Tag Archives: Maine

Kayaking Boothbay Harbor, ME – Windjammer Days –

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.

Boothbay Harbor
Windjammer Days bring heavy boat traffic

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 –

US HARBORS TIDE CHART –  Click Here

US HARBORS LINK –  Click Here –

NOAA CHART –  Click Here –

DIRECTIONS –  Click Here –

Kayaking Fort Gorges – Casco Bay – Portland, ME

WHY PADDLE HERE? – For adventure, history and coastal scenic beauty.

THE PADDLING ROUTE – Launch from the East End beach boat ramp, turn right and you will see Fort Gorges in the distance.  It is approximately a 1mi/1.6km paddle to the fort.  Once nearing the fort,  look for the American flag to guide you to the easiest place to land.

CAUTIONS!  Tides, waves, strong/confused currents, fog, rapidly changing weather conditions and frequent large boat traffic.  Do not attempt this trip if you are not an experienced kayaker with self-rescue skills.  If this is the case, I highly recommend you engage the services of a kayak touring company.  Although I have never paddled with them, Portland Paddle has a seasonal location at the East End Beach boat launch parking lot.

LAUNCH & PARKING – For East End Beach boat launch policies including parking and launch fees,  Click Here.

RESTROOMS – Yes,  public restrooms are located in the parking lot.

WHEN TO VISIT – Plan your visit with weather and tides in mind.  Portland is a very busy tourist area and on beautiful days the parking lot fills up fast.

US HARBORS TIDE CHART  Click Here.

US HARBORS LINK – Click Here.

DIRECTIONS – Click Here.

Kayaking Webhannet River/Wells Harbor – Wells, ME

WHY PADDLE HERE? – For scenic beauty, coastal nature, tidal river experience, marsh area, harbor views or a sunset paddle.

THE PADDLING ROUTE – Once launching from the boat ramp, or the hand carry launch, you have a choice of either paddling up river (turn right) or down river (turn left) into Wells Harbor.  We usually start our paddle by first heading up river enjoying the marsh views and the sounds of the seagulls flying nearby then turning back and leisurely traveling into Wells Harbor before returning to the launch area.  Sunset is my favorite time to paddle here, perfect after a long day of work.

CAUTIONS! Tidal river and motor boat traffic.  If you are unfamiliar with paddling a tidal river, plan to launch two hours before high tide and return to the launch no later than two hours after high tide. Paddling this close to either side of the high tide ensures you will not be stuck in the mud.  Do not launch at or near low tide.  Please note,  there is no swimming allowed in the river.

LAUNCH & PARKING – The Town of Wells provides three separate and distinct boat launch locations all of which provide direct access the Webhannet River/Wells Harbor.  The launch we normally use is located at the end of Harbor Rd. off of Rte 1.  Experience has taught us that this launch is more conveniently located and easier to reach. You have to two choices at this location, you can either use the designated boat ramp at the end of Harbor Rd. or hand carry from the Wells Community Park parking lot.  This trip we chose to use the hand carry launch as the parking lot was near empty.  If you are trailering  your kayaks you should  use the designated boat launch. Starting in 2017 there will be a $12- fee to park at the designated boat launch parking lot.  A  pay and display meter (cards only) will be located at the lot.  There is no parking fee to park in the hand carry parking lot for vehicles without trailers.  The Harbor Master has an office located near the boat ramp.

RESTROOMS – YES! Restrooms are located at the entrance to the Wells community parking lot.

WHEN TO VISIT – Avoid busy summer weekends and holidays if you can.  Time your visit with the tides in mind paddling at or near high tide for safety.  Avoid low tide.  Because this paddle is on the shorter side, a sunset paddle is particularly appealing to experienced paddlers with proper lighting.

US HARBORS TIDE CHART  Click Here.

US HARBORS LINK – Click Here.

DIRECTIONS – Click Here.