With a serious case of spring fever, we decided it was time for a paddle trip in Casco Bay. Ever since Teton had seen these islands on a previous trip, he had wanted to go back and camp there with Moose. So, on this early spring weekend, we set out for The Goslings.
We parked at Lookout Point, a public boat launch on Harpswell Neck, where we took off for our two night trip. The receding sun gifted us a beautiful sunset as we paddled off to the surrounding islands. During the 3-mile paddle to the Goslings, we passed by Birch, Upper Goose, and Lower Goose Islands. While paddling next to Lower Goose, we were surprised to see about a half dozen deer grazing for dinner.
Our plan was to camp at the northern end of West Gosling, but when we arrived the site was occupied. Instead, we headed over to East Gosling to explore the two campsites listed on the island, one on the northern tip and one on the south end. Due to the osprey nesting restrictions, we chose the northern site, and proceeded to set up camp.
Once our tent was situated, we gathered some driftwood and started a fire on the beach in front of a large boulder. We began cooking and realized that as the tide was coming in, the water was seeping under the rock wall that our fire was situated behind. The rising water began swamping and slowly extinguishing our fire. We had to keep moving our belongings toward land, we wrapped up our cooking quickly to avoid losing our fuel source. After dinner we enjoyed the solitude of the quiet islands while gazing up at the infinite expanse above us.
The following morning we enjoyed what has become a traditional day-old Holy Donut breakfast. We decided to take advantage of the morning's calm waters and hopped in the kayaks to explore further into Casco Bay. Little Whaleboat was the destination, about 1.5 miles from the Goslings. Smooth waters led the way and as we approached, we noticed that seals were inhabiting many of the outer sand bars of the island. We paused and continued slowly while the the 20+ seals barked and scooted in to the water, only to pop up a short distance away to see what we were up to. After idling around, watching the seals watch us, we decided to head back toward the Goslings instead of continuing onto Whaleboat Island. This would keep us closer to the mainland for the next day's travel in case of a change in the weather which seemed eminent.
We had plans to pack up and move campsites for night two, but it seemed the couple on West Gosling planned to stay for a second night as well, so we decided to land on Lower Goose Island to see what it had to offer. While investigating in the woods, Moose stumbled upon a spectacular hidden campsite on the eastern side of the island. The site provided a great cliffside ocean view which sold us instantly, this would be our home for the night. Following the camp set up rituals we collected downed and dead fire wood, ate dinner, and then we stargazed next to our fire until it was time to retire to the tent.
The next morning we packed up and hit the water early. A storm was clearly blowing in and we wanted to get back to the mainland before the waters became too rough. The paddle back to Lookout Point was quick, and as smooth as the rest of the trip. Conveniently, we were able to pick up lobsters right at the boat launch on our way out, a great end cap to a perfect Maine island weekend.
This small chain of islands offers paddlers a fantastic, quick, and accessible escape from the mainland. Please be respectful of nesting birds and other wildlife when visiting, and always leave it better than you found it! For more information on The Goslings and other Maine Coast Heritage Trust protected islands click the following link. www.mcht.org/preserves/the-goslings