I guess all that time out on the water finally got to us. Only a day after our guided kayak tour out of Rockport harbor we found ourselves back at Northshore Kayaks loading up two new-to-us Wilderness Systems Tsunami kayaks.
It wasn’t a completely spontaneous decision. We’ve been seriously considering purchasing kayaks lately. And since we were about to spend six weeks on the Maine coast, it only made sense to do it now. When we arrived for our kayak tour on Friday, I immediately noticed the sign outside the rental shop advertising used kayaks for 20-30% off. We bought our used mountain bikes from a rental shop in Hood River, Oregon and found it to be a great way to get good quality gear for a reasonable price.
After spending several hours and paddling 5 miles in the rental kayaks, we both felt that this brand and model was a good fit for us. The Tsunami is a 14.5 foot long kayak that glides easily through the waves while maintaining an incredibly stable feel. We liked the adjustable seats, ample cockpit space, and three bulkheads to store our gear. After the tour we chatted with the owner of the shop about our options and prices, and then went home to think about it. A quick Google search confirmed that these were indeed considered to be good quality kayaks that get great reviews all around the Internet. So we went back the next day, made a deal for a pair of kayaks at almost 40% off the new price, added in some used paddles and new life jackets, and we were in business!
We still need to purchase a better system for carrying the kayaks on the truck. Right now we have them sitting on top of the cap with foam blocks underneath and lots of ratchet straps holding them in place. It works fine, but since the truck will be their permanent home we need a system that makes it simpler for us to put them on and take them off. The good news is that I can (just barely) reach the roof of the truck to lift them down. And even at 55 lbs each, with Tim’s help I can lift it up over my head to get it back on the truck. Tim has narrowed the options down to a rack and carrier system that he likes (I let him deal with this kind of stuff), and we’ll keep out eye out for a used set up before shelling out the bucks for a new one.
All of this happened just in time for us to leave Gloucester and head north into Maine where we’ll be spending the next six weeks on the coast. Our first stop — Winslow Memorial Park in Freeport. I haven’t taken many photos of the campground yet, but here’s my outdoor office set up from yesterday.
As you can see we have a pretty sweet site with a view of Casco Bay. Within an hour of arriving we had the truck unhitched, the kayaks unloaded, and we were in the water.
We paddled around a nearby island and pulled up to a sandy beach for a look around. There was a couple with a dog who had anchored their small power boat off shore. Just as I was taking a picture of the beach from my boat the dog ran over to say hi.
We went out again on Monday afternoon. The tides around here are pretty extreme. At low tide the boat ramp is completely inaccessible so we have to be careful about when we go and come back. Dragging our boats trough 50 feet of mud to reach the shore doesn’t sound like fun. We calculated that as long as we were back by 6 pm (about 3 hours before low tide) we would be fine. Turns out it was plenty of time to paddle out and around two islands.
The weather is looking perfect this week for lots of kayaking, and we’re already planning a long paddle adventure for this Saturday. Yup, I think these kayaks are going to get a lot of use.