Mistake Island

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Photo: Bill Barton

Mistake Island offers one of the most beautiful small anchorages in true Downeast Maine. Nestled amongst islets and ledges, you can feel alone on the edge of the Gulf of Maine. It is an easy stopping point on this wild section of the coast with good protection, seals, and a lighthouse walk.

Approach & Cautions

Photo: Bill Barton

The best way to approach Mistake Harbor, whether heading east or west along the coast, is to turn up the “Main Channel Way” with Steele Harbor Island to starboard and leave Mistake Island and Knight Island to port. Proceed up and around the northwest end of Knight Island. Continue turning counterclockwise around the tip of Knight Island and then proceed on a southeasterly course into the harbor. Watch for one ledge to starboard and another smaller one to port; stay between them.

Mistake Island - Moose Peak Light reflected in a pool of water

Mistake Island Chart

Click the chart to open Navionics.

Not to be used for Navigation.

Docking, Anchorages, or Moorings

This is a beautiful spot with good protection in reasonably settled weather. Proceeding southeast into the anchorage note the isolated islet to port on which someone has mounted a prominent steel pipe. There are a couple uncharted submerged rocks located between the “steel pipe” islet and the west end of Mistake Island. The location of these uncharted rocks is indicated on the Navionics chart by a red dot.

Anchor in the central pool west or northwest of the “steel pipe” islet in 15 feet, or continue farther southeast and anchor in 10 feet due west of Mistake and due north of Water. If these spots are full, anchor just inside the entrance to the anchorage, west of the northwest end of Knight, in 14 feet. Beware of the underwater cables shown on the chart when anchoring. Holding ground is generally very good.

If the weather turns ugly or the harbor is full, make for Cows Yard on Head Harbor Island, just a mile farther up the coast from Mistake Island.

Getting Ashore

Photo: Bill Barton

Once anchored, be sure to row to the head of the cove on Mistake Island, where you will find an old Coast Guard landing. You can follow the path and boardwalk from here out to the island’s southeastern tip, where you will find Moose Peak Lighthouse and the old oil house that kept supplies until the light was automated around 1970. The vistas from the lighthouse are splendid, making it a good picnic spot. On the way back, watch for birds, butterflies, and wildflowers. Chances are good, you will be the only boat here for the night, and it will make for a memorable stop.

Mistake Island, blue sailboat at anchor with seal on ledge in foreground

wooden boardwalk leading to a lighthouse in the distance on a somewhat foggy day
                                        The wooden boardwalk leads to the lighthouse—a photo by Ray Wirth.


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