Sea Kayaking Sun, sea, and summer air. Outdoor adventures are endless along the coast of Maine. Sea kayaking is very popular in the summer and we took the opportunity to do the Camden Harbor tour with Maine Sport Outfitters. This was a great choice for beginners and it was easy to see why it's so popular! It was safe, scenic, and best of all a lot of fun. With the brilliant sun shimmering off the water and the paddles gently dipping in, all you need is ice cream to finish off a perfect summer afternoon.
Logistics This was a hassle-free tour start to finish. The whole process from making the reservation to finding the meeting location of the tour was easy. The online reservation system allowed us to easily pick our date and time of tour and sign the waivers prior to arriving. When it was time for the tour, the booth was easy to find and parking was not a problem. We parked near Owl and Turtle Bookshop and the booth was just a few steps down the dock where we met our tour guide. From there, the whole thing was guided and we knew we were in good hands. No experience is necessary, so this is a great way for beginners to get out on the water. We received instructions prior to putting on our gear, which included a "skirt" and PFD (Personal Floatation Device; not to be mistaken for .pdf -- as our guide pointed out, those documents don't float!). After about 30 minutes, we were in our kayaks and pushed off into the water. Even for first-timers, there was nothing to worry about. We were confident our guide was prepared to take care of us even in the unlikely event there was a problem.
Experience It was a beautiful, sunny late afternoon and the harbor was filled with anchored boats rocking gently in the calm water. As soon as we set off, like ducklings in a row, we discovered just why our guide said tandem kayaking is "couples therapy". Communication is key! If your kayak needs to veer left, paddle on the right. But if you are paddling right and your partner is paddling left, your kayak is not going to veer properly left. And if you don't communicate which way to go around something, you'll be headed straight for one of those anchored boats before you know it. We were guided out of the harbor, away from the anchored boats, and out toward Curtis Island. The biggest challenge of the whole experience was in deciding whether or not to bring a bulky camera. Of course, the entire experience was wonderfully picturesque, but after following the advice of our guide, we made the decision to leave the bulky camera behind. We soon discovered that was probably the right decision! A waterproof camera is ideal, although a camera phone is easy enough to manage. But even the hassle of trying to get an iPhone out of the dry bag causes the whole party to have to stop to stay together. Not to mention, in the time it takes to set the paddle down to snap a quick picture, the kayak has likely turned another direction and you and your partner have to work together to correct the course. Get pictures if you can, but be quick! But whether or not you bother with taking pictures, make sure you really take the time to enjoy the moment. Feel the cool sea water, watch for birds and the osprey nests, soak in the sunshine, and listen to the water gliding beneath you. As we continued on around Curtis Island, the water got a bit rough in the wake of passing boats. The water splashed and the kayaks bounced now and then on the waves, but it was nothing to worry about. Around the back of the island, there was the beautiful working lighthouse atop the hill. We came to rest in a calm cove, which was a perfect picture spot because the water was still and gave us time to rest our paddles for a moment. We safely waited for passing boats to clear the channel before sprinting across it back to the dock. The experience was timed to be just long enough to enjoy the water and sunshine, but just short enough not to get too tired.