Saturday dawned gorgeous. I was up with the sun, exploring and photographing before I'd even brushed my teeth. The island had only occasional signs of people, most notably a shirt lying on the north beach. I picked up the shirt and could smell cologne; it hadn't been there long so I put it down. Later in the day, I saw a motorboat stop at the beach for a few minutes, then leave; picking up a shirt?
I was sore from the day before: back, shoulders, arms, hands. The hands were the worst, tense and achey with some popped blisters.
I walked once around the island, shot a roll of film, came back and ate, broke camp and packed up.
Beach roses appeal to the romantic in me. They are not the classic rose and that's part of their appeal. Tattered and chaotic with their huge rose hips, they are far from traditional beauty. But their smell is heavenly and seems most intense in the fall. This may be because there's so little time left to enjoy them. On Island 41, these roses were amazing.
Back in the boat, there was new pain. The first day's exertion was coming back to haunt me and would do so all day long.
To the average spectator, paddling looks like it's done with the arms. Nothing could be further from the truth. Done correctly, the arms just connect the real paddling engine to the paddle. That engine is the entire body, from the shoulders down to the toes. Most of the boat's forward movement comes from the rotation of the paddlerÕs upper body. The arms do relatively little of the work.
So, my entire body hurt. I did some stretching that morning to loosen things up but there was a part of me that just didnÕt want to get in the boat that morning. But another part of me wouldnÕt have been happy sitting around Island 41 all day.
I ventured out, first taking a leisurely jaunt around Island 40, another MITA Island to the north of 41. Then I lit out for Stonington, a couple miles east over open water. The waves were one to two feet from the south and there were few boats out. The sun was shining and there were a few high clouds.
It was an uneventful crossing but seemed to take forever. My muscles gradually loosened up and I had to remind myself to take it easy and pace myself.
I stopped for lunch on Island 46, a tiny state-owned rock just off the southwest end of Deer Isle. It was low tide and the place smelled of human feces. This is fairly common, especially on the state islands, where anyone is allowed. People who donÕt know any better go there for a picnic, nature calls, they dig a hole in the shallow topsoil (or sometimes donÕt bother) and leave their poop in the wilderness. All would be fine if: the topsoil was thick and expansive, few people did it, they buried it properly. But none of this is the case. Maine islands have almost no topsoil and itÕs very fragile.
But Island 46 is beautiful: classic Maine granite and a small but gorgeous stand of evergreens.
I continued on to Stonington and pulled my boat out at the public dock. I bought two gallons of water and a Hershey bar at the store, called my friends to say I'm OK, and got back in the boat.
Passed a schooner on the south side of Island 53, then on to Island 55. This is another state island but seemed to be more pristine than Island 46. Maybe people respect islands based on the level of beauty they see there. ThereÕs lots on Island 55.
Wind and waves were rising now. As I paddled north to Island 57, I was being rocked by two-foot waves and a steady breeze coming straight at me. As I got close to the southwest corner, I could see my favorite campsite: occupied! I paddled around to the northwest corner and pulled out.
My campsite was just off the shoreline rocks, behind the trees. I set up camp and made dinner. The wind shifted to the south and picked up. This made me feel better about losing the good campsite; it's totally exposed to a south wind and my site is totally protected.
Sunset was again clear and brilliant.
This web site is by Jim Dugan.