My Book!!

One opportunity that the blog has brought me is the co-authoring of a guidebook, Paddling Southern Maine! It is something in which I take a lot of pride! My writing partner, Sandy Moore, and I have created a book with 54 amazing trips that are within about an hour of Portland! Our motto as we wrote the book was wanting to 'get people to spend the day on the water and not in their cars!'

If you want more information on our book please visit Sandy and I are available to attend/present various functions/events. Please email me at for more information!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Scarborough Maine: Nonesuch River Kayaking

Body of Water: Nonesuch River, Scarborough, Maine [Maine Gazetteer Map 3, B3]

Directions(from Portland, ME): Take Rt. 1 South into Scarborough, At the Oak Hill Area (Intersection of Rt. 1 and 114) you will turn left onto Black Strap Road.  You will drive on Black Point Road (Rt. 207)  for about a mile and a half and you will turn right onto Clay Pit Road.  Go to the end of Clay Pit Road to the public boat launch. 

Boat Launch: The boat launch is great!  It is a public boat launch with plenty of room to put in and take out. 

Parking: Free.  Plenty of parking spaces, set up well.  There are no public bathrooms at the boat landing. 

Wildlife: Several bird and plant species.

Notes: Paddling the Nonesuch River is a wonderful way to spend a few hours!  The river has sharp corners which are fun to navigate.  The current, at it's peak, is pretty strong.  You will go along at a pretty good clip as you paddle along the river.  You will paddle under a railroad trestle and will also paddle under Rt. 207 (Black Point Road.)  After going under Black Point Road there are some downed trees in the water, so just paddle carefully.  This is a great paddle for people who have spent enough time kayaking to build up enough endurance to do a 4 hour paddle.  After paddling for a long time, we came to a place where you could turn right or stay kind of straight... turning right meant we continued on the river.  Going straight looked like we would have hit some rougher water, but we later learned it would have taken us into a pond.  As you paddle you will pass some houses and as you approach Black Strap road the sounds of the traffic are kind of loud, but the rest of the paddle feels like you are far from civilization.  There are a few duck blinds along the river which means I would not paddle back there in the fall.  (But duck hunters may love it!) 
I think I prefer this paddle over doing the Scarborough Marsh.  The way the river turns and the variety of plant life as the water changes from very salty to being more freshwater.  I also like that the river is wide enough to have your paddling partners next to you for easy conversation. 

*Tide: Pay attention to the high and low tide times.  If you plan to paddle up the river (away from the ocean) and want to paddle for about 4 hours , I would advise putting in at the boat landing about 30-45 minutes before the high tide is listed for the beach  and allow the current/tide to push you upstream.  Because you will be further inland, the time of high tide is delayed.  We paddled today and learned from some folks sitting on their dock  that the high tide at their house is about an hour and a half later than high tide hits the beach.  So, if you paddle for a couple of hours upstream, you will be able to turn around as the tide changes and ride the tide back to the boat launch.

* Update 9/5/2014: A loyal blog reader paddled the Nonesuch River recently and offered some advice worth sharing here. Getting in and out of one's kayak here is difficult, very difficult.  Because it is tidal, the banks are steep and muddy, making it difficult to get your footing.  The blog reader who shared her story said she was paddling when nature called.  While she is an experienced paddler, she did not anticipate the slippery mud and depth of the river in the place she tried to get out.  Unfortunately she fell into the river, with her camera around her neck, and had to swim for a while, paddle in one hand, kayak in the other.  Fortunately, this blog buddy is, like me, a 'kayaker for life,' and this experience did not deter her from future paddles.  This is a good reminder that in places where tides change and/or water depths change quickly, paddling with someone is a good idea.  In this case the paddler still may have fallen in the water, camera and all, but... may have had some moral support and may have been able to get back in her kayak more easily.  Also, a good reminder to use the nearest bathroom before getting on the water, and if you have to get out of the boat to become one with nature, be as careful with your choice of location as you can!  I am grateful that people who read the blog share their experiences! 

This is the start of the adventure!  

This is one of the duck blinds we saw... at first we wondered if we had come upon an outhouse!

This is the railroad trestle.  You will hear what sounds like rushing water as you approach.  There is no waterfall, just the current against the bridge!

We made it under the trestle just before the train came through.  (This is actually the back of the train, I didn't get my camera fast enough to get the front of the train on the bridge!)

This is what the river looks like most of the way. 

This is the Rt. 207 bridge (Black Point Road)

Along the river there was  a lot of foam on the water.

I am disappointed in the quality of this picture, but it is the best one I got today of this bird.  I am on a quest to get a better picture of a white heron/egret.  (I think that is the name!)

It is beautiful out there!

It was nice to be on a river, and it was cool that it was tidal!

Another beautiful spot!

I liked this grass.  There were different kinds of grass along the river. 

This was a large bird, I think it is a hawk, but it was a little too far away for my camera. 

I love this picture!  Had to share it!

The clouds were so fluffy today! 

It was neat to see the sights as the tide levels changed. 
On the way in I was a lot lower as I looked at this log. 

As we paddled back, and the tide was going out, you could see and hear the water draining from the marsh. 

This could become one of my favorite spots!


  1. Very beautiful pictures!!

  2. Super cool pictures and information. Thanks! :)

  3. Wow. We just moved to Scarborough and I googled kayak launching in this area and this page popped up. What great information - THANK YOU!

    1. You are welcome! Glad to help people find places to enjoy paddling.