Saturday, July 17, 2010

Bucksport Harbor

A lot of variety in a small area. We launched from the boat ramp on Verona Island. No facilities there. Bucksport has public facilities in its harbor area. It is possible to land and use them, or drive over. Private facilities are available in several stores and restaurants along Route 3. There is not a lot of parking at the boat ramp, but we’ve never seen much of it used. It is sometimes closed for town events.
We launched at low tide, 9:09AM. I was hoping to see the bottom, but rain a few days ago left the water silty. In fact it was not a terribly promising day, the sky was gray. The temperature was reasonable though and, if it was a bit humid, at least there was a comforting breeze.
As we launched a large crowd of buzzards took off from the trees. We’d seen them in other years. Unlike the three temporarily upstream feasting on a deer, these ones seemed to have a colony on Verona Island. They circled by the hotel a few times, then headed on over the town, to who knows where.
Hoping they were not an omen, we crossed over to the canoe and kayak dock on the Bucksport side. At low tide the dock is resting on the bottom. At all tides the dock rides high above the water. It’s probably fine for canoes, but kayaks might find it challenging to exit there.
Then we paddled through the harbor taking time to admire the beautiful boats. We’ve also landed at the far side of Bucksport Harbor, in the area behind the public dock. It would be pretty muddy at low tide, but it’s OK at other tides.
In fact, I think this was our first time visiting the area at low tide. There are several pier structures in the harbor used by osprey, on other trips we felt we paddled right along side them, this time though they were high above.
There was a good crop of osprey though, as well as cormorants at all stages of maturity.

Beyond Bucksport Harbor is Verso paper, a bright spot in the Maine economic scene because they added 200 workers for the summer. Two of the workers were outside for breaks, but the rest were inside busily working.
We went just shortly beyond Verso, to see the start of some beautiful cliffs.

Usually we go further to abandoned piers, but the currents in the harbor can be tricky, especially just north, where the ledge juts out into the river. I know at some high tides we’ve ridden through on a current which is stronger than we’d like to try paddling against. Just after low tide the current was slow, but building.
On the Prospect side of the harbor sits Fort Knox, a huge granite fort built to protect the Penobscot and, in particular, Maine’s lumber from English raids. Twice before the fort was built the British had claimed land up to Bangor. But never since. It was not that the Fort was effective, for it was never fully manned or used for anything but training.

Just before the fort this playful mink ran along the shore. She ran up and hid under a rock, but peeked out the different sides.

Fort Knox has a variety of festivals held at it, re-enactors from the civil war, pirate days, haunted tours, SCA events, paranormal and Scottish Tattoos to name a few. Friends of Fort Knox keeps the schedule.
But during the week, it is more likely that the bridge observatory is the draw. At least we saw no one moving about the Fort and several cars headed to the observatory.

It’s fun to be on the water looking up at the Penobscot Narrows Bridge. As a child we’d climb hills and look down on the toy cars. This was rather the reverse with small motorcycles and RV’s crossing overhead. The Winnebago headed to the bridge observatory was halfway down, and was like the Tonka model my children played with for years.
We crossed back to Verona at the bridge, as two deer pranced along the far shore. Then it was back to the landing.
6 miles.

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