Ten of us were camping at Herring Cove Provincial Park on Campobello Island. We were enjoying a multi day adventure vacation on the rugged picturesque New Brunswick island. After a couple of days of hiking and biking in unsettled weather, we awoke in our tents to clear, sunny skies and warm temperatures.
Sea kayaking was on our minds. Trip organizers, Ken and Susan Gordon, recommended a tour along the east side of the island. That section of the Campobello coastline is famous for its continuous spectacular cliffs.
Since the planned trip included substantial exposure to the open seas of the Bay of Fundy with few opportunities to land in an emergency, obtaining a reliable weather forecast was paramount. Despite cell service problems, we were able to confirm the day would be storm-free. A marine forecast indicated calm seas and minimal fog, and moderate southwest winds could be expected.
Since we had nine interested paddlers in eight kayaks, arranging a shuttle to facilitate a traverse from Mill Cove on the northeastern end of the island to a beach at Lower Duck Pond on the south shore required a creative strategy.
All participants drove to the beach at Mill Cove and then two vehicles were transported south to Lower Duck. Concerned about the risk of encountering hazardous conditions, particularly turning the potentially treacherous Liberty Point on the southeastern end, we also left a vehicle at Herring Cove Beach, the proximate midway point.
Sheltered from southwest winds by a prominent bluff, we launched in calm water at the beach in Mill Cove. Immediately impressed by the imposing cliffs and rugged terrain, we navigated out of the cove and turned south along the majestic rockbound shoreline.
Progressing south on the extreme western periphery of the Bay of Fundy, the towering cliffs of the eastern shore of Campobello extended as far as the eye could see. Angling slightly southwest into a gentle headwind, we rounded a gigantic precipice called Nancy Rock.
The headwind increased as we proceeded along the protracted escarpment and crossed the outer perimeter of Schooner Cove. We soon passed minor indentations in the enormous rock wall named Little and Big Whale Coves. A more substantial inlet preceded the prominent Eastern Head.
Maneuvering around Eastern Head, we entered expansive Herring Cove. The winds strengthened as we approached the beach. Some members of the group were taking out, so all of us disembarked in choppy surf.
Given the worsening wind speeds, a discussion about the advisability of continuing the voyage ensued. Unpredictable conditions at Liberty Point and the recent death of a sea kayaker in that area were on our minds when we decided to forego the remainder of the trip.
Two days were left in our stay, so another attempt was possible.
Every cloud has a silver lining. Sufficient time remained in the day for a bike ride on the Roosevelt Park Carriage Roads. Six of us picked up our bikes at the campground and drove to the Roosevelt Park Visitor Center parking lot. The trails start on the opposite side of the road.
Initially, we rode a connector trail limited to bikes and foot traffic to Cranberry Point Drive on the southern end of the island. From there, we biked easterly to the scenic point.
In the Cranberry Point area, we located double and some single-track trails that weren’t on park maps. A thorough exploration followed. Contrary to our expectations, most of the spur trails did not reconnect with the Carriage Roads and were dead ends instead. After a forced halt at a massive bog, we located Fox Hill Drive and continued our ride to the southern limit of Herring Cove Beach.
At that point, the group split. I rode the Glensevern Road west to Roosevelt Visitor Center while others continued to Liberty Point before returning.
Rain was in the forecast for the following day, but several of us hoped to resume our sea kayak expedition from Herring Cove after that. The tentative plan was to navigate around Liberty Point and continue to Friar’s Bay on the west side of the island.
Eight exciting Maine sea kayak trips are narrated in my book, “Maine Al Fresco: The Fifty Finest Outdoor Adventures in Maine.” The book also includes three offshore island bike rides.