sea kayaking trip at Castine harbor, Maine.
Not much of Middle Ground was showing
The first highlight was arriving at low tide, which put us ten feet closer to the bottom.  Sea stars, crabs and other under water life was clearly visibly, as was Middle Ground, a high spot in the center of a deep channel.
   Our second highlight was visiting the wreck of the Gardiner G Deering on a foggy morning.  A sister ship, the Carroll A Deering was found off Cape Hadaras in 1921 with its sails set and crew missing. The Ghost Ship of the Outer Banks  tells its tale.

Paddling through the inside, seeing more beams below water
   But the Gardiner G Deering met a more prosaic ending.  Built in 1903 and used in the timber trade, it was simply abandoned in the 1930's when shipping via sailing ships was no longer competitive.  After being abandoned, the double hulled vessel was sometimes as a dwelling until the upper levels were burned on July Fourth in the 1940's. 
Nice detail of the iron bars
   Seventy years later, pieces of the Gardiner Deerings double hull's strong timbers remain, intriguing visitors. 

Mill Pond Island (At some tides), taken from the top of the dam
Our third highlight was the charming tide mill pond at the end of Smith Cove, complete with its own island.

Coming up on it at low tide, I could see the dam exterior was just small rocks.  It looked like a simple do it yourself project: build a dam from nearby rock and have free power provided by tides.  But from the top, seeing the 10-15 foot width, made it apparent that this was no simple task, but represented hundreds of hours stacking rocks, not to mention designing the actual mill mechanisms.  This dam once hosted  a saw mill and a grist mill capable of grinding one hundred bushels a day;  it could operate 16 of 24 hours in the day. However, by the time an of  1868 Hydrographic Survey, it was idle.
The current dam, falls to the right
  "Free power" has long intrigued Mainers.  Winnegance, on the Bath river was site of the most tide mills in Maine.  In this issue of the Tide Mill Times, John Goff talks of growing up along the Kennebec River and discovering its history in tide mills. 

And our fourth highlight:    As we came back to the main channel we noticed many sailboats heading out the Bagaduce River to Penobscot Bay.  I wondered for a moment if they might be reenacting great paintings of the Penobscot Expedition Naval disaster (with a retreating cloud bank filling in for flames) which took place July 24-August 12 1779. 
Penobscot Expedition by Dominic Serres
Our view heading out
  But it turns out it was a more festive event, for which many boats and even the sun appeared - the fifteenth Castine Classic Yacht Race, a 19.6 mile race and the first of three day races.  The other two races are the Camden Classic Yacht Race and the Eggemoggin Reach Regatta. Shortly before noon cannon shots began to be fired in the vicinity of the harbor buoy, signalling the start of the event. 
Milling about by the Harbor Buoy (to the left)  Dyces Head is in the background.
Taking off
Several boats in action
Summary:  Launch 9AM from the Castine Town Dock.  Town Facility flush toilets nearby, three hour parking only. (Parking available on lots and side streets in town.)  Low about 9:20 AM, finish about 12:30 PM, down Smith Cove and back, out to Holbrook Island for lunch.
 Castine Kayak operates tours in Castine Harbor.  When we arrived we met a woman who was excited to be heading out on a morning tour.  And when we got back, she was even happier, as she just signed up for a second afternoon tour.   A pretty neat review...