Having scoped out Bar Harbor (8) before, we had an idea of where to park and where to get on the water. We drove down in the morning a bit before high tide and put the kayaks in the water. We had looked up some of the kayak tour routes earlier and somewhat followed one of the paths around Bar Island and near two Porcupine islands. The most common attraction on this paddle was the abundance of buoys connected to lobster traps.
The surprise sighting of the day was a pod of harbor porpoises. We knew they were something to keep any eye out for, but didn’t really expect to have any sightings. We were just over half way to Burnt Porcupine Island having slowed a bit to give a lobster boat some room when a pod of harbor porpoises started surfacing near us. Over the next 10-20 minutes we probably saw and heard a few dozen porpoises surfacing around us. They were mostly pretty quick just coming up to breathe and submerging again, but they did seem to be curious about us and cruising around the area. Janet was able to capture one on video (it’s small, roughly mid screen, right at the end) over her shoulder and got a few pictures, I didn’t have the waterproof camera and was less willing to take chances with my phone on the water.
After the porpoise sightings died down, we continued to the South end of Long Porcupine Island, which of the three, had the best cliffs. From there we rounded Bald Porcupine, which again had some pretty sheer cliffs on its Eastern side, and headed back toward town. We crossed the breakwall somewhere in there, but it was right around high tide so we just cruised over top of it. We did see one seal on our way back into town, but the porpoises were definitely the highlight of the trip. Best I can figure, it ended up being about a 6.5 mile loop.
We took our time loading up the boats, partially to stay out of the way of the tours that were launching and partially due to carrying them a bit further to the car so as to not lose our parking spot. After loading up, we headed into town to walk around and see what there was to see. We scoped out a few of the ocean side restaurants, did some window shopping and got what was possibly the best ice cream I’ve had at Ben and Bill’s Chocolate Emporium. They did have lobster ice cream, but we passed on that.
For the afternoon, we took another drive around the park loop road to Jordan Pond. This time we were able to find parking, which enabled us to wander a bit. Apparently the thing to do is pick wild blueberries in front of the hotel. I don’t know if you’ve ever seen wild blueberries, but A) they’re tiny and B) they grow less than 1ft off the ground. Not a good investment of effort… we opted to hike around the pond. On the far end of the pond we noticed the Bubble’s Divide trail and headed up. We weren’t really planning anything specific, and South Bubble was the more obvious trail, so we turned that way. I think, with the balancing rock, that South Bubble was the more interesting peak to hit and we returned to lake level on the South Bubble trail.
We got back to the parking lot just after sunset. Apparently the location was a bit of a draw for sunset as a few photographers were at that end of the lake. We stuck around for a bit, but not much color developed in the sky.
On our way back to the hotel we stopped in Bar Harbor to check out the evening offerings. The end destination was an Irish restaurant. Yes, we were in Maine, where you’re supposed to eat lobster and instead we got Irish food.