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Monday, September 21, 2009

Anchoring in Duck Harbor, Isle Au Haut

We took a trip to Duck Harbor in Isle Au Haut yesterday and hiked around the the section of the island designated as part of Acadia National Park. There are 18 miles of trails carved in a rustic, idyllic setting. Pristine, root strewn woods trails, polished, granite cliffs and smooth stone beaches highlight the area. Our hike took us from the Duck Harbor landing to the cliffs on the south side of the island all the way around the western end and back to our point of origin, a distance of 3.3 miles. I was sore when I got back.

There is a ferry or mail boat that will take you to Duck Harbor in the summer and early fall. I took Moonfish out. Vefore leaving, I tried to get some info on what I'd find at Duck Harbor for moorings or an anchorage. A Google maps search showed a dock and wharf but I had no idea if it was even good for a landing at all tides. Hence, we left Tenants Harbor with a "final destination unknown" mind-set.

For the record, there are no moorings, and although Duck Harbor has fairly good holding bottom for an experienced mariner who brings with him or her a damn good anchor and rode, it's exposed to the west and southwest. Even a moderate breeze from these directions will kick up a nasty chop inside the harbor. This is not a place to lay on a lunch hook, unless you plan to stay with the boat.

The landing itself is set-up to handle the 40-plus foot mail boat that arrives twice a day, so it is substantial enough. But don't leave your boat here. Common courtesy requires swiftness when loading and unloading.

The other alternative is to go to the town landing located in the Isle Au Haut Thoroughfare and sheltered by Kimball Island. From here, however, it's about a five mile hike to the park.


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