I told my husband this year I want to have a picnic on Curtis Island for my birthday. Since we moved here, I have looked out on this island everyday. I have been curious about what is out there, and what it looks like. We do not own a boat or a kayak so getting out to Curtis Island would be a challenge. Curtis Island is the closest island to our lovely coastal village of Camden Maine. The Curtis Island Light House is on the island. The day sailors take tourist around the island to see the beautiful town owned property. The property is public and can be used by anyone. It is a lovely spot with a trail, benches and a little beach. I was talking to one of my friends that does own a boat, trying to drop a hint for him to sail us out there, but he had a funny answer, he said, well, you don’t need a boat, you can walk out there from Laite Beach at low tide. Although this might be true, barely, considering I would be walking in 4 – 5 feet of water with my picnic basket and cooler, this did not seem practical. My children sail out to Curtis Island with the Camden Sailing program. The kids have been to Curtis Island at least a dozen times, they go out there and have treasure hunts and play capture the flag. They think it is funny that I have never been there and that they know more then me about a jewel of Camden.
So onward toward my goal of getting to Curtis Island….
The other day I got a phone call around 9:30pm. My friend called and said she had a hankering to swim out to Curtis Island and wanted to know if I wanted to join her. She swims out there a couple times a year and thinks it is a pretty easy swim. I swam competitively in college. In fact my specialty was the mile race. I was not a fast swimmer but I had endurance. I was a lifeguard throughout college also, so I figured the 3/4 mile swim with a seasoned swimmer was probably going to be my only chance to get out to Curtis Island so I jumped at the chance. The next day we met at Laite Beach for the swim. I insisted that we have a paddle boat, just in case. I had my goggles, my speedo swim suite and was ready to go. I did not care that the water was approximately 60 degrees, that my feet and arms were freezing, I was going to swim to Curtis island and enjoy it. Well, I made it half way. I had a hard time breathing, I don’t know if it was me being out of practice, out of shape or if the cold water was crushing my lungs. I told the paddle boat that I would swim back by myself and that they should go on with my friend, whom was doing a great job. The person in the boat insisted that I get in and take the ride out to Curtis Island. I was disappointed that I was not going to make the full swim, but filled with joy that I was finally getting to Curtis Island. We paddled over there, while my friend swam. We docked the boat and I set foot on the lovely Island. There is a sign- in book on the island to show that you were there. I signed it saying, “early birthday present to me!”. I walked around the nature trail and stopped to look at the lighthouse. The light house keepers were sitting on the porch enjoying there little piece of heaven. I said hello and then continued back to the beach were the boat was docked. My friend got back in the water and swam and I took a ride in the paddle boat. There was no picnic but what a great experience.
The song “Small Island”, by Gordon Bok was playing while I wrote this post. A song about people on the small island not liking new comers on the island, “go back where you come from”. I thought it was ironic that this was playing on my itunes while I wrote about my journey and longing to go out to this small island .