Smith Cove (near Castine)

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Photo: Mill Pond at head of Smith Cove by Anne Powelson

Smith Cove is a gem of a destination with abundant room, great holding, and excellent protection (and a decent cellular signal). It's a great way to visit Castine by anchoring out of the strong currents flowing in and out of the Bagaduce River. Locals suggest Smith Cove is an excellent and popular hurricane hole.

Approach & Cautions

Photo: Aerial of Smith Cove by Dale Bruce with Frank & Libby Simon, pilots

Heading east from Castine, leave the large mooring area to starboard, then leave Hospital Island and Nun 2 to starboard,  and proceed approximately southeast into Smith Cove, being certain to leave the unmarked rock ledge west of Sheep Island to port.

Smith Cove chart

Click the chart to open Navionics.

Not to be used for Navigation.

Docking, Anchorages, or Moorings

Past Sheep Island is a large anchoring area in mud and approximately 20 feet of water. You will almost always have plenty of room but be advised that if a tropical depression or hurricane is headed toward Maine, Smith Cove will become very popular in a hurry.

Getting Ashore

Photo: Wilson P, TripAdvisor

The nearby Holbrook Island Sanctuary can be accessed by landing your dinghy at the isthmus and turning left on Indian Bar Road. You can download an information sheet called the Fresh Pond Interpretive Trail, and a trail map.

At the head of Smith Cove is the mill pond (see introductory photo).  On Anne Powelson’s kayak trip there in 2014, she wrote this history of the mill: “Coming up on it at low tide, I could see the dam exterior was just small rocks.  It looked like a simple do-it-yourself project: build a dam from nearby rocks and have free power provided by tides.  But from the top, seeing the 10-15 foot width, made it apparent that this was no simple task, but represented hundreds of hours stacking rocks, not to mention designing the actual mill mechanisms.  This dam once hosted a sawmill and a grist mill capable of grinding one hundred bushels a day;  it could operate 16 of 24 hours in the day. However, by the time an of  1868 Hydrographic Survey, it was idle.”

A trail at Holbrook Sanctuary surrounded by trees, looking at the harbor beyond.


What CCA Members are saying:

Smith Cove offers so many options for protected anchoring, no matter what the wind direction is, and it's huge, so could accommodate a large cruising flotilla. Easy to go hiking by landing at the isthmus, and very peaceful for just chilling.

woman wearing sunglasses and safety harness

Jane Babbitt

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