I started my expedition April 28th from Quoddy Head Light in northern Maine on what is know as the Bold Coast.
Starting out with an overloaded kayak I had paddled about 2 hours when I capsized and could not get the kayak to stay upright.
I had to radio the coast guard for a rescue and spent one hour in 38 degree water. My body temperature dropped and I spent several hours in the hospital for mild Hypothermia.
This became a media sensation in Maine as I believe every form of media covered the story.
Being a member of the Maine Island Trail Association (MITA) my sticker was spotted on the side of the kayak and a number of members were contacting me.
With all the research and preparation that I had performed for this trip researching best time to travel this area was not one of them.
I had one person in particular ask me the following questions, what are you doing up here in May? Why are you heading in the wrong direction? (south), Are you going to continue? My answers were I thought it would be warm enough in May, I wanted to head from north to south, and yes I have obligations to meet as I travel that I have already set in motion.
I was told that if I make it off the Bold coast in May heading south, that I would have achieved a great feat and that I would have bragging rights.
Well I can say that I made it down the bold coast and the whole Maine coast.
I am also going to tell everyone else that may want to try this not to even consider it and I don’t care what you level of experience is. It is not worth the risks that you have to take trying to navigate this portion of Maine.
I had to use every bit of knowledge of weather seas currents tides etc. to travel a few hours. I was always prepared to have to find shelter and hunker down. I can tell you that there are not many places to pull in on the Bold Coast so you have to be prepared to make a run for it. You better have charts with your course laid out in advance with compass heading written on them and your compass where you can read it. Your GPS should be used as a back up to save the battery. Also have the Navionics app on your smartphone as a backup. Be prepared for changing winds and sea conditions. The wind itself is notorious for changing 180 degrees in a matter of a couple of hours. Have food and water where you can reach them quickly and I suggest protein rather than energy foods.
I know this sounds like I am giving instructions for traveling this coast in May but I am telling you not to. The statistics the coast guard has for this area is that I am damn lucky that I made it through. The only boats out that time of year are Lobster and fishing boats and while they have their radios on are busy plowing their trades and have machinery running and can’t hear your calls for help. They keep a close watch om each other so if one of them is in distress the others will come to their aid. You are not expected to be out there so they are not looking for you. Also their is the issue of fog that time of year.
The coast guard made a big deal out of my survival not so much because I survived but because I had all the right gear, and was layered up for water immersion in cold water with an expedition drysuit, and that I did everything correctly( radio protocol, the right information without being asked, following procedures etc.).
Basically I am the exception to the rule not the norm. That is why I am telling you that I went through many hard days and nights to get past the Bold coast to an area where at least there is some protection from the many islands that the Bold Coast is certainly lacking.
SO if you are considering kayaking the Bold Coast of Maine call the kayak shops and Maine guides to get the information that will keep you safe and have you there the right time of year so you can have an enjoyable trip not one of constant survival.
A word to the wise Stay off the Bold Coast of Maine in May!