Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Smart Enough to Come in? I guess not...

Naskeag Harbor launch
 I suppose it's no coincidence that we often wind up at Naskeag on foggy mornings.  After all, there are so many islands close to shore.

Erratic by Babson
    And the fog was supposed to lift.  Besides, there's an erratic to amuse us.
 Fog is a chance to test navigational skills.  We haven't headed west recently from Naskeag Point, Mark is trying to figure out which island that odd monument is located on.
Lone Tree Monument of Torry Islands
A bit further along and it's apparent the monument is really a tree; the lone tree monument (by the sailboat.)

Mark by Bear Island, most of his shirt is still dry
Fortunately the fog was light enough to cross the channel.  Further on the rain started.   Well, showers were predicted for afternoon.  We though the rain would  stop soon.

Cormorants on the Boulders
Or not.

Eventually, it seemed prudent to head back.  Our final debate was if we should stop on an island  first?  Our seats were about the only dry part left.  And, we'd certainly get wet loading our boats back onto the car.
Hanging out on Sellers
It may be damp, but it's still our own special island!
Coming into the harbor, we finally saw Blue Sky!

Summary:  Launch Naskeag Point, Brooklin Maine.  Busy work launch, easiest to park on Sundays.   If you go on a threatening Sunday, you can be the only car in the lot!   Portapottie, gravel launch.   Launch 10AM, finish 1 PM, high about 4:15PM, one break.  9 miles.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Crossing the Penobscot by Bucksport

What does it take to make a good moment?

Almost nothing.  I was sitting in the shade in front seat of our car, drinking an icy drink, windows open to let westerly breezes in, pleasantly exercised by a recent paddle about Bucksport Harbor, when I thought, "it doesn't get much better than this."

And really it doesn't.  It's not that Bucksport is an amazing paddle, there aren't any small islands or waves(though at certain points in the tide cycle there can be some very challenging conditions just upstream from the fort).  There weren't even any buzzards today.  But there were some lovely sights:
The new Penobscot Narrows Bridge, opened in 2006, and the footings of the old Waldo-Hancock Bridge.
Fort Knox:  After the British were successful in capturing Bangor and surrounding towns both in the Revoluntionary War and the War of 1812, Fort Knox was built overlooking the narrows.  Built between 1844-1869, but never used, Fort Knox remains as an impressive site and a terrific place to explore.
(To the left is Fort Knox in Prospect,  right is the Verso Papermill across the river in Bucksport)

The house at the Ferry Boat Landing just above Fort Knox.  What a classic house this is, and such a lovely siting. This is a fun video from 1925 of the ferry in action.
We saw seals and osprey, which avoided the camera.  Further up river were these high cliffs, providing some shade.  On a hot humid day, shade has a lot of appeal.
An old dock and its rotting components, appealing in its decrepitude, and a great resting spot for cormorants. 
Just south of the Verso Paper Mill, a new dock had attracted its own crew of bird life.  New dock or old, birds are appreciative of any perch.  this one had cormorants, seagulls and a few osprey.
A few boats lingered in the harbor.   This boat was up in Bangor for a week or two, there it was named the "Zee Whiz."  That name has been painted out, and it may be in the process of being renamed the "Sebago." It had a prior life as a ferry to Fire Island, but I don't know what it's new plans are.

Bucksport Harbor and its surrounding area has far more history associated with it than this short post mentions.  Still my key take away from this paddle, was enjoying my local environs is one easy way to build  happy summer memories.  I hope you're enjoying summer paddles too!

Summary:  Launch Verona Island.  Looped down to the bridge, across to Fort Knox, up to the power lines, down to the abandoned dock, back along Bucksport Harbor.  6 miles.  Launch 8AM, finish 11:00, one stop  High 10:15AM.  (The Google earth above is a shorter journey, the abandoned dock is maybe a half mile further upstream.)