Kayaking on the Hudson

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Trip Report - Bar Harbor, Maine

Conditions among the Porcupines were perfect

Kayaking along the "bar" to Bar Island
View of Bar Harbor with Cadillac Mtn. in background
The Force was with us
"Cottages" along the shore
Upon our arrival in Bar Harbor, we were greeted with the news that two kayakers had drowned in the past month.  When we read the newspaper articles, we learned that in both cases, the kayakers were paddling boats that were not suited to the local conditions (one was not wearing a pfd).  Here in Maine, the water is 55 degrees and the weather can turn nasty in an instant.  There is no room for error.  Having paddled here for many years, we know that the best weapon you can use against Mother Nature is patience.  If conditions look questionable, paddle another day.
When we got a nice day, we paddled out from the town pier and took in the sights of Bar Harbor.  This is a working harbor, so you must look out for lobster boats, sail boats, sightseeing boats, etc.  We made our way around Bar Island, then back around Sheep Porcupine Island.  We watched the lobster boats zigging, zagging and pulling traps.  We dreamed what it would be like to own one of the vacation “cottages” from days or yore.  The water was calm and so was the wind--another beautiful paddle in Bar Harbor.
Thunder Bay a.k.a. Old Rusty
If you go… Watch the forecast for winds.  Pay attention to the tides—the “bar” connecting Bar Island is under a good 5-6 feet of water at high tide!  Stay clear of lobster boats and remember they do not keep a straight line.  Get a good nautical chart so you know where the ships will go.  Stay close to the islands to avoid the boats.  The Porcupine Islands are much farther out and apart than they appear.   
Be sure you know your limits.  It may be a harbor, but conditions can get pretty rough.

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