Bar Harbor, ME Day 11 Reversing Falls and Randy

July 6, 2023 It was a sunny start to the morning without any fog. My brother kept saying that he was bringing the good weather with his arrival today and that may be true. The high today is expected to be 83. We made a quick trip to Walmart this morning for a few last minute items. We returned to the campground and did a little cleaning and organizing to get ready for my brother’s arrival later today. We had lunch and started out on our drive to Tidal Falls Preserve in Hancock, ME just a 20 minute drive from here. John made plans to go golfing this morning in Winter Harbor and Mary was going with him. He has been trying to find a golf course nearby where he could play 18 holes and use a cart. The few golf courses that he has checked out, don’t use carts or you have to be a member to play there, so this was the closest desirable one around. He left for his 11:00 tee time. Mary and John would meet us there after golfing. We left at 1:00 for our trip to Hancock. [The village of Hancock on Route 1 is considered “Downeast” and is a picturesque village. The term “Downeast” refers to parts of eastern coastal New England and Canada, particularly the state of Maine and Canada’s Maritime Provinces. It comes from a sailing term that refers to sailors from western ports sailing “downwind” towards the east to reach this area.] We found the small sign for Tidal Falls Preserve which sent us down Tidal Falls Rd. through a residential neighborhood.

Tidal Falls Preserve is at the end of the road. The preserve is 4.2 acres, part of which is a picnic area. We went inside the Exploration Center to learn about the tidal pools, tides, and the reversing falls which is what we came to see. Bob and I have viewed reversing falls in Canada before and it is quite a sight to see.

The tidal pools provide a close-up look at the micro-ecosystems of life in the tidal pools. Because the tidal preserve is on the Taunton River, we were told we might see eagles, osprey, king fishers, otters, seals, blue herons or other animals in their natural habitat. We were lucky enough to see a seal, an immature bald eagle, a blue heron, and cormorants.

The best time to view the reversing falls is 2 hours before or after low tide. Here at this location, the large differences between high and low tide and mixing fresh and saltwater creates a nutrient-rich environment for wildlife. Hancock’s tidal falls is one of Maine’s 8 reversing falls. Twice daily, the town of Hancock’s tidal falls reverse direction with the strong tides. The underwater ledges constrict the tide, causing the water to move in when it rises, as an extended wave, and flow out when it falls. It was described like pouring water from one pitcher to another. We arrived 2 hours before high tide and we could see the speed of the river and the rapids it created.

We sat around under the shade of a live oak tree for two hours to wait for the tide to reverse. It was a pleasant afternoon with a cool breeze and a temp of 86.

Around 3:15, the tide went slack for about 20 minutes. The river went noticeable quiet and it visibly calmed off. The tide had gone out and we could see that the water level had retreated from its high level on the rocks.

About 3:45, the river reversed direction and soon the rapids appeared. We had to leave because we had to go to the airport at 5:00, otherwise we would have waited to see more of the rapids form.

We left for Bangor at 5:00 to pick up Randy at the airport. We crossed the Penobscot River into Bangor.

The plane is coming from San Diego to Newark, so we were hoping there would be no delays getting into Bangor. We pulled into the airport and waited in the cell phone waiting area.

Randy’s plane arrived on time. We made the drive back and stopped at Subway for sandwiches to bring back to the campsite. We ate outside and then I took Auggie for his walk. Bob got Randy settled in and when I returned from our walk we sat around and got caught up. Tomorrow we take our drive up Cadillac Mountain.

In the time we’ve spent in Maine, I’ve learned a few trivia facts about lobsters:

The lobster has an average life span of 50 years. It takes an average lobster 5-7 years to reach legal size and during that time it will shed it’s shell 25-27 times. There are 5,000 licensed lobster fishermen and women in Maine and they put out more than 3 million traps. A female lobster bears 6,000-100,000 eggs, but only one-tenth of one percent of those eggs will develop and live past 6 weeks. Laws prevent Maine fishermen from keeping egg-bearing females. Lobsters are naturally a greenish, yellow color. Cooked lobsters are red. Only 1 in 2 million lobsters are blue. The largest lobster was caught in Nova Scotia and weighed 43 lbs. and believed to be more than 100 years old. The largest lobsters found in traps weigh 15 lbs., but ones that big must be thrown back because they exceed the maximum size. Lobsters have horrible vision and communicate by smell and sensing movement with their antenna. In the mid 1800s, lobsters were only considered good enough for fertilizer. Over 5 million lobsters are eaten in Bar Harbor each year.

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