Bartlett Narrows

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Photo: Dave Short

There is hardly an experienced cruiser who does not derive a special pleasure out of successfully navigating a narrow passage between the innumerable named and unnamed islands of the Maine coast. These passages all require special care and attention to rocks, wind, lobster pots, current and boat traffic to emerge unscathed into the less demanding bodies of water on either end. Bartlett’s Narrows is a short but lovely such passage between Pretty Marsh on Mount Desert and Bartlett’s Island (a Rockefeller retreat). 

Approach & Cautions

Photo: Google Earth

Generally approached from the south to take advantage of the prevailing afternoon breeze, it is an easy wing and wing run on most days. Keep an eye out for the inevitable kayakers along the shore. The passage through the Narrows is quite straightforward if one minds the rocks off Ledges Point by favoring the Mount Desert side. Even inattentive local sailors who should know better have left traces of bottom paint on them. Emerging from the Narrows, about a half mile down into bay, there is another unexpected but well-charted rock, easily avoided by favoring the Bartlett’s Island side

Google Earth image showing Bartlett Narrows with labels on Great Cove and Pretty Marsh.

Bartlett Narrows chart

Click the chart to open Navionics.

Not to be used for Navigation.

Docking, Anchorages, or Moorings

There is a mooring in Galley Cove on the eastern side of Bartlett’s Island that is usually free. This is a nice spot for a lunch break, but there are prettier places nearby to spend the night, such as behind Squid Island, and Great Cove generally has room for a few boats to anchor.

Getting Ashore

Photo: Laura Wolf, Flickr

Bartlett’s Island is private, and landing/hiking is discouraged.

Golden sunset over Bartlett Island, with lobster boat moored in foreground on very still water.


What CCA Members are saying:

A perfect afternoon sail would start from Blue Hill, beating up the western bay, around the southern tips of both (inner) Long Island and Bartlett’s Island, with a lazy wing-and-wing lunch run through the magnificent Narrows, then hardening up around North Point to the freshening southerly to make Oak Point on the tip of Newberry Neck, before bearing off and heading home to our snug secure mooring. I could do that every sailing day for the rest of my life and never tire of it.

man with white beard wearing safety harness with icebergs behind him

Dan Coit

Sailing through Bartlett Narrows is a lovely experience, and we've enjoyed evenings anchored at both Great Cove and in the intimate shelter of Squid Island,

woman wearing sunglasses and safety harness

Jane Babbitt

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