WHY PADDLE HERE? – For the annual, weeklong Windjammer Days celebration of course! A grand opportunity to view majestic Windjammer Ships entering and exiting the harbor under full sail. Also paddle here for coastal scenic beauty, harbor views and a tidal water experience.
THE PADDLING ROUTE – After launching from the dock at the Blue Heron Seaside Inn, we paddled under the pedestrian foot bridge and into the main harbor. Once in the harbor proper, we avoided the main channel paddling alongside the edge for a front row seat to view the Schooners as they entered the harbor. And what a view we had, we couldn’t have picked a better route for viewing the ships, simply spectacular! Schooner after schooner past by us making all of our effort to get here well worth the trip.
Because of all the Windjammer Days activities, the harbor was extremely congested with large and small boat traffic and the water was choppy as well, making it difficult to linger in one place for very long. After viewing the ships for a while we decided to put a little distance between the congested harbor and our kayaks.
Still hugging the shoreline for as long as possible, we paddled passed past Mill Point, crossed over the entrance to Mill Cove and past Railway Point. After exploring this western section we reversed course and began paddling back when a sudden, unanticipated driving rain caused us to immediately seek shelter underneath the nearest dock. Visibility during the short fifteen minute storm was extremely limited and when the rain finally lifted the harbor was empty, all of the boats and onlookers previously lining the harbor had retreated to avoid the sudden rain.
After the rain, we paddled into quiet Mill Cove for a short time and then paddled back into the now deserted main harbor enjoying the calmer waters and taking a closer look at the Schooner Heritage and the harbor itself before paddling back under the pedestrian bridge and returning to the dock at the Blue Heron Seaside Inn.
Despite the rain and because of it, this trip is one we will likely remember for a very long time. Overall, it was a great experience to have viewed and paddled with ships of a bygone era.
CAUTIONS!- Frequent large and commercial boat traffic, especially during Windjammer Days, as well as rapidly changing weather and sea conditions. If you paddle during the arrival of the fleet, bring your A game, you’ll need it to navigate the constant chop, boat wake and boat congestion, on this day it’s very easy to find yourself in another boater’s way. If you’re not an experienced kayaker, your better off viewing the fleet’s arrival from the docks and saving your paddle for a less hectic day.
PARKING & LAUNCH – We stayed with our husbands at the Blue Heron Seaside Inn 65 Townsend St. in Boothbay Harbor, a lovely waterfront inn located at the end of the harbor featuring a dock directly behind the inn. Ability to launch from the inn’s dock exists at half-tide or higher.
If you don’t own a kayak, or would rather rent or take a group kayak tour, Tidal Transit Kayak Co. is conveniently located four doors down from the inn. Walk on over and talk to the friendly owner, Travis Journagan, for knowledge about the local paddling scene. He may even offer a free lesson in how to safely launch from a dock.
If you do bring your own kayak, you might also consider launching at the all-tide public boat ramp located at the Dept. of Marine Services 194 McKnown Point Rd. West Boothbay Harbor, a few minutes drive from the inn.
RESTROOMS – The only public restrooms available are next to the Dept. of Marine Service building in West Boothbay Harbor if you are paddling that far. The restrooms are only open when the marine service building is open.
WHEN TO VISIT – Anytime during the warm summer months or early fall is a great time to paddle Boothbay Harbor. It’s a popular tourist destination so you’ll have plenty of company. Planning your visit around the annual Windjammer Days celebration week is especially fun as there are numerous events held throughout the week.
WINDJAMMER DAYS – Click Here –
BLUE HERON SEASIDE INN – Click Here –
TIDAL TRANSIST KAYAK CO. – Click Here –
TIDE CHART – Click Here –
US HARBORS LINK – Click Here –
NOAA CHART – Click Here –
DIRECTIONS – Click Here –