Destination Little Chebeague Island
Abbie B and me head north stopping by an exposed rock where I look to the east eyeing Fort Gorges. A place I’ve wanted to visit since I first saw it from Fort Williams Park. The first lighthouse of Maine is also located at the park. (Portland Head Light built 1787-1790 as ordered by President George Washington.)
Fort Gorges lies a little over a mile from Portland Harbor. Its construction began in 1857 but was not completed until after the civil war, 1865. The fort is named after Sir Ferdinando Gorges, “The Father of Maine.” Gorges poured some 30 to 40 years of his life, expending all of his resources toward the colonization of Maine. It’s sad to say that Fort Gorges is the only place that acknowledges his devotion to the great state of Maine.
Photo credit: WorldIslandInfo.com / Foter / CC BY Click to view a photo gallery of the Fort. Since access to Fort Gorges crosses Portland Harbor shipping lanes, you may want to make a security call on your vhf radio both ways. Click to find out why.
We continue our northward paddle until crossing a minor shipping lane. I chose this one because it is outside of Portland Harbor and in a lane that is mostly used by small craft. However the small craft often pose more of a danger than the big ones. Pilots of jet skis and “cigarette” boats are self-absorbed and move at high speeds. Bam! What was that? I don’t know. Maybe a piece of garbage or driftwood.
We reach the shallow water that runs along the western side of Great Diamond Island and sit for a while. A lone lobster boat is motoring to the north. A sailboat lazily passes by on its southward track. The island is quiet and I wonder what it sounded like during its early years of settlement.
Yup, a lot of grunting went on as the island was once home for hogs. In fact, it was called Hog Island. The name change was to direct focus to the attractiveness of the island. Folklore says that Great Diamond is based on the sun’s reflection off the minerals of its rocky ledges.
Abbie B and me continuing our own lazy jaunt along Great Diamond’s coast to its north end. Cow island is nearly a stone’s throw from there. We travel between the two Islands to eliminate concern for other craft and meet two men fishing from a bass boat. We exchange hello’s and chat a few minutes before making our way across Hussey Sound. The sea is rolling a bit and a light current meets us making short work of reaching Long Island.
The light is waning as the sun hits the horizon but Abbie B and me maintain our pleasant pace. Long Island is long and it takes awhile to reach the northern end where a narrow channel runs between it and Little Chebeague Island. A lobster boat heads out through it while Abbie B and me watch. The boat’s gentle wake causes us to bob up and down in the water. Water that was blue and is now a grayish-green.
We cross the channel and paddle along the southern tip of Little Chebegue until the rocky shoreline turns to sand. The designated camping areas are on the sheltered east side. However, the tide is still low and I see a rocky protrusion that extends out and along the channel. It’s silly to paddle all the way around it when there is a lovely spot that locals use is right next to me.
We land and I push myself up and out of Abbie B sending her back between my legs. Brr, the water is cold. I’m wearing my dry top from now on! Abbie B slides easily up the sandy bank.
St-r-e-e-t-ch, ah that feels good! Wow, look at that moon. It sits in silence beckoning me to do the same. I do. My eyes trace the sky above and below the small white orb. Peaceful, very peaceful.
Posted on January 5, 2015, in Casco Bay, Forts, History, Kayaking, Maine, Maine Coast, Photos, Solo Journeys, Twenty One Days at Sea and tagged Casco Bay, Forts, Little Chebeague, Maine Coastal Islands, Sea Kayaking. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.