Category Archives: Maine Coast
Places I’ve traveled and Historical facts
I’m studying Casco Bay’s geological history. Willard Beach is my latest exploration.
Willard beach, South Portland reveals two types of bedrock and the forces that created them. I sit, observe and listen. The spine like protrusions and scattered eroded pieces reveal much without a single sound or the slightest of movement.
Enjoy the slideshow created from photos I snapped at Willard Beach toward Fort Preble. Clear your mind and connect with what you see. The images are more than just a bunch of rock. There are stories within stories throughout all time. I’m glad to be a part of the history of this space.
I spent a weekend in Portland, Maine while being AWOL. I’m not much on cities but if I had to live in one then Portland, Maine would be the place. I’ll say no more, just share some photos. Have a great weekend all and Happy Mother’s day too.
My last day on Bangs Island ends with watching the last ember of light fall below the horizon. Mid-level stratus clouds form the canopy above me as I sit awhile longer on the old dry log at the top of the “beach.” I use the quotation marks because at high tide there isn’t much more than a couple of feet above water below the log. Crushed stone is the prime ingredient worn down by the wind, sea, and weather. Years upon years of change. I wonder which ones have been here the longest and in what form. Our world is utterly amazing. I find it hard to imagine how the diversity of the world we live on now was a single mass surrounded by the sea so many years ago. Compare the timeline with outs and we are just infants in the span of the universe.
I elect to settle down inside the tent for the utterly boring dinner. Darkness has descended. The air is warm and the night filled with the song and chatting of night critters. Click on orange arrow in picture to listen. I believe the bird call is that of an Eider Duck. There were quite a few in the area today. Photo cover for the audio is of a flotilla of females from earlier today.
The Maine Island Association (MITA) guidebook asks boaters to report areas where Eider nesting occurs. The Eider’s are not on an endagnered species list. However, nesting areas are greatly diminished due to lack of suitable habitat, meaning safe from human impact.
My photo of a pair of female Eiders isn’t very good. So here is one I downloaded.
It certainly is a critter night. The day was so nice that I left the tent doors open rather than leaving them closed with the screens unzipped. Oh boy, big mistake! I fell asleep before mediation time. Nothing new with that as I’m usually tired, even on days that I don’t paddle. My alarm went off at 9 pm. I donned my headlamp and turned it on. The sound of “jumpy things” reverberated through the tent, sounding like rain. I looked at the floor and these tiny little critters covered it popping up against the sides of the tent where they meet the floor a few inches above on the sides. There were hundreds underneath the tent jumping too. The warm day must have heated up the ground beneath the tent to wake up these tiny jumpy things, many of which decided the inside of the tent was even better. I took my meds and quickly turned off the light. Now, what? This things are inside and outside of the tent. I doubt that sleeping out on the grass will help the situation. Invitation, “Come and get me!” I settled for stating several times, “Stay out of my sleeping bag!” and then added a humble, “Please.” I zipped myself inside as if I were on a winter trek, sealing myself inside as tightly as possible. I awoke a few times in the night happy that the jumpy things obliged my request.
Morning brought an additional inspection of the state of living critters in my tent. I cleared everything out to find hundreds of the jumpy things still alive. I shook out as many as possible but a bit of a slaughter did have to take place to completely rid my “house” of the pesky things.
A little research here at home helped me locate who the tent invasion of jumpy things were. They are Terrestrial Amphipods or Sand Fleas and sometimes referred to as Lawn Shrimp as they turn orange after death. (Crustacea: Amphipoda: Talitridae) Click here for detailed inforamation.
Click on Orange Arrow as you did in the first audio clip. Note that the photo should be credited to to : Sarah Gregg | Italy / Foter / CC BY-NC-SA
My camp resides in a postage stamp sized grassy environment. These grasses cover much of the island with a density that makes exploring without adequate protective clothing impossible. The tree population is 90% deciduous scattered about in small stands. There are no trails here. I’m glad as there are few islands in the bay devoid of human intrusion.
Reminder: Click on Any photo for full-screen.
There is a Brown ail Moth Caterpillar near the tent. The are limited to the coast of Maine and Cape Cod at this time but once covered much of New England. This moth is oh so not nice as its larva eats voraciously, defoliating trees and shrubs and the caterpillar has poisonous microscopic hairs. Contact with these hairs cause a poison ivy type rash that may last from a few days to several weeks. It can become a full-blown dangerous allergic reaction in some people. Their nexts are built at the ends of branches rather than in the croch like gypsy moth. Click for source and more information.
The sky is changing from mostly clear to cloudy. These clouds are Altocumulus perlucidus which are a mid-level cloud forming at heights from 1.2 to 4.5 miles above sea level. Height is determined by the severity of atmospheric disturbance. They are formed by the accumulation of moisture and air that is forced high enough for the clouds to form. The heating of the ocean provide the moisture in this case and the upward movement of air is most likely due to convection. The perlucidus version of altocumulous clouds indicate a change in weather within six to eight hours. VHF does call for deteriorating weather and rain in the evening. Click on any of following for resource and info. Clouds online Names of Clouds WeatherOnline
I head over to my dry clothing and gear, stuff it in a bag once more, carry it back to camp and put each item in its place which is mostly in the cockpit, sealed under my dive flag “cover.” Camera in hand I walk to what’s left of my sandless beach to capture a few more scenes and plants before hiking up over the cliffs toward the south as far as possible to grab a few more photos. This shouldn’t take long as the cliff exposure is a very short distance before hitting trees, shrubs and brush. The tide is rising as well which will cut this portion off if I wait much longer. I’ll take my nap later.
Zoomed in on buoy from cliff. It’s position and movement indicates current and speed.
Enjoy the Slide show.
I capture a few more images before returning to the west side of the island.
Like a child, as all adults should be, I search your face for clues. Who are you? Where did you come from?
How long will you stay?
I lie beside you, resting on one arm. Look at that!
I poke you with my finger, nothing happens.
Hmm, are you sleeping?
I stretch out on your other side as full and long as I can.
My feet want to be at one end and my head at the other, but I don’t make it. You are too big and I am too small.
I crawl on my knees from one end to the other. I gaze across your top, to see the world as you do.
The palm of my hand brushes your back.
I feel the smoothness of your ruff.
The Monarch’s cross the sea
to feed on these.
Goldenrod and Milkweed.
I wish to show you sunrise, a view to the south, the shoring of the berm a top the “itshmus”, and a little snack before I head back to camp.
Yup, I’m still eating Rose Hips. Great stuff. Now, back to camp.
Enought pondering of the workmen on boats. I want to do some exploring while the tide is out. I walk over to where my “isthmus” is located and find that the majority of the west side is mudflat. I try walking amidst the smooth cordgrass (spartina alterniflora) to keep from sinking. The plan fails, Yuck!
I discover familiar scenes at the top of “isthmus” and along its eastern side. The broken and forgotten.
One foot perched on a rock and the other on crushed stone, worn down by wind and weather. Men at work on boats, criss crossing the channel waters between Bangs and Great Chebeague. Some stay in the vicinity while others head out to Broad Sound. This is a community of people who depend on the sea to sustain their way of life.
I read the most recent report about the sustainability of community life in respect to the health of the island, including water resources, impact of bacteria and petrol pollutants upon the aquaduct resource for water and the health of the ocean due to run off, and other causality sources that create change both subtle and drastic. This health report is quite good. Some of the problems identified are a hurdle as the cost of the work is beyond the means of the people.
I’m pleased to see a town follow, make recommendations, and act to improve the future. Our disposible society tends to focus on self-gratification at the expense of future generations. Personally, I see a world that needs to make drastic changes now or expect demise in the near future, while the recent and next few generations suffer disease and death due to what we have already done.
The men who work the sea are smart, sauvy, and inventors. Their knowledge must span the nature of the earth. They must have a deep understanding of geological history and events from the past into the present, of the atmospheric conditions and changes, how they change and why, as well as the heavens above, sun, moon and even the stars.
Men in wet orange rubber, slimy gloves, old boats and new, attending to pots, hooks, nets, cranes, engines and the sea. Weathered hats and faces side by side with the youthful, just getting started. Such men on a campus of higher learning like Harvard, Stanford, and Yale would look out of place, but I think more educated than the suits that fit in.
May the world support these hard working men who give us golden entrees, lobstar, oysters, clams, shrimp, and so much more.
The gods of the sun are more powerful than this altocumulus clutter. Helios the Titan, Apollos of Olympia, and the Roman Sol Invitus will take a half day rest as the weather forecast calls for increasingly cloudy skies with possible rain tonight. For now, I’m enjoying the pleasure and warmth of their company.
Down the hatch with boring breakfast 365. Not really, but it seems like it. Calendar Islands is one of Casco Bay’s nicknames. The title comes from the fact that early history of the Bay reports that Casco Bay was once referred to as Calendar Islands because there were so many of them. The first to advocate this name was Colonel Wolfgang William Römer in the early 1700’s. He said, “There are as many islands as there are days in the year.” The number is actually between 130 to a little over 200 depending on how many barren rocks are included in the count. So, I figure that this grapenuts, dried fruit, protein powder with water saturated milk powder has gone on long enough to count as one for each of these many islands. Yuck!
My next pleasure is a treat to washing my hair and me. Great Chebeuge with its abundance of free fresh water is only a few minutes paddle away. I brought a sliver of Irish Spring brand soap. It’s aroma makes great deodorant and rub on clothing for a more pleasant smelling body when among people in “civilization.” I also grap my tiny bottle of shampoo and a bandana for drying. We all head out the door to where I’ve hung one of the water bladders on the MITA trail post.
Oh, wow. That felt good. Whew. I think I’m now as clean as my clothing. My clothes are in better shape than me as far as cleanliness is concerned. In fact, I should get to them now before the sun gods fall into their early day slumber. I stuff everything into a dry bag and haul it down to the shore. Here they are drench in salt water to rinse off as much dirt and sweat as possible. There really isn’t much for dirt, just the residue of salt water and sweat. I lay everything out on the rocks to dry. The UV from the sun disinfects them and the rocks allow for drying.
Last year’s practice trip taught me as to why the rocks work better than hanging “stuff” on a line. The results of my fist time hanging was clothing more wet than when they were hung. Duh, the sun,wind (even just a breeze) create an atmosphere of water in the air. Quite a bit of it too. Hence, why fisherman dry their nets and other items on rocks heated by the sun enough to actually dry their stuff out. My clothing and gear dry quite well too but they need to be turned over a fiew times to expedite the process.
And then, there are my boots. It doesn’t matter how many times they are rinsed out. They are not UV clean, are always damp, and something is brewing in them. Not sure what, but its kind of scary. They’re new and I didn’t think to do what i did last year. Get a pair that my feet fit in with neoprene socks on them. The socks clean up as well as any other item and create a barrier that keeps the boots a more safe environment for my feet.
I purshased high cut ones to provide maximum support for my injured knee.
Normally, I wouldn’t wear something that tall and stiff. These were a bugger to take off. The fight to remove them is a daily ritual.
Well, here I am. My first morning on Bangs Island. A place I made an attempt to visit during my practice trip last year. The attempt was ruled out rather quickly because a strong current gripped my loaded down 14.2″ recreational kayak as soon as bow turned toward the Island. Safety first folks. The sea was perfectly calm but currents can be as dangerous or even more so than a wild ocean. First rule of self-rescue, “Know when not to go out.” My golden rule for anything.
I sit on a rock looking out over the channel toward Great Chebuege Island, remembering last night’s return trip and chuckle about my creative parking of Abbie B. She looked truly undignified. I wonder what she said about that but maybe it’s best to leave that one alone. Sorry, Abbie B.
Here’s the video clip taken within minutes of leaving Abbie B creatively parked. I added a bit light for better viewing. You will here the wind and see gentle water. Note that I am in a protected cove which means what is beyond has a bit more flavor. The tidal current pulling at a steep angle upwind of water movement was moderately strong. It was still a challenge to walk from the safe landing point over to camp. I was in mid-thigh to waist deep water whose incoming waves were hitting me on one side, waves rebounding off the rocky shore was shoving everything beneath the water outward, my feet stumbled over underwater rocks, while pulling Abbie B behind me. At least trying to keep her behind me. The wind, push and pull of surface water kept pushing her into me. A nudge from her bow hurt enough to motivate keen awareness of Abbie B’s location and making adjustments accordingly.
For my hiking friends, This is like walking broadside to a stiff wind above tree line at the same time a stonger wind at a 90 degree angle is driving the lower half of the body outward, while navigating through a rock garden. Use your imagination by adding the work of pulling a large hardshelled empty pack which is floating on a layer between the opposing forces with an empahsis on the upper broadside wind. Believe me when I say that, you don’t want to get hit by the backpack. Bruises and a bit of being beat up is the least of possible injuries. The few times Abbie B was shoved against me were just love taps from here bow. These hurt enough to keep a sharp eye on her throughout the short crossing to camp. It was a constant chore to keep her behind and off of me.
Back to my morning view, the three rafts lying just off the shore are a mystery to me.
They don’t like like a working floating dock;
such as the one in the harbor between
Little Chebeague and Long Island.
Click on photo for full screen to see the docks better
I’ve learned that these docks are owned and operated by Bangs Island Muscle Co. “BANGS ISLAND MUSSELS are hand-raised using techniques that are meticulous and labor intensive, by design. We nurture and harvest our mussels with the utmost care, relying on our worker’s knowledgeable hands instead of powerful and damaging machines to get the job done right. The extra time and effort that we put into BANGS ISLAND MUSSELS pays off in extended shelf life and premium meat quality.” From the Company’s about page. Click here for more info. It is also worth checking out their Harvenst page for a map of locations and a more detailed description of what they do. Click here. They offer a photo slide show on their home page, Click here.
The following is a gallery showing the docks, my protected home (one from surf landing point showing the length of walk and the now exposed seaweed covered rocks I walked through with Abbie Band there other is from my “private beach.”) A photo of sky from tent floor and one of the interior of the island from my outside of tent door. More on the latter in my next post. * You can view the photos full screen by clicking on any one of them.
This post links back to Finding Camp, Bangs Island.
Route from Jewell Island to Bangs Island in Red. Butterflies at locatons viewed.
Green Dot with arrow – fisherman. Blue dot is campsite.
Red line is route from Camp to beach near Great Chebeague Island Boat Yard
Red Line is back to Camp on Bangs Island. Purple Line is Wind Direction. Black Line is Tidal Current