Sunday, July 1, 2012

Lubec: Worth The Drive

As my remaining time in New England dwindles I'm taking bittersweet note of certain things that I might be doing for the last time. This week it was my work trip to Lubec, Maine for a final round of seaweed experiment maintenance.


Lubec is rugged, remote, and chilly- as far North and East as you can get on the US Atlantic Coast. It reminds me more of Washington State than of anywhere else on the East Coast, with rocky cliffs, spruce trees, moss, and kelp.


The place we stay there is an old restored Coast Guard Station near the lighthouse at Quoddy Head State Park. Our first day had pouring rain and temperatures in the 50s, but that made the next days' mix of cool sun, mist, and clouds seem delightful by comparison. The work that we do on the rocks is always a race against time, because our plots are only exposed for four hours per tidal cycle. Between tides, however, we have some unstructured time to catch up on email, hike, etc. On this trip up I brought windsurfing and snorkeling gear and had some good sessions.

The first spot I snorkeled was at the base of a cliff chasm near one of our seaweed experiment sites. I didn't stay there long because I got spooked by the deep dark water.
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The next snorkeling spot was more sheltered, near the Coast Guard boathouse.


At high tide the Fucus and Ascophyllum rockweeds were floating at full vertical extension, making spooky green curtains and corridors that you could swim through.


It's quite a contrast with their "piles of old laundry" appearance at low tide. Seeing my study organisms underwater like that gave me a better appreciation for their true seaweed selves, if you will.

I'm not quite sure what you call the body of water I windsurf on in Lubec- maybe Quoddy Channel? It's a broad inlet between the town of Lubec and the Bay of Fundy, bisected by the US - Canadian border. The launch point is a pull-off of South Lubec Road.


It had been blowing about 20 knots on the Bay of Fundy when we were at our experiment site on Wednesday, but it was more sheltered at the windsurfing launch, and there was a strong tidal current going in the same direction as the wind, so I rigged big - 6.8 on a 106 liter board. I had some good overpowered runs, buzzing by the mid-channel lighthouse and flirting with the Canadian border, until I thought I saw lighting and beat it back to the US shore.

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