White Islands

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Photo: Bill Barton

Having your boat nestled between the granite and pines of the White Islands feels like quintessential Maine cruising. Lying off of Vinalhaven’s western shore, this cluster of gorgeous islands offers reasonable protection, stunning shoreline hikes and small sandy beaches as the tide falls. Topping it off are views of the distant Camden Hills across Penobscot Bay at sunset. Natural beauty abounds.

Approach & Cautions

Photo: Bill Barton

Approach and entry to this snug anchorage is very straightforward. Coming from the west across West Penobscot Bay, just round Big White Island and head up the narrow, but deep, passage between Big White Island to port and Little White Island to starboard. Otherwise, if approaching from the Hurricane Sound area along Vinalhaven, proceed westward, leaving Hurricane Island to port and giving berth to the ledges off the north end of Hurricane. Then, turn up into the passage between Big and Little White Islands.

White Islands Shoreline

chart of White Islands

Click the chart to open Navionics.

Not to be used for Navigation.

Docking, Anchorages, or Moorings

The anchorage here is small, accommodating four to five boats. With little space available, you may want to arrive a bit early to find a spot. The holding ground is generally very good with mud in most locations. Some areas are narrow yet have good depth. The current does flow through and in light summer winds will determine how you may lie.
Among the most protected spots is alongside Big White Island toward the north end of Little White; in this spot you will feel little effect from seas at high tide.
The other option is to proceed a little farther into the archipelago just north of Big White Island and to the west of Little Green Island in the deep areas. At high tide this area can feel a bit more exposed as high tide arrives and the ledges disappear. However, it is a delightful spot.
If this small anchorage is full, there are several other options right nearby. Both Hurricane Island and Carvers Harbor have moorings. Long Cove on Vinalhaven is another option. In half an hour you can reach any of these ports.

Getting Ashore

Photo: Bill Barton

Part of the joy of spending a night, or a lunch stop, in the White Islands is to go ashore and explore Big White and Big Green Islands. Both of these are open to the public. Big Green was gifted to the Nature Conservancy by Anne Morrow Lindbergh and feels like a “Gift from the Sea” to cruisers. The easiest landing spot on Big Green is in the cove between the island and the small islet to the southwest. On Big White Island land on the small sandy beach on the north end.
Once ashore, the best hiking is often to carefully work your way around on the granite shore, going briefly inland through pines with Spanish moss when steep coves make passage tricky. Beach roses and wild aster decorate the shorelines. Each bend and point reveals more beauty. There are no trails on the islands making walks in the interior difficult.
Back aboard your boat, watch great blue herons, surf scoters and guillemots fishing and feeding amongst the islands.
Please note that Little White and Little Green are privately owned and you cannot go ashore.

White Islands landing shows an expanse of granite ledges with an anchored boat in the background.


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