The Wrack: kayak

blog of the wells reserve & laudholm trust

Kayaking on the Little River Estuary

March 27, 2017 By Suzanne Kahn Filed under Article Tags: estuarykayak

Paddle on calm and quiet waters while observing wildlife and learning about the natural history of estuaries, our treasured habitats.


2017 is our seventh year offering these popular guided tours led by registered Maine Kayak Guides.

Tour group size is kept small, with a maximum of six participants. Kayaks, paddles, and personal flotation devices are provided. The 3-hour time frame includes a short paddling lesson, 5-minute walk to the launch site and back, and launching of the kayaks. Actual time on the water is between 2 and 2½ hours. Launch times vary depending on tides. See calendar for specifics.

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Kayak Tours 2016

April 11, 2016 By Suzanne Kahn Filed under Article Tags: estuarykayak

kayakPaddle on calm and quiet waters while observing wildlife and learning about the natural history of estuaries, our treasured habitats.

2016 is our sixth year offering these popular guided tours led by registered Maine Kayak Guides.

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Kayak Season Recap

December 30, 2015 By Suzanne Kahn Filed under Article Tags: estuarykayakriver

Associated People Susan Bickford Linda Littlefield Grenfell Tin Smith Nancy Viehmann Kate Reichert

As the first snow of the season fell outside my window yesterday, with our fleet of kayaks safely stored in the barn for the winter, I compiled the evaluation results from our fifth kayak season at the Reserve. Sixteen kayaking programs were held between early July and early October (eighteen were scheduled, but two were cancelled due to high winds/small craft advisories) and 82 people participated. Sixty-one of these paddlers completed evaluations immediately following the program. This is the first year we've conducted a formal evaluation of the program. What valuable information did the evaluations provide? Lots!

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First-time Kayaker had a Blast

August 11, 2015 By David Morse Filed under Article Tags: educationkayak

Associated People Suzanne Kahn Kate Reichert

Getting ready to go kayakingEarly this summer our 12-year-old granddaughter from Ohio visited us here in Wells. We had heard about the reserve’s kayaking program and hoped she might be interested in trying it. We could sense a bit of trepidation on her part as she had never been in a kayak and would not know anyone in the group.

We met the others on a sunny morning in front of the barn and were greeted by the smiling and enthusiastic leaders, Suzanne and Kate. They would watch over Allie as neither of her grandparents could manage a kayak. We could sense our granddaughter begin to relax, especially upon being introduced to several who were also from Ohio.

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Learning the Little River

August 8, 2012 By Susan Bickford Filed under Article Tags: kayaklittle river

Associated People Nancy Viehmann

reflectionI have been the Natural Resource Specialist here at the reserve for over a decade. I know the land well… or at least I thought I did.

This year, several of the staff here were certified to lead kayak trips up the Little River estuary, which forms the northern boundary of the reserve. I was one of the lucky one. This was a whole new place for me. I had seen it from the river banks countless times. But being ON the water of the river is a whole new experience. Being on the water with a small group of people is even better.


Their stories add to this story. Where they have traveled from, how they heard about this trip. What they would like to learn about this estuary.

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Four new Registered Maine Guides in Sea Kayaking

June 21, 2012 By Paige Rutherford Filed under Article Tags: kayakpublic programs

Associated People Suzanne Kahn Susan Bickford Nancy Viehmann Stephanie Goggin

A big congratulations to Stephanie, Suzanne, Sue, and Nancy for passing the Registered Maine Guide Sea Kayak exam. Maine is one of the few states that requires outdoor guides to be licensed to maintain a quality of outdoor recreation for visitors, as well as to protect our natural resources when visiting wild spaces. It is one of the most difficult guide exams to pass. Usually, half of the people taking the test fail on their first try. Not these ladies! They will continue to hone their guide skills this summer during our kayaking programs.

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Wells Harbor paddle

June 21, 2007 By Susan Bickford Filed under Article Tags: kayakwells harbor

Tin and I had been trying to find time for a paddle for months. Despite the threat of thunderstorms all day, yesterday was the day. We both showed up to work here at the Reserve, our cars each donning kayaks on racks.

The weather threatened all day but the storms never materialized. Four o'clock came and off we went.  Within a few short minutes we pulled into Wells Harbor, unloaded our boats and were afloat. How easy was that.

We had a most excellent paddle. We were the people on the water that I used to envy from shore. This was my third paddle since buying a kayak over the winter and my first one at sea. I had an excellent guide. Tin was in his element.

Tidal water is so much livelier than the flat water of ponds. There is so much more to be aware of besides just wind and other boats. This was a whole new neighborhood to explore, a whole new environment.

We paddled past the town dock, a place where I had spent many an hour helping to maintain a piece of research equipment. I remembered some bitter cold afternoons trying to attach minute pieces of tubing to an ornery piece of equipment with unfeeling fingers. It was a far cry from the perfect temperature of today. We passed the beaches and jetties where before I had only gazed out at the water from the landward side. It all looked wonderfully different from this perspective.

The tide was full, so Tin and I decided to head over to Drakes Island and poke around the marshes a bit. Everything is so much closer on the water. The cormorants are eye level and regard you as just another funny looking duck. Geese barely get out of your way as you pass and the willets actually walk to the edge of the marsh to get a closer look at you.

The weather was turning better by the moment, so after checking out the tide gate, we headed up a tidal creek to see how far we could go. We crossed under Drakes Island Road and edged around one dog-leg bend in the creek after another. The marsh edges moved closer in as the channel narrowed. We bumped ahead and I learned how to finesse the boat along instead of just power stroking it forward. It was a waltz instead of a foxtrot.

Here the marsh visit got very up close and personal. Most of the time the forward boat was out of sight around the next bend. The marsh was so close it seemed to be embracing me, enveloping me in a green blanket.

Tin continued to move forward until his boat could not longer make the turn. We paused to watch two jays harass a red tailed hawk trying to roost in their neighborhood. I felt bad for the hawk. I liked this neighborhood. We had to actually back paddle for awhile until we could find a place wide enough to turn around. Then we were heading back.

The sun broke out as we crossed under the road out into the open channel. The current was with us carrying us on its back as we headed toward the harbor. I am glad I had Tin as a guide, otherwise I would have spent hours trying to find the right way back.

As we neared the jetties, a mother harbor seal and her pup popped up and eyed us curiously. Then after several dives, the pup popped up not ten feet from our boats and began studying us earnestly. It looked confused, especially when Tin started meowing at it. "What were these things in my water?" it said with its mournful wet dark eyes. It decided we weren't a threat and eventually wandered off.

The seal pup was the frosting on top of a perfect paddle cake. Again with very little effort, we had our boats loaded on our cars and we left with hopes of trying to get back on the water at least once a week for the summer. Here's hoping it happens.

56, 55, 51, 53, 54

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