Please see our article - Covid: MIKCo's Y 2020 Season.

Downeast Expedition Training

with Tom Bergh and Liz Johnson
For MIKCo FastTrack, BCU, loyal Alumni, and Friends

5 days - 4 nights: Sunday, July 12 - Thursday, July 16, 2020

Cost: $750

Downeast Maine: a wilderness unlike any on the Eastern Seaboard

Significant tides and untouched islands, seabird and nature conservancy preserves, outer island lighthouses, sub-arctic flora and grassy barrens with wild sheep and berries galore: this Gulf of Maine coastline is remote, rugged and untamed. Surrealistic sand beaches contrast with the fractured needle-shaped volcanic rocks and sea caves of Machias Bay. It's basic down here - stronger tides, rougher weather, deep fog, strong currents, limited landings, primitive camping... and a kayaker's heaven.

A spectacular one-way expedition from Jonesport to Machias

One of our more demanding journeys along Maine's coast, this one-way expedition traverses some of the wilder coastline of Maine, crosses several major headlands and passes large brawny outer island environs. This is one of Tom’s favorite trips on the eastern seaboard. We'll cross Maine's famous Atlantic Salmon rivers, paddle around old fish weirs and large nesting colonies with dozens of varieties of pelagic birds. The coastal ecosystems approach sub-arctic with blueberry barrens interspersed with larch, tamarack swamps and rare peat bogs sprinkled with rare Arctic flowers. 

Jonesport to Machias - Google Earth
Big tides

We will round exposed headlands, paddle significant daily distances in strong tidal currents, and navigate through fog using compasses and our senses. Some of our campsites will be very minimal - tiny barren rocky islands, sleeping on the rocks… but offering access to some of the most magnificent paddling on the eastern seaboard. Other campsites will be basic primitive camping on larger islands – once we carry ashore across the 15-20 foot tidal range. Due to the large sea bird populations, we will focus on the many U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Nature Conservancy island properties set aside to protect local and unique colonial birds and flora.

A Tribe of Self-Supported Paddlers

Coach-Guides will instruct, advise and facilitate, as we become an efficient band of sea paddlers. We will be developing your own expeditionary seamanship, as we build an understanding of the important ecological, political and economic realities of humankind’s interaction with the sea. Expeditions require a commitment to the group. Awareness and willingness to work as a team are critical, especially during this Covid-19 time.

Halifax Island
No Landing for a Bit

This Downeast Expedition Training is designed by Tom to develop your expeditionary thinking as a tribe of self-supported paddlers. You should have experience in dynamic water, and be able to perform at British Canoeing 3/4-Star level or equivalent. You need to be comfortable with very basic camping and bivy-ing, and be in appropriate physical condition to enjoy consecutive days of committed paddling. Please note that one way trips are both psychologically and physically demanding, we don’t usually take a rest day on this trip.


We will observe then-current State of Maine Covid-19 recommendations.

Participants will be self-reliant for transport; kayaks, camping and cooking equipment; personal meal preparation. We will be kayaking, camping and eating safely together.

Meeting and launching from Jonesport early on Sunday, July 12. MIKCo guides will likely camp nearby the night prior.

Landing planned at Machias by 1600 on Thursday, July 16. 

If interested, please email Tom for more details about this extraordinary trip.

Downeast Maine

Upcoming Events

  1. Downeast Training Expedition

    July 12 - July 16
  2. Loreto Islands Women’s Adventure

    March 23, 2021 - March 28, 2021
MIKCo Ocean School

Our Ocean School Resources are a collection of Maine Island Kayak Co. written materials, articles and outlines, and are part of MIKCo’s Ocean School curriculum. We have developed them to support our on-water instructional programs. We find that paddlers’ retention and access to the skill sets covered in the on-water sessions is enhanced by their review of written class notes. You are welcome to peruse these resources; please remember that these are not designed to substitute for real world training.

The following information will help you plan for your day with us:

MIKCo Trip & Course Registration Form

You will be asked to sign MIKCo's Waiver & Release before your course.

MIKCo Trip & Course Fine Print

Personal Responsibility

You expressly agree that you are able to participate in this rigorous event, that you understand the risks inherent in rougher water paddling in cold water, and that you will use your best independent judgment at all times in determining your ability to safely and successfully participate in event tasks.

To Register

You can email/mail in the above Reservation Form with your check payable to Maine Island Kayak Co, or register by phone with a Visa or MasterCard @ 207.232.6733. All paddlers must provide payment in full, sign the Waiver and Release, and supply requested Health & Medical information prior to acceptance. You acknowledge having read the Fine Print and that you have medical insurance and/or are responsible for any health and medical costs you may incur from participation in this event.


Payment in full is necessary to secure your reservation: first come, first served.

Inclement Weather or Conditions

Each event will go regardless of weather unless deemed dangerous or inappropriate by MIKCo, in which case we will provide a refund.

Cancellations & Refunds

If MIKCo cancels any day’s event due to too few participants or due to unsafe weather or sea conditions, or the status of any pandemic, we will offer a reasonable alternative, or a full refund. If you cancel with 7 days notice, we'll send you a full refund; if you give us less than 7 days notice, we cannot refund you unless we can fill your reserved spot. If MIKCo feels or agrees that the pandemic risk is too worrisome for safe delivery of our course or trip, MIKCo will provide a full refund.


Under 18 years requires parental participation, and special parental and minor forms. We must reserve the right to refuse service to anyone we feel is a danger to themselves or others.

The Details

Review the MIKCo website for updated information, Course Descriptions, Fine Print and details on meeting places, logistics, lodging in area, Releases, medical information, preparation, readings, references, etc. Oh, and bring your enthusiasm and excitement to paddle a little boat on the sea!

See our Info page for additional information.

"It's what you learn after you know it all that counts."  John Wooden