On the Water in Maine — Best of Summer 2011

As the waters cool, the days shorten, and my schedule transitions from guiding to teaching, my relationship with the water changes too. I look longingly over the bay as I cross the bridge to East Belfast on my morning commute. I hurriedly squeeze in an afternoon paddle between a meeting at school and picking up the kids. Paddling trips are shorter and closer to home. The place where I put in is more likely Belfast Harbor or Pitcher Pond rather than South Thomaston or Stonington. The equinox is a great time to reflect on the summer that was. Days like today give hope that there is a little more of it still left.

Summer started cool, with temperatures on June 24 topping out at 57 degrees. July made us believe in global warming all over again, with 12 days of temps above 80 degrees, and 25 days of at least partial sun. August was more of a mixed bag, but there were still a good number of sunny days and an influx of tourists. Suddenly everyone wanted to get out on the water — today!

Irene brought wind, waves, and rain — and hastened many to pull their boats out of the water. The nice thing about kayaks is that they’re easy to put back in.

Three kayakers lost their lives in Maine waters this summer. One was wearing a life jacket. Two were not. Thousands and thousands of others paddled Maine’s lakes, ponds, and rivers without mishap. Still, an emergency bill is being introduced in the Maine legislature that would make wearing (and not just having) a life jacket a requirement for all those kayaking and canoeing in Maine waters.

I’d rather see an effort to get more paddlers to wear their life jackets through education, not legislation. Do wear your life jacket and be mindful that waters are not as warm as they were a month ago. Paddle safe and enjoy!

Our end-of-summer slideshow has become, for us, a seasonal rite. We hope you enjoy it. A big thank you to all who joined us on our tours. And to those who didn’t, just remember, we can’t put your photo in the slideshow unless you come paddle with us.

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