Many people rent kayaks to paddle around in Penobscot Bay. A common question is How long will it take to paddle over to Sears Island from Searsport Shores? Of course this depends mostly on the experience, strength and stamina of the paddler, but a good estimate for someone who is in reasonably good physical condition is 30-45 minutes. The weather and direction of the wind and tide are other factors. If the tide is on the way out, you will be paddling against it on the way to the island, and the current will be with you on your return. As for the wind, it shifts around all the time and you’ll know if you’re paddling with the wind at your back or in your face! Sometimes you’ll be paddling against the wind in both directions.
Obviously, the most direct route to Sears Island is a straight line from the Shores straight across the mouth of Searsport Harbor, and this is the quickest path, a distance of about two miles. If you paddle along the shore, it’s a greater distance, so it will take you a little longer, but this is often the best choice for less experienced kayakers. Along the way you’ll find many buoys or channel markers, including a bell buoy that you might sometimes hear on windy days when there’s choppy water. Here’s what the bell buoy looks like close up. You can see Sears Island in the background, and if you look real close you’ll see a red tugboat heading out to greet an incoming freighter, on it’s way to the cargo port.
And here’s a picture of the reward for paddling over to Sears Island! My wife Lorelei found a wonderful rock to rest on, on the beach at low tide, on the west side of the island. It’s well worth the trip!