Thursday, September 23, 2010

Belfast and the Passy (Maine)

Basics: Launch from the beach beside the town ramp. Generally parking is available, so long as no festivals are in town. Restrooms by the town ramp. 6 miles. Launch 11:10 AM, High 11:50, Finish 1 PM

Fall is in the air, the days are definitely colder, and unfortunately Mark is busier, so probably most of our paddles will be closer to home. But we still plan to get out and enjoy the water when we can.

This week’s trip was to Belfast Harbor, paddling the Passagassawakeag River. That’s a Native name, meaning place of the sturgeon. Coincidentally, the floor of the river is known for releasing bubbles of methane (though I’ve never seen this phenomena) leading some to shorten it to “Pass a Gas a.” Which is the wrong pronunciation; pa-SAH-ga-suh-WAH-keg if you’re interested. Those of us with less nimble lips call it simply the Passy.

This trip would follow our standard practice, paddling with the tide. We'd paddle up with the incoming tide as far as we could, then ride the current back. The wind from the northwest cooled us on the way upstream and accelerated our return.

These photos were leaving the harbor.

The three tiers are a float with cormorants, the walking bridge, and the Route 1 bridge.
There are so many beautiful old houses along the river, many with kayaks piled up near the shore.
Color was spotty along the trip, the maples and sumacs were beginning to turn. Hidden up on the telephone poles is an osprey nest. Can you find it?
Most colorful of all is poison ivy.
After we reached the point where our boats began to scrape on rocks we turned back, under the beautiful granite railroad bridge, now pinned together with steel.
We ducked into the northern most cove by this large boulder.
And spotted an eagle in a tree. I wasn’t going to take another blurry eagle picture until I saw it was really two. The larger bird is probably the female.
On down the river we went. Midway along the river narrows and wires stretch over it, providing a resting spot for many cormorants - watch for slice! One has given up on the wire and is resting on the mooring ball.
These seagulls were gathered under the Route 1 bridge. A graffiti artist had painted on a support: "Art or Crime?" Only in Belfast; affordable, liberal, funky and artistic. The photo shows Mark racing under a walking bridge, the Armistice Bridge. In the background is the skeleton of the building which was to become $600,000 condominiums on the harbor. It was a little too early for that, no condos sold, and the project remains unfinished. But someday soon I suspect Belfast will lose the affordable adjective.
I guess this dock is reserved for gulls.
The lead picture was taken in the summer. We could find only one on this visit. The exhibit is called the Long Breathe by Ryan Cowan, The Garden Muse.
In the background is the Cornish Pilot Gig, the Belle Fast. Come Boating sponsors community rows in the boats. Unfortunately they are often held early in the morning. But worth looking into if you are in the area.
Note how now that we’re finishing the sky is completely blue.
We made good time, Mark took the pictures heading upstream, so I only took a few close-ups coming back. That meant we could eat lunch at one of the many incredible restaurants in town!

1 comment:

  1. Nice blog! Thank for the interest in mine. I think you can "follow" it by clicking "follow" in the bar along the top of the page (on the left). How did you find my blog? I really loved my time kayaking in Maine, and I hope to come back soon! It's such a beautiful place.