by Katie Wolitarsky
It’s not every day you get to sleep outside on a small island miles off the coast of Maine - flanked between a 160-year old lighthouse and a modern cottage...
The morning’s stillness, sunshine and warmth provided the perfect ingredients for a sea kayaking adventure from Deer Isle, Maine out to Eagle Island. We quickly packed up our belongings into dry bags, making sure we had the essentials for the overnight - coffee, Cheezits and gummy worms of course.
I doubled up with a friend in her father’s handmade mahogany tandem sea kayak - which was welcomed as I am not an experienced sea kayaker! The two others jumped into their solo kayaks, and off we went.
I had to continuously remind myself that we were in the middle of Penobscot Bay and not an inland Maine lake. The ocean was pure glass.
As we paddled, two seals popped up between the three of our kayaks to say hello. A small stretch further, a bald eagle flew overhead as it landed on Hardhead Island to survey the area. A few lobster boats were out checking traps - which delivered us the only wake and swells we were going to experience on this still, windless morning.
About an hour and a half later, we arrived on Eagle Island and unloaded our kayaks up to this small, camp-like yet newly-built structure where we would be staying for the night. Once we secured the boats and had everything unpacked, we began our jaunt around the island.
For some background: Eagle Island is a 263-acre island that is about a mile and a half long by half a mile wide, and is only publicly accessible by a regularly-scheduled mailboat. While only two people live on the island year-round, the summer population is closer to fifty.
Walking the island, we discovered three pieces of Eagle Island history: a one-room schoolhouse, a post office and a small cemetery.
After (very quick) swim in the ocean, we then made our way back to cook dinner and relax for the rest of the evening. As the sun began to set and the temperatures dropped, we knew that we needed to take advantage of a late Maine summer evening and take this opportunity to sleep outside.
The stars were out in full glow and the distance ringing of a buoy rocked us to sleep in no time. The comforts of our sleeping bags and HEST pillow kept us cozy throughout the evening. We awoke to a layer of light dew on our bags and to a hazy, breezy sunrise - quickly letting us know that we would not be granted the same smooth passage home that we were given the day before.
With this change in the weather, we knew we needed an alternative for the venture home. Luckily, the historic mailboat,The Katherine, was operating even though it was a holiday. We were able to connect with the captain and schedule a pick up. We felt slightly deflated that we were not fully conquering our mission to paddle back to the mainland, but once we got picked up by the mailboat and were out in the open, choppy waters of the Bay - we were much more pleased with our decision. All in all, this forever memorable, and for many, a once-in-a-lifetime, kayak-camping overnight will always hold a special place in my memories amidst the strangeness that was summer 2020.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Katie Wolitarsky is a crucial part of the HEST team! She's been kicking butt all summer working on brand awareness and getting the word out about our start up. She lives in Portland, Maine and she loves spending time in the outdoors. Follow along on her adventures here.