– Last Updated: May-23-12 8:30 AM EST –
First, you did not answer my question about fog. That can be particularly bad in June, some years into early July, and we are due for a nasty bout this year. Two years ago was pretty clear, last summer was stunningly so, and that part of the coast never gives you three light-fog early summers in a row. So unless you have some fog-paddling skills that went unmentioned, I'd suggest a mainland base camp. That way you can't get stuck out there.
The best in terms of privacy and sheltered alternatives to get to some nice islands is Ames Island, four maybe five camp sites set up on an isthmus that forms the western boundary of Flood's Cove in Friendship. There are cabins on the other side of the cove but the camp sites are all set up so that you don't see the cabins and vice versa. The camp sites are quite lovely and private, look out over the Medomak River, and there is a screened gazebo at the southern end of the island where you can eat in peace from the mosquitoes. It also has a hell of a view. At low tide you can walk across on a land bridge and get fresh water from a spring. Parking no issue, comes with using the sites on a road off the main loop thru the cabins.
Ames Island is in the MITA book but is also a paid situation (very reasonable) - sites developed by the owner of Flood's Cove.
The obvious choices for leaving a car parked for three days either cost money or can be problematical in other ways. On the western edge you have a private marina, Round Pond Harbor and Muscongous Harbor. You'd need to call each of these to find out cost or viability for leaving a car parked. But the other issue with these is that it is a lot longer haul to get to some of the nicer private islands than from anywhere in Friendship. And the wind and tide can throw you a hell of a cropper getting across to there at times, an issue if you have to take whatever you can find in three days.
There are two options further north along the western boundary. Bremen Town Launch is one, but is notoriously unsafe for out of state plates even for day paddling according the locals who like us. Broad Cove is fine, but you have to paddle out the last leg of the Medomak a ways to get to the islands. Ames is much closer to islands.
There is a town launch in Friendship, off of Martin Point Road, where Maine plates never get bothered overnight. It jumps into Hatchett Cove, not a horrid starting spot to get to islands. But I am not sure about out of state plates, at least unless it is after July 4 when they just have to put up with out of towners. I'd suggest a call to the Town. Some of the minor launch points in Friendship are not landable at low tide. Bradford Point is a nice launch for a day paddle out of Friendship, but I do not believe that you can leave a car there overnight unless they know it is a local. Do not bother the folks at Friendship Harbor about launching out of there - it is a working harbor and they get damned cranky about it. Rightly so, since there are other launches in town.
Port Clyde is a tough option, but I just read eel's post and apparently he has found a way to leave a car there. But as he said, the (OOPS! eastern) side isn't the best for places to get to.
I disagree with him about the western side being best though - I really think that Friendship has the best location for getting to the islands. It is pretty much in the middle.
As to camp sites on islands - if you must - Crow is quite a close hop from some place like Round Pond, but is also a public island so you can find yourself sharing the space with a troop of boy scouts. Thief is the other public island, but you can get stuck by weather on Thief. The crossing to the mainland is just interesting enough that people have had to stay an extra day.
Below part edited out. kayakmedic has a point... though our visits to the private islands in Muscongous has indicated that total compliance with the rules is not to be guaranteed. Summer-only guides from outside of Maine are the usual issue from what we have seen on the water and in the log books.
If you base on Ames Island, in bad weather you could beach in Hatchett Cove, walk up the road to Flood's Cove, grab a car and drive the boats back to the dock.
Also - in Muscongous just stop and sit and wait when you see a lobster boat. It has the densest concentration of pots in that entire region of Maine, and it is easier to be annoying to them than not.