Downeast Maine Tides

So, I have paddled quite a bit on the coast of Maine. Quite a bit around Deer Island and as far up as Acadia so I am used to some pretty good tides. Now we are headed up to Eastport and the 24 ft tides there. I know there are many VERY dangerous spots there but I was still hoping to do some careful paddling, staying close to shore, sticking to slack tides and avoiding the obvious danger spots. Am I being stupid here? I am not interested in dying. Anyone paddled up there?

Thanks Tim

I’ve been vacationing and paddling in the tides of Eastport and surrounding areas for several years. I used to stick close to shore but have become more brave as the years have gone on. There are lots of currents, eddylines, and even some standing waves at certain times. In many places you can cross an eddyline and the current will be going in the opposite dirrection - great way to make progress when the tide is running against you. A GPS is nice to have up there so you can see how much progress over land you are making against the tide.

Just watch out for crazy windy days, fighting and playing in the currents is fun in the calm, but things get really aggressive when the wind picks up.

A fun trick is to put in at the town dock on a nearly high tide, paddle north, portage the causway over to Cobscook bay, then paddle south and around the island. I was going 8 knots with the current once I crossed to Cobscook. It’s like a easy whitewater river in the middle of the ocean.

I love Eastport, say hi to Old Sow for me.

for tide info

safe spots
The answer to your question probably depends a lot on your skill-level. Dennys and Whiting Bays are a great place to paddle if you are less than advanced. Still need to know your stuff in there, but far fewer dangers than in the outer bays.

Might be a good place to consider hiring a guide for a day? The most recent MITA newsletter had an article in it about the safety concerns of paddling in that area, and there were comments from a guide who works that area. I don’t recall his name though, and I recycled the newsletter.

Have a good trip.

Just be careful, esp near narrows
During my eight dark seakayaking years, I paddled quite a bit in the Cobscook area and around Campobello and Deer Islands.

I never really liked it much, for one reason because of those big tides. A real PITA, IMO, to calculate all that tide and wind stuff. Nothing like putting in at high tide and taking out across 100 yards of viscous mud at low tide. I frequently found myself ditching the ocean and going a few miles inland to the wonderful bounty of lakes and rivers.

That said, if you stay away from the Old Sow, the reversing falls, and the obvious narrow places where the currents will race, you should be all right. As suggested, Whiting and Denny’s Bays are sheltered and have the feel of a big lake with seals.

Cobscook Reversing Falls
is quite the experience to paddle through. I advise studying it for length of slack from shore the day before you go. We figured we had ten minutes and paddled like mad after watching some incredible waves and current the day before.

I too like Dennys and Whiting Bay. There is an all tide launch at Cobscook SP. There is a second launch that for some insane reason we used. We turned our back for a few minutes and our stupidity was rewarded with five hundred feet of clam flat.