We live near the Penobscot River and have access to a place by the shore where we can store kayaks. So when the urge to paddle strikes, we are given the choice between lifting kayaks to the roof of the car, (gear is usually in the car) driving, unloading paddling, or walking down the hill and paddling(gear is usually in the boats.) So most of our paddling is on the Penobscot River, a tidal river with a 15 foot range. This gives us some ongoing experience and comfort with currents, tides and winds which we take with us to ocean trips. It's also a beautiful place to paddle, with high hills along its shore, and abundant wildlife, including deer, eagles, foxes and seals.
Originally I thought this blog would be about our daily paddles. But it turns out; I like the pictures from our trips more. So now it's evolved to many purposes:
1) Help us remember some of the places we went and conditions we encountered.
2) Promote paddling locations in Maine. This is an iffy goal. Unlike Ray Wirth, I haven't rated any of my trips in terms of necessary skill. Mark and I are omni-paddlers; enjoying rivers, streams, oceans and ponds. Some of the fresh water places listed here will be (seasonally) appropriate for beginners in recreation kayaks. Others will not. In Maine determining the skill set needed to kayak a body of water is particularly tricky given the wide range of water temperature and water level. What is a mellow fall paddle can be a raging class IV whitewater in the spring. I am counting on readers to use good judgment in deciding if any of these locations are appropriate for them. See also my Caution.
3) Encourage myself and others to explore new places to paddle. It is a beautiful world and often times wonders wait around the corner on small ponds. Again, be careful, and try to scout the area.
4) Report on unusual sightings on our daily paddles.
5) Connect with paddlers, bloggers and just viewers. I gain so much from other blogs; insights, enthusiasm, knowledge. I love hearing from folks who once summered/visited a location. Thank you all for sharing with me!
6) To share tips about kayaking.
7) A reason to learn more.
Kayaking credentials: I grew up in a family with an antique Old Town Canoe which we took dozens of inappropriate places. Mark grew up paddling kayaks on his grandparent’s small pond. We’ve lived near rivers through most of our marriage; owned many different kayaks and love them all. We’re both registered Maine Sea Kayak Guides, Mark the hard way. I failed the oral exam, but was given a license anyway (someday I’ll share that story.) Every summer we practice rescues and rolls, and we carry a bunch of safety gear with us. I know I can roll to cool off on a summer day; I’m not so sure I could roll to avoid a crashing wave and then pop back up. I try to stretch my limits; paddling out on the river when the wind is above my comfort level, heading out into choppy, windy, water off Searsport in the summer. But I also try to avoid discovering my ultimate limits. I hope you do the same.
“Let’s you and I, river, roll down to the sea.”*
*My theme song, River copyright Bill Staines.