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The Sands - Kayak Trip / Canoe Trip


Book Cover This is an adventurous trip to a wild and lovely spot of land that is only barely exposed at high tide. In fact, this slip of land may be awash during storm surges and spring high tides. The views from its shores are spectacular as you look across Western Bay toward Great Wass or west to Cape Split and the islands outside Tibbetts Narrows. This small island, more sandbar and exposed ledge than anything else, sits just 100 yards or so south of Inner Sands, which is marked on the chart. Neither Inner nor Outer Sands Island is accessible to the public. This entire area is rich in wildlife, so please move quietly and avoid disturbing any nest sites or seal haul-out areas that you might observe. This is particularly true in the late spring and early summer-nesting and seal pupping season. For this reason, we suggest making this trip in the fall. You'll make less impact, and the days are more likely to be clear and the visibility excellent.

It is best to launch from Jonesport and proceed along the northern side of Moosebec Reach to explore the Goose Islands before paddling south towards Shabbit and Duck Ledges. You can continue down the string of islands-which includes Stevens, Little Drisko, and Drisko-for protection along the way and great exploring along these shores. While you do have some protection from southwesterly winds as you pick your way among the islands, this trip should not be undertaken in a strong offshore breeze (north to northwest). The stakes are too high if you must do battle against a strong wind that wants to push you into exposed waters with no bailout points available. Save this trip for calmer conditions and good visibility.

Trip Highlights: A wild and remote paddle. Scrappy islands and the impressive western shore of Great Wass Island.

Trip Duration/Length: This is a full day involving 14 or more miles of paddling to reach the Sands and return to Jonesport. Obviously, you can cut this trip short at any point before reaching the Sands, though there is no public access on any other islands along the way.

Navigational Aids: Chart 13326 Machias Bay to Tibbett Narrows (1:40,000). Moosebec Reach buoys; lighted bell buoy at Fessenden Ledge; day beacons off Pom Island.

Cautions: Offshore winds. Very exposed conditions. Fog. Current and boat traffic in Moosebec Reach.

Launch Site: It is best to use the Jonesport public boat ramp which leaves you with the shortest mileage. As you travel along the main road through town (Route 187, a clearly marked turnoff from Route 1), look for the citgo sign, Homeport Diner, and T.A. King and Sons Trustworthy Hardware. Turn onto Sawyer Square Road and head toward the water, looking for the blue boat ramp sign. You can also launch from the Jonesport Shipyard just north of town (207-497-2701). There is protected parking and a nice boat ramp (usable at all but the lowest low tides) for a fee of $5.00 per kayak and $1.00 per night parking.

Note: Launching from the mainland puts you into Moosebec Reach, where there is a great deal of boat traffic and some current that ebbs to the west and floods to the east. If you have to travel against the tide, paddle along the fringe of the channel and use the eddies. Avoid the middle of the tide. If you're opposing it, you're in for some hard work. The current under the Beals Island bridge is even stronger because of the constriction caused by the bridgeworks; it may create strong eddy lines. Again, avoid this area during the middle of the tide.

Book Cover Excerpted from Guide to Sea Kayaking in Maine : The Best Day Trips and Tours from Casco Bay to Machias by Shelley Johnson with permission from Falcon Publishing.

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