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MITA CALENDAR Spring/Summer 2003 CLEAN-UPS. Each spring and fall, MITA organizes work parties to clean trails, shorelines, and campsites and carry out projects on the islands. Everyone is welcome—with or without your own boat. Clean-ups are weather dependent. Reserve your spot early, as spaces fill up fast. Contact Amy in the Portland office at 761-8225 or to sign up. OUTREACH EVENTS. Throughout the year, MITA participates in or is represented at various boat shows, fairs and conservation-related events. We are always seeking volunteers to work at our booth and/or narrate the MITA slide show to help inform the public of our mission. Please contact Tania in the Portland office at 761-8225 or to sign up. PUBLIC FORUMS. Each spring and fall, MITA hosts public meetings to invite feedback on island access and management issues on the public Trail islands. This spring, the forums will be hosted by the Bureau of Parks and Lands and will be an opportunity for the public to comment on the draft 10year management plan for the stateowned Trail islands. Contact Rachel Nixon at 761-8225 or log on to for more information.

Muscongus Bay Clean-Up Saturday & Sunday, May 31 & June 1. Join us for one or two days with optional campout. Casco Bay West Clean-Up Saturday, June 7. Join us for this oneday clean-up event on Jewell, Little Chebeague, Crow and Bangs Islands. Casco Bay East Clean-Up Sunday, June 8. Join us for this oneday clean-up of the Casco Bay islands between Jewell and Cape Small. Downeast Clean-Up Saturday & Sunday, June 14 & 15. Join us for one or two days with optional campout. Muscle Ridge and New Brunswick Clean-Ups Dates TBD. Contact Amy in the Portland office if you are interested in signing up. LL Bean Symposium Friday-Sunday, June 21-22, Freeport, ME. We are looking for volunteers to work at our booth.



UNH Paddlesports Show Friday-Sunday, March 21-23, Durham, The Newsletter of the Maine Island Trail Association NH. We are looking for volunteers to work at our booth. P.O. BOX C Maine Boatbuilder’s Show Friday-Sunday, March 21-23, Portland, ME. We are looking for volunteers to work at our booth.

Gulf of Maine Sea Kayak Symposium Friday-Sunday, July 11-13, Maine Maritime Academy, Castine, ME. We are looking for volunteers to work at our booth. MITA’s 16th Annual Conference/ WoodenBoat Show Saturday & Sunday, July 19-20, Rockland, ME. (Please note that this is happening much earlier in the season than in years past – plan accordingly.) This year, MITA’s Annual Conference will be held in conjunction with the WoodenBoat Show. The weekend will include fantastic workshops and lots of boat fun activities. Contact Tania at 7618225 or, or log on to, for more information. Public Forums Late April or early May, locations TBD, Portland, Rockland, Ellsworth. ■




Association • Summer 1998

The Island Trail The Newsletter of the Maine Island Trail Association • Spring 2003

10 Island Discoveries (Maybe More!) for Coming Guidebook

Logs From the Gulf of Maine Part II: Bay of Fundy by Natalie Springuel

Planning Underway for 2004 Guidebook Overhaul

Now that she and her companions from the Gulf of Maine Expedition have safely returned from their epic kayaking journey, Natalie writes to tell us about the final leg of this exciting adventure.

MITA is pleased to announce that a host of very generous property owners will be placing some 10 new islands and mainland sites on the Trail in 2003. Discussions with several other property owners are continuing, and may result in more sites being added by the time the new MITA guidebook goes to press. As we put the finishing touches on the latest edition, we ar e already laying the groundwork for major changes to next year’s guidebook. For 2004 we are contemplating a book that would last for two or possibly three boating seasons before replacement with a fully revised edition. In the intervening years, MITA would communicate changes and additions to the Trail to renewing members through a convenient guidebook supplement. As always, your annual MITA membership would continue to support island stewardship and would be required to access private Trail properties. The proposed changes represent a unique opportunity for MITA to uphold its conservation values as an organization. The overhaul would significantly reduce wasteful paper consumption, while also freeing resources for other important island-related work.

Last I wrote, I was sitting in my tent in the pouring rain on a cobble beach in New Brunswick’s Bay of Fundy. At that time, I was twothirds of the way through a fivemonth expedition around the Gulf of Maine by sea kayak. Now I write from my office in Bar Harbor, where I work for Maine Sea Grant (one of the Expedition’s chief sponsors). From this cushy vantage point the Gulf of Maine seems like the back part of the neighborhood where the pelagic birds and ocean waves keep things alive. (continued on page 7)

Coastwide Additions

ROCKLAND, ME 04841-0735


ine Isla nd Tra The coming year will see site additions to Stewar il Asso dship H ciation andboo k & Gui every section of the Trail. As of this writing debook we anticipate two new overnight destinations in Casco Bay, a shoreside day stop in the Muscle Ridge area, at least four islands and mainland sites in Penobscot Bay, and a new island east of Schoodic Point. This bumper crop of new sites will offer Coming Soon: Your 2003 something for guidebook features a bumper crop of new islands and shoreside sites. Renew your membership everyone – easily early for timely delivery of the updated edition! accessible shoreside campgrounds, pleasant day stops, and (of course!) remote island hideaways. The properties come to us from many different types of owners, including land trusts, non-profit or commercial entities, and private individuals. It is also possible that a new public island, owned by the State of Maine, will enter the Trail system in the near future. (continued on page 19) 16th Ed ition

New Isl and an d Mainl Up and Sit Revised dated Camp es ing Inf Illustrate ormation Ab Areas out Lowd Guide Impact to Chan nel Ma rkers

Stonington/Merchant Row Area Clean-Up Saturday & Sunday, May 17 & 18. Join us for one or two days with optional campout.

Rich MacDonald

Western Rivers Clean-Up Saturday, May 24. Join us for this oneday clean-up event on the Kennebec, Sheepscot, and Damariscotta Rivers. Penobscot Bay Clean-Up Sunday, May 25. Join us for this oneday clean-up event. The author models her new sou’wester, a gift from the town of Clark’s Harbor.



and members. We want to invest in our great staff and improve our office and technology efficiencies. We are also playing an important by Jeremy Wintersteen role in the management and future On behalf of MITA’s Board offor care of manyprocess of the State Maine’s and creative that of I have Editing MITA’s publications Trustees, I amyears pleased report that islands on the coast and want to thoroughly enjoyed. My we other career the past two has to been a fun your association is onthat solid ground continue thiswriter publiccan island work.a bit as a medical be, well, and creative process I have and that weenjoyed. are poised meetcareer clinical whereas at MITAislands, I’ve thoroughly Mytoother With –respect to private exciting new challenges. found is writing that appropriate I can truly get as a medical writer can be, well, a bit MITA exploring Our mission passionate clinical – ownership delivery about. Whether whereas stayed at opportunities stronger than it’s the MITA I’ve that willsearch ensure Thank you to all MITA ever inwriting 2002 as for new islands found the health and our to profile in that stewardship I can truly members and other supporters longevity of the the services on the Guidebook, or get passionate Maine Island who dug deeper this year. coast the search for about.improved Whether Trail for our and wesearch added the perfectand boat it’s the members several that we’ve for newnew islands others. While island andinmainland sites to chronicled in this newsletter, my to profile the Guidebook, orthe the the public islands are the bedrock Maine Financially, worknucleus at MITA involved search Island for the Trail. perfect boat that we and of has the always Trail, the private have economic new andalso interesting challenges. And we’veweathered chronicleddifficult in this newsletter, islands help to foster an ethic of times thatathave tested mettle at every and turnresponsible I’ve been helped my work MITA has the always in-of sharing publicalong both thenew non-profit and for-profit by enthusiastic MITA memvolved and interesting chalaccess. In this day andstaff, age, the fact sectors. At the of turn our fiscal year, bers,approximately and volunteers. lenges. And at end every I’ve been that half of the Trail we are pleased have kept our So now probablyowned a goodistime to helped along bytoenthusiastic MITA islands areisprivately expenses in lineand withvolunteers. our original say thankstotothe all incredible of the people who staff, members, testament generbudget andisto have met most of ourto So now probably a good time have made myowners experience such osity of island and here to MITA’s revenue goals. Thank to allwho say thanks to all of theyou people a rewarding one. Because this fall, if mission and belief in the human MITA members and other suphave made my experience here such all goes as planned, I will be taking spirit. porters who dug a rewarding one. deeper Becausethis thisyear. fall, if an MITA’s extended tripare abroad. My wifeWe goals challenging. all Two goesthousand as planned, I will taking and I plan to spend a few and threebepromises want to reach recreational months boaters in as an be extended trip abroad. MyMITA. wife New Zealand, and perhaps to an interesting year for they push off shore and get other them to and I plan to spend a few months in destinations in the South Pacific. We After a year-long process, the Board take care of the properties they are Newapproved Zealand,aand perhaps other hope to do plenty of hiking, biking, has five-year strategic fortunate to enjoy. We hope that they destinations the South Pacific. We and sitting plan that willinguide our efforts into take paddling, the Mainewhile Islandalso Trail ethic of hope to do This plenty of hiking, biking, the future. plan reaffirms our conservation and recreational access and paddling,towhile sitting commitment land also conservation to their backyards. We work to around in our shorts thinking about and recreational access. What makes further MITA’s mission with our the winter we’ll be missingand in MITA unique, interesting, state, non-profit, public agency, and Maine. challenging is our unapologetic private island owner partners, and Needless to say, I won’t belief in the benefits of bothbeofbringthese we also enjoy getting out on the ing along my laptop, somebody commitments. A thirdsoimportant water in our own boats! new related will be leg editing thestrategic Guidebook and of our plan As always, special thanks are due and The Island Trail. I hope stay 15 is outreach/education. Aftertoover to MITA’s island adopters, monitor involved with MITA’sand publications years of stewardship outreach, skippers, island clean-up crews, in some I return, but MITA is capacity in a greatwhen position to have outreach volunteers, and others who for increasingly now it seemspositive too early to predict an effect on make the association’s work what I’ll be doing soand many recreational boaters on months ongoing possible. To all those who contridownconservation the road. efforts on the land buted time or financial support to In the mean time, the beat goes on coast. MITA last year by giving more here Theof Island Trail. We have Asatpart MITA’s strategic plan, towards your membership or by some announcements to we areimportant working to implement strong supporting the Stewardship Fund or make, so systems please read financial andon. fundraising the Annual Fund, thank you and Editingto MITA’s for strategies better publications serve our mission best wishes for 2003. ■ the past two years has been a fun

Clean-Ups and Work Projects: Four Great Reasons to Participate

MITA BOARD OF TRUSTEES Greg Barmore, Harpswell ME • James Bildner, Boston MA • Pat Born Smith, Liberty ME Bill Brown, Sargentville ME • Rob Cabot, Rockland ME • Merritt Ireland, Portland ME • Robert Ives, Pemaquid ME • Annette Naegel, Camden ME Chuck Remmel, Portland ME • David Shultz, Kennebunkport ME • Greg Shute, Wiscasset ME Steve Spencer, Augusta ME • Natalie Springuel, Bar Harbor ME • Hans Underdahl, Yarmouth ME Jeremy Wintersteen, Portland ME STAFF Karen Stimpson • Executive Director Peg Deutsch • Membership and Business Manager Amy Kersteen • Stewardship Programs Manager Kevin Lomangino • Newsletter Editor Eleanor Morse • Guidebook Editor Tania Neuschafer • Education and Outreach Manager Rachel Nixon • Trail Manager Sid Quarrier Project Coordinator Joanie Rhoda • Membership Database Manager Kippy Rudy • Development Officer Drew Wyman • Executive Assistant & Office Manager The Maine Island Trail is a 325-mile long waterway extending from Casco Bay on the west to Machias Bay on the east. Along the route, state-owned and private islands are available to members or the public for overnight stopovers where one can picnic or camp in a wilderness setting. The Maine Island Trail Association (MITA) is a nonprofit conservation organization, whose goal is to establish a model of thoughtful use and volunteer stewardship for the Maine islands that will assure their conservation in a natural state while providing an exceptional recreational asset that is maintained and cared for by the people who use it. This goal is achieved by encouraging a philosophy of low-impact use and environmental awareness among MITA’s members and island visitors.

MAINE ISLAND TRAIL ASSOCIATION Mailing Address: P.O. Box C, Rockland, Maine 04841-0735 Office Locations: 328 Main Street, Rockland, Maine 04841 (207) 596-6456 • 41A Union Wharf, Portland, Maine 04101-4607 (207) 761-8225 • Vol. 14


No. 1

by Channa Cummings Every spring, summer, and fall, MITA organizes numerous coastal clean-ups and island work projects involving more than a hundred volunteers. Though the everchanging mix of tasks, people, and settings assure that each outing will be unique, certain characteristics of these trips remain constant:

kingdom, seeing seabirds, seals, marine invertebrates, and other interesting creatures (from a distance, of course!) is also common. 3. You will find the unexpected! On most MITA clean-ups, every boat returns to the launch with a few

“prizes.” The discovery of bizarre and outstanding items, both large and small, is one reason why volunteers might be surprised to find themselves having so much fun picking up trash. Some efficient folks combine a day’s conservation efforts and a shopping trip into one! 4. The rewards are great!

1. You will get wet! MITA’s Lund workboats are great fun, and getting doused on the boat ride out is part of it. 2. You will see animals! Wildlife encounters are pretty much guaranteed. Though most sightings involve ticks, mosquitoes, and other untouchables of the animal

Jackie Dawson

MITA 2003: Milestones and Challenges

The final and most important thing to be said about all MITA clean-ups and work projects is that volunteers always leave the islands looking better than we found them. This, in turn, leaves us feeling better about ourselves.

A sincere and hearty thank you to all the skippers, trip Doug Welsh shows off this remnant of an old Steinway piano – an exceptional leaders, and “find” from a Casco Bay clean-up. volunteers who’ve devoted their weekends to trash Thanks for the Help! collection and island projects. For those who have yet to experience the MITA would like to acknowledge the hard work and tremendous support thrill of hauling island garbage or provided by the clean-up and work project volunteers of the previous replacing an aging privy, consider year. signing up for one of the many Work Projects upcoming events listed on the back Paul Austin • Matthew Barton • Erno Bonebakker • Jim Farr • Jeff Hodge page of this newsletter. ■ Hurricane Island Outward Bound School • Bill Mozak • Marina Mozak Robert Needleman • Mike Walsh

Clean-ups Sam Allen • Dave Ames • Doug Asp • Greg Barmore • Tony Barrett • Car olyn Bryant Lesley Devoe • Zack DiSilvestro • Calypso Doran • Linda Doran • JoAnn Fairchild Jean Fields • Jim Flahaven • Chris Flynn • Jim Folsom • Mary Folsom • Catherine Foster Megan Gahl • Kim Gass • Henri Gignoux • Ted Gilchrist • Chris Hann • Phillip Hanood Darrin Kelly • Ryan Kramer • Dan Lacey • Linda Lacey • Charlotte Lawton • Jon Lawton Mollie Mahanna • Stephanie Martyak • Michael Miller • Steve Minich • Dave Morrill Deb Morrill • Doris Newman • Ben O’Reilly • Don Parker • Robby Pawle • Tom Peralto Gail Peters • Wayne Peters • Jonathan Purinton • Sid Quarrier • Bob Ramsdell Marietta Ramsdell • Gregory Rec • Jason Rhoda • Kristine Robison • Sam Rush Don Sarles • Ted Scharf • Michael Seely • Cliff Seymour • Anna Shaw • George Shaw Brad Swanson • Chris Tadema-Wielandt • Merv Taylor • Elizabeth Tobiasson Wayne Tobiasson • Allan Toubman • Doug Welsh • Charlie Wood • Amy Zepecki 23

Opinions on Aquaculture

Edward Myers, 1926-2002 MITA mourns the loss of a longtime supporter and friend, Edward Myers, who died last fall at the age of 85. As an early proponent of the Maine Island Trail system, he was one of the first private island owners to place his property on the Trail. From MITA’s beginnings and through its toughest times, he was a constant source of visionary ideas, wise counsel, and steady encouragement. “Ed had our utmost trust and respect because of his tremendous experience on the coast and his unflagging commitment to the issues that affect it,” said MITA executive director Karen Stimpson. “We will miss having his steady hand here to help keep us on course.” Ed was intimately involved in coastal issues long before MITA or the Trail was ever contemplated. After serving in the U.S. Army during World War II, he moved to Damariscotta from his native New Jersey. There he began his long list of “firsts,” which included development of the first aquaculture farm in the U.S. (rope-cultured mussels) and pioneering the


business of shipping lobsters out of state. Later in life he became increasingly active in promoting conservation and human rights, both here and abroad. In addition to his early support for MITA, Ed helped found the Damariscotta River Association, which now manages two sites that are part of the Trail system. He was a director of the Maine Peace Mission and a founding director of Citizens Opposing Nuclear Arms of Damariscotta. He visited Nicaragua twice to support peace and humanitarian causes. Ed lived his ethics and continued to innovate right up to his exit from this world. At age 84 he became the first resident of Lincoln County to own a car with a hybrid gas/electric motor. He stayed engaged in civic activities and wrote the much-loved column, “All at Sea,” for Working Waterfront. He even had the foresight to write his own, characteristically witty and erudite, obituary. In it he quoted Tom Stoppard’s farewell from The Invention of Love:

“I really do have to go. How lucky to find myself standing on this empty shore, with the indifferent sea at my feet.” Ed is survived by his wife Julia and four children. ■

Passings Chalmers MacIlvaine, a resident of Hatchet Cove, Friendship, Maine, since 1987. He and his wife, Elizabeth, have been members of MITA for a decade. Mr. MacIlvaine’s family generously honored his memory with gifts to MITA, to help protect the coast that he adored and which he made his adopted home. Donors include De Anza Building & Maintenance, Dudley Ridge Water District, Paramount Farms, Roll International, Stewart and Lynda Resnick, the University of California at Riverside, the Wells Fargo Foundation, Westfarmers, and Jeff Yurosek. Christopher Gardner of Darien, Connecticut, died during the September 11 attack on the World Trade Center. He and his wife, Susan, sailed the Maine coast with their children every summer. Friends and family have made donations to MITA to celebrate the important role the Maine coast played in Christopher’s life. These generous gifts include proceeds from a cookbook created to honor Chris and other Darien residents who lost their lives in the attack. The funds supported island clean-ups in 2002. Donors include Eric and Denise Berger, Kathy Weiss Berger, the Community of Darien, Connecticut, The New Milford Hospital, Charles and Kirsten Piancentini, Tom and Stephanie Steen, and The Weiss Charitable Foundation.

Several members called or emailed us in response to the salmon aquaculture article in our last issue. The feedback was split fairly evenly between those expressing pro- and anti-aquaculture views, with passions running high on both sides of the divide. Below we present a small sampling of the comments we received. We would also like to inform members that public hearings have been scheduled regarding the proposed salmon aquaculture leases off of Scott and Pickering Islands in Penobscot Bay. The hearings, hosted by the Maine Department of Marine Resources, will be held April 15, 16, and 17 from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. at the Brooksville Community Hall in South Brooksville. Contact Mary Costigan at the DMR, 633-95312 or Mary.Costigan@, for more information.

Let’s Mind Our Own Business

Second, if MITA opposes salmon pens, this will have the effect of dampening job opportunities and economic growth. Island landowners will certainly think twice before opening their islands to us. We need more islands up here on which camping is permitted. That could be a tougher sell if MITA expands its purview. Our members already have the option of joining activist groups. Finally, there is a larger and more strategic issue here that can potentially be very divisive within MITA itself. This is the issue of becoming a “two-headed” organization, or trying to develop and preserve the island trail (including education and clean-ups) while also advocating certain activist positions relative to

when and how much water to release in rivers; huts or no huts in the mountains; bridges and access in the north woods; forest harvest practices; visual impacts of towers; and many more that I can’t remember. Eventually, over several years, it became difficult to tell exactly what the purpose of the AMC really was. Two distinct populations were apparent in the membership: those who wanted safe outdoor experiences, and those who wanted to champion some cause. I know the AMC has made many enemies, especially in New Hampshire and Maine, due to their advocacy. I hope MITA will not make this same mistake. Keeping a clear focus on MITA’s purpose and mission is the path to a healthy organization.

Aquaculture Is Risky Business

Jim Folsom of Roque Bluffs, Maine, writes that aquaculture is part of the lifeblood of down east Maine and that opposing it risks alienating many current MITA supporters: Three years ago, we moved from southern Maine to down east Maine (a distance of 260 miles, higher unemployment, lower educational level, more beauty, and less congestion). We have met many “locals” who provide your clams, lobsters, salmon, and scallops. Up here, jobs in fisheries are a big deal. I want to share some perspectives drawn from the last three years here and from the previous 27 years in southern Maine. First, I have kayaked within 50 feet of salmon pens on several occasions, and did not find it offensive. Turbidity from the pens was not apparent, nor was there any odor. Because of marine traffic and obstructions, I would stay away from these pens just as I would steer clear of fish weirs, draggers, or lobster caches.

Illustration by Berry Manter

In Memoriam

environmental issues along the coast. I can best explain my concern by sharing some history from my 27 years as a member of the Appalachian Mountain Club. (I am no longer a member.) The AMC came into being as a vehicle for leadership of safe outdoor activities, mostly in the mountains of the New England states. Gradually, the “Club” was pushed to take positions, then to advocate, and then to actively lobby on numerous and diverse environmental issues. These included such things as: dams vs. no dams; wilderness vs. forest industry;

Jim and Sally Littlefield, proprietors of the Oakland House Seaside Resort in Brooksville, Maine, contend that remaining silent or adopting a pro-aquaculture stance carries significant risks as well:

The Oakland House Seaside Resort has stopped serving farm-raised salmon in its restaurant, as have many other restaurants in Maine. Since Gourmet magazine and other publications have described the poor quality of farm-raised salmon we restaurateurs have taken a serious look at the kind of fish we serve to our guests. Now we only serve wild Alaskan salmon. More importantly, we feel that the DMR (Maine Department of Marine Resources) rules about finfish aquaculture completely fail to take into account any land-based concerns. The Oakland House has been in operation for 115 years welcoming guests to the coast of Maine each season. We host weddings on the beach, on the 3

shore, and in the buildings on our cooks, housekeepers, grocery stores, half-mile of shorefront. The DMR newspaper businesses, gas stations, regulations state only that net pens insurance companies, etc., who live must not interfere with boating and work here. activities. Our guests and their There is nothing cute or children swim on our beaches. The entertaining about the salmon pens DMR rules take none of that into that are in Cobscook Bay, Maine. The account. USDA awarded $6+ million to the Your recent newsletter article industry to destroy their diseased reported that a model farm does fish. All pens were supposed to be assuredly discharge the waste removed and sanitized with the bay equivalent of 12,000 - 15,000 people. remaining fallow for two years. What it did not say is that the DMR Salmon farming operations in will allow that Canadian to occur just 500 waters on the feet off our “In an area that needs jobs and other side of the beach. The Bay last summer incomes for its residents, proposed suffered the salmon farming same tourism does indeed sites off disease...boat provide that.” Pickering and traffic between Scott Islands pens and U.S. each cover 15 salmon farms acres. If just one of those pens were was restricted to help reduce the sited off our shore we would lose all spread of infection to more U.S. that has been drawing guests to the locations. area for more than a century. In an There is more to this story. Let’s area that needs jobs and incomes for not be blind to the threat and stop it its residents, tourism does indeed before it can take over our entire bay provide that. From figures provided as salmon farming did in the lochs by the State of Maine, the Blue Hill on the west coast of Scotland. It Peninsula area brought about killed the sportfishing industry and $66,000,000 into our community. It the sporting lodges that welcomed supports the many artists, art fishermen. Why would one put a galleries, plumbers, carpenters, noisy, computerized, well-lit fish

factory that dumps tons of unregulated waste into our beautiful island waters or 500 feet from the beach where children swim, couples marry and generations of guests have watched the sun sink quietly behind the distant Camden Hills? California has banned salmon farming off its shores as has Alaska. Alaska manages its wild salmon population and manages the wild salmon catch. Have you seen the slimy shore off Campobello? Last summer there was a big raft of pens just a few feet from our International Landmark. Do you think it was a “cute, entertaining, attractive” place to kayak? Or to swim? Or to have a lobster picnic? It was a mess. The local resident we talked with on the beach told us that the best scalloping bed used to be there. But now there aren’t any scallops there any more. Take a hint! ■ The Island Trail welcomes letters from members. Send them to 41A Union Wharf, Portland, ME 04101 or email them to

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Feedback Requested on Public Island Management Plan This past fall, in public meetings in Falmouth, Rockland, and Ellsworth, the Bureau of Parks and Lands (BPL) and MITA invited input on a preliminary draft of the 10-year management plan for the state’s public Trail islands. The plan is in essence a road map for responsible recreational access that protects both the fragile environments and a highquality visitor experience on Maine’s state-owned wilderness islands. The meetings attracted a wide array of interested stakeholders – over 100 in all – who had a number of provocative thoughts and ideas on how to accomplish these goals. (A hearty thank you to those members who were able to join the discussion!) Here are a few attendee comments which reflect the difficult issues the planning committee is grappling with: Group registration • “I suggest a preliminary system of asking commercial outfitters to notify MITA of use [of public islands]—not required or permitted, but to get data and information.” Campsite reservations • “A reservation system for group travel would help us to know who’s going to be where.” • “Maybe use regulations/ reservations as a last resort only if crowding gets too severe.” • “Make reservations, pay for use, support oversight of how the islands are supposed to be used.” “Entry” permits • “An entry permit could be screening device to educate people before they go [to the islands]”

• “By permits, I am referring to what everyone seems to be calling reservations/registrations. I choose the word permits because it implies a special permission to do something with behavioral conditions attached. To me, reservations remind me of hotel rooms; making a reservation ensures my right to be there, but does not have any conditions attached to my behavior.” For a full account of public comments from these meetings, please log onto

Official Comment Period The feedback and recommendations from these forums has been

incorporated into the draft management plan. Before the plan can be adopted as official state policy, the BPL must collect and consider public views expressed during a mandatory comment period. Anyone with an interest in the issue is invited to attend BPLsponsored public forums where the plan will be presented and public comment will be recorded. These meetings will take place in May in Portland, Rockland and Ellsworth; exact dates and locations have not been determined as of this writing. In the meantime, the MITA website ( will be the hub for planning updates, meeting announcements, and record of public comments. For more information please contact Rachel Nixon at 761-8225 or ■

JOIN IN! YES, I want to enjoy and help Maine’s coastal islands.

I know that my annual dues help sustain the stewardship education and programs of the Maine Island Trail Association. Good stewardship of the islands will help assure access to Maine’s magnificent coast. Please check one of the following: Individual/Family Membership: Business Membership:

■ New ■ Renewal, member # ________ ■ $45 ■ $100 ■ $250 ■ other_________ ■ $100 ■ $250 ■ $500 ■ other_________

Name(s): _______________________________________________________________ Street: __________________________________________________________________ City: _______________________________ State: _______ Zip: __________________ Tel: ____________________________ E-mail: ________________________________ Method of payment: ■ VISA

■ MC

■ Check (payable to MITA)

■ Credit Card

# ____________________________________________________

Signature _____________________________ Expiration Date ___________________ ■ Please do not exchange my name with other organizations. Mail to: MITA, P.O. Box C, Rockland, Maine 04841 Questions? Call 207-596-6456, fax 207-596-7796, e-mail:


Walk through Paradise

Cold Water Clothing

by Stephanie Rendall

by Shelley Johnson


As the temperatures begin to climb and we consider testing the still-frigid Maine coast waters, we thought it a good time to review the basics of cold water clothing for kayakers. The following is excerpted from Shelley Johnson’s latest book, The Complete Sea Kayaker’s Handbook, which is a font of tried-and-tested sea kayaking wisdom from this Registered Maine Guide and Maine Island Trail Committee member. Copyright © 2002 Ragged Mountain Press. Excerpted with permission of the author and publisher.

“It reminded me of an old grandfather clock, so old and beautiful with wisdom hidden deep inside.” on shore, and that feeling I got looking out over the crystal blue Atlantic Ocean. The old stone lookout tower will always be special to me, and the experiences there are ones I will never forget. ■

Anytime you combine the elements of wind, water, and sun, you create a need for protective clothing. Clothing for sea kayakers is more about safety than fashion. It’s about keeping core temperatures protected and skin hidden from the effects of ultraviolet rays. The majority of sea kayaking deaths have involved cold water, often aggravated by wind. Most victims were not prepared for immersion. Many were reasonably dressed for the air temperatures but unprepared for the stunningly cold water temperatures.


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Hypothermia occurs when the body cools below its normal core temperature. Blood is pulled from the skin surface and extremities to maintain a core temperature and protect vital organs. Shivering tries to create body heat as muscles fire with abandon. The early stages of hypothermia can produce clumsiness as manual dexterity is lost. Often, mildly hypothermic paddlers will become detached and even lethargic, being slow to respond to commands or questions. These symptoms can be disastrous for paddlers and can happen quickly when the person is immersed in cold water. We need our manual dexterity and mental acuity on the water. If we turn passive and clumsy, we’re asking for big trouble.

Illlustration by Christopher Hoyt

The path was so small we had to walk in a single file. Giant ferns growing on both sides were a magnificent green, and birds chatted loudly overhead. In every direction there was lush forest, so thick and peaceful it made you forget all the worries that had occupied your mind just hours before. Laughter echoed through the serene woods, and talk of our destination arose. None of us had been there before, only heard of its majestic beauty. Soon, cries from further up the line erupted. Shouts of awe then filled the air. I was five then, and still the monument took me by surprise. What stood before me was a stone lookout tower, 150 feet tall. It reminded me of an old grandfather clock, so old and beautiful with wisdom hidden deep inside. My family and I stood before the old tower taking in the splendor. There was no sound to interrupt our unity, and our spiritual bodies relished in the calmness of it all. Soon though, our minds traveled past the walls and inside the deserted building. The bravest went in first, slowly searching the walls for some unknown scripture. The leaders looked back occasionally, to make sure they were not alone. I was one of the last people to enter the building. Slowly making my way past the doorway, I breathed in the smell of decaying wood and old rock. The stairs sighed as I gradually climbed them. There were no railings, and the thought of falling was never far from my mind.

My fear of heights came alive that day, wanting to be the brick wall between all elevations and me; there were huge windows at the top of the tower, and the wind came in with full force. My cousins, who did not share my terror, jumped up to the window and looked out over the ocean. I stopped in my steps and would not go farther. But my mother, who came up after me, saw my frightened face and scooped me up into her arms. She carried me to the window and said that I had nothing to fear. I began to whimper, still buried in my mother’s navy blue jacket. Finally I gave in and looked out the windows; it was truly breathtaking. The radiant blue ocean went on forever in every direction, while the stunning green of the forest amazed me with its beauty. There was not a cloud in the sky and the sun shone with unyielding warmth. My family and I never did return to Jewell Island, but I can still remember the sound of the seagulls fighting over the day’s catch, the smell of the ocean waves crashing

Illustration by Trevor Peterson

This delightful reflection was sent to us with the following cover note: “I am enclosing an essay my 13-year-old daughter wrote about our family (10 of us) camping trip to Jewell Island eight years ago. The trip clearly made an impression on her and I wanted to share it with you. We are so fortunate to live in Maine and have access to these islands that are so well taken care of by your organization. – Lisa Rendall”

Hypothermia cannot be taken lightly by any sea kayaker paddling in areas with water temperatures below the 70s (below about 21ºC). Ignoring the potential for immersion and the disastrous effects of hypothermia is a game of chicken with mighty big stakes. Proper clothing is our best defense against hypothermia.

made of closed-cell material, trap a thin layer of water against the body, which is rapidly heated and insulated by the material. The body remains warm until this layer of insulation is overwhelmed. Wet suits come in a wide range of thicknesses, from 0.5 to 6 mm. The workhorse of paddling wet suits is usually a 3 mm farmer John or Jane. These are sleeveless wet suits with full legs that are common throughout the watersports industry. Thicker wet suits, common among scuba divers, are less comfortable for paddling. Thinner versions are more comfortable but offer less protection and insulation. If you will paddle regularly in water temperatures below 60ºF (15ºC), you should stay with a 3 mm model (or thicker under challenging conditions and water temperatures under 50ºF/10ºC). In warmer waters, you might consider thinner versions or the “shortys,” which reach to only about midthigh. You still need to wear a thermal underwear top under your wet suit and a windproof layer, like a paddling jacket, on top. The thermal top will wick moisture away from your skin and continue to warm you even when wet. The outer windproof layer will prevent evaporative cooling across the surface of the wet suit and your skin. Typically, paddlers prefer light- to midweight thermal pieces, which also serve as rash guards in sensitive areas like under the arms.

Dry Suits

Wet Suits Both wet suits and dry suits will protect the body when immersed in cold water. Wet suits, which are

Of course, the best way to stay warm is to remain dry. Dry suits enclose the body in waterproof material that is closed at the neck, ankles, and wrists by latex gaskets and have a bulky, waterproof zipper across the chest for entry. When they are constructed of breathable, waterproof membranes like GoreTex, they are comfortable enough to wear to dinner. The nonbreathable version can create an internal steam bath that will leave you soaked on the inside. Regardless, wear thermal 5

layers underneath your dry suit, since you can feel the cold water through the material even as you remain dry. These layers will also help transport your moisture to the surface where it can be expelled through the membrane. Dry suits are windproof, so you’ll be protected from convective cooling when you emerge from the water, and insulating layers inside the dry suit will keep you toasty. Dry suits with breathable membranes are typically five to six times as expensive as the average wet suit. They’ll cost less than your boat, but more than your paddle! They require some basic maintenance to protect the latex gaskets and keep the layered membrane unclogged. Dry suits can be a challenge when it’s time to relieve yourself. They are not easy to slip on and off, and the one-piece versions leave your entire upper body exposed to chilly winds when you need to drop them to below waist levels. Many models have a drop seat or zippered fly, which are features useful for both men and women (women can use the Freshette, a urine funnel, with the zippered fly). Adding these features will increase the cost of the dry suit and add some bulk from the extra zippers but their convenience may be well worth it. Once water temperatures reach well into the 60s (about 18–20°C), you have more choices in paddling clothing. Stay with quick drying materials like Supplex nylon, or lighter-weight versions of Gore-Tex or Sympatex. Always avoid cotton clothing for on-water activities. Cotton will cool you down and

becomes heavy when wet. Use wicking fabrics against your skin and waterproof-windproof layers on the outside. If you’re chilly, use fleece or pile as a midlayer for warmth. These synthetic materials are lightweight and dry quickly. Wool continues to insulate when wet but can absorb water and grow heavy. Don’t forget to wear a hat to help stay warm.

Protecting Your Hands To protect your hands when paddling in cold water conditions, consider neoprene gloves, mittens, or pogies. Pogies attach to your paddle shaft and allow you to slip your hand inside for a good paddling grip. Pogies can be made from nylon and have a fleece lining around the hand for warmth, or they can be made of neoprene. Most paddlers find the neoprene gloves used by scuba divers to be too thick for comfort and a good paddling grip. You want to avoid having to compress a thick material to have a good grip on the paddle shaft. Otherwise, you’ll get forearm or hand cramps. Popular neoprene paddling gloves fall within the 0.5 to 3.0 mm thickness range. If your hands tend to get cold quickly, consider packing along a few small heat packs that you can store in a life vest or sprayskirt pocket. Activating one of these for a quick hit of warmth while under way is a godsend. ■ The Complete Sea Kayaker’s Handbook is available in bookstores and specialty stores nationwide, or can be ordered from the publisher by calling (800) 262-4729.

SEA KAYAKING & WHITEWATER EQUIPMENT Boats, Accessories, Tours Instruction 42 Stevens Road • Bowdoinham • Maine 04008 Telephone (207) 666-8481 “On the shores of Merrymeeting Bay”


Gasp! Cold Water! We’ve all been unexpectedly doused with very cold water: your first reaction was probably to gasp. Now imagine suddenly immersing your head in cold water and what might happen if you were to gasp. Even if you’re just bobbing in cold water, the shock of it may initially quicken your breathing and leave you feeling as if you can’t get a good deep breath. (Watch those daredevil kids who are the first to jump in the swimming pool or lake each spring.) This phenomenon has often been called cold shock. It has been suspected for years that many of the drownings due to hypothermia may have actually occurred as the result of this gasp reflex, or cold shock. While everyone seems to agree that sudden immersion in very cold water can make a person gasp, many are uncomfortable with using the term “shock” to describe anything outside of the confines of its exact medical definition. So, over the past ten years, the term “cold shock” has been less frequently used. No matter what we call it, we still instinctively gasp when plunged into cold water. The only way to protect against a gasp reflex (other than not paddling in cold water) is to insulate the body and especially the head from sudden exposure. Neoprene beanies or full hoods will help insulate you from the sudden shock of immersing your head in cold water—even a knitted, close-fitting wool cap will help. If you plan to paddle in cold water temperatures, especially in rough water, you need to protect your head as well as the rest of your body. If you don’t, you could be left gasping.


MITA applauds the example set by these forward-thinking coastal landowners. “As Maine’s coast becomes increasingly crowded, access to our wonderful shoreline areas is becoming more and more important,” said trail manager Rachel Nixon. “Trail property owners are helping to maintain Maine’s great tradition of responsible public access.”

Planning for 2004 In 2004 MITA plans to produce a significantly revised multi-year guidebook. This would represent a break with our practice of producing a new edition annually; however, we

would continue to provide members with timely updates about Trail properties and conditions. “In lieu of mailing out a full new guidebook in 2005, MITA would instead send members a guidebook supplement with new island and mainland site descriptions, notices regarding the removal of any sites from the Trail, and critical changes to island use guidelines,” said MITA guidebook editor Eleanor Morse. A fully revised edition would again be distributed to members in 2006 or 2007, Morse said.

Let’s Move These Mercurys! In the summer of 2002 we reported that several Mercury outboards, which have faithfully served aboard MITA’s Lund workboats, were going up for sale at the end of the season. Well, a new season is nearly upon us and some of the motors are still waiting for a new home! For over a decade, the generous folks at Stetson & Pinkham have provided MITA with donated Mercury outboards for our workboats. That’s why we want to help sell the motors we’ve been using, so that Stetson & Pinkham can recoup some of their costs. These motors are meticulously maintained, cleanburning four-strokes that have many years of service left in them. Please help us honor Stetson & Pinkham’s royal generosity by giving us a call in the Portland office if you’re interested. You can also contact Stetson & Pinkham directly at 207-832-5855 for more information.

Motor Description


1999 25 HP four-stroke


2001 25 HP four-stroke


2002 25 HP four-stroke


GREAT BOATS FOR THE COAST! At Stetson & Pinkham, in Waldoboro, we understand the challenges of the Maine Island Trail, because for seven years we have supplied and serviced the Mercury outboards that power the MITA fleet. To our fellow association members, we offer a range of seaworthy, dependable boat-and-motor combinations that are well suited both to crossing open water and to close-in anchoring or beaching. Whether you’re interested in a deep 14’ aluminum skiff and economical 9.9-h.p. outboard, or a fast, rugged 20’ fiberglass center-console rig, we can help. Just visit our Route 1 dealership, or call 1-800-564-5857.

Stetson & Pinkham Route 1, Waldoboro, ME 04572

The change would help resolve a contradiction that has vexed both staff and members. “We are eager to reflect MITA’s low-impact approach to natural resources by not producing a ‘throwaway’ publication each year,” said MITA executive director Karen Stimpson. “However, we want to do it in a way that does not diminish the benefits we provide to members and property owners.” “This plan satisfies all of those requirements and then some,” Stimpson added. “It helps us reduce unnecessary consumption and expense, while allowing us to maintain a very high level of service to the MITA community.” MITA will be exploring the plan in the months ahead and will update members as appropriate when more details are available. ■

Interns Are of Interest The Portland Office is on the lookout for both summer (MayAugust) and off-season (September-April) interns to join our lively staff and help us wade through the piles of projects that fill our waterfront office. During the off-season, we are in search of interns who can help us enter the island use logs, assist with grant research, organize and carry out mailings for a variety of meetings, and pitch in on day-to-day tasks such as filing, phones, and photocopying. Summer interns jump into the fray of the busy boating season and help out with island cleanups, outreach events, distribution of educational materials, volunteer mailings, the construction of island signs, office tasks, and much more. For more information about internship opportunities, please contact Drew at 761-8225 or ■ 19

On Diurnal Tides


by Reinhard Zollitsch

My first installment (see The paddlers beware: the very quiet Crossing the second prong of the Island Trail, Fall 2002) ended one Digby ferry does not blow its horn upper Bay of Fundy – the mouth of week into New Brunswick’s Bay of on approaching the harbor! We were the Minas Channel – could have Fundy. New Brunswick was all cliffs surprised by its quiet approach. been just as dicey as the Chignecto and craggy fissures carved into Development in Saint John, Point crossing, given tides in this elevations of rock, the whole edge unlike that in sprawling Gulf of region. Instead, calm winds allowed tumbling dramatically into the Maine cities such as Boston, us to make this second 10-mile infamous Fundy tidal currents. In Portsmouth, and Portland, ends crossing uneventfully, despite the some parts (portions of Passamamore abruptly than it even begins. fog and current. Our ferry angle was quoddy Bay, for example), currents Rounding the Irving army of at 45 degrees for the middle five were rolling boils moving too fast to mammoth oil tanks, we paddled miles of the crossing in a two- to risk, but in most areas the currents into a region that feels altogether three-knot current! were surprisingly gentle and just wild, and where development is The Final Stretch required a bit of careful trip limited to the occasional shoreside planning. Interesting to note, we Now our compasses would point home. The coast here consists of found that most of the Bay of Fundy south for the rest of the journey! rugged cliffs intermixed with pocket has a sort of back-eddy close to From Halls Harbor to the Annapolis coves of cobble and shingle. There is shore, so on each tide cycle we spent Basin, we traveled along a cliff that nothing soft about the Bay of Fundy! time veering in and out from shore stretched practically uninterrupted After a few days’ travel along trying to find the best ride. Still, it for days. Our respites came where cliffs, we settled in Alma, at the was rare to be moving fresh water had carved its faster than four knots at any way through the cliffs, given time. creating rocky berms and Despite harsh shores and hanging valleys barely flat conditions that demand enough to pitch tents on. respect, New Brunswick Annapolis Basin greeted (and Nova Scotia) provided us with the most expansive a good dose of logistics salt marshes yet. Here in relief. Folks in the the 1600s and 1700s, Maritimes are still intrigued Acadian people cultivated and diked miles and miles by kayaks, and the notion of salt marsh, turning them of private property is into prosperous farmlands. practically unheard of along However, the Acadians’ the coast. Shoreland descendents now reside conditions, rather than more to the south on Nova shoreland ownership, Scotia’s French Acadian dictated our camping shore. After their traumatic decisions. The GOMEX paddling route from Cape Cod to Cape Sable Island. deportation from the

I got ready to leave Burnt Church, Being a Mainer, I am used to the and it was just as low at lunchtime at tide flooding and then ebbing for Point aux Carr. I felt the tide was about six hours each. That is, I count finally beginning to turn at on two high and two low tides suppertime at 6 p.m., during my during each 24-hour cycle. overnight stop at the mouth of the Technically this is called a semiBlack River. Eighteen hours of ebb diurnal tide pattern. And it has tide! It seemed totally out of whack worked fine for me my entire life. and unnerved me. It just couldn’t be! But I was not prepared for what I Then I noticed the tide barrel come in found when I paddled the 330 miles over a mere six hours, cresting along New Brunswick’s Gulf of St. around midnight, only to run out Lawrence shore from Dalhousie to again ever so slowly– for yet another Port Elgin last August (see map). The 18 hours! tides in the Gulf of St. Lawrence left I normally me truly baffled do not buy a tide and were like ¥ Dalhousie table because I nothing I had am so tuned to ever experienced the regular sixalong our NEW BRUNSWICK hour tidal Atlantic Coast or rhythm. I check even in P R I N C E Burnt Church EDWARD I S LAN D the tides carefully European on my first day waters. on the water, get Researching the cycle in my this phenoblood, and menon after the advance 50 trip, I found the Murray Beach minutes each day answer in G. Port Elgin¥ since the lunar Dohler’s Tides in day is that much Canadian Waters. Almost the entire On his trip from Dalhousie to Port Elgin in longer than our calendar day. New Brunswick the Gulf of St. Lawrence, the author experiVoila: what’s the Gulf coast has a enced some very strange tidal patterns. problem? diurnal or mainly diurnal tidal pattern – that Surprise Flood means there is only one high and one I had an even more unbelievable low tide per day, a rare occurrence. experience at the other end of this As a matter of fact, there are only diurnal tide box. I left Murray Beach two relatively small areas in all of just west of the Prince Edward Island Canada that have such a pattern: the bridge on the incoming tide and waters between Prince Edward made it around Cape Tormentine to Island and New Brunswick, and Ephraim Island near North Cape in around the Magdaleine Islands to the Baie Verte (Green Bay). Though there northeast of Prince Edward Island. were major mud flats off this beach, I (Other areas around the world figured they wouldn’t be a problem include the northern shore of the when leaving the following morning, Gulf of Mexico, the Java Sea, the Gulf since I had left that very morning on of Tonkin, and a few other locations, the incoming tide. according to “The Source”– But when I stuck my head out of Bowditch, that is.) my tent early the next morning, the Eighteen-Hour Ebb tide was already too far out for me to float or even drag my boat to open I first became aware of this water. I was stuck on shore for an “crazy” tidal pattern in Miramichi entire tide cycle, which meant I Bay. The tide was low at 6 a.m. when 10


20 miles



New Brunswick


Cape Tormentine



would not be able to get off till afternoon or later. I was still wondering how long I was going to be held hostage there by the sea, when suddenly at 8:30 a.m., the tide turned and came in again, as if it did this just to pick me up! I am not hallucinating, this was no miracle, no incantation on my part – just a fact of the truly strange tide pattern in these waters. Later I reconsidered my assessment of what had happened, and I realized the tide in Baie Verte must have changed back from a diurnal to a mainly semi-diurnal pattern. It had ebbed for six hours, from 2:00 a.m. to about 8:30 a.m., but only to its half-point, when it started coming in again, just as one would expect of a normal tide. “Weirdorama,” my kids would say. But whatever the tide was doing, it was time to pack up as fast as possible, in case this tide changed its mind again. I jumped into my boat after the tide had swept over the muddy part of the flats, to the outer edge of the shore rise. Then I smiled and often shook my head in disbelief all the way to Port Elgin, where I took out at the bridge across the Gaspereau River at high noon, with the tide nearly high. On my trip along this 330-milelong coastline, with its many sand spit and barrier islands and unique wildlife and flora, I also experienced the fascinating and extremely rare transition from a semi-diurnal to diurnal, and back to semi-diurnal tide pattern. This would have been a special treat under any circumstances, but not knowing this phenomenon existed made it pure magic! ■ Reinhard is a solo ocean canoeist and long time MITA member. He has paddled from Boston to St. John, NB and 1000 miles around the Gaspé Peninsula. His stories appear in Messing About in Boats and Atlantic Coastal Kayaker. When he is not canoeing, he teaches German at the University of Maine in Orono.

Heather Sisk

(continued from page 1)

Saint John: Company Town

The city of Saint John is the lone industrial center that interrupts the New Brunswick cliffs. From the beautiful Irving Nature Park buttressing the west of the city, to the refinery smoke stacks to the east and the pulp mill in the city center, Saint John inhabitants admit their city is primarily owned by one company: Irving Limited. This region felt strangely urban compared to the rest of the Bay of Fundy. Sewage, erosion, and waterfront development are at the forefront of everyone’s minds. And

eastern end of New Brunswick’s Fundy National Park…waiting. During four days of patient anticipation, the conditions needed to cross the 10 miles to Chignecto Point, Nova Scotia, never quite materialized. Running out of options given our schedule of educational programs, we finally caught a ride with a lobsterman who dropped us off at Refugee Cove on Chignecto Point. Chignecto Point is a paddler’s dream! Completely undeveloped, its tall forested cliffs have recently been protected as a provincial park by the government of Nova Scotia.

province in 1755 at the hands of the English, many Acadians returned to their homelands to find them occupied by English settlers. They settled anew in places such as Belliveau Cove and Mavillette Beach. Although not their ancestral lands, Acadian culture has become so established here that it is home to the province’s most important center for Acadian learning, Université Sainte Anne. To the south, English-speaking Yarmouth is the gateway to the U.S. This is the Canadian harbor of the Cat, the fast ferry that crosses the Bay of Fundy twice daily during the 7

summertime. Nova Scotians, like folks back home in Maine, are mixed in their review of the Cat. It brings people to their province, which surely helps boost the tourist economy, but few are apt to forget the death of a fisherman in a collision with the ferry during its inaugural summer a few years back. As sea kayakers, we steered as clear as possible from the vessel, noting with some trepidation its fast approach as we crossed the harbor. The shoreline from Yarmouth to Cape Sable Island is indented, reminiscent of the Maine coast, with rocky shores interspersed among islands at the mouth of estuary-rich bays. We had now re-entered a seascape visibly touched by a fishing-based culture: rockweed harvesting, lobstering, long-lineing, and even oyster farming were all apparent in the area. Here, near Pubnico, I reunited with old friends from a previous kayak expedition to Nova Scotia in 1996. The community has changed, prospered, grown. They showed us their new homes with lawns down to the shore, trophies to the success of the current lobster industry. It was one of the few regions in the entire Gulf of Maine where reports about a fishery were positive. In fact, most people called it a boom.

Finally, on September 27, the Gulf of Maine Expedition came to an abrupt ending. Hurricane Isidor landed us for good just a stone’s throw from Cape Sable Island. The next day, we celebrated the Gulf of Maine with visitors from far and near. The mayor of Clark’s Harbor awarded the team plaques and sou’westers, making us honorary members of his town. After five months and 1.3 million paddle strokes each, our thoughts started drifting toward connecting the dots on a map.

Gulf of Maine Water Trail? The Bay of Fundy as the eastern third of a Gulf of Maine Water Trail is an enticing dream. To head east, paddlers and travelers of the sea should be prepared for cobble campsites (even those are rare in this cliffy region), huge low-tide carries, and extra trip planning for fog and current-filled conditions. On the brighter side, these hardships are balanced by the friendly attitude of most inhabitants of the Bay of Fundy. But rather than tempt people to “unspoiled lands” to the north, perhaps New England-based water trail aficionados should focus first on securing more public or accessible shoreland back home. The shores of Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Maine are no less dramatic than the Bay of Fundy (well, except perhaps for the drama of Fundy tides!). True, the southern Gulf of Maine shores are much more

developed, and they are much less accessible to the public. But perhaps this is the very reason we should extend the Trail south first, before going north. It will of course be more work, but the needs are much more urgent down there, too. It would give folks living in the southern Gulf a way to explore their own backyard and perhaps alleviate some of the pressures elsewhere. ■ [Editor’s note: MITA members have access to several islands in Passamaquoddy Bay, Canada, through a partnership with the Nature Trust of New Brunswick (NTNB). If you plan to visit these islands (see the MITA guidebook for specifics), we ask that give us a call in the Portland office so we can update you on the latest conditions. MITA helped the NTNB conduct our first-ever clean-up of these islands last summer, and we are planning a repeat of this successful venture in 2003. We welcome member help in this – see the back page calendar of events for details.] Natalie Springuel, a new member of the MITA Board, is a coastal community development associate for Maine Sea Grant. She is also the president of the Maine Association of Sea Kayak Guides and Instructors. For more information about the Expedition, please log onto The Expedition team is now producing a final report, which will document observations in much greater detail. It is due out in winter 2003.

mind, and my flight instinct overrules the fight instinct. Next thing I know I’m beside the boat, shoving my paddle and tethered dry bags into the cockpit and swimming as fast as I can with the boat in tow. At a more comfortable distance from the reef I execute a paddle float reentry, pump out and head off. I am feeling fortunate that the self-rescue went well, but am disappointed in my lapse of judgment and abandoned roll attempt. I knew paddling east of Schoodic was going to be tough, but I didn’t expect my baptism to come this soon. It is dead low tide when I reach Ocean Wood Campground, so the large cobble beach is landable. Exhausted, I empty the boat, haul the gear and setup camp. Day 18. Sleep in to recoup from yesterday’s adventure, or would that be misadventure? The tide is coming in and the surf is pounding the cobble, so with no chance of departing from here anytime soon, I walk to a local store to call Mom. After about half a mile I pass a nice quiet cove, and begin contemplating a portage. Upon return from the store it takes me two round trips to relocate most of my gear, using my paddle as a yoke. The final trip with the boat on its stern dolly is tougher than expected, but by early afternoon I’m back on the water. With the nice weather I may try rounding Petit Manan Point. The Petit Manan Light is like nothing I have seen before – it looks like a giant candlestick emerging from the ocean. After a few hours of brisk paddling I reach the point. The combination of the waves rolling in from miles of open ocean and the

receding tide is producing a line of seemingly random breaking waves stretching two miles along the Petit Manan Bar. I study the scene for a while hoping to find an area void of breakers, but realize that under these conditions it is just too late in the day to consider a crossing. I beat a hasty retreat for Dry Island. Finally I reach the tiny island near low tide and my spirits sink: Can’t get near it as it’s surrounded by a jumble of seaweed-covered rocks and boulders. I’m not willing to risk a broken ankle carrying the boat and several loads of gear through this minefield. I begin searching for a spot to bivouac and find a small uninhabited spit of land, almost completely cutoff from the mainland, that is out of sight from the distant homes. Store the boat behind a berm, pitch the tent among some trees, and prepare dinner in the dark. During my nights of trip planning I never envisioned a portage and bivouac in the same day. Day 19. Cloudy, several-knot wind and small craft advisory for seas today. Will try rounding the Petit Point closer to high tide. Pull up to the point and observe breakers in close as expected, and at other spots farther out, but it looks a lot more stable and less intimidating than yesterday. Head out about a quarter mile to pass through the only channel that crosses the bar. It’s a bouncy ride but what a sense of relief having this behind me. I see a few lobster boats about, but in general a pretty lonely world out here. Rounding the eastern side of Bois Bubert I see the most spectacular cliffs rising out of the

Correction: We ran this beautiful compass rose drawing with the first installment of Steve’s story (see our summer 2002 issue). However, we neglected to credit the artist, Jane C. Rosen. You can find Jane’s line of hand-drawn Maine map Tshirts, postcards, notes, and posters in area stores, or you can order by mail. T o request a product brochure, contact Jane at 207-326-4850 or We apologize for the oversight.


sea, forming Jordans Delight. Sheltered from the swells and wind, my landing in Seal Cove goes smoothly. Establish camp and begin exploring the rugged shoreline. Day 20. Fogged in today, so I spend more time exploring Bois Bubert’s shore and unfamiliar flora. While reading the tattered pages of my library booksale copy of Moby Dick, I notice a stamp inside the front cover that reads: PROPERTY OF TOPEKA ARMY AIR BASE LIBRARY. I contemplate what sinuous journey this book may have taken, winding its way from the heartland to a remote and wild island on the Maine coast. ■ Next issue we’ll present the fourth and final installment of Steve’s terrific paddling tale. If’you’ve got a story you’d like to share, we want to hear about it! Give us a call in the Portland office or send email to

Island Orphans The following islands currently have no island adopters assigned to them. If you plan on visiting any of these islands in 2003, consider signing up as a volunteer island adopter. All you have to do is check on island conditions when you visit, make a quick sweep for trash, and report back to MITA. Check with Amy in the Portland office, 761-8225 or, for more information. There are also other islands in every section of the coast that need additional adopters – check with Amy to find an island that works for you. Island Doliver Burnt Ram Raspberry Russ Sheep Stevens Wheat Weir

Location Stonington area Muscongus Bay Machias Bay Casco Bay Stonington area Stonington area Jonesport area Stonington area Stonington area 17

A Month on the Maine Island Trail

MITA, WoodenBoat Plan Conference Collaboration

Part Three: Stonington to Bois Bubert

Weekend of July 19 & 20, Rockland

by Steven Formisani

MITA is gearing up for a fun and event-packed Annual Conference that will feature plenty of old favorites and even more brand new delights. This time, we’re joining forces with the WoodenBoat Show to bring attendees a truly unique program of boating-related entertainment and information – all happening right on the Rockland waterfront!

point to Machias I will be in unfamiliar waters. Nice views of Blue Hill and Acadia’s summits as I head past Tinker Island, then onto Hardwood. Take a badly needed leg stretch on Folly, then hug the western shore of Mount Desert. I pass a unique log cabin dating back to 1888, the facade of which is constructed of small logs arranged in a patchwork fashion, like a quilt. It hits me that I have passed the midway point in my journey and

round Schoodic and reach Ocean Wood Campground near Birch Harbor. Pass some interesting caves called “The Ovens,” and get new views of Acadia’s peaks as I enter Frenchman Bay. I cross the bay passing by the lovely, undeveloped Porcupine Islands, then onto Ironbound and Turtle. Glimpse a tail fin submerging – too large to be a Day 14. Saturday, September 15th, porpoise, maybe a small whale. As Russ Island. Upon awakening I expected, have a somewhat bumpy immediately head for the beach to ride rounding Schoodic Head. see what damage the I’ve been on the raccoons have inflicted. water eight hours and Paw prints all over and logged about 24 miles. around the boat, but the Hugging the shore masked marauders did toward Spruce Point I not try chewing through see waves breaking on my hatch straps nor the the reef Brown Cow. I additional rope I used to think I can pass secure them. Homo sapiens between the reef and 1, Procyon lotor 0! mainland, but as I get It is a beautiful sunny closer I notice waves morning, so I stroll along also breaking in that the shore and eventually area. Given my state of reach the overlook fatigue, I realize this is toward Stonington. not the time nor place Watch a lobsterman haul to be taking chances, so traps, and even though I I decide to backtrack have witnessed this ritual Steve’s kayak loaded and ready for depature from Russ Island. and pass around Brown a hundred times before, I Cow, giving it become as absorbed in its this makes me a little melancholy; reasonable berth. I keep alternating repetitiveness as he. The hike back until now the majority of the trip my glances left and forward, to keep to the campsite is tranquil, with the was always still ahead of me, but an eye on the whitewashed reef and sun warmly backlighting the today the end seems much more in incoming swells. It is on one of those meadow grass. Perfect paddling sight. Can make out large RVs in the forward glances that my paddling weather – clear blue sky filled with distance, marking my campground instincts tell me I am in trouble. gentle white clouds that look frozen destination. When I see the height and pitch in place. My polarized sunDay 16. Another beautiful sunny of the approaching rogue wave I glasses pr ovide quite the visual day. Being ahead of schedule and instantly have a sinking feeling. A feast, with each island view with roughly a 25-mile push to get few seconds later it reaches me, six calendar-worthy. Head toward around Schoodic, I reluctantly take a or seven feet high with a steep face. I Stinson Neck and poke around some layover day to rest a bit from try paddling up and over it but am of its coves before heading for the yesterday’s long paddle. I am at too broad of an angle and don’t prominent Devils Head monolith. restless in this RV city, writing have enough boat speed. Just prior The sandy beach on Sellers provides postcards and plowing through the to hitting the water I think that it is an easy landing and a welcome dense prose of Moby Dick. actually happening, that after years finish to a relaxing day. Day 17. Depart early even though of trips I am finally going over. But Day 15. I am rounding Mount this means I will be fighting the halfway through my roll setup, the Desert via the northern route, and so incoming tide for a few hours. Don’t image of the waves crashing on get my visual bearings for the have much choice since I hope to Brown Cow flashes through my crossing of Blue Hill Bay. From this Steven Formisani

We last left Steve at Russ Island, nearly halfway through his kayaking trip from Portland to Machias, trying to defend his precious food supply from a pack of fourlegged footpads. As his journey takes him further east, into lonelier, trickier waters, Steve soon encounters threats of a much more grave and tangible nature.


On top of all that, attendees will receive free admission to the WoodenBoat Show, which will be happening concurrently just down the street in Rockland. Sponsored and produced by WoodenBoat magazine, the WoodenBoat Show is a world-renowned event showcasing some of the finest watercraft around. Dozens of gifted boatbuilders will be on hand to

City of Rockland and the Hurricane Island Outward Bound School, whose support has been indispensible in the planning of this year’s event.

Plan Ahead

There will be camping available for conference attendees at the Rockland High School. But if you’d like something a little less rustic, book early, as accommodations fill A Winning Combination up quickly for summer weekends on Mark your calendars for the Midcoast. Plan to July 19 and 20 bring your children, and plan for a who will enjoy the kidclassic summer friendly workshops, weekend on the storytelling, scavenger Maine coast. hunts, and other fun Participants will activities we’re enjoy many of planning for them. And the great also plan to bring your activities they’ve boats, which you can launch from nearby come to expect at ramps and beaches. MITA conferences, Jim Dugan We’ll send a mailing including with more details and a informative Maine Island Mayhem! The paddle-a-Lund race and build-a-boat registration form in the speakers and contests are real conference crowd-pleasers. coming months. Also, workshops on check our website,, or topics ranging from island folklore share their expertise through email for to boating skills and safety. We’ll workshops and demonstrations. Or updates as they become available. ■ also have plenty of boating events you can tour the exhibition hall full for all types of watercraft, a of interesting boating-related vendor Saturday night lobsterbake, and a booths. Conference 2003: host of other on- and off-the-water The entire experience will be Save the Date! activities. MITA’s annual enhanced by delicious food, a Stewardship Party – a celebration of beautiful shoreside setting, and the This year’s conference is an event volunteers who look after the Trail great company of fellow MITA you won’t want to miss. Here’s islands – will take place on Friday, members and wooden boat what you need to know to plan July 18. enthusiasts. Special thanks to the an unforgettable conference weekend:

Portland’s Local Gear Shop Kayaks From

Boreal Design and

Walden Sport Kayak Demos Every Saturdays 8 am – 10 am Carrying a full line of accessories including paddles, pfds, spray skirts, paddlewear, booties, gloves, dry bags, safety gear, and much, much more!

• July 19 & 20 in Rockland (Stewardship Party the 18th) • Speakers, workshops, and fun activities planned • Free admission to WoodenBoat Show and free shuttle between the events • Lobsterbake Saturday night • Book accommodations early or camp at Rockland High School 9

by Greg Chesaux Ever been paddling along wishing you could harness the power of a breeze, if just for a few moments, to give your aching arms a rest? Member Greg Chesaux describes how he made this dream a reality with his sailing kayak, Tupper.

Searching for Sail Power I spent the best summer exploring some of the finest ponds, lakes, and rivers that western Maine has to offer, with an occasional trip to Pine Point and Blue Hill. I found myself wishing I had something to grab some air when paddling downwind. At first I tried holding a paddle up, then a towel, T-shirts, and a shawl tied between a friend’s kayak and mine. I even tried an umbrella. This past fall, after surfing the web for sailing rigs, I found a nifty

Greg Chesaux

I may be lazy, but I love catching the breeze with my Pacific Action kayak sail system. I’m always looking for ways to improve on things, going for speed and safety, not always simplicity, but always more fun. I guess I’m a student of the “too much is not enough” school. I’m finally back on the water after ten years of spending my spare time on two wheels. After moving inland to Standish from Peaks Island, my 18-foot cedar strip sailing canoe seems to stay put, hanging on the porch ceiling. It wound up being too much Breezy or becalmed, Tupper is prepared. The double-masted effort to move it design allows for sailing downwind or on a beam reach. around and set it up. Having it on an sail system from New Zealand based island mooring just outside my on an ancient Polynesian doublewindow had spoiled me. mast design. Most other rigs require Last summer I bought an Old outriggers, are more complicated Town Castine touring kayak. She is and costly, and really start turning 11' 9", weighs 50 lbs (and growing), your kayak into a sailboat. I copied and is made in part from recycled one (for, errr, educational purposes, plastic milk bottles. I named her of course!), throwing it together one Tupper. She’s the kind of boat you night out of duct tape, a shower can throw in the back of the pickup curtain and wooden dowels. After at a moment’s notice and which you trying it the next night in half-knot don’t mind dragging over the rocks winds, I was so excited I sent away too much. I’ve even heard of these for the real thing. They even customhandy boats taking flying lessons off made one for me at no extra charge of roofracks on the Turnpike and in my favorite colors, white on coming away none too worse for white. wear. (As tough and versatile as she The design allows you to go is, I’m still tempted to glue on some downwind with the sail in an bits of wood to stay in good graces upright “V” position. By pulling with my wooden boat friends.) either mast back and to the side, you 10

can sail on a beam reach or across the wind. A bungie cord pulls the sail up in seconds. And you can pull it down easily at any time. Some improvements in the works are small jam cleats that allow one-hand adjustments to the sail and a small leeboard that will let me get closer to the wind and keep the kayak from slipping when I go across the wind. You gotta try this. It’s really fun when it’s blowing like stink!

Maiden Voyage


Make the Gift of a Lifetime! Include the Maine Island Trail Association in your estate planning and you will be making a permanent investment in the stewardship of Maine’s wild islands. The Board of Trustees recently decided that all donations received through planned giving will support MITA’s endowment. This will ensure a

steady source of revenue to sustain stewardship well into the future. Planned giving not only supports coastal access for future generations to enjoy, but can also provide valuable tax benefits to your estate. There are many ways to make a planned gift, regardless of the size of your estate.

Please contact your tax advisor or attorney to decide what is most appropriate for you. Kippy Rudy, MITA’s development director, can tell you more about including MITA in your estate plans (207-761-8225). ■

Planned Giving Options and Benefits

I took it to Ferry Beach where the Scarborough River empties. Anyone who has been there knows how strong the current is in the mouth of the river. The tide was whipping out and a steady sea breeze was blowing in. I popped up the little sail, and headed out into the current. I hung there in the channel like I was anchored, with a rather large wake coming off the bow. I crept up into the estuary, turned off, and coasted back around and did it over and over. I could go anywhere I wanted and I barely dipped a paddle. I smugly noticed a group of paddlers having a heck of a time getting around the point. Been there, done that – and will do it again when the wind is blowing the wrong way. I just wanted to add that after dumping my sailing canoe a number of times in Casco Bay, and having been fished out of the water by the Portland Harbor Pilot in May, I found out the hard way that the ocean is deadly cold and you must be prepared to take a swim, just in case. But you knew that, right? I think this is a great design. Small enough to be safe and take along all the time. The only thing is it’ll be a drag going out with your friends if they don’t have one too. ■

• Making a bequest to MITA in your will, through a designated sum or a percentage of your total estate value. This can reduce the “cost” of the gift to family and friends who are heirs to your estate.

Greg adds that his Kiwi sail supplier, Pacific Action, can be found on the web at He says to “Tell ‘em Greg from Maine sent ya!”

• Contact Kippy Rudy in the Portland office at (207) 7618225 to learn more about planned giving options at MITA.

• Naming MITA as a beneficiary in your life insurance policy, or donating the policy to MITA for an immediate tax deduction. • Listing MITA as the beneficiary of a portion of your retirement plan. This option helps avoid the estate and income taxes that can be assessed when these assets are given to an individual. • Donating cash or stocks today into a pooled life income fund or charitable remainder trust so that you may continue to receive the income during your lifetime. These plans allow for immediate tax deductions, as well as significant income and capital gains tax benefits. • Providing tangible property or real estate to MITA, which entitles you to an estate tax deduction for the full value of the gift.

David McLain

Paddle or Sail: Why Choose When You Can Do Both?

Strong Support Please join us in thanking the foundations, trusts, and public agencies that supported the Maine Island Trail Association in 2002. The following organizations contributed more than $150,000 for a variety of projects during the past year. Foundations Arcadia Charitable Trust • Roger K. Berle Charitable Trust Louise I. Brown Charitable Lead Trust • Virginia Wellington Cabot Foundation Howard P. Colhoun Family Foundation • Jesse B. Cox Charitable Trust Davis Conservation Foundation • Dead River Company Fidelity Investments Charitable Gift Fund • Fresh Pond Trust Glenmede Trust Co. • Kenduskeag Foundation • Maine Community Foundation Maine Sea Grant • Charles Stewart Mott Foundation Murphy Charitable Foundation Inc. • National Safe Boating Council Ocean Ledges Fund • Otter Foundation • Payne Family Foundation Charles L. Read Foundation • Sand Dollar Foundation • Spencer Foundation Weiss Charitable Foundation • Wells Fargo Foundation WestWind Foundation • Wind River Fund Public Support Acadia National Park • Maine Bureau of Parks & Lands Maine Outdoor Heritage Fund 15

Adopter Response Averts Island Wildfire


A Woman’s Intuition by Karen Stimpson, Executive Director Muscongus Bay, October, 1993 – My guest is Susan, an anthropologist from the University of Michigan. First time on the Maine coast. First time on a boat larger than a rowboat. First time on the ocean, period. She is visiting friends in Portland and thought it might be a fun adventure to join me for a routine end-of-season island monitor run. The morning passes swimmingly, and after brief stops on Thief, Black, and Crow, I nestle the grapnel hook into a granite crevice on the northern tip of Strawberry Island. Susan and I pause for a late lunch in the lee of a blustery October breeze while MITA’s Lund workboat Avocet tugs on the grapnel line, the stiff wind keeping it off the rocks. Behind us, Strawberry’s cottage looms large (back then, there was a renegade cabin on the island which has since been dismantled and removed), and it’s only a matter of time before Susan, anthropologist that she is, gets curious and wants to explore it. After we polish off the crumbs of our classic Trail lunch— Italian sandwiches with onions and oil that drips all the way down the

front of you no matter what you do to prevent it—I take her on the grand tour of this simple, one-room retreat. Not much to see here but an old mussel pot on an even older wood stove, and a few carefully arranged shells. Lacking much in the way of visual artifacts, I try to make up the difference by regaling Susan with some of my favorite Trail tales. Seconds before the punch line of the most entertaining island story, Susan turns abruptly on her heels and without a word runs out the door of the cabin at a full gallop. I follow her to the shore and once there, I witness the most amazing sight: Susan is just pulling herself up, dripping wet, into the now fully adrift Avocet. . .grapnel nowhere in sight! For several tense minutes that seemed like hours we were paralyzed: Susan adrift in the boat, unsure how to start or run the engine; me stranded on the island, futiley yelling instructions into the stiff breeze! Eventually a passing boat came to our rescue by towing Susan back to Strawberry. Once she was safely ashore (and the grapnel was firmly in my hand!) I asked her how she could possibly have known that

the skiff had broken free of the island, since the cabin had no windows looking out in that direction and there hadn’t been a sound. She replied simply, “Intuition. . . I didn’t know. I just had a feeling.” ■

Send Us Your Snafu Stories! Remember that time the engine wouldn’t start? Or you fell overboard? Or you got lost in a fog? You may have spent years repressing these painful memories, but we want to help you dredge them back up again, just for the fun of it! Now that Karen’s gotten us started with her tale of near-stranding in Muscongus Bay, we hope other members will chime in with their yarns of misadventure. If you’ve got a good story that involves things going wrong on the water or on an island, we want to hear about it! Send your submissions to or to the MITA Portland office.

Fire represents a risk not just to fragile island habitats, but also to MITA’s continued access to private islands. Campfires can easily spread and flare out of control, damaging both the island and MITA’s relationship with private island owners. That’s why we recommend no fires at any time on any Trail island. It’s also why we ask members to scrupulously adhere to fire use guidelines on islands where fires are permitted. Think the threat of wildfire is only so much hot air? Last fall a potentially dangerous island fire (thankfully not on a Trail island) was quelled by the quick reactions of MITA island adopters. The following excerpt from the Castine Patriot tells how “MITA’s Bravest” saved the day:

and doused the fire with water retrieved from the bay in their boat’s bailing bucket. A call to the local fire department brought out both the Penobscot and Castine fire departments. That fire burned only a quarter of an acre before it was contained, but the results could have been different had Wyman and Small not been in the area. Considering the remoteness of many Trail islands, a wildfire can easily burn out of control before help becomes available. Of course, as this episode clearly illustrates, MITA members and

volunteers are almost always the solution – not the problem! Moreover, this event clearly demonstrates the value of MITA’s stewardship programs to the greater coast. Sure, it may have been a lucky break that these adopters were in the right place at the right time – but it was a lucky break created by their consistent and careful adopter visits. Our hats off to these and the many other volunteers who are out there stewarding and protecting our wonderful coast! You are the engine that keeps MITA moving! ■

Castine residents David Wyman and Don Small were doing one of their periodic visits to Battle and Negro islands to check on the current conditions of the island when they smelled smoke. Deciding that it must be coming from [a nearby private island not on the Trail] to the south, they went to that island and found ‘a camp fire that had flared up.’ The two men beat down the flames with branches THE MORE YOU KNOW THE BETTER WE LOOK!

Sea Kayaking & Sailing/Rowing Wilderness Expeditions On the Maine Coast

For teenagers: 3 weeks June - Aug. For Families & Individuals: 3-7 days May & Aug.

Wilderness Trips and Workshops for Adults and Families

• • • • • • • •

Indoor & Outdoor Storage Repairs, Restoration, Rebuilding Fiberglass, gelcoat repairs on premises Rigger on premises Re-powering, Electrical, Painting & Varnishing Seasonal & Transient Moorings and Slips Year Round Work floats Suzuki and OMC Outboards Sales & Service, and Mercury Service • Home of the Maine Boatbuilders Show (March 21 – 23, 2003) and Maine Narrow Gauge Railroad Museum

Canoe trips in Maine, Quebec, Labrador, Baffin Island • Hiking in Baxter State Park Sea Kayaking in Maine • Sailing along the Maine Coast in Traditional Wooden Boats Wilderness First Responder and Outdoor Leadership Workshops Canoe and Sea Kayak in the Florida Everglades Wilderness travel at a pace set to enhance exploration and appreciation of the natural world. Please call or write for a brochure of this year’s trips. The Chewonki Foundation, 485 Chewonki Neck Road, Wiscasset, ME 04578 (207) 882-7323 • FAX (207) 882-4074 • E-mail: 14

PORTLAND YACHT SERVICES, INC. at Portland Company Marine Complex 58 Fore St. • Portland, ME 04101 • 207-774-1067 11

12 13

Castine •

In 1890, the Reverend George F Clark published a monograph entitled Military Operations at Castine Maine. He included this intriguing tale: “Late in November 1840, Stephen Grindle... while hauling wood, found near the close of the afternoon, a few silver coins thrown up by the cart wheels. He made a search and found twenty more of the same sort. But night coming, he was obliged to leave... A heavy snowstorm came on during the night and the ground froze up for winter. He kept the secret faithfully and when spring [arrived], he returned to the spot and dug up a large amount of old silver coin of various shapes and sizes... in all nearly 2000 pieces of French money, some Portuguese, Massachusetts coins dated 1652 and a British coin issued during the reign of James I.”

All About Maine by John E Cayford (1981) Coastal Maine by L Whitney Elkins (1924) The Coast of Maine by Louise Dickinson Rich (1975) The Cruising Guide to the Maine Coast, 3rd ed by Hank & Jan Taft and Curtis Rindlaub (1996) Enjoying Maine by Bill Caldwell (1977) Islands of Maine by Bill Caldwell (1981) Islands of Mid-Coast Maine, Penobscot and Blue Hill Bays by Charles B McLane (1982) Maine, A Narrative History by Neil Rolde (1990) The Maine Islands in Story and Legend by Dorothy Simpson (1960) Shipwrecks & Maritime Disasters of the Maine Coast by Peter Dow Bachelder (1997) Summering on the Thoroughfare,The Architecture of North Haven, 1885-1945 by Roger G Reed (1993) Steamboat Lore of the Penobscot by John M Richardson (1941)

At the north end of Monroe Island, the government erected a tall marker known as “the spindle.” An identical structure was built on Sheep Island, precisely one nautical mile to the southwest, and each has a counterpart tower on the mainland a mile away. These markers serve as a measured nautical mile, at one time the only course on the eastern seaboard for the US military to conduct sea trials.9


The most notorious shipwreck in Penobscot Bay occurred on a stormy day in October 1836 when the steamship Royal Tar, en route from New Brunswick to Portland, caught fire. An overheated boiler run dry is thought to be to blame for the sparks which ignited surrounding woodwork. Of the 96 passengers and crew aboard, 32 died, mostly women and children. In addition, the entire menagerie of animals belonging to a traveling circus perished including an elephant, a Bengal tiger, two lions, six horses, two camels, a leopard, a gnu, and two penguins.10, 12


In former times, during cold spells, it was possible to walk over the ice to Stonington, six miles away. The last time on record that this happened was 1934. During severe weather in the winter of 1935, Isle Au Haut was cut off for five days. The Coast Guard flew over and dropped a message from an airplane, asking if the islanders needed help. The response, conveyed via a grappling hook, rake and pole: “Thank you very much, we have plenty of supplies so far. No one sick.Thank you so much. CW Turner” 6, 9



Known today as the rustic site of an Outward Bound school, in 1880, with over 1200 Italian and Irish immigrants working in its granite quarries, Hurricane Island could boast of a post office, six boarding houses, forty cottages, a pool hall, a bowling green, a bandstand, and a company store.4 By 1924 the quarries were finished and “on the face of the entire island there is scarcely a patch of earth big enough for a respectable Granite quarries on the islands in Pen Bay supplied pink granite for garden,” a writer noted. “Only a few scattering trees maintain a foothold in the President Kennedy’s grave, as well as stone for the Library of Congress, crevices and fissures of the ledges.” 2 the Executive Office Building, and the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in This rugged lighthouse, the outermost marker Washington, DC as well as the New York Stock Exchange, the George for the coast of Maine, was once the home of 6 Washington Bridge, and Grant’s Tomb in New York City. Abby Burgess, daughter of the lighthouse keeper. In 1856, at the age of 17, Abby was left home to care for her invalid mother and four little sisters “Manasquesicook” was the Indian name while her father sailed to the mainland for for Matinicus, possibly meaning “place of M A T I N I C U S supplies. A winter storm blew up, flooding the many turkeys.” 9 entire ledge. The seas were so rough that Captain Burgess was prevented from returning In the late 19th century, the inhabitants of for four weeks, but Abby kept the lamps Criehaven and Matinicus maintained trimmed and burning. Five years later when her contact with their doctor Edwin Gould father retired, Abby trained his replacement, R A G G E D I. on the mainland via carrier pigeon. 9 later marrying his son, and was appointed (C R I E H A V E N) assistant lighthouse keeper.9

• Rockland

Rockport •

Camden •

Revolutionary War Pauses for Total Solar Eclipse! In October 1780, a small boat flying a flag of truce approached the British warship Albany off of Castine with a request to allow the men on board to enter British territory. Their objective was a purely scientific one: to observe an upcoming solar eclipse. Colonel Campbell of the British forces acquiesced with the proviso that there be no communication with “ye inhabitants” of Islesboro.Then, as so often is the case on the Maine coast, fog descended for a week. Fortunately on the morning of the 27th it lifted and the scientists were able to observe the eclipse later that day. A small marker north of Hewes Point commemorates the occasion.9




8. 9.

5. 6. 7.

1. 2. 3. 4.

In 1896 George and Emory Harriman, architects and island owners, established the New England Tent Club on the south shore of Butter Island, renamed Dirigo. 497 sites were laid out for A general store in Brooksville was noted for its homepurpose of “clean, wholemade ice cream. Its most famous customer was some outdoor living in an President Franklin Roosevelt who, passing nearby on his Arabic-like town of tents and return from meeting with Winston Churchill in 1941, cottages for young halted his naval convoy and sent a launch ashore with merchants, club men, college instructions to purchase several gallons of ice cream.5 students, and professional men of good social standing Home of author and reference.” Dogs, EB White from children, and intoxicating ISLESBORO 1938-1985 and liquors were banned. location of his Although some deeds were L ITT L E D E E R I S L E outhouse (a twosold, most guests stayed at Children’s writer Robert McCloskey used holer) wherein the Casino, which by 1910 islands off the southwest coast of Little resided the spider could sleep 150 guests. Deer Isle as a setting for One Morning in Warren Island acquired its who was the Transportation was provided Maine and Blueberries for Sal. 7 name naturally enough inspiration for by daily steamships which from a fellow named Charlotte’s Web.5 departed Boston at 5:00 pm Warren who lived there in and arrived at “Dirigo” at 1803. A hundred years 7:00 am the next morning. later, its then-owner Campbell Island was the site of Fare: $5.50.7 renamed it “Isola Bella” an archeological expedition and left it to his wife. conducted by the Smithsonian Another possession, Institution in 1899. Ethnolonearby Seal Island, briefly gists uncovered three skeletons became “Mon Reve.” DEER ISLE buried on the island. One clad Neither name attained in armor is thought to be a permanence.7 French soldier who had fled A grateful nation is indebted to Mount Desert when it was Captain Hanson C. Gregory of pillaged by the British in 1613. Camden for jabbing a hole in Prolific George Harvey of Russ Island, a The second body was likely a his breakfast biscuit in order to veteran of the War of 1812, had a dozen Native American woman. hang it on the spoke of his children with his late first wife before According to the Maine ship’s wheel, thus inventing the marrying Polly Morey, delicately referred to Historical Society, “no violence donut in 1847.4 as “one of the most colorful, controversial appears to have been involved personalities of the region, who previously with their death since the had contracted multiple alliances among blunderbuss [musket] buried Deer Isle fishermen resulting in six or Stonington with them was blunted–a sign Another presidential visit occurred in August • N O R T H H A V E N seven illegitimate children which have that whoever buried the pair 1873 when President Ulysses S. Grant, traveling confounded local genealogists ever since.” wished them well.” The third with former VP Hannibal Hamlin and three Upon George’s death circa 1859, Polly senators, became fog bound on a trip to Bar body was possibly buried at a forced his children to leave the island so Harbor. Grant spent the night ashore at the different time and is believed to she could pursue a “debauched and farmhouse home of one Mr. Mullins of North be a Native American chief. He riotous” lifestyle before meeting a violent Haven, then a fishing and farming community.11 was buried sitting up in the end, possibly at her son’s hands.7 center of a ring of stones.7

Beginning in the mid-1800s and running for half a century, steamships regularly criss-crossed Penobscot Bay and departed from Rockland to Portland and Boston. In 1894 it was possible to depart Boston in the evening aboard the City of Bangor, which cruised at 16 knots, and arrive in Rockland at 2:00 am. The Lewiston left from Portland and cruised to Castine, Deer Isle, Sedgwick, Southwest Harbor, Bar Harbor, Millbridge, Jonesport, and Machias. In 1910, Tillson’s Wharf in Rockland recorded 30 passenger steamships arriving and departing daily during the high season. For the most part, these steamers were of shallow draft with open decks and a sidewheel for propulsion, more suited for river travel than open ocean, as evidenced by their frequent watery demise.12

Belfast •

In 1568, rumor had it that a sailor had located Norumbega, the fabled Yankee El Dorado, in the vicinity of latter day Bangor. He returned to Europe a with lavish tale of “gates and pillars of crystal and lapis lazuli, gold-plated roofs, pearls lying on the ground, and gold nuggets in the river.” Unfortunately, no one was able to confirm his discovery.8

Belfast saw an amazingly bullish ’90s stock market–the 1890s stock market, that is. In 1893 the Dana Sasparilla Company, a patent medicine firm, was established with capital of $25,000 and a year later paid 100% in dividends. A year after that it was sold for $300,000 and stockholders recouped 1300% on their investment.3

Penobscot Bay


Presenting our third installment of history, legend, and lore from the Maine coast. These are the . . .

V E R O NA Charles Dix, owner of the Wm Beasley Shipyard in Verona, put his own Arctic experience to good use when called upon to design and build the Roosevelt for Admiral Peary. The hull was three inches thick and the keel was made of oak that had been submerged for 25 years in ocean water.9

Spring 2003  

Contains a debate between members on aquaculture, tips on how to dress for paddling in cold weather, and a major boating snafu by MITA's exe...

Spring 2003  

Contains a debate between members on aquaculture, tips on how to dress for paddling in cold weather, and a major boating snafu by MITA's exe...