Monhegan: Day 1
This was a trip I had tried to do last year, but based on input from family, this would have been one trip too many. The trip was posted in several places to see if anyone wanted to go along, but with no takers it became a solo trip and birthday present for my wife. The overall plan would be for her to take the ferry out to the island, while I would paddle out, around, and back over a 2 night, 3 day period.
On this day, I had planned to launch at 0900 to grab the last hour of the ebb but delays led to a 1000 launch. The winds were predicted to increase from the SW 5-10kts at launch to SW 15-20kts, which would have been manageable but also a nusiance. My plan was to follow a 210M course, pass to the left of Burnt island and then make the crossing to Monhegan, arriving roughly an hour after the ferry carrying my wife.
The launch at low tide from Port Clyde is a bit of a walk. I launched at 1007 into mild wind and fairly calm seas even though they were predicted to be 2-3 feet. It would be about 5nm to Burnt and then another 5nm to Monhegan. I passed. , the Brothers, and then Burnt. I opted not to stop after an hour of paddling and made for Monhegan. The biggest challenge to the crossing was the boredom, spending an hour staring at the same island, which did not appear to be getting closer as time passed. I spent the time measuring distance by time and by the few landmarks/buoys that were present along the way.
With the winds and swell against me due to the late start, coupled with a sense of urgency to get to the island to meet my wife, meant the trip felt like an eternity even though I arrived at the island in the predicted 2.5 hours. I was met by my wife, who after conferring with the owner of Monhegan House where we stayed, directed me to Fisherman's Beach where I would be able to leave my kayak for the duration of my stay. It was a an uneventful crossing along the course I had laid out. The conditions were less than expected but would soon change overnight, a post left for day 2 of the trip.
After arriving at the island, a remarkable place with very friendly local and toursits, we spent the time getting settled. The long hikes would wait for later in the week, so on this day we made our way to Lobster Cove to see the wreck of the D.T. Sheridan, a tug boat that got lost in the fog while pulling two barges in 1948 and washed ashore. The Coast Guard rescued all nine souls. Althought I have been told that the wreck has lost mass over the years, it is still something to behold. The rusting hulk lays dormant on the shore like a whale carcass, with severael recognizable parts strewn about. You can touch it, climb on it, go inside or just take in its presence and fully appreciate the power of the sea. Locals have told me that the hulk moves around in the winter as winter storms push it from one place to another. I can think of no other wreck that you can get so close to on land. Truly amazing.