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Maine Camp

There were sixteen of us, three instructors and thirteen students, all of varying levels but generally 3 Star / L4 paddlers. About half the camp was from the midwest, paddling on the Great Lakes, with the rest from several eastern locales: Boston, New Hampshire, New York.

The camp itself was an AMC (Appalachian Mountain Club) camp situated on Knubble Bay, near Georgetown, Maine, just a twenty minute drive from Bath. We were near Reid State Park, and also the hamlet of Five Islands, and the Kennebec river. The great thing about this area is that many different coastal features are in easy reach of each other: significant tidal ranges, tideraces, overfalls, strong currents with correspondingly strong eddies, islands, beaches, rock gardens, and navigation markers.

We were all there for sea leadership training. Solid paddling skills were required, but the course was more about planning and leading trips. Towards that end, we took turns every morning reporting on the weather, diagramming Highs and Lows and Fronts, as well as the weather itself. We also spent a good half day on charting a course based on charts and pilot guides, and a few hours of practical navigation using compasses, charts, and markers.

The real fun was in the environment though. There was so much variety! And we took turns with each coach, so we were exposed to different teaching and leading styles.

I developed a reputation as the camp coffee maker. There was a large percolating stovepot, about 16 inches tall, with a metal basket and pipe. I tend to be an early riser and when camping, even earlier, generally awake with the sunrise. So, the first morning, I took a stab at making coffee, eyeballing the amount of water and adding about as much coffee as I could remember from when I used a drip brewer. At home I’m all French Press so I really wasn’t sure what the right amount was.

It was a hit. Everyone complimented the brewer, and me once they knew, and that was it. I became the camp coffee maker. This involved taking the giant pot out to the pump well every morning and working the handle a few times, then adding the basket and grind, and then turning on the heat. When I looked up how to make coffee in a percolator (on, it summarized the process as having three requirements: water, heat, and no respect for coffee. Well, two out of three ain’t bad.

We spent five days in the camp, arriving Tuesday evening and departing Sunday. What followed was a series of adventures, a blur in retrospect, and hence I’m grouping more by topic than chronology. It was great. It was grand. It was Maine. Kayaking in Maine.

Published in 2015 Backpaddle British Canoeing Kayaking Leadership Sea


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