Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Rockport to Camden for the Windjammer Festival, Part 2

   "Looks like you have a nice day for this,"  the dog walker told us, "Last time I paddled here I got thrown off my kayak out by Indian Island."  She didn't seem particularly concerned, so she must have gotten back on top readily and headed into quieter waters. 
    And we didn't probe into her accident, but spent our conversation admiring her dog and assuring the two hour parking limit didn't apply to our space. 
     Soon we were on the water.  We rounded Indian Island Lighthouse and headed north.  
Indian Island Lighthouse, an abandoned lighthouse on a privately owned island
      And sure enough, freed from the quiet harbor, Penobscot Bay waters were choppy.  Wind was from the north and the seas were interesting but not overwhelming.  There were steeper waves near the ledges to add adrenaline to our journey(watch out for rocks!), and quieter waves inside Goose Rocks to allow faster progress.
   Even before we rounded Indian Island we spotted schooners on Penobscot Bay, and once we'd rounded Deadman's Point a huge naval vessel, the 567' USS Normandy, (CG 60) came into view.  The USS Normandy was built in Maine at Bath Iron Works, and in her maiden voyage served in Desert Storm.  Since then she's been involved in many other missions to protect our country.  The USS Normandy would be our focal point through much of the paddle north.  Along the way we also saw one gray seal, dozen of guillemots and an array of seagulls.

     Camden is another beautiful harbor, a bit more crowded than Rockport. 
Heading into the maze of moorings which defines Camden Harbor
Schooners were heading out on an irregular schedule, one at a time wending their way through the narrow channel left free of moored boats.  I believe this is the Timberwind breaking free
   In the harbor, schooners were lined up along all the piers.  The three larger schooners are:  (left to right) light gray Mary Day, dark gray Lewis R French and the dark vessel is the Angelique.
Schooners, day sailers, and sailboats line up in front of Mount Battie
   Both the Appledore and this kayak group are getting ready to head out.  You'll see more of the kayak tour in our next post.
    Schooners weren't the only boats heading in and out.  Sailboats and pleasure boats headed out to enjoy the beautiful day.  The Pied Piper took passengers out to tour the Normandy.
     Kayaks bobbed about, exploring the quiet areas.  There was even a two person rowing scull.
    Once we were done exploring and watching, it was back to Rockport, stopping to admire the rock walls and sculpture at Deadman's Point along the way.
Rock Gardens at Deadman's Point
This sculpture belongs with the rock walls.
    Waves were from the northeast.  Entertaining, but not ideal for surfing.

     It's hard to say which harbor is prettier; Camden or Rockport.  I do feel like I got a calendar's worth of beautiful photos along the way.
Rockport Harbor
    As we loaded our boats we met a nice couple from North Carolina.
    "So how far did you all paddle today?"  the man asked.
    "Ten miles," Mark replied, "we went up to Camden to see the schooners."
    "Oh, we started in Camden," he offered, "But we walked here."
    "Wow, how far was that?"  I asked.
    "Two miles."

      Further evidence that the sensible thing to do if you're coming from Bangor to the Camden Windjammer Festival is to drive to Camden, find a parking space, and spend the day admiring windjammers and taking part in the many other parts of the festivities.  It's far less logical to drive through Camden to Rockport, paddle along the shore to Camden, glance at the festivities and head back.  Nevertheless we had an incredible time, primarily because the water between Rockport and Camden was so entertaining.

We offered the couple a ride back to Camden, but they wanted to explore some more, or perhaps they were leery of putting their lot in with a couple plainly lacking in common sense.

Next in the Series:  Curtis Island.

Summary:  Start Rockport Marine Park (our post on the launch), fee to launch, flush toilets, pay shower available.  Launch 8:40AM, finish 12:40PM, 10.4 miles; one long stop.  High 12:09PM.


  1. Wow. What a paddle and awesome pics! You found a war ship and a mermaid in the same voyage. Pretty cool.

    1. It was a wonderful paddle; and wait 'till part 3, it gets even better!