We’d been eagerly awaiting our arrival in Maine as this was our first time in the state and many people had told us that it’s a beautiful place. We stayed in Southport, near Boothbay Harbor, at Gray Homestead Oceanfront Campground.
Our campsite, though not right on the water, had a view of the ocean, as we were up on a slight hill. It was located in an old homestead, which still has some of the original homes on it (and I believe some of the family of the original homesteaders).
The campground had a small beach which we could walk to that was also a boat launch. And at that little beach is where we began our newest collection – sea glass! At least these are small items and don’t take up much room in the RV.
The rain followed us once again, and so we spent a day on a quick driving tour of the area. Boothbay Harbor is a very picturesque town, with lots of great boats and beautiful views. And many of the working boats are lobster boats. This being the beginning of the season, we saw lots of buoys marking lobster traps on the water and lots of traps all around.
On the first clear day, we took the kayaks out, heading out into the wind, which we like, because then it’s an easier paddle on the way back. We paddled out to Burnt Island, a nearby small island with a small lighthouse. We took our time walking around the little island and collecting more sea glass, then planned to continue to Boothbay Harbor for lunch then return.
But the weather changed and the wind speed increased considerably. So we made it to Boothbay Harbor in some pretty big swells. And then the wind shifted, meaning we’d have to paddle back into the wind through the swells. The conditions looked unsafe so we switched to plan B, and left the kayaks in a kayak shop in town.
Tidal Transit, a kayak outfitter that Hector had visited the day before to get a nautical chart became our safe harbor. Travis, the owner, is a great guy and he even let us leave the kayaks at his shop overnight. And Travis recommended another great restaurant, where we had awesome clam chowder and fried clams. One of his employees gave us a ride back to the campground although we were willing to take a taxi. Such nice folks.
The next morning awoke calm and sunny so we drove out to the harbor to pick up our kayaks. Once again everyone at Tidal Transit was extremely helpful, giving us a hand carrying the kayaks back out to the water. I also had the opportunity to observe one employee giving instructions to a person who rented a kayak there, and can say they are extremely knowledgeable and professional. This is what I call great customer service. And they also have nice quality rental kayaks, I would highly recommend this shop.
We paddled around in the pretty harbor for a bit, back to Burnt Island for another quick walk and then back to the campground. And on two different occasions we spotted two different seals popping their little heads out of the water. It’s really fun to see them from the perspective of a kayak.
The next couple of days, we’d planned some errands. I’d been reading that prices are higher in Canada (not to mention the Value Added Tax), so I’d made plans to take our car in for new tires and an oil change and to go shopping in Portland, Maine. An added bonus is that Maine only has a 5% sales tax, so we could save some extra money, especially on the big ticket items, the tires.
So off we went to buy sundries, pet supplies, and to stock up on staples for the kitchen and bath. We also found a fabulous seafood market, and bought some sushi grade tuna and lobster meat at very reasonable prices. A very productive day.
The next day we headed to Freeport, Maine to the L.L.Bean flagship store. This store carries very high quality clothing and outdoor gear. So, to keep up with Angel, we bought new rain jackets 🙂
The next morning we saw our other neighbors, Jim and Phyllis from Florida, who’d arrived a couple of days earlier, getting ready to go paddling. They had two beautiful wooden kayaks with them that they recently built. Hector is always fascinated with wooden boats so he was in awe.
Early that afternoon we took a whale watching tour out of Boothbay Harbor. On the way out, we spotted Jim and Phyllis on their kayaks coming into the harbor. Hector got some nice photos of them, fun!
The day had started out pretty cloudy, but cleared up quite a bit and turned out to be a great day, although pretty cold on the boat. Fortunately, Hector and I were well prepared, with extra layers, our new rain jackets, hats and gloves. On the way out we cruised by several islands and some picturesque lighthouses.
Once we got out into the open ocean, the swells were pretty big and the water was a very dark blue. The marine biologist on board explained that the dark color of the water is due to phytoplankton in this area. We remember our friend phytoplankton from the Everglades, they are the base of the marine food chain. The biologist also mentioned that the ocean depth in this area ranges from 100 to 400 feet.
Unfortunately, we didn’t spot any whales. The captain tried mightily, heading out to various known feeding areas. A small group spotted a Minke whale right before we were to return, but once the whale went underwater, it didn’t return anywhere where we could see it (apparently, a normal behavior for a Minke whale).
Oh well, it was still a pretty boat ride. And, since we didn’t have a “quality” whale sighting, they gave us standby tickets for any of their boat tours at any time in the future. So we’ll have to come back someday.