Southern Maine Sea Kayaking Network
May, 2023: Regional Highlights of the Maine Coast
Join six paddlers from along the length of the Maine coast who shared their favorite routes in their home waters. We will have stops in Casco Bay, Muscongus Bay, Penobscot Bay, Stonington, Mount Desert Island, and Jonesport. These brief presentations showcase local knowledge about conditions, put ins, and can’t-miss highlights, whetting your appetite for the warm paddling season just around the corner. Bring your curiosity and your spirit of exploration.
|April, 2023: Birds of Maine’s Coast
Interested in learning more about the sea birds you encounter when kayaking in Maine? For our April meeting, we are fortunate to have Doug Hitchcox, Staff Naturalist at Maine Audubon, talk with us about Birds of Maine’s Coast: Who they are and what you can do to help them.
Doug Hitchcox is a Maine native, who grew up in Hollis and graduated from the University of Maine in 2011. Throughout college Doug worked at Scarborough Marsh Audubon Center, and he was hired as Maine Audubon’s staff naturalist in the summer of 2013. He was also the Outreach Coordinator for the Maine Bird Atlas (2018-2022). In his free time, Doug volunteers as one of Maine’s eBird reviewers, and he’s the moderator of Maine’s birding listserv and rare bird GroupMe. He also serves as a York County Audubon board member and is a voting member of the Maine Bird Records Committee.
March, 2023: Greenland Paddling – Give it a Try?
Ever considered using one of those funny sticks for paddling? Or do you have one and want to know more about the culture and techniques that make this style so popular? Come hear internationally-known expert Cheri Perry share her thoughts on Greenland kayaks, paddles, strokes, pluses and minuses of Greenland style paddling and what Greenland style can offer modern kayakers. Bring your questions and your paddle, if you have one; this will be a live session with demonstrations and discussions that we will all learn from. This popular program was last held in 2019, so if you missed it here’s another chance!
|January, 2023: Icecaps to Icebergs – Sea Kayaking in Greenland
Please join SMSKN presentation on the magic of sea kayaking in Greenland. Our guide for this journey will be Doug Cooper. Doug makes his home in Scotland and has paddled the world over, but has a special passion for Greenland. He is a guide and coach, author of numerous books and former head of Glenmore Lodge, Scotland’s National Outdoor Training Center.
|December, 2022: SMSKN Holiday Party and Annual Meeting
This was a great time to meet other paddlers, catch up on the news, discuss this year’s adventures and plan new ones. From 6 – 7 pm we had socializing, food, and time to review our library, free gear closet, and safety table, and then at 7 pm we had our annual meeting, where we elect new board members and this year, a new president!
View Slideshow Presentation (PowerPoint)
|November, 2022: Pimp My Kayak: Sea Kayak Modifications for Fun and Safety
Whether it’s as simple as adding a keel strip to your hull (above) or as elaborate as doing a custom paint job, modifying your kayak makes the boat uniquely yours. Let’s talk about the ways we have pimped out our rides to improve their safety, their durability, and their aesthetic appeal.
|October, 2022: Why Take the Ferry? Paddling Across the Bay of Fundy
On September 8 and 9, 2022, our own Vytas Marciulionis and Joe Guglielmetti made an epic crossing from Campobello Island, New Brunswick to Gullivers Cove, Nova Scotia, a tracked distance of 60 nm across some of the most powerful tides in North America. They then got up and paddled back the next day. How did they pull it off? Come hear Vytas and Joe talk about the months of planning that went into this momentous event: physical training, nutrition, navigation, nature breaks, boat and equipment, and then hear about the profound experience of the trip itself. This should be a fun and educational program, even for us normal people, since Maine is full of remote islands and long (but not quite so long) crossings.
|May, 2022: Calling All Event Organizers – and Everyone Else!
This meeting is for all SMSKN Event Organizers, plus anyone else who might want to post events or is just curious about how our club functions in its most important capacity – going on trips. Starting with a review of our club’s purpose and operational model, we’ll talk about what we ask of Organizers and why, what to put in the trip description, what your responsibilities are – and are not- on the water, and other such practical details of organizing and posting SMSKN trips. We’ll also discuss resources the club offers to help those posting trips for the first time. The goal of this session is to get all of us on the same page about how to go about this key practice so that our trips stay safe and fun and we all can build the friendships and enriching paddling experiences that make posting trips so worthwhile.
If you are an Event Organizer, or even vaguely thinking about posting trips, please try to attend or watch the recording afterwards. If you think “I could never do that!”, please come also to learn what to expect as a participant. And you might be surprised and find yourself ready to post your own trip!
Calling All Event Organizers – PowerPoint presentation
|April, 2022: Safety and Radio use: preparations for the season
This two part presentation features Cathy Piffath H2Outfitters’ (Orr’s Island, Maine) Head Honcho and co-founder, (alias “the Monk”) will present on a variety of safety aspects to allow you to venture out sea kayaking. She will cover various aspects including safety gear from the brain to your emergency kit, weather, clothing, etc. She will include accurate skills assessment why knowing your capabilities as well as those on the trip relative to the conditions is key to safe adventures.
Cathy’s combination of flawless kayaking skills, extensive experience, sense of fun and knack for observation make her a top-notch instructor of the art. Whether you are a rank beginner or an advanced paddler, your skills will be significantly improved after a class with her. Cathy is a Master Registered Maine Guide, and has extensive training and credentials from the ACA (American Canoe Association) and BCU (British Canoe Union) in coastal kayaking, whitewater kayaking and whitewater canoeing. She developed the curriculum for the ACA’s Coastal Kayak Program in the early 90s and has conducted countless Instructor Development and Certification workshops over the past 20 years.
Ted Savage is a member of the Canadian Coast Guard Eastern Search and Rescue Command, professional pilot, and member of the Canadian Coast Guard Auxiliary. He is an international official of Alpine Ski Racing and an expert in proper radio use (in multiple languages), and an all around great guy.
|March, 2022: New Kayak Anyone? All you need to know about buying a sea kayak
New to paddling and looking to acquire your first sea kayak? Or a seasoned kayaker wanting to add to your fleet (or somewhere in between)? John Contas and Vytas Marciulionis talk about what ideally you should know when searching for and buying a boat. There is a lot to consider (e.g., type of paddling, size and style of boat, new or used, price, where to buy) so we’ll plan to cover all of this and take your questions so you’ll be prepared to identify, find and purchase your ideal first – or next! – kayak.
|February, 2022: ’21 Westfjords, Iceland Sea Kayak Expedition
Well-known Maine paddler Dan Carr describes trip planning and highlights from a July 2021 sea kayak expedition in the Westfjords of Iceland. It was the first-ever group expedition along the shoreline of the Hornstrander Nature Reserve and southeast to the village of Holmavik. Participants on this extraordinary trip included 10 persons hailing from Maine, Mass, Minnesota and three paddlers from Iceland, who provided valuable local knowledge, wonderful Icelandic hospitality, and exceptionally good humor. The group kayaked about 130 miles in ten days on the water in a two-week period.
|January, 2022: Up Your Game – Opportunities for Sea Kayak Training in Maine
In this program, three recognized experts will discuss the training options available to us here in Maine. Suzanne Blackburn, a senior Maine guide at both Portland Paddle and OLTOA (below) with over 25 years of guiding and teaching experience, will discuss the training and requirements associated with becoming a Maine Sea Kayak Guide; Bob Myron, owner of Outdoor Leader Trainers of America (OLTOA), will discuss the American Canoe Association (ACA) Coastal Kayak certification program; and Steve Maynard, Head Paddling Instructor in the Expeditionary Studies Program at the State University of New York at Plattsburg will discuss the many-faceted British Canoeing (formerly British Canoeing Union) leadership and training certification program.
View Presentation | Chat Messages
We have compiled an informal list of Maine Sea Kayak Guide, ACA and BC training providers – List of Local Providers (January 2022). SMSKN will expand this list to a dedicated website section featuring each formal training program, and highlighting local trainers in near future.
Visit British Canoeing Digital Library – an extensive collection of paddling-related resources (videos, articles, website links).
|2021 Annual Membership Meeting
This is your chance to hear about what’s new for 2022 and to add your voice to the discussion about where our club could go. We’ve described some exciting new initiatives and skills training events, reviewed proposed changes to our bylaws and trip posting protocols, elected new board members and honored departing ones, and in general discussed all things SMSKN and beyond.
2021.12.30 SMSKN Annual Meeting Presentation (PowerPoint)
|November/December, 2021: Paddling the Inside Passage to Alaska
Guest speaker Susan Conrad, long distance kayaker and award-winning author, will share her story of a physical and emotional journey through an alluring, perilous, and healing seascape. In spring 2010, with her world scaled down to an 18-foot sea kayak and the 1,200-mile ribbon of water known as the Inside Passage, Susan launched a journey of the sea and soul that took her both northward to Alaska, and inward, as she discovered the depths of her own strength and courage. She paddled marathon distances for weeks on end, forged friendships with quirky people in the strangest of places, and pretended not to be intimidated by 700-pound grizzly bears and 40-ton whales. Learn more about this amazing and inspiring paddler at https://www.susanmarieconrad.com.
|October, 2021: Cold Water Paddling
Because winter is just around the corner and many of us want to keep paddling, we’ve revisited the important topic of cold water safety. This time our instructor is Moulton Avery, founder and director of the National Center for Cold Water Safety.
In this class, Moulton discussed cold shock, swimming failure, and incapacitation, – physical responses that frequently lead to sudden drowning long before hypothermia becomes an issue. He also explained the Center’s Five Golden Rules – guidelines that any paddler can use to build a strong cold water safety net.
In addition, he busted some cold water myths and share insights on cold water paddling gear. If you’re thinking about paddling anytime after about now this is a critically important topic to understand fully, Learn from an internationally recognized expert about how to stay comfortable and safe when the water temperatures drop.
|September, 2021: MAYDAY – Casco Bay Rescue Analysis and Discussion
A well-known and highly experienced kayaker was seriously injured in the event, which culminated in a Mayday call and at-sea rescue. In this presentation, members of the paddling group will discuss the incident and share their thoughts and reactions as the drama unfolded. Learn what to do right when things go wrong on an ordinary morning of rock play.
|July, 2021: Sometimes Stuff Happens – Lessons Learned on a Trip to Jewell Island
You know all those maneuvers we’re supposed to know as sea kayakers? All those safety things, rescue skills, expensive clothing and gadgetry that the books say we should have? Well, sometimes you need them. On a recent SMSKN trip from Bailey Point to Jewell Island, five paddlers learned the importance of all of these elements when dealing with capsizes, cold water, and exhaustion on a windy afternoon in April. Listen to what happened and what we all learned as we candidly share our analysis of the situations and decisions during this ordinary-turned-epic trip.
|May, 2021: How to Organize! Or – How to Organize a SMSKN Paddling Trip
Ever wondered about organizing a SMSKN trip? Puzzled over who can do it and what’s involved? In this presentation Janet Robinson talks about how to become an official “Organizer” and what the expectations are, how to post a trip and what to say in the description, and then basic on-water practices to ensure that everyone has a fun and safe time.
| April, 2021: Ten Easy Kayaking Trips in Casco Bay
Ready to get out on the water, but not sure where to go? Then join SMSKN member Greg Fergin as he describes ten scenic and easily manageable kayaking trips throughout Casco Bay. Enrich the discussion with your own suggestions and favorites, and get ready to plan many great paddling trips this season.
| February, 2021: Maine Coast Heritage Trust
Tim Glidden, President of the Maine Coast Heritage Trust speaks on the mission and role of the Trust and how it relates to kayaking. Founded in 1970 the Trust is best known for its 143 reserves (including such local favorites as the Goslings, Whaleboat, Clapboard, and Malaga). It also holds more than 300 easements and, working with its partners, has conserved more than 155,000 acres of Maine’s best. MCHT also conducts a wide range of programs aimed at protecting the coast. Tim has spoken to us before in his previous role with Land for Maine’s Future.
| January, 2021: Planning and Completing a Maine Coast Traverse
Ever thought about paddling the whole Maine Coast? Come hear Suzanne Blackburn and Janet Robinson describe how they planned their 2020 coastal traverse and then enjoy an account of the adventures and challenges of the trip itself. Learn about scheduling, route development, food planning, navigation, WAG BAGS! gear and other details, and then be inspired by some of the gorgeous scenery that the Maine coast offers along the route.
| November, 2020: Sea Kayaking Video: Shoot, Edit, Share
On-the-water photography presentation by member Tom Allen of Harpswell. You may have seen him on the water with his GoPro rig shooting video during SMSKN trips. In this presentation Tom gives a run down of his on-water and computer gear, how he edits his video, how he shares the completed videos, and stores and organizes the raw footage. Q&A session to follow presentation. Share your own strategies for shooting photos and video. You can view the video of the recent SMSKN trip around Cushing Island on October 31 at Tom’s YouTube channel, Kayak Reflections, here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X_L26jZl3rQ&t=49s.