Greenland Festival Participant Info

See the Festival Class Descriptions.

Getting Yourself and your Kayak to Peaks Island
Shipping your Kayak to Peaks Island
  • Casco Bay Lines will ship your kayak as freight. CBL crew must load and unload your kayak from the ferry. It is helpful if you have kayak wheels.
  • Check in at the freight desk, which is behind the passenger terminal, well ahead of your ferry's departure time. You can drop your kayak off in the curbside loading zone outside the freight area.
  • Freight rates for kayaks: $15.20 Peak Season.
  • Freight is paid for one-way. Anything shipped back to Portland at the end of your stay must be paid for at pick-up in the freight shed.
Peaks Island Ferry Dock

Please note that the ferry does not take reservations for passengers or vehicles; it is first come, first served. If you are shipping your kayak over on the ferry, we can help transport it from the ferry dock on Peaks to our beach. We are planning on meeting the ferries on Friday afternoon. If you know what ferry you and your kayak will be on, you can text Liz at 207-865-6626. If you are bringing your kayak on your vehicle, drive immediately to MIKCo's Kayak Beach. We will be on hand to direct and help the unloading process at Kayak Beach.

Our Info: Directions & Ferry page also has details and links for Casco Bay Lines Ferry to Peaks Island, Portland Parking, and Shipping your Kayak.

MIKCo's Kayak Beach
Map of Peaks Island, Maine
Lodging at 8th Maine

Rooms at 8th Maine are rustic, with shared bathrooms. There is a large dining room and kitchen on the lower level for guests to share. Each room is assigned a full-sized refrigerator, pantry cupboard, and cook top. There is plenty of cookware, dishes and mugs for your use. The Lodge asks people to clean what you use. Coffee is provided in the mornings - or walk over to Lisa's Peaks Cafe, just up the hill from the ferry landing, for pastries, breakfast sandwiches, and island news. Lisa's is open Monday - Saturday 5:30-2; Sunday 7:30 - 12.

8th Maine is an historic building with beautiful old wooden floors. Please remove wet shoes and gear before entering the Lodge. A side note: 8th Maine recommends some kind of footwear as protection from splinters on their decks.

Gear and Equipment

A list of gear you should bring is included in our General Information for Participants. (See below or the linked PDF document.) At our beach, we have a shed for changing. 8th Maine has an outdoor hose for washing gear and clothing with fresh water, an outdoor shower, and drying lines.

Gear Transport

We will have vehicles available to help transport gear between the ferry landing, 8th Maine, and Kayak Beach.


Hannigan's Island Market sells groceries, sundries, and beer, wine, and spirits. You are welcome to BYOB for after kayaking.


The gas station on Peaks Island is at the top of the hill above MIKCo's Kayak Beach. It is open Monday - Friday, 8:30 - 4:30; Closed Saturday & Sunday.


There is a taxi on the island. The number is 207-518-0000.

2019 Maine Greenland Kayak Festival

General Information for Participants


The Maine Greenland Kayak Festival is a community-oriented event focused on helping Greenland paddlers achieve their goals while developing the knowledge, skills and experience for exploring our ocean environment. Solid, committed Coaches, Registered Maine Sea Kayak Guides, and Land Staff, together with caring participants, create this community at the 8th Maine Historic Lodge: a spectacular venue perched above Whitehead Passage and our ocean classrooms. Through skill building on the water and our communal living together at the Lodge, we aim to help you broaden your horizons, taking the Greenland style of kayaking onto the sea along Peaks Island’s unique coastal environment.


MGKF Coaches, Maine Guides, and Land Staff.  MGKF has organized events around: Coaches, Registered Maine Sea Kayak Guides, and Land Staff.

  • Coaches.  MGKF has invited Coaches who have experience coaching and teaching using a Greenland paddle in ocean conditions, and/or in Greenland rolling.  We have drafted outlines for a spectrum of classes based on the skills these Coaches are bringing to the event.  Coaches and Guides will lead the instruction in these MGKF classes.  
  • Maine Guides.  Registered Maine Sea Kayak Guides have been licensed by the State of Maine.  They are familiar with the Maine coast, and with risk management procedures for kayaking on the Maine coast.  MGKF will assign a Guide to each class that paddles into waters beyond beach-based rolling classes.  Their primary role will be to assist Coaches and oversee group safety for each of these dispersed classes.  Rolling classes will take place in the Kayak Beach area, and may not include Guides.
  • Land Staff.  Several individuals have generously offered to help with the less glamorous tasks of running the Festival. We sincerely appreciate their time and hard work.

Tides, Swell/Waves & Weather Reviews & Briefing.  MGKF staff will provide a sea and weather reports before each day of kayaking activities.  All are expected to attend to ensure up to date safety information.  These briefings will be at the 8th Maine at 0810.  Coaches, Guides, and each paddling participant are and will be responsible for making all decisions on their safety and evaluate actual conditions. 

Class Sign-up Sheets & Class Assignments.  MGKF will provide sign-up sheets each evening for the following day’s classes.  Event participants can sign up for their choice of class each evening.  Coaches and Guides will be available to answer questions about the classes during the sign-up period so participants can determine whether a given class is appropriate for them based on their current skill level.

Event Areas.  Based on planning with Coaches and Guides, MGKF will suggest and advise each class with class event areas based on the class objectives, weather, and participants. It is our hope and intent that each venue will provide an appropriate environment for the people, purposes, and conditions. Peaks Island and the surrounding waters, islands and ledges offer a unique paddling environment: from the calm, protected area by our beach, to channels between islands affected by tidal currents, to paddling in the exposed ocean swell around rocks and under towering cliffs. These "micro-environments" provide a perfect gradual progression for paddlers to experience a wide range of conditions in close proximity.

Class Brief.  MGKF will provide Coaches and Guides with a class brief that will include the class name, Coach name, Guide name (if applicable), class roster.


Peaks Island emergency services generally include only a single Portland fire and police person.  There are no emergency medical services on the island beyond these resources.  Although Portland Fire Department has a fire boat that provides emergency medical evacuations from the island to the Maine State Pier in Portland, generally an Emergency Room or significant medical care is a minimum of  2 hours away.  Ambulance services provide emergency medical transportation from the Maine State Pier to Portland hospitals.  

Peaks Island First Responder Telephone Numbers:

  • Emergency:  911
  • Peaks Island Police:  874-8575

Prior to participation in any activities, participants must provide to MGKF the following:

  • Name, mailing address, email address & telephone numbers.
  • Emergency Contact Information, name and telephone numbers.
  • Medical and Medication Notices.
  • A signed Assumption of Risks and Waiver. 

Each participant will be responsible for providing his/her own breakfasts, and for providing his/her snacks (bars, trail mix, etc.), fluids and water containers while on the water.  MGKF will provide meals for Friday evening, Saturday lunch and Saturday evening and will attempt to offer both vegetarian and meal options. 


Contrary to popular belief, people can become seasick in kayaks.  If you have any experience with motion sickness, consider some form of preventative medication.  We recommend you discuss any such medication with your medical provider.  


Sun exposure can be intense on the water.  We recommend participants bring environmentally-friendly sunscreen and clothing (hats, head scarfs, etc.) to protect themselves from sun.  


Each participant will be responsible for providing his/her own suitable clothing and equipment, unless otherwise arranged with MGKF.  Wool and poly-fibers are recommended as base layers.  See “Equipment” section below.  


For the weather links see Ocean School: Weather on the Maine Island Kayak website.

Western Casco Bay & Event Area.  MGKF will provide Coaches, Guides and participants with a laminated chart of the event area.  These will incorporate enlarged sections of NOAA Chart 13292 (Portland Harbor and Vicinity).  Chart 13292 can also be viewed and downloaded at: NOAA Chart 13292. 

Peaks Island and the surrounding passages, sounds, islands and ledges are open to the full conditions of the Gulf of Maine, and provide a variety of paddling opportunities.  There are some sandy beaches, although most of the shoreline is rocky.  The southeastern shores of Peaks, Cushing and Long Islands are exposed to the open Atlantic Ocean and associated swells.  At peak tidal flow, there is 1 knot of current in the passages and sounds between the islands.  The Northwestern shorelines of these islands, however, are protected from the ocean conditions, and can provide paddlers with calmer waters.  As always, the conditions on any given day will depend on all the variables of wind, tides, currents, ocean swells and weather.  

Tides & Currents.  MGKF morning briefings will include information on tides and currents in the event area.

Water Data: Temperature, Swell and Wind Waves.  MGKF morning briefings include information on air and water temperatures, dew points, and wind and wave conditions in the region of the event area. Portland average September sea temperatures: are maximum 62.8°F, minimum 58.1°F, and average 60.4°F.

Weather.  MGKF morning briefings will include information on coastal and land forecasts in the event area.

Boat Traffic.  Commercial and recreational boat traffic is common in Portland Harbor and the surrounding islands and includes large commercial ships and numerous fishing vessels.  

  • Channel Crossing Procedures.  Guides and Coaches will try to limit exposure to boat traffic by staying out of marked shipping channels.  Whenever crossing a channel, assemble as a group, wait for any traffic to clear, and cross the channel at a 90-degree angle, at a steady pace, while keeping the group together. 
  • Fog Channel Crossing Procedures.  If a class/group must cross a channel in fog or reduces visibility, you must closely follow your Guide and Coach’s directions.

Landing Areas.  Depending on sea state and conditions, many sections of our class venues present difficult and even hazardous landing areas for kayakers and no-landing zones.  In addition, Maine law limits land access and usage on private property along the state’s coast and islands, which is summarized in more detail below.  MGKF will be providing laminated charts of the event area to Coaches, Guides and participants that identify recommended landing areas (i) without restrictions (Public Landing Areas, marked with green highlighting), and (ii) emergency (Emergency Landing Areas, marked with red highlighting).  

Maine Law Regarding Private Property Rights.  

Maine law provides strict property rights protections for landowners.  Sea kayakers should understand how the law recognizes three basic zones along the coast.  

  • First, the Below Low Tide Zone - which begins at the mean low water line and extends to three miles off-shore - is held by the State in trust for public use.  Kayakers are free to access this area, subject to navigational restrictions and general risk management practices. 
  • Second, the Intertidal Zone - the area between the mean high-water line and the mean low-water line - is frequently held under private ownership, but subject to the public’s right to access those areas for “fishing, fowling, and navigation.”  To minimize problems, please use landing areas that are either publicly owned or where the private owners have granted some level of access (e.g., designated Maine Island Trail locations, if you are a member). 
  • Third, Upland Zone - which extends inland from the mean high tide line - is typically held by private owners, who alone determine the public access rights, if any.

For more information, see Public Shoreline Access in Maine. 

Flora & Fauna.  

  • Ticks & Mosquitoes.  Ticks are present on all Maine islands, and they do transmit Lyme Disease and other diseases.  See Tick Prevention Measures.  Mosquitoes are present on Maine islands; although generally they are not a problem along the shore when there is a breeze, they are more common in protected areas. There have been rare occasions of serious mosquito borne diseases in the state.  Preventative techniques include wearing long sleeve garments and using insect repellant.  For more information, see Tick and Mosquito FAQs.
  • Poison Ivy.  Poison ivy is prolific on the islands of Casco Bay, growing in large bushes up to 8’ tall.  The vegetation on Catnip island is a clear example of this. 
  • Birds and Animals.  Marine mammals in this area include harbor porpoise, minke whales, harbor seals and grey seals.  Although typically not dangerous to humans, federal law mandates that we keep our distance from all marine mammals to avoid causing them stress.  Foxes, raccoons, skunks and mink can be seen on the islands.  Although generally harmless, they can carry rabies.  Keep a safe distance from these animals and late eider duck hatches at all times.
  • Eelgrass.  Eelgrass grows in many coastal areas of the Gulf of Maine and is protected in the Gulf of Maine. Maine's eelgrass meadows form an important marine and estuarine coastal aquatic habitat. Along with other plants, eelgrass forms the base of food production in the sea. Eelgrass provides shelter for juvenile fish, and invertebrates, is a site for primary settlement of the larvae of some bivalve mollusks and invertebrates, and in certain locations helps to stabilize unconsolidated sediments and shorelines. Our sea kayaking and rolling activities must take place so as not to disturb eelgrass. 

Participants will need the following items:

  • Sea Kayak.  For those participating in rough water, rocks & obstacles and surfing classes, we recommend participants use kayaks with deck lines and bulkheads.  
  • Greenland Paddle.
  • Spray Skirt.
  • PFD.
  • Whistle.
  • Immersion Clothing (drysuit, dry top, wetsuit, etc.).

We recommend participants also bring the following items: 

  • Helmet (for rough water, rocks & obstacles and surfing classes).
  • Spare Clothing.
  • Contact Tow.
  • Waist or Boat Tow.
  • Bilge Pump.
  • Paddle Float.
  • Spare Paddle.
  • Communication Device (VHF and/or cell phone).
  • Compass.

All timings for the event are published on the Event Daily Agenda.  These are subject to change. Your efforts to be on time or early with your gear and equipment sorted and ready for quick and timely launches and landings will be much appreciated by Guides, Coaches, and all other participants.

Festival Schedule


1200 - 1600

  • Registration on Kayak Beach.
  • Kayak drop off at Kayak Beach. All kayaks may be stored on the beach. Cars may drive down the hill one at a time for unloading only. Please do NOT park in the paved area by the beach; it is for commercial use only. Street side parking is available at the top of the hill. Check the signs for parking restrictions. We will be on hand to assist unloading kayaks from vehicles. If you are shipping your kayak over on the ferry, we can help transport it from the ferry dock on Peaks to our beach. If you know what ferry you and your kayak will be on, you can text Liz at 207-865-6626. 
  • Kayak demos, including Rebel Kayaks, Nigel Dennis Kayaks, and some skin-on-frame qajaqs for you to view.
  • Kayak fitting for rental kayaks.
  • Informal kayak tours of event area.
  • Meet and talk with the Coaches.

From 1500

  • Check into rooms at 8th Maine. Early check-in may be available.

1730 - 1800

  • Refreshments on the porch at 8th Maine.

1800 - 2100

  • Cookout Dinner at 8th Maine.
  • Coach Introductions and Class Summaries.
  • Evening Presentation by Kayak Historian, Vernon Doucette.
  • Sign-Ups for Saturday's classes.


Breakfast on your own. Coffee is provided at 8th Maine for guests in the mornings - or walk over to Lisa's Peaks Cafe, just up the hill from the ferry landing, for pastries, breakfast sandwiches, and island news. Lisa's is open Monday - Saturday 5:30-2; Sunday 7:30 - 12.

0800 - 0810

  • Coaches and Guides Briefing.

0810 - 0830

  • Morning briefing at 8th Maine: weather, tides, ocean swell, and any schedule changes due to conditions.


  • Classes meet on Kayak Beach. Participants should be ready to paddle at 0900.

0900 - 1200

  • Kayak Classes - Session 1.

1200 - 1300

  • Catered picnic lunch on Kayak Beach.

1300 - 1600

  • Kayak Classes - Session 2.

1730 - 1800

  • Refreshments on the porch at 8th Maine.

1800 - 2000

  • Lobsterbake at 8th Maine.
  • Live acoustic music by The Potato Pickers.
  • Sign-Ups for Sunday's classes.


Breakfast on your own.

0800 - 0810

  • Coaches and Guides Briefing.

0810 - 0830

  • Morning briefing at 8th Maine: weather, tides, ocean swell, and any schedule changes due to conditions.


  • Classes meet on Kayak Beach. Participants should be ready to paddle at 0900.

0900 - 1200

  • Kayak Classes - Session 3.

1200 - 1300

  • Festival Closing, Group Photograph & Departures.


To Register Festival is full!

Festival Pricing

$595 with double occupancy lodging at 8th Maine on Friday and Saturday nights. 8th Maine is full.

$395 without lodging at 8th Maine.


  • All Kayaking and Rolling Classes and Coaching.
  • Cookout Dinner at 8th Maine on Friday.
  • Presentation by Kayak Historian Vernon Doucette at 8th Maine on Friday evening.
  • Catered Picnic Lunch at Kayak Beach on Saturday.
  • Lobsterbake Dinner (with options) at 8th Maine on Saturday.
  • Live acoustic music by The Potato Pickers at 8th Maine on Saturday evening.


Sea Kayak Rental: $75 for the weekend. Kayak Rental is full.


After your registration email is received, we will send you a PayPal invoice. Your registration is complete when we have confirmed receipt of your payment.

The Fine Print
Cancellation & Refund Policy
If MIKCo cancels the Festival due to too few participants or due to unsafe weather or sea conditions, we’ll send you a full refund. If you cancel with 21 days notice, we’ll send you a full refund less a $35 administrative fee, 75% of the total cost with 14-20 days notice, 50% of the total cost with 8-13 days notice, but no refund if you cancel with less than 7 days notice – unless we are able to fill your spot from a waiting list.

Health Insurance: We recommend that you have health  insurance, as you are responsible for any medical costs incurred.

Miscellaneous: Under 18 years of age requires special parental consent and minor forms. We reserve the right to refuse services to anyone we feel is a risk to themselves or others.

Waiver & Release

You will be required to sign our Waiver prior to participating in any Festival activities.

Medical Concerns

You are required to advise Staff of any physical or medical conditions that could impact your ability to participate in the Activities safely.

?? Questions ??

email: [email protected]

call or text: 207-865-6626