Rowing the Damariscotta
by Steven Roberts
Excerpted from GET
This years family vacation was to a cottage on
the Damariscotta River in Maine. This trip report is a compilation
of the rowing my daughter and I did in the "ET Bugaboo",
during the week.
To start, the cottage was perfect... a truly Maine experience.
It is owned by the Tonry family who use the dock as "home
port" for their lobstering business. The cottage has been
in Rich's family for at least a couple of generations. It is
at the end of an isolated dirt road and provides a beautiful
view of the river and the boats going by from the back deck.
The wildlife in the area was a treat. Across the
river were a couple of Osprey nests and every morning, the parents
would be up in a tree, by the dock, scouting out fish to bring
back to the fledglings (what a racket they would make). One
morning I witnessed a swooping catch, and another I watched
one eat a herring on the rocky shore. We also had Hummingbirds
visiting the feeders off the deck, all day long, and Great Blue
Herons would fish off the shore and in the pond in the backyard.
My oldest daughter and I did a lot of exploring
in our Skerry. The Tonry's were kind enough to provide a place
to tie-up on the dock
The Damariscotta is a great river to bring a small
boat (I will definitely be coming back with my kayak). There
are many coves to explore, and the wildlife is everywhere. Just
about every time we went out, we would be followed by a seal,
for a bit. As long as you pay attention to the tides, it is
reasonably safe. There was very little boat traffic compared
to waterways of South Shore, MA.
The most memorable excursion for me was when we
rowed down-river to a nature reserve called Dodge Point. My
oldest and I packed up the boat with all of the beach gear and
a picnic lunch, and met my wife and the baby at Pebble Beach
on the point.
It was hardly a beach, but more a pocket of sand,
but it was nice. It was only about 75 feet long, with large
outcroppings of rock on either end, and low-hanging trees that
hung out over the back of the beach, providing protection from
After eating and relaxing under the shade of the
branches, the oldest and I did a little exploring, made a sand
castle (pebble castle), and built a fairy house.
We then went to the rocks and before I knew what
had happened, my daughter had stepped off into water that was
over her head. She panicked a bit, but swam back to the rock
where I pulled her out. She cried for all of two minutes and
then was jumping of the rock repeatedly for the next 20 minutes.
Finally, it was time to head back. My daughter
fell asleep in the aft seat while I rowed against a 10mph headwind.
It was manageable, but a bit more work than the trip out.
That night, Rich took my oldest and I out to check
lobster traps. What a great experience that was for her. I think
it was the best part of the vacation for her... that and building
fairy houses out on Monhegan Island.
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