Departing Maine – we took a pretty leisurely pace getting packed up and heading out in the morning. Stopped at the visitor center and a few other places along the way as we headed back toward the Thousand Islands area of Canada.
We had chance, though getting close enough (there was much uncertainty about how far the road was passable) and possible rain were concerns, to hike the second highest peak in Maine – Sugarloaf Mountain, but we bypassed that on our way out of the state.
We had paddled the US side of the Thousand Islands area on the way out to Maine, so on the return we chose to stay on the Canadian side. We stayed outside the little town of Gananoque and drove into town in the morning. We stopped at the visitor center and at a nice little coffee shop (The Socialist Pig) prior to heading down to the harbor for some paddling. Finding a launch site and parking was a little bit annoying due to some construction and one way roads (I think we drove around the block three times), but we got on the water a bit before noon. Continue reading
Saturday was supposed to be our third kayaking day and we headed off toward Somes Sound in the morning.
The automotive gods had a different idea. I had replaced all the Subaru brakes just before the trip and they were still wearing in just a bit, but we started to hear some scraping from the right side of the car. A mile or so later, things started to feel a bit rough and I pulled over to the side of the road. It had seemed that the sound was coming from the front so I checked there first and everything seemed fine. The rear wheel, however, was a different story. Two of the lug nuts had blown off, shearing the studs with them and the other three were loose. We caught them just in time – I’m still not sure how we managed to get 1500 miles through Canada before having issues. I tightened the remaining three and we made our way to the nearest auto store (a NAPA about 8 miles away) for some emergency repairs in their parking lot. Fortunately, I had a small set of tools with us and NAPA had the necessary parts to complete a fix: three studs, three lug nuts and one hacksaw (because I goofed seating one of the studs). A few hours later we were back in business, but plans for the day were slightly delayed.
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. Continue reading
With a little planning the night before, we decided to go to the Pretty Marsh area of the island and paddle up the West side. I think we combined two different versions of directions and ended up targeting a launch somewhat North of the marsh itself (10). This lead to some confusion early on as we didn’t seem to be ‘leaving’ the harbor where we expected to start, but instead were just heading up the cost. Fortunately, this wasn’t a navigation test – we were just going to paddle up the coast a bit and then return. Also, there may have been some help from a phone GPS in determining what we were actually doing. Continue reading
Second to last of the year (though I noticed that I did miss a few days). One that I tagged quite a while back but never posted, from a kayaking adventure to Lime Island four or so years ago.
Pictures taken with Canon 60D, EF-S 17-85mm lens @ 22mm, f/16, 1/13 sec, ISO 100
Last lighthouse for a bit… maybe. The light(house) in the middle of the Manitou Passage about three miles off the mainland and off the shore of North Manitou Island. As you can sort of see, it’s a residence for birds now and thanks to that it stinks pretty horribly and is worth going on the windward side of when passing – if you look at the GPS tracklog you can see the space between the coming and going paths in the middle of the passage where we did just that.
Picture taken with Pentax Optio W60, lens @ 5mm (28mm eq), f/4.2, 1/250 sec, ISO 50
This picture is so-so, but it fits the lighthouse theme… the Round Island Lighthouse opposite Mackinac Island across the channel there. I’ve successfully watched fireworks from this lighthouse, which I highly recommend.
Picture taken with Pentax Optio W60, lens @ 6.1mm (34mm eq), f/6.1, 1/20 sec, ISO 200
The South Manitou Lighthouse from the water upon arrival after one of our early and poorly coordinated (read: stupid) crossings. We actually saved most of the stupid for the return trip which had worse conditions and way more distance between the three of us such that we were effectively all out there alone with no support.
Picture taken with Optio 33WR, lens @ 6.9mm (37mm eq), f/6.9, 1/200 sec, ISO —
A different view from St. Helena looking down the lifeboat launch ramp (with the group’s kayaks off to the side).
Picture taken with Canon 350D, EF-S 18-55mm lens @ 24mm, f/16, 1/500 sec, ISO 400
Since we’re on a lighthouse tour here, this is the St. Helena Lighthouse found just west of the Mackinac Bridge on the North side of Lake Michigan.
Picture taken with Canon 350D, EF-S 18-55mm lens @ 44mm, f/5, 1/1000 sec, ISO 100