I'm visiting Maine soon with friends and we'd like to play in Sullivan Falls. I've been watching videos online and it looks like a hard place to get into trouble.
We're all experienced paddlers, 3/4 have tested combat rolls, we'll be dressed for the water and have rescue skills and gear. A long swim to an eddy with friends to fetch the kayak sounds like the worst case scenario. (We also have good repair kits and experience). What am I missing?
Would love to hear thoughts/advice from anyone who has been there.
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Can be a VERY long swim|
Posted by: Celia on Aug-25-13 11:17 AM (EST)
Posted by: NateHanson on Aug-25-13 12:04 PM (EST)
When things go wrong at sullivan, it's because rescues are not done very quickly. If it takes a few minutes to execute a rescue you will likely get swept beyond the closest eddy. In some cases that means the only way to get reunite with the group is to carry boats across private property through woods for a hundred yards or so to get back to the upstream eddy. Current is too fast to attain from one eddy to another around a few of the downstream points. This is particularly true on the flood. It's necessary that everyone avoids carrying over private land, so we don't see repercussions against paddlers using the tidal falls park as an access point.
Posted by: NateHanson on Aug-25-13 12:09 PM (EST)
I forgot to add, I don't think planning to swim your way into an eddy is a plan that will get you very far at sullivan. Even trying to paddle a swimmer back into the eddy has rarely worked when I've seen it tried. In my experience, you need combined rescue and towing techniques that happen quickly and smoothly.
Posted by: lyngo on Aug-25-13 10:51 PM (EST)
Just what I was looking for thanks, and I also very much appreciate your email Nate, I'll reply more thoroughly to that tomorrow when I check in with the others.
Posted by: wetzool on Aug-26-13 9:41 PM (EST)
I can attest to that. Be careful above 13. Big nasty holes.
Posted by: wetzool on Aug-26-13 9:48 PM (EST)
You also need to keep an eye out for lobster boats. They get up quite a head of steam and can sometimes run up, but mostly down the falls.
forgot to add|
Posted by: NateHanson on Aug-27-13 7:13 PM (EST)
My last answer focused on the hazards at Sullivan, and I thought I'd add that it is indeed a really fun and fairly unique spot to play if you know what you're getting into, or go with someone who does.
Posted by: suiram on Aug-27-13 7:47 PM (EST)
Would love to see more info, especially where the put in is.
Posted by: NateHanson on Aug-27-13 7:56 PM (EST)
Posted by: suiram on Aug-27-13 8:04 PM (EST)
How does it look on ebb? I suspect some ginormous eddies :) And, swimming is advised against ...
Posted by: NateHanson on Aug-28-13 6:24 AM (EST)
During the ebb those ripples in the middle of the picture become exposed as a few ledges (except at higher ranges when they remain submerged, creating holes). There is a big eddy alongside the put-in, and another one on the opposite shore. The flow diverges on either side of the ledges in the middle, and creates wave trains on either side. What those look like varies enormously with tidal range.
Thanks for the info! |
Posted by: johnysmoke on Aug-28-13 8:12 AM (EST)
Been thinking of doing a tidal tour with some buddies. If you're ever down in Massachusetts I can give you info on one or two near me.
Posted by: natehanson on Aug-28-13 9:08 AM (EST)
Thanks. Sounds good.
Posted by: NateHanson on Oct-01-13 6:00 PM (EST)
Posted by: lyngo on Oct-01-13 6:47 PM (EST)
Thanks Nate, it was great to meet you!
Posted by: TommyC1 on Oct-03-13 5:51 AM (EST)
Thanks for posting it.