Geneva Kayak Center

Expeditionary Trips

Maine & Canada: Bold Coast & Bay of Fundy Expedition

A unique sea kayak experience for Advancing Intermediates, Advanced Paddlers and Instructors/Coaches
Inn & Expeditionary Accommodations
Jonesport, ME & Grand Manan, NB

Dates: September 8-17, 2012
Days: 10 days, 9 nights
Price: $1899 per person
Trip Level:4 to 5
Includes: Mix of camping and Guest House Accomodations, Coaching, meals as described in the Itinerary
Certifications Include: ACA L4 IDW/ICE, BCU 4 Star Sea Leader Training & Assessment, & ACA L5 ICW*

Trip Description

Join the Geneva Kayak Center for this unique opportunity to travel, train, learn and be certified in a dynamic sea environment. Exploring Maine’s Jonesport area and Bold Coast, along with crossings to New Brunswick’s Grand Manan and Wolves Islands, and then onto the Canadian Maritimes provides the unique opportunity to travel whilst on the sea with other like-minded paddlers. Fog, large tidal range and currents causing overfalls and races, open ocean paddling and crossings, immense cliffs, wilderness and wildlife entice paddlers to this magical area.

The expedition will start in Jonesport, and move through what is considered “Downeast” Maine as we travel along the coast to the town of Lubec. Downeast Maine is known as the most remote shore on the Eastern Seaboard. Rugged and untouched, most likely foggy, this is the area of Maine where tidal range is over 20 feet, the paddling is exposed, and landings become fewer and further between. The reward for paddling this area is experiencing awe-inspiring wilderness as we paddle through many nature conservancies and see both marine wildlife and land species. As we reach West Quoddy head, where the rising sun shines its first rays on the US each morning, we’ll prepare to cross into Canada. Crossings of the Bay of Fundy are no small matter as we will attempt to cross to Grand Manan Island and it’s soaring cliffs, and then to the Wolves, a seldom-visited set of islands further north into the Bay of Fundy. If conditions allow our group to proceed to the Wolves, we’ll make a decision to head west to Deer and Campobello Islands before going to Cobscook Bay, and Cobscook Bay’s Reversing Falls, or north to St. John’s Reversing Falls of “Eastern Horizons” fame.

Paddling for this expedition is challenging and participants should expect travel days on the water to be in the 15-30 nautical mile range. Our group will also take advantage of the many tidal races and two potential overfalls that we will encounter on the journey. Rough water boat handling, paddling in swell, surf and significant current are all part of the experience. Advanced navigation lessons move from the classroom into “real life” as we plan for the tides each day of paddling. Significant crossings in the Bay of Fundy require figuring tidal vectors and paddling in fog can severely limit visibility.

This trip will be lead by Geneva Kayak’s Ryan Rushton (BCU 5 Star Sea Award, ACA L5 Instructor Trainer). Ryan has led trips in Wales, the Bay of Fundy, Alaska, and Lake Superior and is preparing for an upcoming expedition around Cape Horn.

This expedition includes formal ACA and BCU trainings and assessments. Paddlers who are not interested in certifications or awards can opt out of the formal instructor/leader training and certification portions of experience and enjoy the training that the journey will naturally provide. Rest days on days two, six, and one other floating day are incorporated into the trip as weather may dictate that we can not make our planned journey for the day. Any “classroom” worked needed for the instructor certifications or Star Award will be incorporated into these days. As with any sea kayaking program “classroom” time will include time on the water.


A sea journey of this nature is highly subject to change due to sea state and weather conditions. Several “Rest Days’ are built into the trip in order to give flexibility in the planned journey. Our group may not be able to paddle to all the stated destinations, but the trip planned has a reasonable likelihood of completion.
Day 1
GKC staff will pick-up participants who fly into Portland by 12pm and Bangor by 3pm for transport to Jonesport. Participants who drive to Jonesport, ME should plan to arrive by 6pm, when the vehicle transporting other clients has arrived in Jonesport. We are renting a waterfront vacation home in Jonesport for the first two nights of the trip.
No meals are included, Guest House Accommodations
Day 2
A day trip / rough water training in the Jonesport area is an exciting way to start our paddling experience. Great Wass Island projects farther out to sea than any other landmass on the shore of Eastern Maine and is located geographically where the Gulf of Maine and Bay of Fundy meet. Splendid kayaking as well as the opportunity to paddle in the preserve makes Day 2 an experience not to miss.
Breakfast and Lunch are included, Guest House Accommodations
Day 3
Launching from Jonesport, our group will explore a myriad of islands and we ride the flood tide to Cross Island National Wildlife Refuge. We’ll cross Chandler, Englishman and Machias Bay on the way to Cross Island. There are several potential small races near Cross Island that we can play at if conditions are present.
Paddling Distance of +/- 20 nautical miles. Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner are provided. Wild Camping on Cross Island
Day 4
Day four’s journey is an exposed paddle up the Bold Coast of Maine from Cross Island to Lubec. There are relatively few sheltered landings on the first stretch of this paddle. We’ll paddle the flood tide up the coast and into Lubec.
Paddling distance of +/-25nm. Breakfast and Lunch are provided. Inn Accommodations in Lubec.
Day 5
Day 5 includes one of the more committing legs of our journey as we cross the Grand Manan Channel of the Bay of Fundy. Following check-in with Canadian customs that morning we’ll make the crossing of the Bay of Fundy and paddle the west coast of Grand Manan Island. Sheer cliffs rising 100 to 200 feet out of the water and the waters around Southern Head make this a challenging, but extremely beautiful stretch of water. Depending on the time one paddles around, the southern headland is an area of increased tidal flow and rough water. After rounding the headland we’ll cruise into Seal Cove to the ever-welcoming McLaughlin’s Inn.
Paddling distance of 30+nm. Lunch is provided. Inn Accommodations in Seal Cove
Day 6
Following four days of paddling, we’ll take a rest day in Seal Cove. Participants have the opportunity to take some time off, or perhaps return to Southern Head for play paddling. For those involved in the ACA Instructor program, we’ll have the opportunity to take care of the classroom portions of the experience.
Lunch is provided. Inn Accommodations in Seal Cove
Day 7
After a day off the water, we’ll plan another committing journey from the south end of Grand Manan Island to the Northern headland and across to the Wolves. The Wolves are an area that is known for whales and porpoises, perhaps we’ll see or hear a few Finbacks along the way.
Paddling distance of 25+nm. Lunch and Dinner are provided. Wild Camping on Southern Wolf Island
Day 8 - 9
Depending on our progress as a group, we have several options from this point. We can paddle from the Wolves to New River Beach Provincial Park and then north to the Reversing Falls of St. John, NB; or south to Campobello Island and Herring Cove Provincial Park. If we paddle north our trip will end at St. John’s Reversing Falls on Saturday and we’ll drive south to camp at Cobscook Bay State Park that night. If we head south to Campobello Island from Friday night, we’ll paddle in through the Quoddy Narrows with the flood and back to Cobscook Bay’s Reversing Falls.
Paddling distance TBD. Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner are provided on Friday. Breakfast and Lunch are provided on Saturday. Wild Camping both Friday and Saturday nights. Paddling distance of 25+nm. Lunch and Dinner are provided. Wild Camping on Southern Wolf Island
Day 10
Transport from Cobscook Bay State Park to Bangor and Portland, ME