Kayaking the Coast of Maine Trip Report: Week 2

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The journey that began two weeks ago is cruising along. Chuck Domenie from the Eastern Mountain Sports Kayaking School and his paddling partner Sandra took a rest day yesterday in Stonington, Maine. Chuck checked in with me from the local library to update me on his experiences this week and scope out the weather and tides for the next leg of their journey–the challenging crossing of Penobscot Bay. Weather permitting, Chuck’s goal is to paddle the eastern section tomorrow and the western section on Saturday.

Here’s what he’s experienced this week in his own words:

Pulling in to Mount Desert Island with Cadillac Mountain in the background.

Getting ready to start the trek to Somes Sound on Mount Desert Island with Cadillac Mountain in the background.

Day 10 (October 5th)

We paddled from Schoodic Point to the north end of Somes Sound. The rough weather made for a long morning. The weather broke later in the afternoon which enabled us to reach the end of Northern Somes Sound where we camped for the night.

Sunset

 Day 11 (October 6th)

From Somes Sound we paddled to Blue Hill Bay and stayed on Pond Island where we snapped the photo above.  We were on the water at 9:45am that morning and paddled until sunset.  It was another long day but we found a great spot to stop for lunch:

Chuck and Sandara's Day 10 lunch spot with Mount Desert Island in the background.

Chuck and Sandara’s Day 10 lunch spot with Mount Desert Island in the background.

 Day 12 (October 7th)

Fought a 20 knot headwind from Pond Island to Stonington where we cruised into the public boat landing and walked to the front door of the Center for Marine Studies where we hand-delivered four samples to Abby Barrows.

Abby Barrows and Chuck pose for a photo that is the essence of what "Adventurers and Scientists" is all about.

Abby Barrows and Chuck pose for a photo that is the essence of what “Adventurers and Scientists” is all about.

Editor’s Note: In response to a comment from @pmorris35 on Instagram, I asked Abby why the samples being analyzed for the presence of microplastics were stored in plastic soda and water bottles. Here’s her response:

Abby transferring one of the water samples Chuck took during his paddling adventure along the coast of Maine.

Abby transferring one of the water samples Chuck took during his paddling adventure along the coast of Maine.

“That’s a legitimate question. 

This is something we have grappled with quite a bit.  There is always a balance when using citizen volunteers for scientific research.  Since we are receiving samples from all around the world and many people are sampling in transit, glass bottles are not really a viable option.  We have worked to get metal water bottle companies to sponsor the project but have had limited success.  Many adventurers do take samples using glass or metal bottles but many turn up broken!  

That said, we have done numerous tests in the lab using both plastic and non-plastic bottles.  The plastic bottles are not significantly influencing sample results.  I ask people to use recycled bottles as long as they don’t look like they are overly sun damaged or beat up as these may be more likely to slough off plastic and contaminate the sample.  Also, the measure of foil lining the lid reduces the area where contamination is most likely-the threads and plastic insert in the lid.

Overall, the use of plastic bottles for microplastic does not weaken our study.  I process the samples as quickly as possible and they are stored out of direct sunlight.”

 

After dropping off the samples, we made it out to Russ Island (about 1/2 mile off coast of Stonington) just after sunset.

Sandra and Mussels
 Day 13 (October 8th)

AM Thunderstorms and 30 knot winds (NOAA small craft advisory) kept us on shore for the day. Russ Island is an old granite quarry where the granite used for the cable supports on the Brooklyn Bridge was mined. The sun came out in the afternoon sun but winds were still very strong so we hiked around the island. Happily for us, Sandra found us mussels which we cooked and ate within minutes of harvesting them from the rocks–it doesn’t get any fresher than that!

chuck paddling Day 14 (October 9th)

Paddled further along Stonington and came ashore again to charge electronics and refill some water before Friday’s big crossing of the eastern half of Penobscot Bay. We hope to be on the water just before sunrise to beat winds and safely make the crossing to Vinalhaven/North Haven. Penobscot Bay is very deep and can be rough with very strong currents–will be interesting. The Eastern half of Penobscot Bay has a large international shipping channel which we must cross through quickly and safely. We are hoping to make it to Rockland before 12pm on Saturday so we can get our 2nd food drop before the post office is closed until Tuesday! That would suck. We would be forced to stay in the area and wait. No matter how much you plan for trip like this, plans change, weather halts you and you have to take everything with a grain of salt.

“Tolerance for Adversity and Uncertainty” is a motto I first heard during my NOLS semester back in 2004 and I try my best to live by. To paddle the coast of Maine in October is a true testament to that phrase.

UNTIL NEXT TIME!

Kayak Map

 

Jim Darroch