After three spoiled reservations throughout the summer due to thunderstorms, we were finally able to return to Richmond Island with the prospect of wonderful weather. After discovering the island in early June, Richmond still held a place in our hearts as one of our favorite spots in the greater Portland area and we were excited to finally be able to return to show Teton's parents Grey Wolf and Timber the remote beauty of this spectacular destination. Lucky for us, it was the last weekend the Sprague Corporation allows camping permits on the island and we were one of two visiting groups on the entire island.
Generally the travel plan would proceed as follows; launch from the Kettle Cove State Park boat ramp, paddle 1.5 miles SE around the NE corner of the island to Broad Cove and land. From Broad Cove we would then haul our gear .5 mile south (an 8 minute trek) on the Perimeter Trail to Clam Cove (our destination). The difficulty with Richmond Island is that it lies completely exposed out in the wide open Atlantic. With no land breaks or protection from the full force of the ocean the waters, the island can become unexpectedly rough in mild to windy conditions. It is not uncommon to experience 3-5+ ft. waves once underway, which can be quite unnerving and dangerous for novice to semi-novice sea paddlers. If you plan a trip to Richmond make sure your group is prepared for such difficulties and keep an eye on the changing conditions. If you do get caught in undesirable or unexpected rough water you can paddle south-west towards the man-made land break which will offer some minor shelter from wind and waves. This is precisely what we were forced to do after experiencing tremulous swells; adjusting course we made a B-line to Little Cove on the north side of the island (about 1.2 miles from Kettle Cove). From there we stashed our boats in the dune grass above high tide line and began to haul our outfit the now 3/4 mile trek to Clam Cove.
Once our camp was set up, we hiked the 2 mile Perimeter Trail which outlines the entire island. This rolling trail boast magnificent rugged coastline views, forest, open plains, and of course many sandy beaches. Timber scoured the beaches for sea glass and shells while Grey Wolf hunted for abandoned lobster buoys, both of which can be found in plenty on Richmond. The trail also bypasses the beautifully situated caretaker's cabin on the north west side of the island. We also crossed paths with the free-roaming wild ram that reside on Richmond year-round.
Richmond Island is definitely a get-away-from-it-all destination. With only three camp sites on the entire island, all nearly a mile or more apart, it is easy to feel like you have the place to yourself. Clam Cove, the most desired of the sites features its own private beach, a wide and expansive view of the open Atlantic ocean, and a beautiful and varying landscape backdrop. You will be hard pressed to find a location as close as Richmond that can evoke the same sense of remoteness and isolation. Bring your favorite beverages, plenty of snacks, and an array of camp fire fixings, kick up your feet and let the relaxation begin.
The following morning at high tide, Teton and Grey Wolf headed to the SE side of Clam Cove to a little jetty called Adam's Head where the ocean meets a jagged, rocky, and steep shoreline. Here the waves come to life and aggressively pound the little outlet. We brought two saltwater fishing outfits with us to the island and it was here that we would put them to the test. We casted out our chunk mackerel to see if we could land anything, unfortunately all we caught were laps full of water.
The rest of the day we spent soaking up the last of the late summer sun, collecting sea glass, and finding washed up ocean oddities as seen below.
When it came time to leave we packed up and cleaned up the camp site, leaving it better than when we found it. All loaded up, we began the 3/4 mile trek back to Little Cove on the north side. Sad to leave the island paradise, we loaded up the boats and made the 1.2 mile paddle back to the mainland.