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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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 email@example.com to sign up. PUBLIC FORUMS. Each year, MITA and the BPL host public meetings to invite feedback on island access and management issues on the public Trail islands. Contact Rachel Nixon, 7618225 or firstname.lastname@example.org, or log on to www.mita.org, for more information.
email@example.com, or log on to www.mita.org, for more information. Maine Boats & Harbors Show Friday-Sunday, August 8-10, Rockland, ME. First annual event presented by Maine Boats & Harbors magazine. We are looking for volunteers to work at our booth. Downeast Clean-Up Saturday & Sunday, September 13 & 14. Join us for one or two days with optional campout. Common Ground Fair Friday-Sunday, September 19-21, Unity, ME. We are looking for volunteers to work at our booth. Penobscot Bay Clean-Up Saturday, September 20. Join us for this one-day clean-up event. Western Rivers Clean-Up Sunday, September 21. Join us for this one-day clean-up event on the Kennebec, Sheepscot, and Damariscotta rivers.
Stonington/Merchant Row area Clean-Up Saturday & Sunday, September 27 & 28. Join us for one or two days with optional campout. Casco Bay West Clean-Up Saturday, October 4. Join us for this one-day clean-up of Jewell, Little Chebeague, Crow and Bangs Islands. Casco Bay East Clean-Up Sunday, October 5. Join us for this one-day clean-up of the Casco Bay islands between Jewell and Cape Small. Muscongus Bay Clean-Up Saturday & Sunday, October 11 & 12. Join us for one or two days with optional campout. Muscle Ridge and New Brunswick Clean-Ups Dates TBD. ■
The Public Forums on 10-Year Plan Tuesday, July 8, Portland; Wednesday, July 9, Rockland; Thursday, July 10, Ellsworth. The upcoming meetings will be an opportunity for the public to Association comment on the draft 10-year Recreation Management Plan for the 41A UNION WHARF The Newsletter of isthe Island Trail Association • state-owned Trail islands. This the Maine PORTLAND, ME 04101-4607 last call for input!
MAINE ISLAND TRAIL
Gulf of Maine Sea Kayak Symposium Friday-Sunday, July 11-13, Maine Maritime Academy, Castine, ME. We are looking for volunteers to work our booth. MITA’s 16th Annual Conference Saturday & Sunday, July 19 & 20, Snow Marine Park, Rockland, ME. This year, MITA’s Annual Conference will be held in conjunction with the WoodenBoat Show, also happening in Rockland July 19 – 20. The MITA conference will include fantastic workshops and lots of boat fun activities. Cost is $20 for MITA members and $25 for non-members, and includes a free ticket to the WoodenBoat Show. Children under 12 are free. Contact Tania at 761-8225 or
NON-PROFIT ORG. U.S. POSTAGE
PAID MAINE ISLAND TRAIL ASSOCIATION
The Island Trail The Newsletter of the Maine Island Trail Association • Summer 2003
The Awkward Question by Paul Theroux We are honored once again to have acclaimed novelist, travel writer, and MITA member Paul Theroux grace our pages. In “The Awkward Question,” he explores the motivations that drive great paddlers to throw all caution to the wind in pursuit of adventure. Are they like the astronauts, or more akin to performance artists? Read on for Theroux’s absorbing and highly entertaining analysis. When my French publisher, Robert Laffont, asked me who in the whole of France I wished to meet, I said d’Aboville, whose book Seul (Alone) had just appeared. The next day, in the shadow of Saint-Sulpice, I said to d’Aboville’s wife, Cornelia, “He is my hero.” She replied softly, with feeling, “Mine too.” Almost anyone can go to the moon: you pass a physical and NASA puts you in a rocket and shoots you there. I once met Buzz Aldrin. He said to me, “Your grandmother could go to the moon” (continued on page 8)
In This Issue Purchase an Island without Breaking the Bank ...................................... 2 Extreme Swordfishing in Pen Bay ................................... 4 A Month on the Maine Island Trail: Conclusion .......... 10 Backcountry Foodie Tips ........ 16 And More!
Countdown to Coastal Gathering MITA’s 16th Annual Conference Set for July 19 & 20; Free Tickets to WoodenBoat Show with Registration The countdown to MITA’s Coastal Gathering is nearly over. In just a few short weeks the staff, Board of Trustees, and your fellow members will assemble on the Rockland waterfront for two days of exciting activities, interesting and informative workshops, and great food and social events. And if that’s not enough to pique your interest, all attendees will receive a free ticket to the WoodenBoat Show, which is happening simultaneously within walking distance. We hope you will join us for what promises to be a fantastic summer weekend of boating-related fun, education, and entertainment.
When and Where This event will take place on Saturday and Sunday, July 19 & 20. There’s no better time to enjoy the Maine coast, and few better places to do so than this year’s conference venue, Snow Marine Park. Located on the waterfront next to the Hurricane Island Outward Bound School in Rockland, this picturesque site will be in full summer glory when we hoist our canopy there in July.
What’s Happening We have a full schedule of workshops and events planned. You can choose from among a host of presentations and activities on several different topic tracks. Whether you wish to advance your boating skills, brush up on your island history and culture, or learn more about coastal flora and fauna, we’ve got you This July 19 & 20, boaters of all stripes will covered. Kids will also have plenty of be setting a course for MITA’s Coastal great activities designed to amuse, Gathering in Rockland ME. entertain, and enlighten. Consider just a handful of the exciting workshops that will be led by experienced and distinguished speakers: • Basic Navigation, Ken Fink • Circumnavigation of the Eastern US, Nat Stone • Building and Sailing a Caledonia Yawl, Bill Boyd
MITA CALENDAR Summer/Fall 2003
(continued on page 14)
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 • Julie Wormser, Lincoln, MA STAFF Karen Stimpson • firstname.lastname@example.org Executive Director Peg Deutsch • email@example.com Membership and Business Manager Amy Kersteen • firstname.lastname@example.org Stewardship Programs Manager Kevin Lomangino • email@example.com Newsletter Editor Vinny Marotta & Steve Ross Casco Bay Caretakers Eleanor Morse • firstname.lastname@example.org Guidebook Editor Tania Neuschafer • email@example.com Education and Outreach Manager Rachel Nixon • firstname.lastname@example.org Trail Manager Sid Quarrier Project Coordinator Joanie Rhoda • email@example.com Membership Database Manager Kippy Rudy • firstname.lastname@example.org Development Officer Drew Wyman • email@example.com 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 • firstname.lastname@example.org 41A Union Wharf, Portland, Maine 04101-4607 (207) 761-8225 • email@example.com www.mita.org Vol. 14 No. 2
FROM THE EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
Have You Ever Dreamed of Owning an Island?
A Look into the World of Outreach
by Karen Stimpson
for Ram by introducing the
Stanhopes to conservation-minded I’ll grantMITA’s that buying your own make, so please read on. Editing publications for MITA members who would like to island might not behas thebeen mosta fun Editing MITA’s publications for the past two years purchase the years island. rational decision for many of us. But the past two has been a fun and creative process that I have as Bill Stanhope shows on page and creative process thoroughly enjoyed. Myusother career Building a Trust that I have three, the choice thoroughly enjoyed. My career as a medical writer can be, well, a bit Aother beauty like as a medical clinical – whereas is sure to be a Ram doesn’t can be, at MITA I’ve very rewarding come cheap, but We hope that MITA members writer well, a bit clinifound writing one. Bill and his it is within cal – whereas at that I can truly will step up and help family have reach ifI’ve you are MITA get passionate owned Ram continue Ram’s tradition of willingwriting to found about. Whether Island for more explore creative that I can truly it’s for conservation and access. thanthe 30search years and ownership get passionate new islands to have spent many arrangements. about. WhetherI profile in the a summer vacation enjoying its have experience it’s the search forwith newsuch islands to Guidebook, or the search for the perwonderful charms. With a priceless arrangements through my profile in the Guidebook, or partial the fect boat that we’ve chronicled in collection of memories now stored ownership of Sheep off of search for the perfectIsland boat that this newsletter, my work at MITA away, Bill isinvolved inviting anew newand family we’ve has always interStinsonchronicled Neck (#85ininthis thenewsletter, Stewardship (or families) to make the my work at has always in-I esting challenges. And atisland every their turn Handbook andMITA Guidebook), which own. volved new and interesting chalI’ve been helped along by enthusiasand four other parties purchased eager to help our lenges. And owner at every turn I’ve been tic MITA MITAisstaff, members, andTrail volunfrom a Trail through a unique island helped along by enthusiastic MITA teers. owners realize their vision for trust agreement. their now and in the staff, members, volunteers. So properties now is probably a good time to In the words and of a fellow Sheep So now is probably a good time to say thanks to all ofare theextremely people who years to come. We Island Trustee, “With our Sheep say thanks to all of the people who have made my generous experiencegroup here of such grateful to this Island purchase, we showed that a have made my experience here such apeople, rewarding this fall, if who one. shareBecause their beautiful small group of people, for a a rewarding one. Because this fall, if all goes as planned, I will be taking lands with MITA members reasonable investment, can conserve all goes as planned, I will be taking an extendedafter tripall) abroad. My wifefor (strangers, in exchange andextended provide trip access to an island in an abroad. My wife and I plan spend a few in nothing buttorespectful usemonths and good perpetuity that might otherwise and I plan to spend a few monthsbein New Zealand,Most and Trail perhaps other stewardship. owners closedZealand, to the public. It’s a great New and perhaps other destinations in the South Pacific. want long-term conservation feeling to know that because destinations in the South PaWe hope to do plenty of hikof their land as well as of you, a cific. We hope ing, biking, and paddling, responsible, place tospecial do plenty while also managed can enjoyed ofbe hiking, sitting access. biking, aroundFor in our by futureand padsome goal is dling, while also sitshortsthis thinking generations.” becoming more Trevor Peterson ting about the winter I would add that difficult as college we’ll be missing intuitions Maine. and beyond the lofty goals of access and retirement tough financial Needlessforce to say, I won’t be bringconservation, it’s just plain fun to decisions on occasion, sale of ing along and, my laptop, so somebody own an island! new will be editing the Guidebook cherished properties. Bill Stanhope has suggested that and The is Island Trail. hope to stay Ram just one ofImany private Ram would be an ideal island for involved with MITA’s Trail islands that couldpublications one day be several individuals or families to in some capacity when I return, sold by their current owners. Webut buy and enjoy together. If you are for now it seems too early predict have found that many Trailtoisland interested in potentially purchasing what I’ll like be doing so many months owners, the Stanhopes, would this island, or teaming up with down road. prefer the to maintain MITA access to others to do so, please call me in the In the mean time, the beat goes on their properties after they are sold. Portland office for more here at The Island Trail. We have We hope to facilitate this outcome information. ■ some important announcements to
Do you have a passion for Maine’s islands? Are you good with people? Do you have an occasional free night or weekend day to spend communicating MITA’s message to others? If the answer to these questions is “yes,” then you may have what it takes to be a MITA outreach volunteer.
advice, and provide boater safety education.
What Are Some Outreach Volunteer Opportunities?
small gatherings of paddling/ adventure clubs, civic organizations, or other groups.
Who Can Volunteer?
Having the time and desire to serve is a good start, but potential volunteers should also be familiar with MITA and the Trail and have at least some boating experience. We What Is Outreach? want our first contact for “Outreach” describes a broad prospective members to be a spectrum of activities designed to knowledgeable representative who tell boaters and the general public can answer as many questions about about MITA and its the organization as mission. MITA aspires possible. It takes time to spread its and a certain amount of stewardship ethic to on-the-water experanyone who is planning ience to develop the to visit a Maine coast required level of island, and outreach is expertise. key to achieving this Still, as longtime objective. In addition to outreach volunteer describing the Merv Taylor notes, you organization’s don’t need any special stewardship talents or skills beyond philosophy, its these basics. “You don't relationship with the have to be a 'gifted state and private island public speaker' to owners, and the benefits volunteer,” he says. of membership, “When folks see the outreach volunteers chart of the Trail, they may also conduct lownaturally walk up to impact training, give the booth. Then you can Volunteer Tom Hepp enjoys a sunny day in the MITA outreach booth. basic trip planning ask them an easy question – ‘Do you have a favorite island?’ – and the Outstanding Outreach Volunteers conversation just goes from there.” MITA thanks the following individuals for donating their time, energy, and experience to MITA’s outreach program over the course of the past Why Should I Volunteer? year: If you support MITA’s Greg Barmore • Erno Bonebakker • Rodney Booth • Bill Boyd • Bob Bruce stewardship mission and island Emlen Knight Cabot • Rob Cabot • Captain Ray Card • Catherine Corey conservation efforts, you can help Wes Crain • Leanne Diehl • Lesley Devoe • Jim Dugan • Russ Emerson advance this important work Matthew Faulkner • Steve Formisani • Ben Fuller • Kim Gass • Henri Gignoux through outreach. “The heart of our Morris Hancock • Al Hansen • Ben Harris • Thomas Hepp • Bill Hinderer stewardship is to ‘tell the MITA Merritt Ireland • Cay Kendrick • Dan Lacey • Linda Lacey • Charlotte Lawton story,’” Merv explains. “When more Jon Lawton • Bill Legge • Berry Manter • Dave Morrill • Deb Morrill • Bill Mozak folks understand the MITA mission, Annette Naegel • Don Parker • Robby Pawle • Win Pillsbury • Bob Ramsdell they will join with us to protect this Marietta Ramsdell • Mike Scarborough • Scott Scharf • Ted Scharf • David Schultz incredible resource.” To find out Cliff Seymour • Jim Shaffer • Pat Born Smith • Allison Sparks • Bob Sergent more about outreach contact Tania Brad Swanson • Rick Treiss • Chris Tadema-Weidlandt • Gordon Talley Neuschafer in the Portland office, Merv Taylor • Paul Travis • Gordon Walsh • Doug Welsh • Jeremy Wintersteen 761-8225 or firstname.lastname@example.org. ■ Bob Wolfertz • Kristen Woodbury MITA participates in or is represented at various boat shows, fairs, and conservation-related events throughout the year. We are always on the lookout for volunteers to work at our booth, and we often need volunteers to narrate the MITA slide show at these events or at
MITA Welcomes New Staff in Office, on Islands
A Week on Ram Island
Spring has brought renewal both to the islands and to MITA’s staff. Here are some new faces you may see around our offices or out in Casco Bay.
by Bill Stanhope
Eleanor began her tenure at MITA last fall helping to manage the day-today administration of the Portland office. But it didn’t take long for her to find a new niche that would put her considerable editorial talents to their fullest use. “I feel very fortunate to have moved into the publications editor position, where I can use my passion for writing to support an organization I've come to love,” Eleanor says. Her responsibilities will include editing MITA’s guidebook and helping with fundraising correspondence and other wordsmithing needs in the organization. Eleanor brings a diverse array of skills and experience to MITA. She spent the early part of her career in Africa serving as director of the national office of adult education at the tri-country University of Botswana, Lesotho and Swaziland. After returning to Maine, she worked
Drew Wyman, Executive Assistant & Office Manager Drew’s journey to the MITA Portland office has been a bit more sinuous – not to mention glamorous – than most. For nearly a decade prior to his arrival in Portland, Drew was bass guitar player for several touring bands, most notably the alternative rock group Thanks to Gravity. In its heyday the group was signed to a Capitol Records recording contract and shared the marquee with music icons such as Dave Matthews and Sinead O’Connor. The performing life was exhilarating and rewarding for a while, says Drew, but eventually it came time for a change. “It was a great opportunity, and I did it for as long as it made sense,” he explains. “But there came a point where I said to myself, ‘I can’t do this anymore,’ and that’s when I came back to Maine.” Drew describes himself as the office’s “official stress-reducer.” He supports the executive director and all program areas as needed, and he also provides general office assistance with the phones, correspondence, and other administrative activities. Drew was attracted to MITA because of its involvement in the local community and its active role in environmental stewardship – an area that has always interested him. But he hasn’t forsaken his musical roots completely: In his spare time Drew
now plays stand-up bass with the Brunswick-area jazz group KaBooM.
Vinny Marotta & Steve Ross, Casco Bay Caretakers The Casco Bay caretaker program enters its third season with a team of enthusiastic and experienced stewards manning the tiller. Based on Jewell and making frequent checks on other Trails sites in the bay, the caretakers will be on hand through Labor Day to look after the islands, serve as friendly resource, and help visitors learn more about thoughtful island use. Steve Ross brings a treasure trove of local knowledge and on-the-water experience to the program. He grew up on Long Island in Casco Bay and graduated from the University of Maine with a degree in Parks and Recreation Management. For nearly a decade he served as stern man on a lobster boat out of Long Island and a deckhand on the fishing vessel Snow Squall. Steve is now a full-time science and math teacher at Greely Junior High School in Cumberland, Maine. He is thrilled to be spending his vacation reconnecting with the bay this summer. Vinny Marotta is another great find whose background in park administration will serve him well out on Jewell. Vinny is a recent graduate of Unity College in Maine, where he received a bachelor’s degree in social science with a focus on park management and interpretation. While at Unity, Vinny spent two summers helping manage Lake George Regional Park in Skowhegan, which sees some 25,000 visitors each year. A native of New Jersey, where he spent a good chunk of his free time out on the water fishing, Vinny is delighted to be in Maine and eager to get to the know the coast. ■
area was designed with whatever big square beams and plywood we could find. There was always In this piece, Bill Stanhope treats us to an something we could use and it was a uncommonly charming account of family challenge to achieve the highest level vacations on Ram Island near Machias. of comfort from found objects. Even more rare is the invitation Stanhope extends for members to make their own Peterene would set up our kitchen memories out on Ram, not just as MITA using the boxes we had brought and visitors, but as the island’s new owners! See arranging them and filling each box executive director Karen Stimpson’s article with cans and packages, pots and on the opposite page for more information utensils. Soda and juice was neatly about purchase possibilities that would conaligned, water cubes were placed on serve the island and maintain its tradition of large flat rocks and our wine was put Maine Island Trail access. in a mesh bag, tied with a rope and hung in a tidal pool. When everyWe bought Ram Island in 1970. thing was finished I'd start a small Back in those early days we would fire for cooking. We would then drive seven hours to Starboard and discuss what we would have for meet up with Danny Sprague. He'd dinner. take us out to the island in his With that lobster boat. completed my He had a small son Adam and dingy that we I would climb used to ferry the cliff and ourselves and start explorour gear back ing. Ram is a and forth to barren island. the beach. The Fourteen acres, final time he more or less, would row me as they say. All back to shore. meadows and He would The Stanhopes would like to maintain access to rock. The leave with Ram Island through the Trail, assuring its island has a instructions to hill in the spectacular views for future generations of MITA return in a center some 60 members. week. feet above sea What a wonderful feeling to be level. That's a good height. From up back after a year. We all knew our there you can see the entire island. jobs, my wife and two children and You can see the entire world. To the myself. While Peterene (my wife) north, the mainland, Foster Island, and I carried everything up the the Cutler towers and Stone Island beach, then up the cliff, the kids (with its virgin forest). To the east the started collecting driftwood. Libbys, and Libby Island light. To the We usually had the tent up and a west, which is my favorite view, are nice pile of driftwood high up on the the beautiful sunsets. Then, Scabby beach within two hours. Every year Island, The Brothers and Cadillac was different, and I couldn't wait to Mountain in the distance. And to the discover what goodies we would south is the open ocean. find as we searched the beaches. Ram Island is very far to the east, Ram Island has three good-sized very quiet and very private. Too far stone beaches and a mile of coastline. east for most cruising boats, so it's But first we had to set up our special and exciting to spot a sail. camp. That entailed building a fire Ram is raw nature. It's all about the pit with the abundant stones all sea, and the sky, the waves, the wind around us. We always brought the and the tide. It has a big tide, around rack from our oven at home. I then 17 feet. It's really two islands, a high carefully set it into the fire pit for tide one and a low tide one. It's filled cooking. Then the food preparation
with wonderful sounds. Big waves crashing against the cliffs, and small waves quietly lapping the stone beaches, rolling the round smooth stones over and over. New sounds that appear for a while as the rising and falling tides uncover crevices and canyons in the cliffs. For a week we live like the Swiss Family Robinson. Cook over an open fire on the beach. Live outdoors, sit by the fire until late at night and sleep in our clothes. There's nothing to do on Ram Island. Just walk, sit, look at the sea, lay on your back in the grass and watch the sea gulls play tag, and think. We hang out together, go our separate ways, and pair off. We all have our special places to sit and look at the ocean. We share these discoveries with each other. When it’s time to leave we're always happy and sad to see Danny return. We leave for another year, and head for Helen's Restaurant for strawberry pie. ■
Eleanor Morse, Publications Editor
as the training and organizational development specialist at Maine Medical Center for 12 years. Today, in addition to her part-time work at MITA, Eleanor runs her own business providing career and transition counseling, and she also writes fiction. Having just completed her second novel in December, Eleanor is now hard at work on a collection of short stories set in Botswana.
ition d ed n 2
HOT SHOWERS! Maine Coast Lodgings for Kayakers and Sailors Lee Bumsted
152 coastal lodgings and 30 campgrounds, with web sites Onshore and offshore points of interest Launch ramp and boatyard listings www.biddle-audenreed.com/Kayak.html
Survival in Prehistoric Penobscot Bay
Humans have been navigating the Gulf of Maine in small open watercraft, either hollowed out log boats or birch bark canoes, centuries upon centuries. Birch bark canoes were the most important technological achievement of prehistoric people and were not only critical for travel but also a major factor in fishing and hunting. Such small and portable craft were easily managed on the rivers and lakes of the interior but they were also used on the coast. Light and buoyant, they could carry large loads but they were dangerous in reaches exposed to the open sea. For this reason coastal Native Americans used a maze-like system of carries across the narrow peninsulas, found between Brunswick and Penobscot Bay, or through the islands, which are often cut deep by bays and inlets. Mount Desert Island serves as a good example: short carries here could avoid the danger of an exposed cape and often saved many miles of paddling. In the ancient campsites on the peninsulas and the islands lies fragmentary evidence left by people who, through the science of archaeology, can tell us stories of their relationship with the fish, animals and birds of their environment long ago. People who today propel themselves through the islands of the Maine coast with canoes or kayaks should realize that they are following generations of prehistoric Mainers who plied these waters with canoe and paddle for at least 5,000 years. They didn’t have a "Leave No Trace" ethic, and it is their garbage heaps, composed of clam shells, fish 4
Life on Turner Farm In the 1970s, the Maine State Museum initiated excavation at the oldest and perhaps most important known archaeological site on the Maine coast, the Turner Farm site.
Located on North Haven Island, near the thoroughfare that separates North Haven from Vinalhaven Island, this remarkable property was a major campground 5,000 years ago. The oldest records of human habitation at the site, left during a period known as Occupation 1, show that the residents gathered shellfish, hunted deer, and went to sea to capture seals, swordfish and cod. Their lifestyle was strongly oriented toward maritime resources, but they still hunted land animals, as evidenced by the presence of deer bones. Nearly a millennium later, around 4,400 BP to 3,800 BP (Occupation 2),
Stewardship Has Its Rewards Help to steward Maine’s coast by making a donation to MITA’s Stewardship Fund! Your gift will support projects that raise awareness of coastal issues and protect fragile island environments. We come to our friends for support only three times a year: for membership, the Annual Fund and
the Stewardship Fund. We have enjoyed remarkable success in these areas over the past few years, with our funds growing by more than 20% last year. But our expenses have grown by more than 20% as well. Please consider a generous gift to the Stewardship Fund and you will
also enjoy the following new benefits listed in the box below. Contact Kippy Rudy, MITA’s development director, at (207) 7618225 or email@example.com, for more information or to make a donation. We appreciate your help in protecting this wonderful coast! ■
New Donor Benefits New benefits are available to donors who support MITA at the levels indicated below. Each level includes all of the benefits included in the previous levels, and classifications are based on total annual giving plus membership fees from each individual member. Friends ($100 to $249) • Acknowledgment in MITA’s annual report Supporter ($250 to $499) • Invitation to join a monitor skipper during a regularly scheduled run Navigators ($500 to $999) • A MITA gift membership to share with the recipient of your choice • A complimentary box of MITA note cards Explorers ($1,000 to $2,499) • Invitation to a special discussion or lecture and accompanying reception • A MITA burgee (flag) for your boat • Personalized donor plaque acknowledging your support • Listing in one newsletter annually
Place names taken from Indian Place Names of the Penobscot Valley and the Maine Coast, by Fannie Hardy Eckstrom, University of Maine Studies; 1941, 1974.
Conservationists ($2,500 to $4,999) • Invitation to an elegant island picnic with MITA Trustees featuring an on-site demonstration of low impact techniques Trail Keepers ($5,000 and above) • Invitation to join executive director Karen Stimpson for a private gourmet dinner aboard an antique cruising yacht
Waterfront camping, paddling in small boats, and fresh seafood are Maine coast traditions that run much deeper than many MITA members may realize. As David Cook explains, these elements of a typical islandhopping adventure were also integral aspects of survival for coastal inhabitants 5,000 years ago.
bones and other refuse, that speak to us of their advanced survival skills. Maine’s coastal archaeological record has been, and is being, severely damaged by the rising waters of the Gulf of Maine. Nevertheless, we have proof that native people were living a distinctly maritime lifestyle in Penobscot Bay by around 5,000 years before present (BP).
by David S. Cook
MITA donors light the way toward a great future for our coast.
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Gulf of Maine Sea Kayak Symposium Coming to Castine, Maine by Lee Bumsted Paddlers looking for a warm-up to MITA’s Coastal Gathering on July 19 – 20 should consider a trip to Castine the weekend before. According to member and Island Trail editor emeritus Lee Bumsted, the Gulf of Maine Sea Kayak Symposium promises to be a great complement to our own exciting get-together in Rockland. Castine, Maine will once again be the site of a weekend-long symposium this summer. The First Annual Gulf of Maine Sea Kayak Symposium (GOMSKS) is being held at the Maine Maritime Academy campus on July 1113. It picks up where the Atlantic Coast Sea Kayak Symposium left off in 2001 after its 20-year run. In a nice bit of symmetry, the man who organized the first Atlantic Coast Sea Kayak Symposium is helping make this new event a reality. Ken Fink is part of the team of area outfitters and retailers putting GOMSKS together as a nonprofit venture. As Ken puts it, “We want to continue a tradition of educating new and old paddlers about the safety, skills, and knowledge required for paddling on the sea.” Since the Atlantic Coast Sea Kayak Symposium was the first and longest-running kayak symposium
in the United States, that’s a good deal of tradition to build upon. For those of us who made the pilgrimage to Castine in the past, the weekend was always about more than just trying new boats or attending seminars; it was a celebration of all things kayaking. “We want to foster the notion of paddlers gathering as a ‘tribe’ to maintain interaction, information exchange, and friendships,” says Ken. Another core member of the symposium team, Tom Bergh of Maine Island Kayak Company, comments, “The real magic of a symposium is your immersion in the sea kayaking community. You have nothing but kayakers around you, kayakers of various levels, and kayaks with thousands of years of history, kayaks with a world of experience. You immerse yourself in the science and art of going to sea in these beautiful small boats.” Like the original symposium, GOMSKS will offer many classes and on-water demonstrations. According to Ken, the plan is for paddlers to be able “to get a full dose of modeled instruction, discussion, and information provided by the best speakers and paddlers we know in the U.S. and
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U.K.” Tom notes that there will be a greater focus on advancing the skills of intermediate, dedicated kayakers, although there will still be plenty to interest newer paddlers. Those volunteering their time to host the Gulf of Maine Sea Kayak Symposium hope other paddlers will share their enthusiasm for this nonprofit event. “Northeastern paddlers have an opportunity to have a significant sea kayaking event, for them, by them, with them. We need strong paddling community support, both from attendees and volunteers, for us to pull this off,” says Tom. The organizers will be contacting area paddling clubs to recruit people who would like to spend the weekend at the symposium in exchange for helping staff it. (If you are interested and haven’t heard from them yet, you are welcome to check in with them.) A variety of activities will run over the course of the weekend, from Friday afternoon through Sunday afternoon. They will be held on the campus as well as a couple miles away at Waterman Beach, on eastern Penobscot Bay. To learn more about the GOMSKS schedule, to print a registration form, or to volunteer to help, visit www.kayaksymposium.org. (Those without Web access may call 207751-8998 for details.) Lodging will be available in the Maine Maritime Academy dorms, and there will be a nearby camping option. Onsite dining, which many of us recall as surprisingly good for cafeteria food, will also be featured. ■ Lee Bumsted is the author of Hot Showers! Maine Coast Lodgings for Kayakers and Sailors, a guide to 152 coastal B&Bs, inns, and similar lodgings, and 30 campgrounds. Information about her book is available at www.biddle-audenreed.com/Kayak.html. This article first appeared in Atlantic Coastal Kayaker, and is reprinted with permission.
the Turner Farm people continued to hunt marine animals such as seals and fish for swordfish, flounder, sculpin and cod. Many bone artifacts made of swordfish bill and deer antler have been recovered. Knife handles of bone, bone daggers, harpoon foreshafts (part of a composite harpoon), barbed and unbarbed spear points, toggling harpoons (designed to break off and twist in the quarry’s flesh to inflict maximum damage), bone fish hooks and bone carvings of animals testify to a people with a rich bone tool tradition and a maritime orientation. Deer and moose bones also have been found among Occupation 2 remnants, along with We those of a wide variety of other animals. The stone tools used during Turner Farm's Occupation 2 contained stemmed spear point, plummets, adzes, celts and gouges, hammer stones, whetstones and tool "preforms" (incomplete stone tools that have not yet undergone final shaping and trimming).
Swordfishing by Canoe The presence of substantial numbers of swordfish bones at Turner Farm arouses both curiosity and admiration. Swordfish are large, potentially dangerous to hunt, and today found well out to sea. They are by habit a Gulf Stream species, entering the Gulf of Maine only when warm Stream waters break off from the main current and curl their way nearer shore. Oceanographic studies of the Gulf of Maine have shown that 5,000 years ago it had warmer surface water than it has today. As sea levels rose so did the tidal amplitude and the mixing of the water, which brought colder bottom water to the surface. By 3,000 years ago the Gulf of Maine had assumed many of its modern features. It would seem that swordfish, preferring the warmer water, ceased to come inshore to the same extent. Starting around 3,800 years ago swordfish were rarely, if ever, brought to the site again. Yet, while they were available, swordfish
provided a substantial amount of meat. Remains of 15 to 20 individual fish have been found at several sites in the midcoast region of Maine, including out on Monhegan Island. Swordfish bask on the surface, which is when they are harpooned by modern fishermen. The swordfish hunters 4,000 to 5,000 years ago must have taken them in the same way. Hunters would stealthily paddle near an unsuspecting fish and plunge barbed harpoons, sometimes made of swordfish bones, into their prey. An inflated bladder of a seal, or other suitable animal, may have been tossed over as float, both to tire
Land Animal Hunting
Analysis of the discarded food bones at Turner Farm has yielded interesting insights into the life of the people and the animals whose space they shared. The bones of white-tail deer, the extinct great auk, moose, and many species of fish from the Turner Farm provide archaeologists with a large database that is useful for statistical analysis. For example, a comparative study of bones and teeth by zooarchaeologists yields the age and size of individual animals used for food thousands of years ago. That, and the frequency with which a particular species appears in the total bone sample over time, are following generations of prehistoric provide us with important details of human adaptation Mainers who plied these waters to a changing coastal envifor at least 5,000 years. ronment. The swordfish wasn’t the only species they hunted that we don’t see today. The great auk the swordfish and to permit its was hunted by the people at Turner recovery when it expired. Farm for about 3,000 years. The One can imagine the joy in camp bones of this flightless bird first when the successful fishermen occur 4,200 BP and have not been towed home 100 pounds or more of found in the archaeological record delicious meat and useful bone, after 1,000 BP. For 3,000 years, the including the sword. Not only killing and processing of these would the food be welcomed, but the happy return from a risky penguin-like birds would be a main focus of the people when the migratenterprise would enhance the prestige of the successful hunters. ing flocks passed by. Meat, oil, and Some archaeologists have specufeathers for decoration came from lated that dugout canoes must have the great auk, so they must have been used for swordfishing, but been missed when they no longer there is no compelling reason why frequented convenient hunting birch bark canoes couldn't have done places. the job. There are ample historical The bones of deer and moose, accounts of Native Americans analyzed for age and frequency, also crossing the Gulf of Maine in birch tell an interesting story of environbark canoes as well as extensive mental change and human adjustaccounts of hunting sea animals, ments. Deer tooth and bone analyses especially porpoises. indicate that the earliest hunters at The native sea hunters must have Turner Farm took many deer and it cooperated for both safety and seems that a large percentage were, success. Several canoe loads of by modern standards, big animals hunters could fan out over the water over five years old. About 4,000 and provide the necessary life years ago the percentage of large support if a wounded fish upset deer killed dropped continually as their comrades or some other younger animals became more accident occurred. Hunting the fish frequent prey. alone would increase the personal Lessons for Today? risk dramatically. Group hunting Why did this apparent change would also be more efficient in that occur? Was it preference for younger the chances of a swordfish encounter animals? A new hunting tactic? Or would be greater. 5
was it related to broader changes in the habitat which altered the composition of the local deer herds? There is evidence to suggest that cooler weather prevailed at that time, but it is not clear how that would have affected hunting conditions and overall age of the deer herd. Perhaps there was more hunting pressure on the herds, or maybe the record is incomplete. Information like this should be of interest to wildlife managers as they
study the demographic patterns of modern animal populations. Analysis of teeth and clam shells show that people lived at Turner Farm for much of the year. Apparently they would go out to the outer islands during the summer months and, with harsh weather of fall and winter, seek the protected spots like the Turner Farm of North Haven. Through archaeology we can learn much about the lives of our prehistoric predecessors in this ever-
changing world. I wonder if our society will meet the challenges posed by our times as gracefully as they seem to have done. ■ David S. Cook has been a paratrooper with the 101st Airborne Division, president of the Maine Archaeological Society, a history teacher and chairman of the Social Studies Department at Winthrop High School in Winthrop, Maine. Now retired, he continues to study the ecology and archaeology of the waters of Maine.
Want to Learn More about ancient Native American life in and around Penobscot Bay? Better to do your digging in the following books and museums than in the few remaining offshore sites and middens, which are protected by law. Although some of the older books are out of print, they are available at many libraries or through interlibrary loan. The others are available at area or online bookstores and at many of the museums listed below.
Help Us Manage Your (Island) Assets The Bureau of Parks and Lands and MITA invite the public to one of three meetings where island managers will present the draft 10-year recreation management plan for the public Trail islands and invite comment from attendees. This is the public's opportunity (your opportunity!) to weigh in on key decisions that will affect island access over the next 10 years. To review the draft plan prior to the meeting and to get directions, check out the MITA web site at www.mita.org. (The plan will be posted by June 25.) We hope to see you at the meetings! ■
• Changes in the Land: Indians, Colonists, and the Ecology of New England, by William Cronon. Hill & Wang; 1983. A well-researched, readable analysis of the dramatic changes in land use that occurred with the demise and displacement of the original inhabitants. Richly details the pre-contact Indians’ ways of life and relationship with the land. • Discovering Maine’s Archaeological Heritage, by David Sanger. Maine Historic Preservation Commission; 1979. An overview of Maine archaeology in theory and practice, beginning with a discussion of prehistoric glacial ice margins and paleoecology. Details discoveries at specific sites, including Turner Farm. • Diversity and Complexity in Prehistoric Maritime Societies: A Gulf of Maine Perspective, by Bruce J. Bourque. Plenum Press; 1995. A monograph covering archaeological research at the Turner Farm site. • Indian Place Names of the Penobscot Valley and the Maine Coast, by Fannie Hardy Eckstrom. University of Maine Studies; 1941, 1974. A fascinating exploration of the heritage of Maine’s Native American place names. Organized geographically according to watersheds, the book traces etymology and root words, canoe routes, and Native American movements and use of the landscape.
• Twelve Thousand Years: American Indians in Maine, by Bruce J. Bourque. University of Nebraska Press; 2001. Covers the full historical span of Native American life in Maine and surrounding regions. • Wabanaki Culture of Maine and the Maritimes. American Friends Service Committee; 1989. This is a rich compendium of Penobscot, Passamaquoddy, and Micmac origins and traditions. Historical overview, from prehistoric times to recent history and contemporary culture; includes interviews and appendices on crafts, language and folklore, hunting and foraging cycles. MUSEUMS • Abbe Museum. 26 Mount Desert Street, Bar Harbor (207-288-3519), and Park Loop Road, Sieur de Monts Spring, Acadia National Park (seasonal; 207-2882179), www.abbemuseum.org. Archaeological collections range from 10,000 years ago to the ceramic and contact periods, and up to recent times. Permanent exhibit includes an interpretive timeline of artifacts leading one back through Maine Indian history.
Tuesday, July 8, 6-8 p.m., Portland Wednesday, July 9, 6-8 p.m., Rockland Thursday, July 10, 6-8 p.m., Ellsworth Visit www.mita.org or email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
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.
BOOKS • Above the Gravel Bar: The Indian Canoe Routes of Maine, by David S. Cook. Milo Printing Company; 1985. An overview of prehistoric and evolving Indian occupation and canoe travel around Maine; explores canoebuilding methods, protected coastal cut-off routes, and changing ecology of watersheds. Includes foldout map.
Meeting Dates and Locations
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Mail to: MITA, P.O. Box C, Rockland, Maine 04841 Questions? Call 207-596-6456, fax 207-596-7796, e-mail: email@example.com
• Affordable office space in the Portland area
• Maine State Museum, Capitol Complex, Augusta. 207-287-2301, www.mainestatemuseum.org. Major permanent exhibition “12,000 Years in Maine” features 2,000 artifacts dating from the end of the last ice age through the 1800s. Prehistoric stone tools and other artifacts (including many from the Turner Farm site), along with dioramas of prehistoric Indian life and a reconstruction of an archaeological dig.
• Free storage in the Portland area
– Compiled by Jane Crosen
• Tool kit
• Administrative volunteer in the Rockland office • Conference tables and matching chairs • Office furniture
Logbooks Offer New View of Island Visitation
Hell's Half Acre
Total # of Visitors Recorded in Log Books
Eight of the seventeen highest-use For as long as they have been in Anecdotal Data islands were located in the Stoningexistence, the visitor logs on public Registration in the logbooks is islands have provided a forum for ton/Deer Isle area, reflecting the completely voluntary, and it is certain entertaining, artistic, and even growing popularity of this region. The that many parties do not register, spiritual musings from island guests. data also show that, compared with whether because they choose not to or Now they also provide valuable data most other islands, the sites in this because they never come across the about the number of island visitors, area had a higher proportion of books during their stay on the island. group size and type, and other groups led by outfitters, schools and This leads to what statisticians call information that can help MITA camps. “selection bias” in the data, and it develop more effective island manAcross the Trail there was a nearly limits the conclusions that we can agement strategies. 50/50 split between groups just out draw from our analysis. “In our first year with the new for the day and those who were Still, when used in concert with logbook format we collected an planning to camp out on the islands. coastal island use logs, data from enormous amount of new information And the average group size among monitor runs and adopter visits, staff about who uses the islands and how,” logbook registrants was about four observations, and other island said trail manager Rachel Nixon. people. reporting mechanisms, the new “Now that we have these The logbooks show Most-Visited Public Islands in July & August, 2002, According to Logbook Data* that the majority of boats baseline statistics, we can compare them with visiting the islands were 800 750 future data to observe paddleboats (72%), 700 new island use trends or followed by motorboats 650 600 other changes that may (17%) and then sail (9%). 550 impact management However, this does not 500 450 plans.” necessarily reflect the 400 number of people 350 300 New in 2002 accessing the islands via 250 The new and imeach type of craft, as 200 150 proved logbook format motorboats and sailboats 100 50 was introduced last can, obviously, hold 0 summer. Previously, the more visitors than logbooks were small canoes, kayaks, and spiral-bound notebooks rowing craft. that offered a blank space * Because logbook registration is voluntary and many parties do not register, these data do not Planning for the for whatever visitors felt represent actual visitation levels, which are higher. Graph includes only those islands with 50 or more total visitors recorded in its logbook(s). Does not include data for islands where the logbooks were like sharing. By the end Future missing at the end of the season (Crow-Muscongus) or where the logbook was still in the field at the of the season, these time of data analysis (East Barred, Hen). How can this informabooks were brimming logbooks should help paint a more tion be of use to MITA? According to with many a delightful poem, pencil detailed portrait of visitor activity and Nixon, it should help us keep track of sketch, or humorous anecdote from usage patterns. We have already the user mix along the Trail, and creative island-hoppers. gleaned some interesting information adjust to any changes as necessary. There is plenty of room for these from the logbook reports during July “The complexity of public island use – priceless unscripted reflections in the and August of last year. how long visitors stay, where they revised logbooks as well. But the new come from, what type of boat they format also contains a more strucCasco Bay, Stonington, use, and whether they are affiliated tured area where the visitor can relay with an organization or business – is Busiest information about their group size, confirmed by the log books,” she said. Not surprisingly, Jewell Island had the type of group (e.g. family, outfit“The public islands truly are a by far the most visitors (779) recorded ter, camp, etc.), and type of watercraft melting pot and we must continue to in its logbooks during this period. they are using. ramp up our education efforts to And as one might expect because of “The thinking is that while people reach all kinds of island users on the their proximity to population centers, are in a mood to share, why not ask coast of Maine.” other Casco Bay/Western Rivers them for some very basic information The logbooks will be out on the islands such as Little Chebeague, that can help us steward the islands public islands again this summer. Little Snow, and Thief Island were and protect them for future generaPlease take a moment to register and also high up on the list (see the graph tions?” MITA’s stewardship programs tell us about your visit! ■ above). manager, Amy Kersteen, said.
NOTES FROM THE COAST Aquaculture Applications Withdrawn
confusing period out on the water, and some area residents have expressed concern about the
not be easily visible – MITA suggests that you steer clear of the Deer Isle Thorofare, as well as the other channels noted on the chart below during this time.
The applications for two new salmon aquaculture leases in eastern Penobscot Bay have been withdrawn, Give Wide Berth to according to the Maine Eagles Department of Marine Nesting eagles are back Resources (DMR). As we Eagles nesting: Please give a on Barred Island off of reported earlier (see wide berth to Barred Island. Stinson Point on the west “Proposed Salmon Pens side of Deer Isle (see chart). Spawn Aquaculture This property, owned by Debate,” fall 2002), Mr. Jorn The Nature Conservancy Vad had applied for new and managed locally by the salmon pen leases off of Island Heritage Trust, has Scott and Pickering Islands, been set aside as a nature not far from Little Deer Isle. preserve and is not on the The proposals had drawn Trail; however, the island the ire of some members lies along the preferred concerned about pollution route for many boaters and aesthetic impacts in the traveling the Trail to and area. But others have from the Stonington area. supported the idea or Please avoid marked lobster Eagles are easily disturbed suggested that MITA lanes between 2 and 5 p.m. by human activity, which should remain out of the can lead to nest failure or debate. injury to nestlings. Please The application potential for collisions. To reduce the give the island a wide berth if you withdrawal comes as welcome news possibility of an accident – are transiting the area. The to aquaculture opponents such as especially if you are traveling in a Conservancy and the Trust the Eastern Penobscot Bay small, hand-powered boat that may appreciate your cooperation. ■ Environmental Association (EPBEA). But the apparent victory for these groups may only be temporary, according to the DMR’s Aquaculture Hearings Office, Mary Costigan. “Mr. Vad did indicate he may come to Maine this summer to further study the area, and, Plan your sea kayaking adventure with us! depending on the results, he may reapply,” Costigan said. The Island • Maine Guide Service Trail will stay abreast of the situation • Huge Selection of Kayak Rentals! and report on any new develop• Docks on the River & Ocean ments. MITA members can learn • Fully Stocked Kayak Shop more about aquaculture and related • Pool Instructional Classes issues at our Coastal Gathering in Rockland, where the DMR’s Aquaculture Coordinator, Andrew Fisk, will be on hand to speak. See the cover article of this issue for details about the event.
Deer Isle Region
Paddle Mid-Coast Maine!
Look Out for Lobster Lanes Fishermen in the Stonington area generally return home with their daily catch between 2 and 5 p.m. This is a busy and potentially
Seaspray Kayaking New Meadows Inn • Sebasco Harbor Resort
THE AWKWARD QUESTION
(continued from page 1)
had the long, seaworthy lines of a kayak and a high-tech cockpit with a roll-up canopy that sealed in the occupant in rough weather. A pumping system using seawater as ballast easily righted the boat in the event of a capsize. The boat had few
by Mary McClintock Last issue we put out the call for tales that involve things going wrong out on the water or on the islands. Member Mary McClintock obliged us with a yarn that just happens to fit perfectly with the food focus of this issue. Perhaps we should add another tip to the backcountry “foodie” advice on the previous page: Don’t forget your food bag!
Clearly upset by the memory, he said, “I do not like to talk about it.”
Short, compactly built, d’Aboville is no more physically prepossessing than another fairly obscure and just as brave long-distance navigator, the paddler Paul Caffyn of New Zealand. Over the past decade or so, Caffyn, in his seventeen-foot kayak, has circumnavigated Australia, Japan, Great Britain, and his own New Zealand through the lowpressure storms of the Tasman Sea. In a memorable passage in Caffyn’s The Dark Side of the Wave, he is battling a horrible chop off the North Island and sees a fishing boat up ahead. He deliberately paddles away from the boat, fearing that someone on board will see his flimsy craft and ask him where he is going. “I knew they would ask me why I was doing it, and I did not have an answer.” I hesitated to spring the question on d’Aboville. I asked him first about his preparations for the trip. A native of Brittany, he had always rowed, he said. “We never used outboard motors – we rowed boats the way other children pedaled bicycles.” Long ocean crossings interested him too, because he loved to design highly specialized boats. His Pacific craft was streamlined: it
creature comforts but all necessities: a stove, a sleeping place, roomy hatches for dehydrated meals and drinking water. D’Aboville also had a video camera, and he filmed himself rowing, in the middle of nowhere, humming the Alan Jackson country-and-western song “Here in the Real World.” D’Aboville sang it and hummed it for months but did not know any of the words, or indeed the title, until I recognized it on his video. “That is a very hard question,” he said when I asked him why he had set out on this seemingly suicidal trip, one of the longest ocean crossings possible, at the worst time of the year. He denied that he had any death wish. “And it is not like going over a waterfall in a barrel.” He had prepared himself well. His boat was seaworthy. He is an excellent navigator. “Yes, I think I have courage,” he said when I asked him point-blank whether he felt he was brave. It was the equivalent, he said, of scaling the north face of a mountain, the most difficult ascent. But this lonely four-and-a-half-month ordeal almost ended in his death by drowning, when a severe storm
chair for an extended afternoon lounge period. I grabbed my chair, water bottle, and the red food bag and settled into a pleasant nook in the rocks. Wondering whether to have the cream cheese/bagel/cucumber combo or the hummus/avocado wrap, I unzipped the bag. . .and stared in disbelief at my cookpot, stove, and fuel bottle. My mind raced. “Wait a minute! I’m sure I put the food in the red duffle bag. But this is the kitchen gear bag. WHERE IS MY FOOD BAG?!” Leaping out of my chair, I raced back to the pile of gear, and
• paddle three miles, hitch to my car, get my food, hitch back and paddle back. Was it worth the effort?
wouldn't starve, but the combination was pretty disgusting – miso soup and white hot chocolate. How could I get more food? I wondered. I could:
Do you have a Trail tale that never fails to get a laugh from friends? If so we want to hear about it. Send your submissions to the Portland office or email them to firstname.lastname@example.org.
• paddle through the fog, reefs, and lobster boats to Cundy's Harbor. Would I make it there alive?
I didn't consider yelling to a lobster boat; I was too proud and not that desperate. After a half hour of Why do I sea kayak? What reasons stomping around, cursing, and had I listed in my journal on that berating myself, I decided to stay sunny afternoon under the pines, where I was, make do, and paddle looking out on the bay? On my last out the next day. I had plenty of food trip, I had come up with a long list of for overnight. Besides, it was starting reasons. But now, as I paddled to rain. against the current in quarter-mileLater, I sat listening to rain on visibility fog, clearing the mist off the tarp, drinking a dinner of my glasses every few strokes miso soup and white hot chocowith the back of my hand, I late, telling myself I wasn't really couldn’t remember even one. that hungry. I debated whether to As I started out on a three-day tell anyone about forgetting my solo trip circumnavigating food bag. So much for my Sebascodegan Island, fog and reputation as an organized, wellcurrents clashed with my fantaprepared paddler. sies of sunny August paddling I hoped the rain was the end on the coast of Maine. Even after of my unexpected challenges as many foggy and rainy paddling the next morning dawned clear trips, I always imagine blue sky and calm. With my stomach Could You Spare A Powerbar? asks the author. and sun. rumbling and still a bit twitchy Reality was different. Having Forgotten foodbags make for memorable – if uncomfortfrom the day before, I decided to able – kayaking trips. just ended a trip on Lake end my trip a day early, finish the with a sinking feeling did a quick Umbagog with friends, I’d arrived at circumnavigation and head back to inventory – tent, sleeping bag, Ruth’s house the night before in time Ruth’s and my food bag. I found it sleeping pad, clothes bag, day bag, to repack. Ruth wasn’t there, but had tucked under the Maine Atlas in the first aid/gear repair bag. . .no food agreed to let me spend the night and jumble of gear in my car. bag! launch off her dock. I hurriedly Later, driving home with a blissWaves of panic, embarrassment, reorganized my gear before dark, fully full stomach, I laughed out loud and hunger hit me. Now what? How sorting through dirty clothes and when I found myself again thinking far was I from food? What did I have leftover food and repacking fresh dreamily about the reasons why I sea to eat? I did not want to get back in food for this trip. I didn’t sleep well, kayak. I wondered what I’d think my boat! I pulled out the food I had: uneasy about the already-thick fog. about my list the next time I was out snacks and emergency supplies – a Each part of the trip felt hard: fog, paddling in the realities of fog and small bag of almonds, a small bag of currents that went the “wrong” way, rain. The “hard” trips don’t generate raisins, four miso flavor packets left and mudflats deceptively covered by lists of rationales, but they sure make over from ramen noodles, lemonnot enough water to float a kayak. for great stories to entertain my flavored gatorade mix, and three Finally, I made it to Raspberry Island. friends. ■ white hot chocolate packets. I Relieved, I even laughed when I Mary McClintock
was not even tempted.” He turned his back on the ship and rowed on. The entire crossing, averaging seventeen strokes a minute, took him 134 days. I wanted to ask him why he had taken this enormous personal risk.
– a bewitching thought: Granny’s handbag, Granny’s space suit, Granny’s “Oh, dear.” It is perhaps invidious to compare an oarsman with an astronaut, but rowing across the Pacific Ocean alone in a small boat, as the Frenchman Gerard d’Aboville did in 1993, shows oldfashioned bravery. Even those of us who go on journeys in eccentric circles simpler and far less challenging than d’Aboville’s seldom understand what propels us. In 1988 an American named Ed Gillet paddled a kayak from the harbor at Monterey, California, across twenty-two hundred miles of the blue Pacific to Maui, in the Hawaiian Islands, the world’s longest open-ocean crossing. He almost died – he was without food and water for the last three days of this sixty-three day trip. He was without radio contact. And afterward all he ever wrote about his epic ordeal was a modest and somewhat self-mocking two-page piece for a New Zealand kayaking newsletter. He cursed himself much of the way for not knowing why he was making such a reckless crossing. Astronauts have a clear, scientific motive, but adventurers tend to evade the awkward question why. The forty-eight-year-old d’Aboville single-handedly rowed a twenty-foot boat of his own design from Japan to Oregon. He had previously (in 1980) rowed across the Atlantic, also from west to east, Cape Cod to Brittany. But the Atlantic was a piece of cake compared to his Pacific crossing, one of the most difficult and dangerous in the world. No one had ever done it before. For various reasons d’Aboville set out very late in the season and was caught first by heavy weather and finally by tumultuous storms – gale force winds and forty- to forty-six-foot waves. Many times he was terrified, and halfway through the trip, which had no stops (no islands at all in that part of the Pacific), a Russian freighter offered to rescue him. “I
realized the “best” landing place was seaweed-covered, basketball-sized rocks. Maybe I was working off some strange karma from my more idyllic trips. I hauled my gear up above the high tide line while scoping out the best place to set up my Crazy Creek
• forage for mussels. What about red tide? 17
My philosophy is that food and weather are two of the most important parts of a trip. You can't control the weather, but you can take charge of the food. Food can make or break an outing – it can provide a potent antidote to mosquitoes, blisters, sore muscles and a head wind. Plus, your body is your most important piece of equipment; you need to treat it well. Here are some simple guidelines for planning backcountry fare. • Take food you like. Don't assume that everything tastes better outdoors. If you don't like oatmeal at home, you won't like it on the Trail. • This is your vacation. Treat yourself. Spend a little extra to get good quality food and pack items that you especially enjoy – roasted cashews, dried cherries, lush chocolate, full-flavored coffee. • Plan ahead. Three meals a day don't appear by magic. Once you have left the launch site, you can't easily buy items you have forgotten. Plan amounts, per person. If you don't know how much you eat, the next time you have a onepot meal, measure how much you ladle onto your plate and think how much more you'd want if you'd been on the water all day. If you don't know how much your boating partner eats, ask. For a not-so-demanding trip, I generally plan three cups per male and two cups per female for dinner.
crackers, salted nuts), crunchy sweet (animal crackers, cookies), chewy salty (jerky), chewy sweet (dried fruit), rich creamy (nut butters), and rich chewy (cheese). Keep variety in mind for other meals as well. Garnish a one-pot stew with a handful of toasted nuts (crunchy) or a sprig of fresh cilantro. Include tortillas (chewy and delicious warmed with a little butter). Use herbs and spices (packets of ginger/lemon grass or pad Thai seasoning will make your taste buds zing). • Take advantage of the wide array of light, quick-prep food that is available these days. Then, doctor the mundane. Use dried meals as a base and bring them to life with foods from specialty stores (or the supermarket itself). Serve pasta with rehydrated tomatoes and mushrooms, fresh pesto (if kept cool, can be left unrefrigerated up to 24 hours) and Parmesan cheese. Or, serve wheat pilaf with freezedried corn, bacon, onion, and Cheddar cheese.
• Consider your habits when on the Trail. Do you like leisurely breakfasts? Pancakes are a slow-start meal. Prefer a quick cold breakfast? Pack homemade breakfast bars with lots of fruit, nuts and calories. Even if you anticipate a leisurely trip, plan at least one quick-cooking dinner meal to allow for the unforeseen. • Keep track of what works and what doesn't. What was the favorite meal of the trip? The least favorite? Were the amounts about right? Did that chili need more pep? Make notes on your menu and recipes (yes, keep a copy of your menu and recipes). Three months later, when you're planning the next trip, you won't remember. ■ Dorcas S. Miller likes to eat well in the backcountry. Her latest book, More Backcountry Cooking, features more than 150 recipes from trail experts. She also wrote Kayaking the Maine Coast: A Paddler's Guide to Day Trips from Kittery to Cobscook.
• Plan for variety. For lunch and snacks, include items with different tastes and textures, such as crunchy salty (pretzels, fish 16
Loon’s Cry Campground has been a stalwart MITA supporter for years. They provide free storage for our Lund workboats and are always there to lend hand when we need it. In this same spirit of coastal camaraderie, we would like to help Loon’s Cry find a new home for a fine Force outboard they no longer need. (Force engines are made by Mercury and include all Mercury-manufactured parts.) Here are the details: • 50 horsepower with electric start • 30 hours of running time, all in fresh water • Comes with 2 gas tanks and all controls • Available for $2700 Please call Rick at Loon’s Cry, 1-800-493-2324, for more information.
• Don't take something simply because it's handy. What you have on your shelf may not be what you want on your trip. • Plan for calories. How many you need will depend on the activity and your size and metabolism. You won't burn as many on a laidback day as you will on a day of strenuous effort.
something that was not useful, not like an animal at all. Something only a human being would do.” The art of it, he was saying – such an effort was as much aesthetic as athletic. And that the greatest travel always contains within it the seed of a spiritual quest, or else what’s the
Answer the Loon’s Cry
by Dorcas S. Miller
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 SEA KAYAKING & WHITEWATER EQUIPMENT Boats, Accessories, Tours, Instruction 42 Stevens Road • Bowdoinham • Maine 04008 Telephone (207) 666-8481 “On the shores of Merrymeeting Bay”
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: email@example.com
The greatest travel always contains within it the seed of a spiritual quest, or else what’s the point?
lashed the coast of Oregon as d’Aboville approached it, upside down, in a furious sea. The video of his last few days at sea, taken by a rescue vessel, is so frightening that d’Aboville wiped tears from his eyes while watching it with me. “At this time last year I was in the middle of it.” He quietly ignored my questions about the fortyfoot waves. Clearly upset by the memory, he said, “I do not like to talk about it.” “Only an animal does useful things,” he said at last, after a long silence. “An animal gets food, finds a place to sleep, tries to keep comfortable. But I wanted to do
Tips from a Backcountry Foodie
point? The English explorer Apsley Cherry-Garrard would have agreed with this. He went with Robert Falcon Scott on the ship Terra Nova and made a six-week crossing of a stretch of Antarctica in 1912, on foot, in the winter, when that polar region is dark all day and night, with a whipping wind and temperatures of minus 80 degrees. On his trek, which gave him the title for his book, The Worst Journey in the World, Cherry-Garrard wrote, “Why do some human beings desire with such urgency to do such things: regardless of the consequences, voluntarily, conscripted by no one but themselves? No one knows. There is a strong urge to conquer the dreadful forces of nature, and perhaps to get consciousness of ourselves, of life, and of the shadowy workings of our human minds. Physical capacity is the only limit. I have tried to tell how, and when, and where. But why? That is a mystery.” In any event, there is no conquering. “Je n’ai pas vaincu la Pacifique. Il m’a l’aissé passer,” d’Aboville said after his ordeal. I did not conquer the Pacific. It let me go across. ■ “The Awkward Question” is reprinted with permission from Fresh Air Fiend, a collection of Paul Theroux’s travel writings from 1985 – 2000. It is available from Mariner paperbacks, Houghton Mifflin Company, New York (2001). Paul’s most recent work is Dark Star Safari: Overland from Cairo to Cape Town, currently a New York Times bestseller.
A Month on the Maine Island Trail Conclusion: Bois Bubert to Machias by Steven Formisani We have followed Steve from his first strokes away from the Eastern Promenade in Portland, through his exploration of Penobscot Bay, to some dangerous moments near Schoodic Head. Along the way we have been treated to some magical images of the warmhearted people and natural splendor that Steve encountered on his trip. In this, the conclusion of his tale, Steve sends us yet another roll of wonderfully vivid snapshots from the final leg of his journey to Machias.
hardest, as the security of the shoreline behind you fades and you become completely enveloped in that blanket of white. A few compass bearings and island hops later I sit at the northern tip of Pond Island, with no improvement in the fog. I would like to travel northeast, but am uncomfortable with the amount of boat traffic I hear in that direction, so I opt for a northwest heading. Eventually make landfall and feel my way along the coast and islands,
Day 23. A loon serenade complements the tranquil sunrise, as I watch the orange disk slowly emerge from behind the horizon. With fog drifting in and out, I reluctantly decide to head directly for Jonesport rather than go exploring. Reaching West Jonesport I am greeted by a scene right out of a Norman Rockwell calendar. An elderly gentleman up on a grassy hillside, clad in blue Fighting the Fog blazer and seaman’s Day 21. Saturday, cap, is raising the stars September 22, 2001. Bois and stripes. I wave and Bubert Island. Rain and he returns the gesture fog again today, so I with a slow, single will stay put. More wave of his cap. Reach Moby Dick and shore the town campground walks during breaks in and am treated to a the weather. As I round homemade lunch by a bend returning from a fellow campers walk my attention is Malcolm and Mary, a grabbed by something welcome change from in the distance, a sliver my protein bars. of bright yellow on the Explore Jonesport shore. And while I during the afternoon, immediately recognize finding handmade it as my boat, the posters in many contrast of the slender When not fogged in, the down east coast offers fine unspoiled vistas. windows and flags and fragile craft against everywhere, and I begin to connect the expansive rocky shoreline is taking advantage of short breaks in with the surge of patriotism that my startling. For a moment even I the fog to regain my bearings. journey has isolated me from. question the sanity of my voyage. Finally reach the entrance to Cape Day 24, Jonesport Campground. Am planning on departing Split Harbor, but the fog is so thick Rain and fog on tap for today, tomorrow regardless of the fog, as you would never know the other putting a damper on my plans to these tent-bound reading days are side is only a fraction of a mile away. explore the island complex around getting old. Hearing a steady stream of boat Great Wass. Order breakfast at the Day 22. Wake at 4:30 a.m. since it traffic, I can't risk the short crossing local diner and, as I watch it being will be much easier launching with and am forced to hug the harbor’s prepared, soon realize that news of the higher tide. With my headlamp inner shoreline. By late afternoon such things as cholesterol and on I begin breaking down camp; the the fog thins out and I finally reach triglyceride levels have not yet illuminated fog is so dense I feel as Daniels around 5 p.m. It has been an reached this remote fishing hamlet. if I'm working inside a cloud. By exhausting day both physically and My cardiologist would be mortified. 6:30 I shove off and cling to Bubert’s mentally, and I wish I had a cold Spend the afternoon reading and shore. Hoping the dense fog will beer to celebrate my safe arrival. Get writing postcards at the local library, burn off as things warm up, I decide tent set up and sleeping pad and bag as many folks drift in and out to to kill some time trying to reach the in place. It always feels comforting chat with the staff. It becomes clear Douglas Islands, and then Pond when shelter has been secured, as if that this is much more than a book Island. No matter how many times I some ancient primal instinct is being repository, but an integral part of the paddle alone in the fog, that first satisfied. community’s social fabric. Back at step into the unknown is always the 10
may be able to pick you up at a marina in one of our Lund workboats. Otherwise there is a launch service called Two Toots that can shuttle you from your vessel to the event. Two Toots can be reached at (207) 594-2891. Anyone arriving by kayak can land at the Snow Marine Park Beach, but only at high tide.
Getting to the WoodenBoat Show There will be a WoodenBoat van shuttle running regularly from the MITA Gathering site at Snow Marine Park to the WoodenBoat Show. Or you can simply walk to the show, which is happening at the Rockland Public Landing, about 1/8 of a mile away. For more information on the WoodenBoat Show, go to www.woodenboat.com.
Bringing a Boat Rockland Harbor is bustling on any summer weekend, but with the WoodenBoat Show and MITA in town, it’s bound to be doubly or triply so. All boaters in Rockland Harbor – even in the calmest of times – need to be aware of the constant boat traffic there. Among the hazards you may encounter are: • The Vinalhaven and North Haven ferries, which leave from a dock at the north end of the harbor and travel in and out in an established channel. Small boaters need to respect the channel and
give the usual wide berth for the ferries. Also keep in mind that, especially in the outer harbor, the ferry wakes can be substantial. • The Rockland Fish Pier, which has loads of commercial traffic. • Schooners! A number of them call Rockland home, and this particular weekend there will likely be others visiting. Steer well clear of them. Many don’t have motors so maneuvering (to avoid a collision, for example) can be difficult. • The Coast Guard Station is base to many large and small boats, all of which should be given a wide berth. While we will not be able to provide dockage or mooring space for attendees, there may be space available through Rockland area marinas. In addition, some of our presenters have agreed to bring their boats for tours and races, and we’ll have our four 18-foot workboats on site for shuttling and boat fun activities. We will also provide all the materials for our traditional (cardboard) boat-building contest that takes place on Saturday.
For More Information Contact Tania Neuschafer at (207) 761-8225 or firstname.lastname@example.org for more information about this year’s Gathering. Also check our website, www.mita.org/conference2003/, for frequent updates as more information becomes available. ■
Conference Campgrounds The following MITA supporters offer campground accommodations in the Rockland area. Additional information can be found on the RocklandThomaston Chamber of Commerce’s website: www.therealmaine.com/ index.html, or you can call them at (207) 596-0376 or (800) 562-2529. Lobster Buoy Campsites 280 Waterman Beach Road South Thomaston ME 04858 207-594-7546 email@example.com Loon’s Cry Campground 2559 Atlantic Highway, U.S. Route 1 Warren ME 04864 207-273-2324, 800-493-2324 www.loonscrycampground.com firstname.lastname@example.org Megunticook Campground by the Sea 620 Commercial Street (Route 1), P.O. Box 375 Rockport ME 04856 207-594-2428, 800-884-2428 www.campgroundbythesea.com email@example.com
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 32 dealership, or call 207-832-5855.
Stetson & Pinkham 1992 Winslow Mills Rd. (Rte. 32), Waldoboro, ME 04572
COUNTDOWN TO COASTAL GATHERING (continued from page 1)
• Paddling Passamaquoddy Bay, Reinhard Zollitsch • Native American Canoe Trails and Coastal Artifacts, David Cook • Antique Boats, Karen Stimpson and Dick Stetson • Greenland Paddling, Vernon Doucette
July 20, a day after the start of the WoodenBoat Show. The entrance fee is $20 for members and $25 for non-members. All children under 12 years of age enter free, and each registration includes one free ticket to the WoodenBoat Show. All pre-registered attendees will receive a confirmation packet with their tickets in the mail prior to the event. Anyone who registers after July 11, or who signs up at the door, can pick up their tickets on-site at the MITA welcome booth on the 20th.
Updated workshop topics and information are available at the MITA Coastal Gathering website, www.mita.org/conference2003/.
How to Register To pre-register for the event, simply complete and return the form enclosed with this newsletter no later than July 11th. Attendees must pre-register to sign up for the Saturday night lobster bake and to receive their free WoodenBoat Show tickets in advance. Walk-ins are also welcome on the day of the event, but note that we will not be open for business until Saturday morning
Bo at S
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t. rS da
17 St .
Pi n ew e st er
(Rockland Public Landing)
2:54 3:44 4:35
9:14 10:00 10:47
3:34 4:22 5:11
9:30 10:21 11:15
Knox County Courthouse Recreation Building/Playground [594-0321] Public Library [594-0310] Post Office/Federal Building [596-6461] Industrial Park U.S. Coast Guard Base [596-6667] (a–U.S. Coast Guard Pier) Motor Vehicle Registry [596-2255] Shore Village Museum [594-0311] Farnsworth Art Museum [596-6457] Wyeth Center [596-6457])
Penobscot Bay Medical Center [596-8000] Breakwater and Marie Reed Park Concord Trailways Bus Stop Chickawaukie Lake & Johnson Park Atlantic Challenge Foundation/ The Apprenticeshop, maritime education center [594-1800] Fish Pier [594-1775 or 594-6367] Hurricane Island/Outward Bound School [594-5548]
Boat Launching Parking
Grocery Store Primary Intown Traffic Routes
Information Fish Pier
Restroom 1-Way Street Historic Downtown Shopping Area
Rockland Harbor Trail Windjammers
Please note that in historic downtown shopping area, Union St. and Main St. are one-way
Sa m os et Rd .
North End Shipyard
St. N. Main
Public Safety (Fire/Police)  [Police non-emergency 594-0316] City Hall [594-8431] Public Landing/Harbor Park: Chamber of Commerce & Visitor Information [596-0376] Harbor Master [594-0314] MDOT Ferry Terminal [596-2202] (Vinalhaven, North Haven, Matinicus) Athletic Fields a–Wasgett Field b–JC Park c–JC Park
n d Boat S
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tic MITA lan Conference At Hqtrs. (HIOBS)
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Midcoast Tech School
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The basic registration fee does not include meals. A Saturday night lobsterbake meal is available to preregistrants for an additional $27 per person. Saturday’s lunch can be purchased from on-site vendors, and for dinner on Saturday there will also be grilled burgers, veggie burgers, and hot dogs for purchase
Meals and Accommodations
(no pre-registration required). Attendees should bring their own lunch on Sunday or plan to eat in one of Rockland’s many delightful and affordable restaurants. This will be a very busy weekend in Rockland and accommodations will most likely fill up early. If you would like hotel, motel, or inn/B&B accommodations, call the Rockland/ Thomaston Chamber of Commerce as soon as possible to make reservations: (207) 596-0376 or (800) 5622529. If you are looking for a campsite, please consider the MITA supporters listed in the box on the following page. In addition, there will be free camping available on Saturday night at Rockland High School, in the football field on the right side of the building. Call the MITA Portland office or check out the conference website for more information about this option.
If you are arriving by car, drive to the Midcoast Technical School, just off of Route 73 (Main Street) about a mile south of the junction with Route 1. There will be free parking available behind this building for MITA conference attendees only. (See the map for more information.) There are also numerous marinas in the area for those arriving by boat. With advance notification we
the campground Malcolm and Mary invite me for dinner in their camper; what a welcome treat on this stormy evening! Day 25. More rain and fog. As the library is not open today, it’s more tent-bound reading mixed with some bird watching. Find countless spider webs in the crevices of a breakwater, their patterns highlighted with droplets from the mist. I ponder how these structures, so delicate in appearance, survived the near gale force winds and pelting rain of last night. Hope to depart Jonesport tomorrow. Day 26. Overcast and cloudy, but finally a day without fog. Head for Roque Island and explore a slender cove with beautiful cliffs, then paddle along Roque’s unique halfmoon-shaped sandy beach. Take a brief stop on Halifax. It is primarily open fields blanketed with weeds and wildflowers, and stands in stark contrast to its densely fir-studded neighbors to the west. Encountering rollers large enough to obscure sight of land when I’m down in the wave troughs. Dark clouds fill the sky, but some shafts of light are illuminating the barren Scabby Islands, producing an impressive but somber scene. I finally reach the small, treeless and exposed Ram Island where I hope to spend my final nights on the Trail. On a sunny day it would take on a whole different persona, but today with the low dark clouds and waves breaking at the landing spot, it is not inviting. With uncertain
weather tomorrow, I reluctantly decide to make for the Starboard Cove site on the mainland. The crossing of Foster Channel is rougher than expected and gets my adrenaline pumping. Upon my arrival I meet the site owner Doug, and his son Toby enthusiastically shows me the camping area. It's after dark when I finish visiting with my hosts, and returning to my tent I enjoy the eerie show put on by the enormous antenna array at the Cutler Naval Station. The mass of undulating red lights appear otherwordly, like something out of a sci-fi movie.
Machias-Bound Day 27. Rain this morning, so wrap up Moby Dick. Even though I am ready for the trip to be over, I begin dreading the brutal transition from the simple life to the daily grind of navigating thousands of lines of software, rife with mindboggling minutiae. I visit Jeff and Stacy, whom I met yesterday. They are preparing a lobster feast and surprise birthday party for Stacy’s brother, but plans become derailed as he is too sick to travel. In a wonderful gesture of hospitality, I become the substitute guest of honor, am treated to a great dinner, and am included in family photos as the surrogate brother. Day 28. Up early to ride the tide into Machias. A headwind of 15-plus knots and whitecaps every-where. How I longed for a calm finish to the trip! Eventually reach Machiasport,
then bear west for the final leg. Looking forward to the afternoon rendezvous with Mom and Sis, and keep wondering how far along they are in their asphalt adventure. I begin to see the miniature decorative lighthouse at the Machias Motor Inn, which marks my destination. As I approach the takeout point there is no great surge of emotion like I experienced upon my departure. Maybe this is natural, in that the beginning of a trip is always filled with anticipation due to the uncertainty of what is yet to come. Twenty-eight days later the journey is ending similar to how it started. I am sitting in one foot of water with paddle in hand, on a sunny and windy day, with someone taking my picture. Though I may look more disheveled than when departing Portland, the real changes have been within, as I am now much richer in memories and inner strength.
Epilogue A year and a half has passed since my journey ended. It has provided me with a sense of accomplishment, and serves as a source of inspiration and strength during life’s challenging times. Several people have asked what is my next big adventure, and my answer has surprised some of them. While I don't regret any of my backpacking or paddling excursions over the past two decades, the passing of years has slowly wrought a shift in my focus. The adventures I look forward to the most these days are sharing my favorite hiking trails and paddling spots with friends, and deepening those personal relationships. It’s still an adventure, but one more of spirit than solely of place. ■ The Island Trail extends a very grateful and appreciative thank you to Steve for sharing his journey with us. We would also like to encourage other members to tell us about their travels along the Trail or in other waters. Send your submissions to the Portland office or email them to firstname.lastname@example.org. 11
My Favorite Island ‘‘
I awoke at first light to the sound of two lobster boats and saw thousands of buoys carpeting the idyllic stretch of river.”
In September 2001, I paddled to Peters Island in the Damariscotta River on my first overnight trip to a MITA island. Any island with that name, I thought, must be good. My three friends and I landed our kayaks after dark and set up camp. I fell asleep under the stars. I awoke at first light to the sound of two lobster boats and saw thousands of buoys carpeting the idyllic stretch of river. Peters is a small island of understated beauty tucked next to a forested shore with nearby coves and other islands to explore. That day, my friends and I paddled the length of milelong Seal Cove, landed on Hodgsons Island to walk the trails and see an eagle’s nest, practiced sweep rolls in a shallow inlet, and found excitement in furious tidal currents that nearly sucked us into a Charybdis-like whirlpool. Heading back to our camp at sundown, we stopped to watch a dozen seals basking on a ledge in the cove. A few curious ones swam near, and I could hear their breathing. Sure enough, Peters Island gave us a perfect base for a weekend on the Maine coast.
Even in the gloom of a raw and rainy May after− noon it was clearly an extraordinary little island.”
I have to confess that on clean-ups my trash bag and my camera get equal use. Located near Stonington, my favorite island is Sheep-Stinson Neck. A few years ago, after a day of picking up trash we set up our tents there. Even in the gloom of a raw and rainy May afternoon it was clearly an extraordinary little island. We walked all the way around the perimeter admiring the meadow, the small sandy beach, and the endless array of boulders. The following morning we woke at five a.m. to a perfect sunrise, the kind that bathes everything in orange light and turns all of the shadows purple. The boulders in the intertidal zone looked like sculptures. I shot several rolls of film. One of my photos later turned into this oil painting. Jim Flahaven An artist and professor based in Portland, Jim hopes to visit Sheep this summer in the wooden kayak that he is nearly finished building.
Peter Taylor A freelance writer and photographer, Peter also contributed the cover photo for this year’s MITA guidebook.
We’re looking for your favorite island! Send us a photo and 150 words describing your most beloved patch of dry land on the Trail. We’ll publish the best entries and send all participants a special MITA-themed gift. Send your submissions to the Portland office or email them to email@example.com. 12
The rougher the paddle, the more beautiful the target island.”
How can you have a favorite island when they are all so beautiful, and each has its own personality? Sometimes when I am loading my kayak—you know, trying to put 10 lbs of stuff into a 5 lb container—I have a change of itinerary. This change of plans can be caused by wind direction, fog, or meeting a group of kayakers heading for the same destination. One time I landed on Potato. There were two people already there, so despite the sassy sea that day I paddled to nearby Sheep Island. Sheep was like a loving mother greeting me with outstretched arms. The rougher the paddle, the more beautiful the target island. Thank you to the owners of these islands who allow MITA members to use their gems. Also thank you to the State of Maine for saving islands for public use. I respect and love all the islands along the Trail. Kimo As of March 2003, Kimo has kayak-camped in each of the past 22 months.
There’s no better way to care for your favorite island than to steward it through MITA’s Adopt-An-Island program. Some islands currently have no adopters assigned to them, and many more need additional adopters to maintain data collection and stewardship activities.
Adopting an Island is Easy All you have to do is check on island conditions when you visit, make a quick sweep for trash, and report back to MITA. Adopters plan their visits on their own time and according to their own schedule. Even if you visit an island just a couple of times a season, you can provide valuable information about the site through the Adopt-An-Island program. The program helps us maintain good relationships with our island owners, providing them with a welldeserved benefit for so generously sharing their properties with us. The data collected from adopter visits helps MITA make informed management decisions for each site. Would you like to participate? If so, you can choose from among more than 50 islands and shoreside properties to find a site that will work for you. Contact Amy Kersteen in Portland office, 761-8225 or firstname.lastname@example.org, for more information or to sign up.
Islands Up for Adoption The following “adoptable” islands are listed by coastal region and 2003 guidebook site number (in parentheses). Casco Bay
College* (#2) Rat* (#10) Clark Cove (#11) Harpswell Hideaway (#12) Strawberry Creek (#13) Little Snow* (#16) Raspberry (#17)
Perkins (#21) Bird (#23) Castle (#25) Little Bare (#26) Fort* (#31) Hodgsons (#32) Peters (#33) Bar (#37) Penobscot Bay
Monroe (#53) Lower Negro (#58) Battle (#59) East Barred (#61) Little Thorofare (#63) Little Hen (#64) Hay (#65) Ram (#66) Deer Isle
Weir (#69) Kimball (#70) Doliver* (#71) Burnt (#72) Wheat (#73) Round* (#75) Wreck* (#76) Russ* (#79) Buckle (#81) Sheep* (#84) Sheep-Stinson Neck (#85) Apple (#87) Mount Desert
Hen (#91) Big Baker (#93) Crow (#94) Carleton (#95) Little Crow (#100) Dry (#103) East of Schoodic
Bois Bubert* (#105) Marsh Harbor (#107) Mink* (#106) Daniels (#109) Carrying Place Cove (#108) Sparrow (#110) Stevens* (#113) The Sands (#114) Little Water (#115) Halifax* (#117) Ram (#118) Cross (#120) *Especially needy islands that deserve extra consideration. 13
Tips from a backcountry foodie, an updated logbook system and musings on the uniquely human quest for adventure.