Sunday, October 9, 2011

Seal Cove MDI to McKenney Preserve

 A beautiful day and a new destination on the horizon....what more could one want?

Summary:  Launch Seal Cove, off Cove Rd. Concrete ramp and gravel beach beside ramp.  Portapotties.  High 9:00AM Launch 10:20AM, finish 1:30PM 11 Miles, one stop.

80 degrees!  80 degrees in Maine in October!  Of course we wanted to go out on the ocean.  We launched from Seal Cove initially thinking we might paddle east to Bass Harbor and back, but once on the water, in the benign conditions, Tinker Island called to us.
Seal Cove is a beautiful little launch point, quiet and calm, a rarity on Mount Desert Island.  There is not a lot of parking, but there always seems to be space available.  Picnic tables are scattered behind granite walls for those just looking for a pleasant vista.
Several other kayak racked cars were there when we arrived, and a tour company had parked a van and trailer, probably waiting for a harbor to harbor tour to arrive.  Two men paddling wooden kayaks were loading up for the weekend.  At the ramp a lobster boat was offloading stacks of traps.  
Our first target was Rumell Island, a barren gull covered rock barely off shore, from there it was a two mile crossing to Bar Island.   
Not much to Rumell....
 A few lobster boats piled the waters of the Eastern Passage, but generally things were pretty quiet.  Initially there was no wind, making it easy to spot a seal and over a dozen harbor porpoises cruising the waters.  Midway across the west wind picked up and the seas were more lively. 
We rounded Bar and passed through the shallow waters to Tinker, the north half of Tinker Island is McKenney Perserve, available to the public through the generous donation of the McKenney family, Maine Coastal Heritage Trust and other agencies.  At the edge of the preserve two eagles each claimed a tree.  I noticed pairs of eagles last fall as well, they don't migrate in pairs, so I suspect they are mated pairs memorizing the area to which they will return in the spring.
We stopped at the preserve for a few pictures of the rocky shoreline, one of which I'll include here.
 It is so hard to see late afternoon shadows in the photos; it was 12:30, there shouldn’t be any shadow at all. Once we had proof we'd been there, it was lunch time. Mark and I sat on the rocks with our charts and hand compasses trying to pick out the islands and coves.  We eventually spotted Hardwood Island, but Moose Island eluded us, and Seal Cove seemed remarkably small and distant.
We had the wind to our back though, which made the journey quicker.  And entertainment was provided by a hardy mosquito, also delighted with the unexpectedly warm and humid weather. She repeatedly jumped into the lee of the wind to rest, which is to say she settled right under the brim of my hat in front of my eyes, taunting me.  Eventually I’d give into temptation and attempt to swat her, at which point she’d jump to a spot just off to my side.  I’d try to grab her two or three times in a one handed catch, with no luck, and she’d pass by my ear with her high pitched laugh before the game would begin again.
Mark pulls in to Seal Cove
Back in Seal Cove the seagulls were gathered on ledges in anticipation of the low tide feast.  Most of the kayak racked cars were gone, replaced by a lunch crowd, all enjoying an amazing autumn day. 
 If only it could stay like this all winter….


  1. What a glorious late "summer" weekend to be out on the water!

  2. Especially after the cool and rainy week....

  3. Seal Cove. How lucky! What an awesome paddle and pics! How will you top that one.