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Kelp, cold water, islands… does it get much better?

My job is important, but I’m definitely not one of those people who goes to work slavishly when fun, family responsibilities, or health concerns should come first. I’ve been at my workplace for more than 20 years, but I’m not burned out. Though for the last year or so, when I’d look at my paycheck, I’d only notice the vacation accrual line which was swelling towards the 300 hour mark. I asked myself frequently, what could I do with all that time?

“I’m planning a sabbatical for next spring or summer with the goal of doing something new and away from work and family. I’m looking at everything from a cross country bike expedition to a retreat center to Spanish language school.” I wrote to a friend in Maine. “And tell me about the Maine Island Trail.”

I decided against a yoga retreat pretty quickly. An artist residency was pretty high on my list, but it didn’t feel like I’d rank high on any residency’s entry list. Travel was definitely on the agenda, but I also didn’t want to be a tourist someplace.

My friend wrote back, “So- an overview map is tough because there are a hundred+ sites spread over the 300 miles of the most complicated coast in the lower 48… [and there are] bold coasts with green water with no good bailout options where you will need good weather and tides depending on your boat to safely get around.”

I was intrigued. And there was the possibility of pulling ashore to get a lobster roll too. But the logistics of arranging a boat trip 3,000 miles away were daunting, even with a cooperative friend on the other side.

But the idea of a boat trip stuck and that’s when it dawned on me that one of the greatest sailing grounds in the world started only a few hours north of me…