Monhegan Island Trip Report, August 2002

Disclaimer: The following Trip Report was written in February 2009 and is re-presented here for new paddling ideas and general interest. However, the specific trip details such as boat launch, parking, and other such things should be confirmed and reverified before following this route.

by: Bill Ridlon

Ah, Monhegan.  The trip was finally a relatively easy one after several years of challenging crossings.  Even so, we saw a whale again.  That raises the average of whale sightings to above 50% each year.

We started out on Friday with 12 paddlers and four ferry people.  Undoubtedly, the ferry people had an easier time of it but the Monhegan paddlers don’t come for an easy time; they come to be on the water, at water level, at the same level as seals, porpoises, whales, wind, and waves.  We had one double, the remainder single boats.  We gradually slipped into two groups:  the “fast” group and the “slow” group.  The slow group saw the whale, the fast group didn’t.  There’s a moral in there somewhere.  By the time we reached Monhegan four hours after we left Port Clyde, the fast group was over a half hour ahead of the slow group, but everyone arrived safely and that was what counted.

Most of the participants were veterans.  Monhegan has a way of doing that:  calling you back each year.  We also had four rookies, all of whom seemed to be ready to be a veteran next year.  We had a following wind on the way out and a following wind on the way back.  It doesn’t get much sweeter than that!  The return was in two groups:  those who returned on Sunday and the lucky ones who stayed an additional day and returned on Monday.  Both groups dealt with fog and both groups were successful in getting back to Port Clyde.

We circled Monhegan on Saturday so as to see the entire island from the water side.  In so doing, we found that it was very rough on the southeast side and the closer to the cliffs one paddled, the rougher it was.  Again, all returned to Fish Beach safely.  Some came back immediately, some stopped at the next island, Manana, to do some exploring.

These are our boats behind the Monhegan House.  Yes, we’re quite the celebrities when we come to town.