Video: 11 moments from a Short Term geology kayak trip to a coastal Maine island

Just off the Maine coast, about 60 miles east of campus, is the town of Cranberry Isles.

The town comprises five small islands, and it’s a favorite overnight destination for Professor of Geology Dyk Eusden ’80 when he leads the Short Term course “Geology of the Maine Coast by Sea Kayak.”

Videographer Sarah Crosby went along for this year’s trip to the isles and recorded these 11 moments of geology, kayaking and camaraderie.

Knot to Be Believed

Lashing a dozen or so kayaks to a trailer means being sure of your knots, even if it is 6 a.m. As bleary-eyed students gather outside Carnegie Science Hall, they chat about who got the least sleep. “Ain’t no rest for the weary,” says Ian Hillenbrand ’17 of Terrace Park, Ohio.

Rock Talk

Eusden lays out the day’s plan to measure the orientation, known as the “strike and dip,” of the island’s bedrock. “It’s a lot trickier” than what they’ve done before, he says.

Water, Water

Noel Potter ’17 of York Springs, Pa., smoothly navigates around a kayak.

The group tries to stick together after realizing a tendency to float apart on their last outing. “Whether you’re mountaineering or boating, you go from safety spot to safety spot,” says Tom Bergh, who has guided the kayak part of the course since 1992. Later, reviewing the improved paddling patterns, he exclaims, “Look at that tight armada!”

Well-Rounded Education

Eusden describes why some rocks are round and others angular.

Get a Move On

Eager to begin the geology portion of the trip, Justine Timms ’17 of Nantucket, Mass., provides humorous commentary while paddling to the shore of Great Cranberry Island.


A wise person once said, “I don’t choose to nap. Naps choose me.”

After three hours of paddling through increasingly rough waters, the group chooses to stop on Little Cranberry Island instead of Baker Island, the original destination. Eusden and some students venture into the hamlet of Islesford (year-round popularion: 65) to scout out camping locations. The rest, seen here, take advantage of the time and scenic rest stop.

Being Attentive

Eusden and the students’ quest for a camping spot found them wandering around Ilseford. A local saw the group and said, “Looks like you need permission to camp,” to which Eusden replied, “Yes, that’s right.”

They shook hands, and she said, “I give you permission!” In exchange, the Bates group picked up her yard, did some brush clearing and stocked her woodboxes.

This clip begs the question, How many Bates students does it take to pitch a tent?

45 Degrees

Maine ocean water is about 45 degrees in May. Joshua Sturtevant ’14 of Freeport, Maine, the teaching assistant for the class, takes a quick dip. Mainers Eusden, Sturtevant and Bergh say that “it feels pretty warm.”

‘Worst Game Ever’?

Grace Kenney ’16 of North Haven, Conn., describes a childhood game of tag with sleeping bags. She later said how the group’s dynamic had shifted: They went from not talking much to being “a weird bunch of kids” (which in student-speak means they’re getting along).

Sights at Night

At day’s end, Tom Bergh and Ian Hillenbrand ’17 scan the horizon, identifying silhouetted features. Bergh has been leading the kayaking portion of the class since 1992, and Hillenbrand has been making trips to Islesford since he was a child. Both shared their local knowledge with the class.

Wakeup Call

Sort of like your professor coming to your room to wake you up for an 8 a.m. class…except it’s 6 a.m. But, hey, waking up early on a scenic island isn’t all that bad!

4 Responses to “Video: 11 moments from a Short Term geology kayak trip to a coastal Maine island”

  1. Jesse Minor says:

    Rebecca Larkin Minor (’03) and I lived out on Islesford for 4 years after finishing our geology degrees with Dyk. So neat to see this video, and to hear about the hospitality of our old neighbors on Islesford!

  2. Tom Espo says:

    I really wish I took this class as a student! The best part of having short term in the spring was that you could do adventures like this and not have to be a seasoned winter camper. Awesome videos!

  3. Anne Coequyt says:

    So psyched that you guys posted this! This Short Term was by far a highlight at Bates! Thanks for sharing… I think I better send it to my parents as proof the class really existed!

  4. Bill Matteson says:

    Busily preparing for our graduate and undergraduate graduation ceremonies this weekend at the University of Rhode Island. Watching the videos made me want to spend another four years at Bates. We live just back from the coast a mile and I spend a lot of time fishing, clamming, hiking and exploring so seeing the kayakers camping and studying the coastal geology was a treat. Keep up the good work.

    Bill Matteson
    class of 1971

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