Friday, August 26, 2011

The Stonington Cat . . . A day off from paddling Maine's awesome waters.

Have you met the Stonington Cat?

I just did.
The Stonington Cat is a real cutie. Very friendly, and roams the upper reaches of Maine's Stonington harbor along Main Street.
You might want to slow down if you're driving along this street and watch out for this little kitty!

Paddling the islands from Stonington, Maine, U.S.A., with PenobscotPaddles has been AWESOME.

I'll blog about that soon when I can get a better view of my computer screen and can do more justice to a blog post. Writing this with outdoor glare from the sun is not easy.   
Maelstrom Vital 166 and Maelstrom Vaag 174 on Gooseberry Island, Maine
Today, the Stonington Cat and his harbor haunts are on my mind, so I'll go with a few pics of that for today:
Fisherman's home on the Stonington harbour
The real working McCoys
Lobster trap debris
Lobster buoy cliches
Beached at low tide. Tides are about 11 to 12 feet here.
A local rooster scratching for worms.
Stonington harbor life
Stonington harbor flower arrangements
Lobster lunch meat
A hardy and serious tie-down view of the Stonington harbor.
Stonington apples. Small, tart, and tasty!
Wednesday night and all day Thursday,  the wind was AWESOME . . . about 25 miles per hour or more!

Some kayak campers out on the islands off Stonington, Maine called in for a ride back home on a motorized boat.

In Webb Cove, at 4:30 a.m. each morning you hear a crew of lobster boats heading out. Not many on Thursday.

The Malestrom Vital 166 and Vaag 174 were beached yesterday too. The crosswind was way too wicked.

The paddle partner was bored, and the new Eureka! Bon Echo Air tent and storm shield is being fully-tested by Maine's ocean winds and evening thunderstorms and is still standing . . . the last time I checked! Although the large vestibule on these tents definitely leak from the ceiling, but the interior of the tent stays dry.
The outdoor Internet cafe at the Webb Cove basecamp at Old Quarry Ocean Adventures and the 350 pics I took in the last two days are my best friends on non-paddle days during this trip.

Basecamp is ocean waterfront.

The long blond hair in my ponytail got shaken loose every couple of hours yesterday, and my eyes feel eternally puffy from the ocean air. Or is it the camping!

One mosquito won't leave me alone and I can't catch it!

I guess I could have headed inland or indoors!

Buy why? This is the ocean!

And today is a totally different story.  Calm and sunny on the ocean front and a much better day to head out and paddle and we will!

Hey kitty, where are you off to now!? . . . The Stonington Cat.
Happy and safe paddles!
Sometimes it's just best to stay home, wherever that is!
The BaffinPaddler

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Back to Maine to paddle Stonington, meet up with PenobscotPaddles, and see if I can learn to navigate water with lots of islands!

These are some of my best Maine memories . . . so far!
Here's a pic paddling Seal Cove, Maine, U.S.A. a few years back. This little "island lunch spot" disappeared 10 minutes later when the tide came in.
It's always better to have more than one guarding the boats and posing for pics before they try to take off with the incoming tide!
I love Maine! Lobster boats and traps and all. These working boats move fast. Look out!
If you see a bay in Maine filled with colorful lobster buoys, there is a lobster trap underneath each one, and a lobster boat that will soon some to fetch!

You have to watch out for them! They don't look out for you.

Since my last trip to Maine years ago, I wake up each morning to a framed picture of colorful lobster buoys hanging on an old wooden shanty wall.
Now it's time to head back to Maine to paddle Stonington, and meet up with fellow paddle blogger PenobscotPaddles - starting tomorrow! Navigation is on my mind.

It's a 10-hour drive from home in the National Capital Region of Canada (Ottawa, Ontario/Gatineau, Quebec) to Stonington, Maine, U.S.A. The Mitsubishi Outlander is packed to the "gunwales" with kayaking gear and camping stuff!

PenobscotPaddles and her paddle partner are awesome navigators of the area, and post beautiful photos and detailed trip reports of their paddles in Maine, and have posted an excellent article on route planning at: PenobscotPaddles - Magnetic North Lines - The Path to Happiness

To be honest, trying to learn navigation at this level makes my head and compass spin!

I'm still trying to get past basic navigation with a kayak compass on the kayak deck and a map. This just isn't enough when the landscape, the water, and lots of islands make figuring things out way more complicated. Then there's the possibility of fog. A GPS is in order soon. Even though they aren't always reliable.

Navigation is important
I just got back from a short kayak-camping trip with my well-packed Boreal Baffin to visit potential spots for a Paddle to Yoga project I'm working on in the 1000 Islands region off Gananoque, Ontario, Canada.

Cruise ships are as big as some islands - but they move! You have to learn to look out for them from a distance.
I quickly learned how easy it is to get mixed up (and a little stressed) when you are a novice to navigating in more complicated areas with bigger water and lots of islands, even with maps, a compass, numbered buoys in boat channels, and a mainland you can find fairly easily.

Lucky for me, experienced navigators were also along on the trip, otherwise I would not have headed out there without a guide. It was a good and safe trip that saw nothing but perfect weather and moderate winds.

When you get churned around and a little confused in spots, you may find your way eventually, but you will need time, energy, and good weather on your side. These things can run out.

I prefer knowing where I am and where I'm going . . . all or most of the time! And to have the energy and equipment to get me there!

In the 1000 Islands, there are cottages on many islands, and often motor boaters docking or sail boats mooring along some islands who know the area well and can help with directions or at least that can tell you where you are - but don't count on it.

The boats out on the water are moving at speed, the cottages may be empty, and you are on your own to find your way. Bring your cell phone. The cell phone connection out there is pretty good!

Stonington, Maine, U.S.A.

Now, it's off to another week of camping and paddling in Stonington, Maine, this time with my Maelstrom Vital 166, and more of my custom made trail mix for lunch: roasted soy nuts, sunflower and pumpkin seeds, raisins, dried papaya, apricots, and apples.

You have to love this stuff. It is the most convenient, compact, and healthy source of energy on the water.

Last minute preps that I didn't think about earlier mean sunscreening the kayaks with 303 Aerospace Protectant out in the grass in the front yard just before you put them up on the car after the sun has gone down and the mosquitoes are out in force.

Bad planning! And a bunch of mosquito bites I didn't plan for. But, hey, sometimes that's the way it goes!
As night falls, the decklines on the white Malestrom Vital 166 and red Maelstrom Vaag 174 begin to glow.
I'll also be hauling a yoga mat on this trip and strapping it onto the white Maelstrom Vital 166 as I continue looking for more awesome Paddle to Yoga spots! I love it. Paddling to yoga rocks!

Happy paddling!
The BaffinPaddler