Monday, February 10, 2014

Saco River, Biddeford, Maine

Body of Water: Saco River, Biddeford, ME [Maine Gazetteer Map 3, C3 ]

Directions (from Portland, ME): Head south on 95 and take the Saco Exit, Exit 36.  Take the Rt. 1 South Exit into Saco.  At the light at Beach Street stay straight, which is Rt. 9, through Saco's downtown area.  Follow the signs, staying on Rt. 9, which eventually becomes Pool St. Stay on Pool Street and keep your eyes out for a public boat landing sign on the left and turn left onto Marblehead Lane which brings you to the boat launch. 

Boat Launch: The boat launch is designed for boats of all sizes. 


Parking: There is ample parking here and there are bathroom facilities. 

Wildlife: Many birds, cormorants, heron, sea gulls, ducks, etc.

Notes:  This part of the Saco River is tidal.  The water level changes often and the current can be very strong.  I would not recommend this adventure for  beginners, especially solo paddlers.  Because the tide changes and the current strong in some places it is important to be a strong paddler.  Given the time of day and the tide chart, we arrived as the tide was close to being high.  The smarter choice would have been to paddle up the river, towards Saco, paddling with the current and then we could have waited for the tide to shift and could have ridden the tide back to the boat launch.  But the friend I was with really loves the ocean and wanted to paddle out to the Atlantic.  I warned her that I have paddled against a strong current before, that it was hard work, but if she wanted to I would go out to the ocean.  She wanted to so we headed down river.  There were several places to explore on the way down the river.  There were a few areas where we could get in behind some of the grass and get close to the shore.





There were many tall reeds along the way.


There was an abandoned wharf which appeared to be the place the cormorants wanted to hand out. 



As we paddled we caught a glimpse of this heron who was fishing in some of the more shallow pools of water.  It caught this snake and the snake put up quite a fight. 



Eventually the heron won! 

A flock of Canada geese were resting in the grass. 

When we paddled into some of the offshoots it was very peaceful. 


This is my friend with her newly purchased kayak.  She has really enjoyed kayaking and we hope to have many more adventures together!


Along the way we passed the University of New England. 

As we got close to the end of the river it definitely looked more and more like the ocean. 

This is one of my favorite pictures. 



As we got closer to the ocean we pulled over to the edge to stretch our legs and it was so sandy we went for a little swim to cool off. It was beautiful. 



The boats coming into the channel from the ocean were going at a pretty good clip.  We decided we should paddle back to the boat launch and get away from the bigger boats. 


The tide was definitely going out... the current in the water was getting stronger and I knew we would be in for a good workout. 

On the way back to the boat launch there were not many opportunities for taking pictures because if I stopped paddling I lost ground.  My friend struggled more than I did so as we were paddling I looked for places that were protected from the current for us to take breaks.  
We made it back safely and next time, will use the current to our advantage.  I look forward to exploring the other end of the river. 



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