Friday, May 10, 2013

Signs of Spring on the Passagassawakeag

When does Spring arrive?
        March 21?
        The first Robin in the yard?
        The first Merganser on the Penobscot River?
        Or when every street and side road is being torn up for repair?

   By any definition, spring had arrived in Belfast.  Main Street had just been paved and the dock area was filled with construction equipment, ready to trench, pave, and redo ramps.   A load of  telephone pole-like pilings lay across our normal beach access, a trench was being dug before a side beach.  But the access to the paved ramp was available.  So, after checking with some workers to make sure our car wasn't in the way, we loaded our kayaks onto our handy carts and headed to the ramp.

   Good news!  It turns out the launch fees posted at the ramp don't apply to kayaks!  (Though I would still normally use the beach so the paved ramp is available for motorized boaters.)

   Belfast Harbor was filled with patchy fog and bright blue skies beyond.  And there was so much to see on the water:  new pilings;  a new Cornish pilot gig, the Malcolm G,set for action;
  the tugboat, Fornier under repair;
  and a busy Front Street Shipyard launching vessels.
  Once under Route One, the scenery was decidedly more rural.  To the south, a mostly abandoned railroad snakes through trees, while to the north, neighborhoods of varying eras line the shores.  This is one of my favorite neighborhoods.
   The wires above the river, and almost visible to the left, are thick enough to accommodate cormorants. 
    Further down is this lovely cupola-ed colonial with its massive rock companion.  That stretch of river also seems to be the new anchorage for the Shanty.
   We followed the river up further, below a railroad bridge, until it ended, as many streams do, in shallow water and fyke nets (for catching baby eels.)
   Our ride upriver and downwind had been nearly effortless, it would be more work going back to the parking lot.  I'm not a huge fan of wind, but I have to admit, I paddle faster and more constantly when going up wind.  We arrived back at noon, thinking the construction crew might be taking a break.  They weren't.
 In front of the shovel on the ground is a trench which crosses the dock, and I'm not sure where the little house is going.  

Summary:  Launch 9:40AM, finish noon.  One short break.  High 9:40AM.  About 6 miles.  Restrooms beside the dock parking lot (behind the tree on the right of the photo)


  1. Red tug boats are so cool! You caught a big one! Your paddle was so So foggy, you can't see the bridge behind it.

    I remember being late for lunch in Belfast while taking pics of two smaller red tugs parked in the exact same spot. Lucky for me, it was a sunny summer day with no construction in town, as we were on our journey from Canada to come paddle with you! We loved Belfast. Hope the fog clears. Spring is not always nice.

  2. The fog didn't detract from the paddle - rather, it gave it an air of mystery and adventure. I like a little fog on a paddle - emphasis on the "little"! Belfast is actually one of our favorite places to visit and usually a fun place to paddle as well. It was just bad timing on our part that we got there on a day that they were doing *everything* at once.

  3. I bet that enclosed "flying bridge" on the tugboat really "flies" during rough seas! ;-) Glad Spring has arrived in Belfast and the Penobscotpaddles couple are back paddling!

    1. Thanks you, we're just in from a quick paddle on the Penobscot and feeling very blessed and lucky that we have these opportunities to paddle!