Our multi-day adventure vacation on Campobello Island in New Brunswick was winding down. Ten of us had shared several hiking, biking and sea kayaking outings in the area while camping on the island at Herring Cove Provincial Park.
Stormy weather the previous day had restricted our activities to short hikes and bike rides. My wife, Nancy, and I also completed a tour of the Roosevelt Cottage in Roosevelt Campobello International Park for the first time in 50 years — this time without a 10-month-old infant. We had a wonderful and informative guided tour through the historic home on Friar’s Bay.
Two days earlier, we had discontinued a sea kayak trip on the eastern coastline due to potentially hazardous conditions. Instead of continuing around sometimes treacherous Liberty Point on the southeastern end of the island we had suspended our voyage at Herring Cove Beach.
Our new objective was to launch at Herring Cove and navigate the remainder of the east shore, all of the southern end, and part of the west coast as far north as Friar’s Bay.
We needed a favorable weather forecast and the sea kayaking gods delivered. Sunny skies, warm temperatures, calm seas, light winds and a chance of patchy fog were forecast.
Seven of us endeavored to complete the planned excursion in solo kayaks. Three members of the group opted to bike the Roosevelt Park Carriage Roads instead. They thoughtfully agreed to drop us off at Herring Cove and leave a shuttle vehicle at Friar’s Bay. The voyage was on.
It was an ominous beginning, as patchy fog drifted closer to shore as we journeyed along a succession of towering rock formations. On two occasions, we negotiated through narrow passages between the escarpments and huge offshore boulders. Since Liberty Point was the next major landmark, the thickening fog was a concern.
Fortuitously, the fog lifted and sunny skies provided a clear view as we approached Liberty Point. Arriving at approximately high tide, waters were calm as we passed between the precipice and gigantic Sugar Loaf Rock. Maneuvering around the potentially hazardous headland was accomplished without complications.
With our Liberty Point concerns behind us, light winds and gentle waves were welcomed as we kayaked along the south shore. Lower and Upper Duck Ponds were quickly passed and calm seas experienced as we turned Cranberry Point into Lubec Channel. Shortly after, we landed on Fox Farm Beach for a lunch break. The warm, sandy beach provided the ideal location to lie back and relax in the sun.
After departing Fox Farm, a forceful outgoing tide slowed our progress as we passed a small lighthouse in the center of the channel. Moving close to shore to avoid the most powerful waves, we crossed under the FDR International Bridge.
Just beyond, we entered Lubec Narrows adjacent to Mulholland Point Lighthouse. The distinctive light, discontinued in 1963, is now part of Roosevelt Park. Several visitors, including the cyclists in our group, waved as we paddled past.
Rugged Friar’s Head was the next significant promontory. Navigating around the head, we cruised into expansive Friar’s Bay. The dark red Roosevelt Cottage was observed high on an embankment overlooking the bay.
The tide was out, exposing perhaps 100 yards of beach when we arrived at our planned destination. Fortunately, most of the beach had a gravel base with minimal mud. We doubled up to carry our kayaks ashore, completing an exceptionally scenic paddle of the eastern half of Campobello Island.
For most of us, the kayak voyage was the last significant outing of our memorable Down East vacation. When we gathered around the campfire that night, we had an abundance of notable tall tales to reminisce about.
Typical of our group, new adventures were a major topic of conversation. The possibility of an extended visit across the Bay of Fundy to Grand Manan Island next year was a popular choice. The rugged island is home to more spectacular cliffs, a variety of challenging sea kayak trips, and several stimulating hikes and bike rides.
My book, “Maine Al Fresco: The Fifty Finest Outdoor Adventures in Maine” narrates eight more exciting sea kayak excursions along the coast.