Sunday, August 24, 2014

Bois Bubert and a distant house.

 Bois Bubert is mostly owned by the Maine Coastal Islands National Wildlife Refuge.  It's a big island, over 1,000 acres, close to shore, and we hoped circumnavigation would make for an interesting trip.

  We began from the Steuben Town Launch just after 9AM,  just before high tide.  We decided to follow the island counterclockwise, guessing tidal effect was more keenly felt in the narrower west side waters.
  There are privately owned houses on Bois Bubert, mostly directly across from the Steuben landing.    By the houses  fields run down to the beach.
   The cottages were soon passed, and gently sloping grass gave way to rock.   We enjoyed the dramatic colors of the island, intrusions of various shades of gray amidst the pink granite.
    Some seals were hanging out off shore. The young seal seemed to be particularly enjoying the day.
  The south end of the island is more prone to lively waters.  Though things were pretty calm as we paddled through, we did need to keep an eye out for ledges.

   We took a break in Seal Cove, by the available camping area (permission needed ahead of time from the USF&W.)  We didn't inspect the camp area, spending our time admiring the variety of granite and other rocks on the beach.

  Off in the distance the dark forbidding cliffs of Jordan's Delight  towered above the water.  On the high island top was a house, which appeared to be the perfect house to witness the power of winter storms, or avoid the zombie apocalypse. 
Jordan's Delight as seen from Seal Cove on Bois Bubert, House is to the right.
  It was an intriguing house, and once we got home we were able to research it.   In 1994, a house described as a two story, "grand" mansion of 3,000 square feet, was built high on the cliffs of Jordan's Delight.   Some stories  note that the house was built in nesting season, (as if there might be a different season when house building could occur on an island in Maine), others just note the inappropriateness of the house.  And perhaps the owner came to realize the inappropriateness and impracticality as well, because in 2000 the house and island was put up for sale.  Maine Coastal Heritage Trust was able to find a donor to help purchase the island.  In a story which received much publicity,  (some examples:  Bangor Daily News, Living on Earth,  and Gulf of Maine Times) the house was removed.  Less frequently mentioned was a small house which, along with a few acres,  the donor would retain.  Maine Coastal Heritage transferred the rest of the island to the National Wildlife Refuge in 2007.  Jordan's Delight now serves as a prime nesting areas for one of my favorite Alcids, the black guillemot.

   So the remaining structure must be the smaller house, also two stories, available for the owner's use outside bird nesting time.  It still must have an amazing view, but it seems to be a bit wanting in maintenance (sorry for the poor definition - photo taken with our new high-zoom camera from almost 2 miles away)...

  Leaving the mysteries of Jordan's Delight behind, we continued up the east shore of Bois Bubert, admiring this fascinating square-rocked beach, which we need to explore some day.
   And there are a series of small islands between Bois Bubert and Jordan's Delight which should be seen as well.
Mark by Douglas island
 The northern shore of Bois Bubert has wave created rock piles so sharp edged, it looks like someone piled them by hand.
  This yellow legs is one of many birds in the area.

  All in all it was a good mix of wildlife, rocks and ocean, and it was certainly helpful to be able land at pretty much any beach we passed.  We wouldn't have been able to capture the seal pictures if we hadn't been on shore.  We hadn't been here before, but we'll go back to see the rest of the bay.

Details:  Launch Steuben Town Landing, no parking on site, limited parking is about a quarter mile away at the Pigeon Hill Preserve.  No facilities - either location.  Camping is allowed on Bois Bubert with permission from USF&W, day use allowed without permission. (NWR areas only)  Launch 9:10AM, high about 9:30AM.  Finish 12:30, 8.8 miles including a pass  between the Douglas Islands, two stops.


  1. Nice story and pictures- you guys seem to have fun exploring by kayak

    1. Thank you; Maine's waters are so beautiful, but it's especially nice when we get someplace for the first time.

  2. Wow. You are making me realize I need to kayak more. Amazing place.

  3. Yes, wow! Another awesome day on the water well worth a story! Great pics. Thanks!

  4. These are some wonderful pictures of Bois Bubert island. As someone that lives here, I must add some comments. The entire front shore is in fact private and all of us here are too polite to mention to any visitors that you are not allowed on that part of the shore. We won't mention to your face that you are not where you are supposed to be or that you are in the way. So please respect that part of the island. In fact, please respect all of the island and observe nature from a far. Don't try to go close to the seals, the geese, the bears, the deer, the coyotes, the fish in the pond or any other creatures. Please do not pick any of the flowers on the shore and especially not the pond lilies. Please don't pick mushrooms (partly for your safety) and don't try to drink from any of the streams. There are beavers on this island so there is a big chance of Giardia, which is a disease that is picked up from bacteria in water inhabited by beavers. Also, please stay on the 2 CLEARLY marked trails. There are other trails on the island but they are privately made and not meant for visitors so you will get lost and we have propel gotten lost before and search parties are not fun. I'm not saying don't come see this island, it does have many spenders that should be shared, but be respectful and know that blueberry thievery is a thing here. Thank you.