May 8, 2010

Canoeing: Viewers' Choice

A four-hour, seven-mile paddle offers a touch of history and marvels of nature.


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The view looking north to Merrymeeting Bay rewards paddlers with pristine ocean scenery.

Michael Perry

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Granite ledges along the way speak to nature’s spectacular forces.

Michael Perry

Additional Photos Below

Many radiant green clumps of false hellebore poked up out of the rising water. We came to a small beaver lodge at a fork in the ever-narrowing stream. It was obvious now that we would have to backtrack the half-mile back out to open water, enjoying once again the majesty of willows, the distinctive calls of red-winged blackbirds and kingfisher. As we emerged out into the bay a flock of 50 common mergansers erupted up into the air. We had seen a number of pairs throughout the morning, but 50 rising as one was quite impressive. A loon may define the blackness of black, but surely does the male common merganser define the whiteness of white.

Before heading in, we paddled over to the granite pier on the eastern side of Mustard Island to see if we could find and follow the roadway across the island to the western side. After skirting around a tangle of downed trees, we easily followed the route to the other side. We carefully wove our way through juniper and other leg rippers to the granite blocks teetering at the end. If you are going to hang out on this island, save your hanging out for the level granite blocks on the eastern side. This is a fabulous spot for a picnic lunch, for snoozing in the sun, and for scanning the sky for eagles, osprey and geese. The views up and down the bay are far-reaching and spectacular. With pride you will note the chain of islands you followed up to the Bald Head area, and gazing south maybe you will begin planning a return later in the summer for exploration of the many islands upstream of Mustard Island. 

Michael Perry is the former director of the L.L.Bean Outdoor Discovery Schools, and founder of Dreams Unlimited, specializing in inspiring outdoor slide programs for civic groups, businesses, and schools. He can be contacted at:



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Additional Photos

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The granite remains of the former Merrymeeting Bay Bridge.

Michael Perry

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The writer’s four-hour, seven-mile paddle yielded an astounding 10 eagle sightings

Michael Perry


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