When asked to reflect on the sea kayaking Wilderness Trip, some of the words that came to mind were thrilling, adventurous, and fun. One of the greatest parts of sea kayaking include the different sceneries and adventures during each paddle.. Many times our leaders didn’t even know what the day was going to be like. The MCSers in our group were: Alice, Wells, Emily Waters, Katy, Sam, Cammie, and Beth (me.) Our leaders were Josh, Megan, and Meg.
We were dropped off in Muscundus Bay early Monday morning and learned how to pack up our boats with the group gear, including tents, food, stoves, etc, and our personal gear. Although the thought of packing all of our stuff in the little compartments in our sea kayaks was daunting at first, once everything was packed, everyone was much more relieved. We kayaked four miles to Hungary Island, where our leaders taught us how to set up our tents and meal procedures. We then cooked dinner and went to bed, exhausted but exciting.
The next day, we woke up for another day of kayaking. During our first day, we had to get adjusted to the foot pedals (the way you steer,) and learning how to paddle. Most of us were using our arms, but the actual way to paddle was to turn your torso so your core was doing most of the work. The adjustment left us sore, but each paddle got a little more familiar. We paddled five miles to Thief Island, where we ate lunch and then set up our tents. We then paddled across a two mile crossing to Harbor Island—an island filled with adventures such as caves, cliffs, and fairy houses. We spent about an hour there exploring, and kayaked back in time to make dinner before dark. Many people were dreading the next day as we had a sixteen mile paddle—by far the farthest paddle during the trip. We went to bed early again, as soon as the sunset, in anticipation for a day we knew would be challenging but rewarding.
Our leaders woke us up at 5:00 the next morning so we could get an early start, since the paddle was supposed to take us eight or nine hours. The first two miles went really smoothly, with the whole group paddling and singing together. After two miles, the plan was to cross a three mile crossing. During that crossing, the wind picked up from 5 knots to 20 knots, and the swells from 1 foot to 5 feet. The crossing, which was supposed to take about just over an hour, took about two and a half. Many people felt sea sick and exhausted, but because if we stopped and rested we would go backwards a long way, we had to keep trudging. About half of us really were enjoying it, though, so there was a support group for those that weren’t. When we got to the five mile break, our leaders had to make a decision. We were supposed to go around Pemaquid Point next, but the problem was that we would have to paddle six or seven miles to the next place we could stop. At the pace we were going, we would have been paddling for another five hours or so, and therefore we wouldn’t have had lunch until 4:00. It would have taken another 2 hours to get to our campsite, which we would have arrived at after dark. The leaders decided that it wouldn’t be safe to go on, so they called Chewonki, and Rhan had to come pick us up. We had to take our stuff out of the boats, load them on the trailer, and then Rhan drove us to East Boothbay Harbor. We then unloaded our boats and packed the trailer, and paddled two miles to Fort Island.
The next day was the best one of the trip. We woke up and paddled six miles to our first break. About half a mile from Ocean point, our rest stop, a big thunderstorm hit and rained poured down. We furiously paddled to the point, and by then the rain had stopped. However, the sky was still really dark, so we had to wait it out. Josh, one of our leaders, told us that if the storm got really bad, we would invade the porch of a house. Two minutes later, we were sitting under the porch in the driving rain. After the storm, we paddled 3 miles to lunch, and 3 more miles to Spectacle Island.
The next day was our last, and it was really an awesome experience because we paddled 9 miles back to the neck. Turning around the bend, singing “Just around the river bend,” (a song in Pocahontas,) and seeing the blue slide in our waterfront was an experience I’ll never forget.
After paddling up, we still had to unload and wash the boats, as well as clean our equipment before we were able to take a refreshing shower after a week of fun and adventure!
-Beth Bondurant, Atlanta, GA
More photos of the sea kayaking trip on Flickr!