Claws: Casco Bay is a a 7 day, 6 overnight session.
> All trips are Sunday through Saturday.
Tuition includes all kayaking and camping gear except that described in the student packing list.
> Students can reserve Northampton-Yarmouth shuttle service for $80 one way or $150 round trip
Tuition payments can be staggered; a deposit of $500 is required to register.
—a co-ed sea-kayaking field environmental philosophy adventure for 14 to 18 year olds, investigating the Casco Bay archipelago
> 6 on-the-water days of marine biome exploration, navigation-skill building & leave-no-trace camping on a different island every night
> stimulating boat building and aquafarming intensives with our Sea Meadows partners
> led by Owen Heil, Maine Sea Kayaking Guide and Teacher
> Students who have taken the course two times are encouraged to apply for the Guide in Training program. One GiT will assist Owen every week.
The goal of Claws programs is positive character transformation.
It’s achieved by pushing boundaries. Students assume and surmount challenges, gaining confidence and valuable self-awareness. New ideas and abilities are experienced, and new spaces—physical, conceptual and existential—are opened for the kind of personal growth that contributes to long term happiness.
We’ll learn essential safety, outfitting and kayaking skills, visit oyster and kelp farmers as they tend their gardens, enjoy the circulate energies of tides, rivers and oceans, and celebrate our seal-ish abilities and awareness.
Here is the proposed itinerary:
Day 1: We meet at Sea Meadow marina in Yarmouth. After an introduction to maritime industries, students begin their kayak adventure with a visit to a nearby upweller run by a Sea Meadow tenant, Madeleine Point Oysters, and are introduced to the greater need to protect Maine’s working waterfronts. Students carry baby oysters from the upweller out into the bay, and deliver them to an aquafarm, receiving a hands-on lesson in oyster farming.
Evening Day 1 – Evening Day 6: They are guided on a marine -biology and -culture educational immersion tour, exploring and sleeping on islands. As they do this, they visit aquafarms and receive informal lessons from the farmers. On their return to Sea Meadow, they help a farmer process oysters for the market; the oysters are delivered to Sea Meadows so they can take them home.
Day 7: When they take out at Sea Meadow marina, they have a concluding lesson with Sea Meadows and Biocitizen personnel, that allows them to express the content they have absorbed, and reveal the new ways they understand how humans co-inhabit the Casco Bay biome.
Claws learn the biocultural history of the southern Maine coast as they paddle, explore and island camp in a supportive and humorous team. They learn essential sea kayaking skills so they’ll return to the water without fear and with wisdom.
It’s said that if you can paddle Casco Bay you can paddle anywhere else in the world.
Probably true! Known for its steep and rapid tides and vacillating weather, this stretch of water presents conditions perfect for training mindful, adventurous sea kayakers.
Day 1: begin at Winslow Park in Freeport, learning essential kayak skills, organizing gear there and camping out.
Day 2, paddle to oyster and scallop farms, building technique on our way to Little Chebeague Island where we’ll overnight.
Day 3, practice rescue techniques and make our way to Jewell Island.
Day 4, re-water at Dolphin Marina and head to the Goslings islands.
Day 5, paddle to Little Whaleboat Island/Freeport farms
Day 6, paddle to Lane Island.
Day 7, return to Winslow Park.
Guide and Teacher: Claws Casco Bay
Owen Heil is a passionate outdoor educator!
Having never met a certification he wasn’t excited about, Owen is a Registered Maine Guide (holding both Sea Kayaking and Recreational licenses), ACA Level 2 Canoe Instructor, Leave No Trace Trainer, Open Water SCUBA Diver, maintains current Wilderness First Aid & CPR credentials, holds a bachelor’s degree in sociology, and is an all around outdoors nerd.
Owen has seven years of experience guiding backcountry trips for youth and adults across a broad range of ages and ability levels. His nine years of working in nonprofit and public education settings, six years of volunteering as a high school coach, and two years of working for Boy Scouts of America have given him significant training and experience in behavior management, conflict resolution, youth leadership, and teambuilding. Additionally, Owen worked in the aquaculture field for three years, giving him a unique perspective on the incredible ecosystem that is Casco Bay.