Paddling With a Purpose: A 3-Week Kayak Journey Starts TODAY


Ask any Eastern Mountain Sports employee what their favorite time of year to hike, paddle or camp is and I’ll virtually guarantee they’ll all say “fall.” Kayak Instructor Chuck Domenie is no exception and at 11am this morning, he and his paddling partner Sandra Townsend struck out on a 3-week kayak camping trip that will cover the entire coast of Maine while performing a great service to the environment.

Chuck and Sandra in Eastport, Maine just a few hours before beginning their journey.

Chuck and Sandra in Eastport, Maine just a few hours before beginning their 3-week, 300 mile journey.

In addition to enjoying the camping and paddling experience of a lifetime, Chuck and Sandra will be collecting surface water samples for Adventurers and Scientist for Conservation (ASC) and their Marine Microplastics Project. Adventurers and Scientists for Conservation is a fascinating organization that has created the ultimate environmental win/win. Collecting data is one of the most time consuming and expensive parts of scientific research. By partnering with adventurers like Chuck and Sandra who are venturing into wild places on their own, scientists from organizations or groups like the Marine Microplastics Project get the water samples they need without having to venture into the field themselves. Thanks to Adventurers and Scientists for Conservation, mountaineers have collected snow and ice samples from mountain glaciers to track ice thinning above 20,000 feet; hikers and mountain climbers have documented changes in the pika population; and bikers, walkers and runners have assisted with roadkill surveys the world over.

The water samples that Chuck and Sandra collect will help assess the environmental and human health risks associated with the presence of microscopic plastic particles in the Atlantic Ocean. Learn more about the importance of this project by watching the video below:

Chuck and Sandra met almost four years ago on a sea kayaking trip to Casco Bay, Maine hosted by their alma mater Green Mountain College. As Chuck explained to me: “Over those 4 days we both caught a taste of what it was like to explore the Maine coast by sea kayak. Both of us have a strong passion for the outdoors, particularly its conservation and to play in it.”

Chuck Teaching

Eastern Mountain Sports Kayak School Instructor Chuck Domenie giving a stand up paddleboard lesson to a group of MIT students earlier this summer.

Chuck and Sandra are both exceptionally well-qualified to complete this grueling 3-week journey. As I mentioned earlier, Chuck spent this past summer guiding / instructing both standup paddling and kayaking full-time for Eastern Mountain Sports Schools. Sandra spends her summers glacier and sea kayak guiding for Matanuska Ice Climbing Adventures / Exposure Alaska in Glacier View, Alaska. The Marine Microplastics Project is the perfect way for her to spend her downtime before she heads to Steamboat Springs, Colorado for a winter of ski tuning.


I’m excited to say that Chuck will be providing me with regular updates from his journey that I will be sharing on the Eastern Mountain Sports Facebook page as well as here on the blog. In the spirit of exploration that abounds on Columbus Day, Chuck will also takeover our Instagram feed the week of October 13–weather and cell phone coverage permitting. We’re looking forward to seeing how the Velocity One tent and Icarus Jackets we sent along with Chuck and Sandra hold up to the challenging conditions they’ll be facing over the next three weeks.

If you have any questions for this adventuresome duo, please leave a comment and I’ll pass it along! 
Jim Darroch