Outfitting

Line-up of kayaks on the beach

From supplying boats and gear to arranging a fully supported, guided trip, we'll work with you to develop your trip goals and dreams.

Maine Island Kayak Co has specialized in producing unique custom experiences for friends, families, schools, and businesses since the early 1990s.

EXPEDITION TRIP PLANNING

In order to facilitate development of island-based recreational trips or educational programs, we offer the following as suggested areas of attention: 

  • What are your goals, priorities, and interests? How active do you really want to be?
  • How feasible is this trip or course for your group? What are your required minimum/maxim participant numbers? Are these obtainable with your current development program?
  • What resources are required to meet program goals? 
  • Qualifications: what are your requirements for participation?

Please see our guide Before You Go: an outline of considerations before you go out on the water. We are also able to provide a 1-4 hour orientation session for your group on kayaking skills, navigation, weather, and other topics.

THE OPPORTUNITIES OF EXTENDED SEA KAYAKING

Ocean kayaking offers a rich opportunity to study the complexities of our interaction with sea and island environments; it gives us relaxing and rejuvenating time away from our daily responsibilities. Islands provide a powerful, dynamic, and often wild foothold from which to witness the wonders of the natural world…and to perfect the art of the siesta and beachcombing. For others, developing seamanship skills and integrating environmental, logistical, and interpersonal factors into what we create for that day are paramount.

TRIP FORMATS

Outfitted trips are usually self-supported: your group carries all required food, water, and equipment. Groups may opt to utilize our power boat shuttle for transfer of equipment and food; this reduces kayak packing time, adds extensive options at island base camps, and provides extra safety needs. You may prefer to arrange lodging with a local inn or B&B to increase time on the water each day, while ending up under a dry roof with bed and shower.

GUIDING PHILOSOPHY

When MIKCo is guiding, we use multiple forms of leadership and consciously try to minimize the traditional guide role of leading while others follow. We prefer to introduce you to basic guidelines and principles: to provide a conservative framework in which others can safely experiment with their personal limits and be open to the natural lessons that arise from conscious travel in the wilds. Mostly we enjoy traveling as a group of friends, dedicated to good times and the creation of Tall Tales. Peruse some of the possibilities for Multi-Day Trips.

GROUP SIZEKAYAKS ON TRAILERS READY FOR THE ROAD

We have worked with groups from 2 to 64 paddlers. For friends and families, we recommend 6-10.  Group sizes of up to 20-30 are workable in limited environments, depending on your goals. If your focus is a wilderness experience, group size should be smaller. Even with 12 participants, concerted planning is necessary to insure minimal impact on island ecosystems.

 

SEA KAYAKS

Our fleet includes Nigel Dennis Kayaks (NDK), Necky, Valley Canoe Products (VCP), and KajakSport boats from 16’ to 18’; expedition doubles are 22’. These are primarily fiberglass and glass/kevlar boats. We believe that we have one of the finest sea kayak selections available in the Northeast.  We work with you to fit a kayak to each person’s skills, athleticism, and interests. Deck mounted compasses and waterproof charts on our expeditions. 

SUPPORTING GEARKayaks lined up

MIKCo uses primarily Celtic paddles, neoprene and nylon spray skirts, and US Coast Guard approved Type III PFDs. We supply all necessary safety and rescue gear, along with deck mounted compasses and waterproof charts on our expeditions. Usually we supply everything needed except your sleeping bags, pads, personal gear, and your enthusiasm. For extended expeditions, we can provide wetsuits, pogies, booties, paddling jackets, and dry bags. We use 2-person German tents and usually sleep double occupancy; our large Moss-type tarps are ideal for kitchen and group activities in inclement weather. We use white gas and propane stoves, stainless steel cookware, and set up a well laid out and effective camp.  Certain camps and school groups provide their own meals, tents, and camp gear for a reduction in the cost of the trip. 

PARTICIPANTS' GEAR 

Basically, you need to take care of yourself on the islands. Kayaks generally carry at least twice what we could carry backpacking, which enables each participant to share the load of fresh food and camp gear. Your bags and pads should be of reasonable size due to smallish hatch openings. Generally, we will review  everyone's gear to insure participants are protected without being excessive. 

ROUTE SELECTION

kayakers in hazy fogPut-ins and routes will be developed based on group skills and interest, time constraints, and weather factors.  Trip routes trip can be circuitous, beginning and ending at our base on Peaks Island or another launching point. One-way expeditions have a special appeal, but require your group to maintain a schedule to get to the take-out on time. We generally try and avoid a mandated schedule for our trips and expeditions, in order to better respond to our guests input and weather concerns. Scheduling around the tides is important for certain areas or courses.  We strongly recommend unsupported travel for courses where outdoor leadership and ocean skill development are primary emphases.

KAYAKING SKILLS

We have found that most people can acquire adequate skills for protected paddling in a few hours so most of our trips Mermaid Beachjust pack up and depart after both land and on-water paddling & safety procedures.  For early season or extended journeying we may recommend beginning your program with 1-2 sessions  in order to  cover the basics before immersion in higher exposure conditions. Our general teaching methodology involves a summary presentation, demonstration, modeling and  positive critique.

MEALS & LODGING

On guided expeditions, our general format has MIKCo taking care of our guests from the trip beginning until the end. In the field we serve our good natural homecooking supplemented with local fish. Speak to us if you want to provide or arrange for your own food and camp needs, as many camps and youth groups prefer. Certain of our expeditions also include hotel rooms and mainland or pre-launch meals. 

INSURANCE & MEDICAL CONCERNS

In our more remote locales, and particularly on third world expeditions in Bolivia and the Sea of Cortez, we recommend that all participants have medical evacuation insurance for a med-air service. On certain trips we may require that you demonstrate that you have a current medical insurance policy. We’re often a long way from high quality health care - certain areas are third world even in the United States  - so participants need to be in good health, without any substantial problems. Please speak to us about any concerns.

  to inquire about outfitting your sea kayaking trip.


"There is magic in the feel of a paddle and the movement of a canoe, a magic compounded of distance, adventure, solitude and peace."    Sigurd Olson