Machias Maine

I’m looking for some feedback on the Machias Bay area for kayaking. We usually go out of Brooklin, a bit south. I am looking at a house to rent that is in Starboard. My husband and I are strong intermediate kayakers but the kids are not quite there yet.

Any suggestions or thoughts?

From Starboard west you have Englishman’s Bay, Roque Island, Great Waas and Jonesport. Stellar kayaking with many good paddling opportunities. I don’t know much about Machias Bay proper but immediately east, starting at Cutler is the Bold Coast, big cliffs, lots of current, a potentailly dangerous and tricky place.

Machias is truly ‘Downeast’ where the seas are bigger and the water is colder, a truly wild place. Great paddling as long as you are prepared.

MITA guidebook
lists quite a few islands in that area for access. Most are private and require membership and sometimes permission.

Here are the public islands starting east of Schoodic going from west to east


Bois Bubert (day use only w/o permission)



Indian River


The Sands(tiny at high tide)

Little Water

Halifax (day use only w/o permission)

Access points at Jonesport Public Ramp

Machias Town Landing

Roque Bluufs launch

The first two have limited parking.

The MITA guidebook is well worth the cost of membership as it gives you access to other islands and gives some tips on danger areas and fast currents in that area.

Machias - thanks
Thanks for the info. The house that I am looking at is right on the water. I am lazy and like to be able to put in right at the house. The owner is not a kayaker. I am just concerned that the house seems to be on the outer part of the bay. I’m used to Blue Hill Bay and have been around quite a bit of it. Are the conditions much different in Machias?

I’ve been thinking about a MITA membership. My brother in law had one a few years ago but let it go once they started paying college tuition instead of heading to Maine every year.

Cobscook Bay
If you’re in the area, take advantage of the Eastport area and Cobscook Bay, which is less than an hour north. Some of us from Washington Kayak Meetup Group will be in the Cobscook Bay area in June. Cobscook Bay State Park would be a great place to visit and you could paddle up to Reversing Falls. Email me if you want more specific information. I know the area well.


yes…aside from

– Last Updated: Feb-03-12 11:01 PM EST –

the tidal range being greater conditions seem to be rougher and fog more of a constant issue coming in on the tide.

But not having paddled there more than twice I cannot offer suggestions for precise safe passage.

Cobscook Bay is nice paddling place but beware wind generator construction starting this spring. Something was on Maine Public Broadcasting Network. For me that would spoil Cobscook.

Edit..I listened more about the construction. It will be the first tidal turbine to generate electricity. Not a wind farm. will this affect paddlers?

I find the Jonesport-Machias area a little different experience than Blue Hill Bay. The water is colder, there is more influence from current, and fog is always a possibility. If you are tucked up in the bays, it should be very similar to Blue Hill Bay, if you poke out beyond the islands where you can feel the sea, it will feel much wilder. In BH Bay you have to travel down to Jericho Bay/Swans Island before you hit open ocean. Downeast, it seems to be right around every corner . . .

If it were me, I would always be concerned about going East down the Bold Coast, on the other hand, I know I can paddle most anywhere going west towards Jonesport and have good options.

Big tides, big seas, big beauty
I’ll echo MrTee’s comments in that Englishman’s Bay, Roque Island, Great Waas and Jonesport provide outstanding padding. My favorite place in Maine to paddle, by far.

Bucks Harbor south of Machias is a great place to paddle out of. The upper bay is very tidal with lots of mud flats. If you head south from Bucks Harbor, you will be treated to some spectacular cliffside paddling. See for a glimpse of what to expect.

Fog and limited access to shore are things you should be prepared for. Paddle safe and have fun!

Cobscook Bay
is a gorgeous area. I have paddled only a little and it was in an open canoe, but I am looking forward to the time I can get up there with a kayak. Really beautiful. There is a nice, if basic, state park campground there. Sites right on the water.

see above
tidal turbine construction may make a mess. The project is starting small with one unit. Four proposed next year in the Western Channel.

Machias - thanks some more
Okay, so it seems as if I head north from Starboard towards Bucks Harbor and the islands near it, I should be fine as long as I am paying attention to the conditions. Which suits me, as I get older, I appreciate easier paddling. No open ocean for me. I enjoy poking around the coastline and little islands. How would it be if I round the Point of Maine towards Englishman Bay?

I appreciate everyone’s input. Will definetly head up to Cobscook. Although, first I need to convince my husband to head further north than Brooklin this summer. Hoping to do some hiking too.

How long a drive is it
from Brooklyn? Guessing 10-12 hours?

Depends . . .
on conditions, skill level, comfort level of your group. On a calm day, probably a pretty sweet ride. With 20 Knots from the SW, it will probably be a bumpier ride. The great thing about where you are going are the options. With a strong SW you can always head north and be in the shadow of the penninsula. When you are there I suspect one look at the weather forecast and the water will make your decisions easy . . .

What we have found
I just looked up Google and they said 9 and a half hours, but I think they are nuts. The last time I tried that drive from the Albany area of NY it was an easy 11 hours, and more recent drives from here to a bit west of there (Bar Harbor) have produced times consistent with that.

Granted from Brooklyn you head east from further south - I suppose there are some efficiencies by coming all the way up 95 - but by the time you stop frequently enough to be safe behind a wheel I’d assume a full half day.

The other thing to keep in mind is that, especially heading up after sunset it feels like you have entered a Stephen King novel beyond Bar Harbor. Civilization pretty much stops and you can say goodbye to the idea of easily available rest stops for coffee or food (or gas). Resources like these will be a long distance from each other and it is just plain dark and remote feeling. It’s only about 75 miles from Bar Harbor to Machias, but it’s among the loneliest 75 miles you’ll find in the northeast.

It sure feels like Maine though.

We never paddled up there, but we visited friends some while ago and you do have to pay very careful attention to the tides, have a chart. They live on a bay in Roques Bluff that is a great clamming bed at low tide and under 12 or so feet of water at high tide. Even seemingly good-sized bays empty out quickly and it is quite common for boaters from out of the area to find themselves spending a few hours sitting in the mud waiting to be able to float out again.

10-11 hours is about right . . .
More with NY/CT/MA traffic,obviously. Machias is about 2.5 hours from us here in Belfast, Maine. We are 4 hours from Boston and 8 hours from NYC.

It is a very long
trip from Vermont. I remember thinking it was too much driving for a three day weekend to make sense. Agree that after Bar Harbor late at night you won’t be seeing many lights on. Don’t forget fresh water is also an option in the area.

Brooklin, MAINE
not Brooklyn NY

Oh - that NY state of mind I guess…

Part of our group will come from PA
But my family has been heading up as far as Brooklin Maine since before I was born. Our drive from MA won’t be so bad. And we like remote, so this should work for us.

Ahhh -
Brooklyn Me. Important safety tip.