My family visited Watchic Lake in Standish to do some canoe paddling and found easy conditions with a nice public beach option.

There are a number of boulders and small islands on the lake and my kids were all about getting a closer look at them. That gave us landmarks to shoot for and broke up our paddle into manageable parts, which is great for young passengers, or when your kids are not strong paddlers.

We launched our canoe at Kiwanis Beach. There is a $5 launch fee in addition to a day-use fee ($4 for adults, $1 for 12 and under), but since we planned to swim after our paddle anyway, we didn’t mind paying the day fee for the chance to swim at the sandy beach.

We headed out in a clockwise direction from the launch and stayed close to the shore. Watchic Lake is small, about 440 acres, according to Maine’s Geological Survey, but there are quite a few docks with motorboats and I wanted to get a sense of the boat traffic.

We found that a morning weekday in the summer had light motorboat activity (but quite a few kayakers), so we pointed our canoe to cross the lake so we could check out a large boulder with a waving American flag.

As we approached the boulder, my 12-year-old couldn’t wait to hop out of the canoe so she could climb on it. A couple of kayakers passing by told us the rock was known as “Poop Rock” because it was frequently visited by birds.

But after a quick exploration, my daughter wondered where all the droppings were. We guessed that the waving flag was likely deterring the feathered types from landing on it.

We later found another large boulder in another part of the lake without a flag. That one had visiting birds — and plenty of droppings — so we wondered if that was actually the real Poop Rock.

There are several small islands in Watchic Lake, all with at least one small cottage on them. None looked open to the public, so we opted to simply paddle around each one and listen to the birds in the trees.

The islands hosted a symphony of songbirds, and my 12-year-old lamented that she hadn’t thought to bring along her birding supplies. Although I would guess our beach gear — towels, lunch and an inflatable tube we tied to the back of the canoe — were likely the reasons the birding stuff slipped our mind.

We paddled around the lake for about two hours and encountered only a handful of motorboats. Most were courteous in slowing down when they spotted our canoe, but there was one boat — there always seems to be one in the bunch — that passed us at less than 30 yards with a full wake. He waved as he passed by, so there was no chance he hadn’t seen us.

I mused that the driver, who was not a young guy, must not be a canoe fan. But the girls and I have a few paddles under our belts and knew to point our canoe into the oncoming waves and pick up our paddle speed. It turned out to be a fun ride through the waves, and the girls were pleased with their paddling know-how and ability to manage the swells.

As the noontime hour approached we noticed more motorboat activity and decided it was time to tie up our canoe at Kiwanis Beach and go for a swim.

Watchic Lake is a nice easy lake for a family of novice paddlers to explore on a warm summer morning. And the kids, as well as their parents, will appreciate the sandy, gradually sloping beach after their paddling adventure.

 

Staff Writer Wendy Almeida can be reached at 791-6334 or at:

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