Category Archives: Jewell Island, Maine
All posts that are from, on, and about Jewell Island in Casco Bay, Maine
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
I imagine that most of you have had enough of Jewell Island. Me too. I’ve been on this island far much longer than planned. I’ve walked all the trails and explored most of the shoreline, including the conglomerate places at low tide. Now that I’m home researching the island, I must go back. There are questions that need answers and the off-trail places to explore.
– Back to the journey.
I let go of the rock steps one more time, eyes gazing out over the quiet water. The vision before me changes with each blink of the eye. The reality is that everything I see alters its variables at speeds far beyond true comprehension. The pathway from eye to brain to understanding utterly fails to keep pace with nature.
Colors are mirages blending, melting from one to another; magnified, dimished, refracted, bending. Sun-dogs and rainbows, the aurora borealis, and stratified skies, create large spaces within the depths of self. These are special memories, larger than life creating magical spaces that eclipse even the most difficult circumstances.
Land forms, be it island or rock, a stick in the mud, or the top of a mountain outcrop, fathomless in their own way. Constantly shifting from minsicule displacement to large catastrophick events.
The rest of the constituents above and below, the ocean conveys the most powerful forces that delight and destroy.
I was going to wait for a more appropriate time to share another quote from “The Pine Tree State.” However, I believe it fits within this post rather well, even though the place being referred is Old Orchard Beach, Maine.
“One of Taine’s charming bits of description fits admirably into the scene before us: “The coast stretches into the vapor its long strip of polished sand; the gilded beach undulates softly and opens its hollows to the ripples of the sea. Each ripple comes up foamy at first, then inensibly smooths itself, leaves behind it the flocks of its white fleece, and goes to sleep upon the shore it has kissed. Meanwhile another approaches, and beyond that again a new one, then a whole troop, striping the blue water with embroidery of silver. They whisper low, and you scarecely hear them under the otucry of the distant billows; nowhere is the beach so sweet, so smiling; the land softens its embrace the better to receive and caress those darling creatures, which are, as it were, the little children of the sea.”
This is the picture that the summer visitor knows, all greace and feeling. there is another, known only to those who have stood here when some autumnal gale was storming along the coast as if it would crush it to atoms, when destruction rides upon the tempest, and all the world of waters seems at war with itself. Silence falls on every tongue at sigh ot the great ocean running riot without a guiding hand; for any disturbance in nature’s orderly movements brings home to us, as nothing else can, what shadows we are and what shadow we pursue, —
… and we fools of nature,
So horridly to shake our disposition
With thoughts beyond the reaches of our souls.”
John Taine Click for more ino on this author
I’ve had a busy day today after a long trip to Boston and back yesterday. Lots to do and tired as well from the trip. I did a little reading about Casco Bay while icing a knee injury. I found myself laughing out loud.
The book is now listed on my Recommended Books Page, “The Pine-tree Coast” by Samuel Adams Drake. Published in 1891. It’s a book about the coast of Maine as observed from the sea. The following is a story told from an event on a large vessel in Casco Bay.
The open sea! Ah, that is something to which a first introduction may prove no such agreeable experience, after all! It was even so today, judging by the sudden disappearance of the greater part of the passengers from the decks, the wholly unconventional attitudes of the few who dismally hugged the benches in sight, as well as other and even more unmistakable signs of physical prostration that the boat now presented. As I was making a zig-zag course along the lower deck, from one object of support to another, a sudden lurch threw me into the arms of the mate, who was coming from the opposite direction. “Most alluz find an old sea runnin’ found the “Cape,” he said, then adding, “Most alluz makes more or less folks on well, the motion doos. We had two gents aboard of us last trip. One of ‘em was a lawyer. My grief, wasn’t he done up, though! T’other wasn’t a bit. There he sot, smoking as calm as a kitten. He was a high-up judge goin’ down to hold court. “Can I do anything for you” says he. “Yes, gasped the seasick one; ‘I wish your honor would overrule this motion.’ ”
You may not find this funny but I paddled the area where this occurred and it is a bit wild on its own. Add some wind and weather, there be some trouble.
Enjoy your evening and I’ll be back to Twenty Twenty Days At Sea and other Posts tomorrow.
Be willing to let go. Stay in the moment. Live in peace.
I spent a good deal of time exploring the stone steps and so did many of my readers. For this reason, I am re-posting the photo before continuing my journey. It will all fit together.
[Those of you who have not read yesterday’s post will find it helpful with this post. Click to read.]
The colorful stones are part of what is referred to as The Casco Bay Group. Specifically, The Jewell Formation with the description as being Rusty and non-rusty weathering mica-rich schist and phyllite of the Ordovician period some 445-475 million years ago. Source: https://www1.maine.gov/dacf/mgs/pubs/online/bedrock/85-87.pdf
The Ordovician period was a busy time for geological events. I’ll still to the “rocks” here. The source article states the following, “Partial closing of Iapetus Ocean brings about collision of island arc of western New Hampshire with North America resulting in the Taconic Orogeny. Collision of Casco Bay island arc with AvaIonia results in deformation of rocks of Casco Bay Group. Deposition of formations of the Casco Bay Group; volcanism associated with ocean 485 lithosphere builds island arc.”
What I’m most interested in is the phyllite as it is the chief component of the rock steps and of the southwestern portion of Jewell Island. “Phyllite is between slate and schist in the spectrum of metamorphic rocks. Phyllite has flat or crinkled cleavage faces and shiny colors, and schist has intricately wavy cleavage and glittering colors.” Phyllite generally is in the pelitic series—rocks that are derived from clay sediments—but sometimes other rock types can take on the characteristics of phyllite too. That is, phyllite is a textural rock type, not a compositional one. The sheen of phyllite is from microscopic grains of mica, graphite, chlorite and similar minerals that form under moderate pressure.” Source: http://geology.about.com/od/more_metrocks/ig/phyllite.-CN2/
… I turn toward the sea and find it as magnetic to my senses as it has been since we first met. I am greeted with kaleidoscopic variables every time I visit, with each glance or blink of the eye. This space, where my feet are planted is as ever changing and enchanting as the previous moment. However, I feel compelled to let it be for now and take advantage of the low tide. I wish to investigate the features of the southwest end of Jewell Island.
My feet sink into finely ground stones with each step, adding a personal contribution toward geological history. The high bank has a distinct rusty colored belt. This feature adds pyritiferous shale to the phyllite picture. Pyrite is all sparkles and fun to look at. But when these crystals are exposed to the elements, they disintegrate.
“Metamorphism can cause the pyrites to grow as quite large crystals which are hard and shiny when the slate is freshly split. But beware! Pyrites are notoriously unstable when exposed to air and rain and will soon rot away to a rusty stain, leaving a hole. Some pyritic slates will rot away completely.
This “rotting away” is clearly demonstrated at the bank by the stone steps.
There is significant erosion due to the oxidation of pyrite as well as the sedimentary nature of phyllite.
The rain that dissipated to a mist no longer exists. I’m up and out to see the new world. Glad to be outside of my boring tent. That’s right boring. Don’t get me wrong. I love my tent. We’ve been together a very long time. I would never betray it!
My tent is roomy but always arranged in the same way. Every piece of gear and stuff has its place. That’s my grove. My organization. It makes for easy living and efficiency in packing and unpacking.
However, the decor is no different. It never changes. My tent is always the same size, shape and color, both inside and out. The light of the sun and moon are the only variables that create some variation . However, the degree their influence is minute.
I stretch and then walk down beautiful steps made of island rock and stone. I want to stand on the naked shore, open and exposed, as the tidal forces have pushed the sea elsewhere. And like so many times in other journeys, I must grasp this moment. I want to see it all as if in a bubble, memorizing every detail so as not to forget. I smell the air and look out over the sea. I feel the air, moist against my skin. And then, I stop. Still as a statue. What was that behind me? I turn and face the steps.
Someone had a vision, an idea for preserving this place.
Others understood and gathered round.
I see furrowed foreheads weighted with concern,
For the concert between an island and the sea.
Someone drew up a plan.
After a short time,
The many agree to the final draft
Of what was only a thought.
The work begins.
A group of volunteers,
Bearing no thought for pay or compensation.
All that matters is to repair the damage,
And preserve the future.
Stone and rock are chosen,
Sifted and Sorted.
Preparing the way.
From one to the next,
The stones are set in place.
I imagine grit and laughter.
Problems to solve and problems solved.
I certainly know this.
For now I stand,
On just one step.
Firm beneath my feet,
Enjoying the feel of this new world.
I’ve just spent three hours researching one of my more interesting discoveries at Jewell Island. Boy, was there a lot of material and science far beyond my intellect. I can speculate and draw conclusions from what I’ve learned so far. However, the good news is that I found someone who if he so chooses will be able to solve the mystery. We will have to wait until I hear back from him which I hope is soon. I’m extremely curious about this one.
Until then, enjoy your night and I’ll greet you tomorrow with another story from Twenty One Days at Sea.
I can feel that the bout with dehydration is over. Strength and clear thinking seems to be restored this morning. However, my nice feelings spun into fear within minutes of seeing my neighbors heading out on the water to make the trip back to Cow Island, where Rippleffect is located. For those of you just joining me, I’ve been enjoying the company of ten kayaks worth of kids and three kayaks of adults. Two of the adults are parents, one with a young child paddling a tandem kayak. Last but now worrisome, Scott and Emily.
My heart is pounding as I watch the scene unfold before me. Thirteen kayaks heading out on seas they have no business being out on. VHF radio weather report as of ten thirty am broadcasted the following, “Rain in the morning into the mid-afternoon with possible thunder showers. Small craft advisory from Port Clyde to Cape Elizabeth. Winds 17 knots with gusts to 21 knots, Seas 5-7 feet every 7 seconds.” It is eleven twenty. What in the world are they doing?
[17 to 21 knots is = to 19 to 24 mph. A knot is speed according to the nautical mile, 6,076 feet.]
I move to the shore to keep watch, VHF radio in hand ready to call out a Mayday, “In need of Immediate Assistance” to the Coast Guard. So far they were in relatively “calm” water, being that they were still in what I would call a Cliff Island Buffer Zone. I watch the group spread out as they struggle against the wind and the tide of which the top of High Tide is an hour away. The sky is awash in a pale gray while a low stratus front approaches from the west. The sea is a dirty darkish tan topped with thin strands of white, making it difficult for me to spot several of the kayaks, especially the two stragglers whose crafts are a dark blue.
The entire group becomes one long serpentine line. I lose sight of each one in the low troughs between the short-lived swells but not at once. I count them from front to back and then the last third two or three times over before going back to the front of the group. The only reason I haven’t called the Coast Guard yet is that there are two sizable lobster boats nearby. One is in the harbor with men on board and the other is out where the group is going, beyond all buffer zones. It is truly at sea and all but the top of its cabin disappears between the swells and constantly breaking waves out there. However, I will make the call if they approach Green Can 24 which is the point of no return from Cliff Island’s Buffer zone. They were heading right for it. Thankfully, the group turned around with time to spare.
I still remain on watch, counting kayaks over and over until they are in truly safe waters. My heart still pounds as I make a dash for their camp and the landing zone within Cocktail Cove. One by one each kayak rolls in with its paddler on board. None of them have spray skirts. The kids are in shorts and t-shirts, soaking wet and laughing, while hauling their crafts up on the island. They had a blast! The leaders file in last. Scott is in full dry gear and wearing a skirt. He also has a VHF radio in his life jacket pocket. What?
I have no intention of embarrassing Scott so I wait until the kids are out of earshot. The question of why he took the group out is posed quietly and with respect. His answer, “to see what it was like.” I gently point my VHF radio at the one tucked in his vest saying, “That’s what this is for.” I leave things with that and walk back to my camp. Now that I’m relaxed, I need to pee!
That bit of relief done, I crawl inside my tent, grab my journal and begin writing out a list. The finished product reads the weather and conditions of the sea as reported by the VHF prior to the group’s departure. Followed by visual aids that also could have made for an easy understanding of “seeing what it is like” without leaving the island.
Buoys lying flat on the water – direction and strength of tidal current.
Wall of stratus clouds heavy with moisture approaching from west and already over the water.
The Lobster boat bobbing up and down like a small toy, falling nearly out of sight in the troughs between swells far larger than what is between Jewell and Cliff Islands. (It’s always at least five times worse than views from within protected islands.)
Last is the weather report via VHF, written in detail.
The kids noisily walk by still happy and laughing with Emily in tow. This my cue. I walk over to their camp where I find the couple drinking coffee and Scott standing on his high shoreline ground looking out over the water. Scott, do you mind if I offer some advice? YES, please do. He says this in an eager tone, ready and willing to learn from his mistakes. I had torn the list from my journal and handed it to him. We went over it slowly item by item. I ask Scott if he realizes the danger he put himself and the kids in. A sober yes is his answer. And then, he fires away with more questions and I become more and more impressed with this young man. His ego is not bruised. He is not embarrassed. He understands and wants to learn all he can. Remarkable. Ten minutes later the stratus clouds arrive unloading a drenching downpour. My cue to run ‘home’.
The green dots on Jewel Island represent our camps. Mine is inland by the wharf and their’s is near the cove. The red line represents route outbound. The blue line is route back. The green circle near the turning point of the routes is around Green Can 24. The two Black “X” are the location of the Lobster Boats.
“It takes just one wave to capsize a boat, and one more to take it down.”
― Federico Chini, The Sea Of Forgotten Memories
The sea cares not for mankind,
nor the “unsinkable” ships we build.
I was glad to relax into a comfortable sleep after dining within my humble home with the ambiance of light rain and the usual boring cuisine. (Grape Nuts Cereal, Powdered Milk, Strawberry Protein Powder, and Peanut Butter). My alarm went off at 9 pm for the usual keep me sane medications. At least, I hope they do each time I take them. They have done the job quite well for a couple of years and that in itself is a great blessing.
I have Bi-Polar disorder and have a mild form of autism called, Aspergers along with a few other autistic features. The medications are for the Bi-Polar but it isn’t a cure-all. I do have to adapt and live with it just like anyone else with a disorder or a disease. Medications help and the rest is learn and adapt or suffer. The autism, I do the best I can which is pretty good most of the time. The other times may cause those who are not acquainted with the odd behaviors flee the scene (LOL), accept the situation, or look elsewhere as if the space I occupy doesn’t exist. I find the reactions of others both interesting and entertaining, depending on the who, where, and extent of reaction or lack thereof. My personal quote to my therapist is, “Cats are weird and people are worse than cats.” A funny observation from someone who has a BA in Sociology.
The most important aspect of dealing with the medication part is to take them as directed, amount and times. I don’t get people with mental illness who stop taking their meds. because the “feel better.” Duh, if taking meds = feeling better than it’s a good idea to continue the use of the formula. Like I said, “People are worse than cats.”
I brought a digital recorder with me and have a good collection of sounds from this trip. Play this one while reading the rest of this post. [Photo attribute found here]
It is nice to be tired enough to be able to fall asleep early enough to set an alarm to for the med. ritual and then sink back into a state of peaceful sleep. The light rain drops a bit heavier at times which rouses me. I drink more water as dehydration is still in effect before indulging myself into some absolute pleasure. I remove the clothing that I’m wearing and exit the tent naked with my sliver of soap and some shampoo to take a shower. The freshwater saturates my hair as it runs down my body. I stand still for a lengthy time before applying cleansing agents. The removing of sweat and crusty sea salt is pure joy after five days without the privilege of freshwater clean up. My personal supply of fresh water is for drinking. Every drop is accounted for and calculated according to need in all circumstances. But rainwater, is a free – for – all grab as much as I want and be selfish about it! Oh yeah, baby, bring it on!
Once I feel clean enough, I kneel down just outside the tent door and grab the bag with all other garments and empty the contents. It takes several trips but the task of laying my clothing on benches and grass for a thorough drenching as well. I’ll let them sit as they are through the night and turn them from time to time during the morning drizzle. For now, it’s back into the tent to dry off and take advantage of more water and the bliss of sleeping through the rest of the night.
See ya in the morning!
Here I am inside my tent after a really long day and a short nap was all I needed. I thought I’d sleep more but it isn’t forthcoming. I look at my watch and see that the end of this very long day has many more hours. It’s only three ten pm. Makes sense. My day began in the wee hours of the morning.
The kids are having a great time. I can hear them laughing and carrying on. I don’t mind. It’s great to know that children are having fun. A group of them passes by occasionally while I write in my journal. (Lots to catch up on.) One of the leaders attempts to hush the kids as the pass by. I poke my head out, “Make all the racket you want. I love it.” And so it was. The comings and goings of kids off to explore the island and return for food and fun.
I spend time reviewing charts while writing. It’s fun to see where I’ve been and routes taken to reach destinations. I mark places on them where something of interest caught my eye and then make note of it in my journal. I return to my first camp here on Jewell Island and find a few scribbles. “Deer tracks in the Punchbowl at low tide – two sets, both female.” “Two Osprey.” Oh, yes. I saw one when entering the forest on my way to the towers. The other at the southern tip of the island. “Loons, many between Cliff and Jewell during my return trip.” “Two species of Gulls.” And of Course, the “Great Blue Heron” fishing in the Punchbowl.
There are no photos as I didn’t have the appropriate equipment. I do think it is important for you to see what my friends look like. That’s right, friends. I love them all and they each have there own unique characteristics. More importantly, they live, love, get mad, play games, eat and generally everything that we do, except for destroying their environment and ours. I’ll begin with the Osprey.
I’ve had the privilege of living in places where they abound and it’s nice to say that because like many birds, DDT nearly wiped them out. They seem to be making a pretty good come back which is good news in my book. I have two great stories of encounters with the Osprey. The first is during my first years living in Wisconsin. I discovered and fell in love with Door Country. A lot of other people enjoy the area as well and the campgrounds are full during peak vacation season. I decided to take my roommate up for a few days bringing my canoe as always (Wenonah Jensen 17′).
We established camp and slept well as usual. The next morning showed promise of a happy wonderful day. I decided we should paddle in a place away from the popular places. So the canoe was secured atop the truck, my friend was secure as well but inside the truck. I immediately headed for a road that led to the opposite side of the peninsula which is what Door County is. I found a nice wide bay to paddle into up toward the northeastern tip and drove to a spot adequate to put in. Quick work was made of that and we were off. My friend was a bit nervous as she had never been out on a large lake before. She did fine and we easily made it over moderate waves into the bay.
The first thing we noticed was an Osprey perched high on the dead branches at the top of a very tall tree. We paddled on and all the way in until the muskrat trail became too narrow for the canoe. Wow, we were in for a treat on our way back out. We barely made it to the area where the Osprey was when a large bird bombed his way down to the water and snatched a fish about twenty feet in front of us. My friend had a front row seat! The fish in the talons of this mighty hunter flashed silver-like in the sun while the Osprey flew higher on up, back to the branch. We sat still watching him eat his meal. Now, that was a fine day.
My second story occurred within Quetico Provincial Park in western Ontario Canada, just north of Minnesota’s Boundary Water Canoe Area. It is all the same watershed. I did personal guided trips up there for friends over several years. There were for four of us on this trip (I never take more than that.). We were laying over at Twin Lakes for a rest day and shelter from the rain which subsided by mid-afternoon. Steve went out in his canoe to fish and Velvet joined me in my canoe to explore the marshy areas. Deb stayed in the tent napping. At some point, Steve called out while pointing to the top of a tall Pine tree right above the tent where Deb was resting. Oh, My! We watched “Wild Kingdom” in action.
The next belonged to a Bald Eagle who had caught a fish. The guy hadn’t been there more than a few seconds when an Osprey dove on top of him. The two fought hard and without rules. The Osprey easily won the battle and the Bald Eagle flew off while the Osprey enjoyed a meal in the Eagles “living room.” Suffice it to say that the Osprey is a fierce bird, especially when it comes to fish. The only food they eat and they like it fresh. Hence, the Osprey is often referred to as The Fish Hawk.