During their inaugural visit to Crescent Beach State Park, Moose and Teton noticed a small land mass off shore. Curious about the relatively close island, Moose researched it when they returned home. She discovered its name, Richmond Island and who owned it, The Sprague Corporation; digging a bit further, she found out that they offer free camping on the island.
To get permission for overnight use we were instructed to arrange an interview with the Sprague Corporation. We emailed and arranged for an early morning meeting in Cape Elizabeth at their estate. This meeting is purely to make face. It forces the camper to put forth some effort to prove that they are a responsible and respectable user. The representative gives the small list of rules and swaps information with you for future permits. Once you have been interviewed, you can obtain a permit without a meeting in the future. Part of the permit is for overnight parking at Kettle Cove State Park pending your calls to the Cape Elizabeth Public Safety Office (207) 767-3323 and the Kettle Cove Park Management (207) 799-5871 with your car type, plate numbers and number of days your call will be parked. Once this process is completed, you are set you go!
We headed out to Kettle Cove after work on Friday. The weather wasn't perfect, it was sprinkling on and off, but the forecast promised nicer weather in the future. We loaded up the boats, parked the car and launched from the boat ramp.
It was our intention to land at our camp site in Clam Cove on the southern side of the island, but as we manoeuvred around to the eastern side, the waters got uncomfortably rough. To make it to Clam Cove, you must paddle through the gut, a lively section of water that squeezes between Watts Point and Watts Ledge (a mass of rocks off the coast that stirs up some rough water). We decided to skip the sketchier water due to the excess of top deck weight we were carrying and landed in Broad Cove instead.
Once we landed, we briefly explored the beach and then scouted our route to our desired camp site at Clam Cove. We unloaded the boats and began to haul our gear the half mile walk (8 minutes or so) to our site.
The gear portage was not the most fun, but it only took a couple trips to get everything over to our site. Once our gear had all found its way to Clam Cove, we set up camp. We were blown away by this camp site: an all sand spot that overlooks a private beach equipped with a driftwood bench, coffee table, and fire pit. This place was paradise!
We are generally very light packers when it comes to camping but when you have kayaks to haul in whatever you want, it is easy to bring more comfort items, including a full camp fire meal and our favorite beer.
Richmond Island is very remote, it hosts three camp sites in total, a caretakers cabin (which has no electricity or running water) and a couple of old farm structures. Besides the caretaker, who resides on the island Thursday through Sunday (June through September) the island's only residents are 40-some wild roaming ram. They are 100% wild and only have human interaction once in the spring when they are rounded up to be sheared. The ram are very timid, but we finally got to see them on our first evening when they all retreated to Adam's Head where they find certain refuge on the small peninsulas' bottle neck. We followed them out there to snap a few pictures before retreating to our camp for the night.
The next day we got up and enjoyed some breakfast before setting off to explore the island via the perimeter trail, a two mile path that encircles the island.
We arrived at the caretaker's cabin fairly early in the morning and caught some wild ram grazing around the property.
The rest of the day we spent soaking up the rays and living it up beach style. We enjoyed a beautiful sunny day before heading back to the shores of Kettle Cove late in the afternoon.