East of Boothbay Harbor, Maine 2
Surf at "Grumpy Bontanius"
East of Boothbay Harbor II
When I was a boy, one of my favorite walks from my aunt's cottage at Ocen Point was along the rocky shoreline to Little River. I would pack a peanut butter and jelly sandwich and fill my canteen with cold spring water and head toward the misty sea. Waves pounded the shoreline as sea gulls fluttered in the air looking for crabs washed up by surf. Ram Island Lighthous bell tolled like some mystic Buddhist gong in Kyoto or Nara in a dense patch of fog. The strong, salty smell of the ocean enlivened me and made me feel good.
To my favorite rock "Grumpy Bontanius"
I hopped from rock to rock until I came to the "Cove" or bit of sand beach where moored boats bobbed up and down in more gentle waves. I beachcombed for a while and collected a few bleached sand dollars while arctic terns screeched as they searched for food. On up into the higher rocks I climbed to catch a glimpse of White Island a few miles off shore and a series of rocky ledges called "The Thread of Life." By now I had reached my favorite rock that I used to call "Grumpy Bontanius" (under the influence of my Latin classes). If the tide was coming in and I hopped across to Grumpy, I just might get distracted enough enjoying the sea that I'd get marooned out there until the tide receded again. But not on this day, because I wanted to get to Little River.
By now Pemaquid Point came into view with its slanting pegmatite cliffs and a white lighthouse blinking in the distance. There is a fort over there called Fort Pemaquid built to protect British colonists from Penobscot Indians back in the early 1600's. Though I suspect the Penobscots helped more than hindered the colonists. In fact, in later years, many a colonist went beyond the pale of treaty law to hunt seals and wild turkeys on fobidden turf like Matinicus and Monhegan Islands. The eighteenth-century treaty made between the Indians and Governor Dummer of Massachusetts (Maine was then part of Massachusetts) explicitly stated that Penobscot people shall have exclusive hunting and fishing rights on all off shore islands.
Approach to Little River
When I heard the clanging of a bell buoy, I knew I was getting near Little River which is indeed a little fresh-water stream that enters an estuary and ultimately the sea. I got to a spot overlooking that estuary and ate my peanut butter sandwich and took some swigs of water. Before long I stood along the misty banks of Little River lined with white birch trees and lofty New England white pines that looked like giant pagodas. I enjoyed watching this river enter the estuary that had a tidal dam which allowed the ocean to race inward or outward through a tight channel depending on the tide. Of course many sea gulls, terns and cormorants flew around looking for an easy catch and screeching with laughter as one or the other caught a fish or crab or even a baby lobster.
Time for me to return, I thought to myself, but this day-hike has a short cut through the spruce forest that would take me the "back way" home. As I walked through aisles of spruce and pine sometimes drapped in gray moss, I delighted in hearing the notes of a Swainson's thrush (at that time it was called the hermit thrush) sounding like "A myrtle, a turtle, a whortle." Clouds gathered and it had begun to rain, but no matter, the cottage came into view and I could smell the smoke of a nice wood fire.
There are a number of tour boats that sail out of Boothbay Harbor including such destinations as Squirrel Island, Monhegan Island, Friendship Harbor, Cape Newagen and Seguin Island.
© 2010 Richard Francis Fleck