Cobscook Bay

Whiting, Maine

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An exceptional paddle through the “boiling tides” of one of the state’s most remote, wild, and beautiful bays. This trip explores the western reach of Cobscook Bay, one of the most beautiful and imposing natural settings in all of Maine. The bay derives its name from the Passamaquoddy word kapscook, which means “waterfalls.” But, as author Fannie Hardy Eckstorm writes in Indian Place Names of the Maine Coast, “these are not ordinary waterfalls; they are the boiling tide over unseen rocks.” Indeed, “boiling tide” is perhaps the more fitting description for the bay’s turbulent waters and phenomenal tidal flow. The average tide here exceeds 20 feet, and can rise a foot every fifteen minutes. At the center of the bay, huge volumes of water are squeezed through a narrow gap known as Reversing Falls, creating currents in excess of 10 knots, standing waves, whirlpools, boils and massive eddies. The falls are so impressive that a park has been established near the water’s edge so onlookers can witness the show. For boaters, Cobscook can be daunting to say the least. Yet, with sound judgment, appropriate skills, and a thorough understanding of the tides, paddling the bay can also be an enjoyable and serene experience.
Discover Maine

DESCRIPTION FROM:

Discover Maine

by Ty Wivell (Appalachian Mountain Club Books)

An exceptional paddle through the “boiling tides” of one of the state’s most remote, wild, and beautiful bays. This trip explores the western reach of Cobscook Bay, one of the most beautiful and imposing natural settings in all of Maine. The bay derives its name from the Passamaquoddy word kapscook, which means “waterfalls.” But, as author Fannie Hardy Eckstorm writes in Indian Place Names of the Maine Coast, “these are not ordinary waterfalls; they are the boiling tide over unseen rocks.” Indeed, “boiling tide” is perhaps the more fitting description for the bay’s turbulent waters and phenomenal tidal flow.

The average tide here exceeds 20 feet, and can rise a foot every fifteen minutes. At the center of the bay, huge volumes of water are squeezed through a narrow gap known as Reversing Falls, creating currents in excess of 10 knots, standing waves, whirlpools, boils and massive eddies. The falls are so impressive that a park has been established near the water’s edge so onlookers can witness the show. For boaters, Cobscook can be daunting to say the least. Yet, with sound judgment, appropriate skills, and a thorough understanding of the tides, paddling the bay can also be an enjoyable and serene experience.

©  Ty Wivell/Appalachian Mountain Club Books. All Rights Reserved.

Activity Type: Sea Kayaking
Nearby City: Whiting
Distance: 10
Skill Level: Moderate to Difficult
Duration: 4–5 hours
Local Contacts: Cobscook Bay State Park, Maine Bureau of Parks and Lands
Local Maps: USGS Whiting Quad, USGS Pembroke Quad
Driving Directions: Directions to Cobscook Bay

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Apr 2018