Paddling to Sears Island


map 2

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.

bell buoyObviously, 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!Lorelei on Sears Island


Interesting bits: Blood Worms

Digging Blood Worms along Maine Coast

Digging Blood Worms along Maine Coast
Worm Digger

Blood worms live in the oozy mudflats at low tide where they eat dead and decaying seaweed, leaves and other vegetation.



Digging Blood Worms along Maine Coast
Anna German, 42, of Milbridge has been digging blood worms for ten years. “It is hard work, but I love the freedom.” (Bangor Daily News/Gabor Degre)

100’s of Mainers make their living digging for these worms with hoes year round.  Sometimes you’ll see them working the flats off Long Cove near Sears Island.




Digging Blood Worms along Maine Coast

Bloodworms can grow over 2 feet long, they have four tiny fangs and translucent bodies that reveal their blood-red body fluids.



Digging Blood Worms along Maine Coast
Catching a Stripper!

Fisherman love them and they are big business now because the European markets can’t seem to get enough of them.  Apparently mud-worms love to travel so good digging grounds today might be barren tomorrow.


Lobsterbakes on the Beach

What’s the best way to celebrate the summer on the Maine coast? With butter dripping down your chin and wood smoke drifting through the air as the seafood steams in its bed of freshly harvested seaweed. Add a layer of scent coming from the homemade bread hot out of the oven and brought directly to your table. Oh, and don’t forget the boiled Maine corn on the cob and roasted onions that are so sweet you could save them for dessert…but you won’t because I’ll be making you a fresh, seasonal dessert…maybe strawberry shortcake when the strawberries are still warm from the gardens (the ones by the goat house) with freshly whipped heavy cream or maybe a chocolate lava cake…always with Gifford’s Ice Cream made close by in Skowhegan.

The "Maine Event"
The “Maine Event”

Saturday nights in July and August,  Steven and JT start the fires early in the afternoon and start cooking after Dad gets the seafood from the local fishermen. We limit the number of dinners we serve to 50 people and we guarantee that you’ll leave completely satisfied…but reserve your tickets ahead of time because the dinners are often sold out the week before it’s time to sit down.

Dinners are $65/person and when you order you can specify that you’d prefer lobster or a hand cut steak. There’s a $20 option for those who want to participate but because of size of appetite or taste preferences, would prefer to have all beef hot-dogs instead of lobster and enjoy all the other trimmings.

Because of the way we serve dinner, everyone coming down to the festivities must have a ticket and we don’t have a way for you to share dinners. If you have children who only eat PB & J, bring a picnic blanket to tuck near the kayaks and they can have a picnic under your watchful eye while you enjoy dinner.

We’ll take care of everything…you only need to think about bringing a bottle of wine or beverage of your choice if you’d like something other than our strawberry lemonade.

The menu:
Fresh from Penobscot Bay
1 1/2 pound Maine Lobster or a man size hand cut steak
Garden Treats
Locally harvested  Blue Mussels
Steamer Clams
Maine Grown Roasted Corn and yellow potatoes
Melt in your mouth New England style sweet onions
Homemade Rolls or Breads
Lots of real butter
Homemade Seasonal Dessert and Maine made ice cream
Strawberry Lemonade and Hot Coffee…you bring the drinks of your choice.

Maryly Matthewman Creates the Faces of Searsport Shores, August 9-15

MarylyMatthewmanDear Campers,

My week in August will be here soon enough.  My July seems to be booked up already and it will be wonderful to come to Maine and create with you.

This will be my third session as Artist in Residence in Searsport and it is easy to think of things to share as everyone has always been so open to new ideas.  Although I found my work as a dental hygienist in a dental clinic serving the underserved in our community pretty rewarding, I love retirement time! Now I can sew and stitch, put colors, textures and forms together, make baby quilts, knit mittens, hats, socks, sweaters and do it the way I want to for as long as I want to.

This year as part of my “Faces of ………Project” I will be creating a face out of bits of fabric  and I hope you will join me for a  “Faces of Searsport Shores Campground”.   I am working on “Faces” of different areas, jail, Boys and Girls Club, Laconia, and Squam, NH.  I will also help you create a self portrait to take home.

My friend has given me some of her lovely handcrafted glass beads to sell for $1 and they are beautiful! So, I have a lot planned for you and I do hope you will join.  Want to learn to knit?? I can teach you as I have been teaching beginner knitting in our jail for about 5 years now. I will bring yarn and needles, just show up! Anyone interested in knitting at all, come this week so we can knit together.  And if at all possible, I would love to use that outside bread oven!!!! I have been a bread baker for well over 40 years.  Well cheers to a great week!



Ellen Mason “The Humble Stitch” Artist-in-Residence July 26 – August 1


When I was about ten years old I busted my Mom’s sewing machine. My Dad gathered it up and left the house almost immediately. Two hours later he came home with a 1940’s Singer sewing machine. It was classic black with painted gold scrolls. It sewed forward and backward. That beautiful machine was a gift for me, just me. (They replaced my Mom’s machine shortly afterward.) This is how my folks supported my stitching habits from the time I was just a girl, keeping me in fabric and yarn, machines and tools. They enrolled me in lessons, provided space, and most of all, example. I was raised as a maker by a family of do-it-yourselfers. And I was never, ever bored.

Today I live in the Lakes Region of New Hampshire, sewing or knitting every day. I make most of my clothing and I write patterns for knitted items such as sweaters and mittens.  While at Searsport Shores, I will sew a complete garment each day.  Come learn about patternmaking and garment construction, both sewn and knitted, and the tiny thing that holds it all together: The Humble Stitch. Campers are invited to sew an accessory, fasten a button, hem too-long pants, embellish with embroidery, all with coaching and the company of friends. Stitching is a handy skill that can be learned at any age!


297 362eASW saddle shoulder sweater 5

Harbor to Harbor Kayak Paddle Today…

was it the libations or the wind that made the return home slower going?

About 25 campers headed out with the tide today…destination~ Belfast Harbor.



calm waters in the morning...but who's leading the trip?

They left at 10 in the morning, paddle to Belfast for lunch and libations and paddled back by 3 in the afternoon…with lots of mumblings that it was easier to go than get back…

Domenique and Taylor were at the beach to see everyone off