On the east side of Frenchman Bay, away from the bustle of Bar Harbor, lies a largely forgotten piece of Acadia National ParkSchoodic Point. Exposed to the open swell, with rugged rocky shorelines, steep storm racked cliffs and spectacular scenery, it is hard to imagine a finer body of water to explore in a sea kayak.

The Schoodic Sea Kayak Retreat is a five-day event in the midst of some of the best waters for sea kayaking on the US east coast. It's also an opportunity to try a variety of wooden kayak designs--especially those designed by Nick Schade--in the conditions for which they were designed. 

Nick Schade, of Guillemot Kayaks, is an acclaimed designer and builder of wooden sea kayaks. Gerry Polinsky, of Sea Sherpa Kayak, is a world-class kayak instructor and guide. Nick and Gerry share a passion for open-water paddling, and started this annual event in 2018. 

Gerry's customers tend to be primarily focused on kayaking techniques and skills, and are more likely to be paddling a production sea kayak. At Schoodic, they could really see how well the wooden kayaks performed.  Others had built their own kayak, but hadn't tried them in these conditions. "My customers are really focused on building a nice boat," Nick Schade explains. At Schoodic, Nick says, "Many of them had their eyes opened in terms of what you can do with these [wooden] kayaks." 

Photographers (and paddlers) Carl Tjerandsen and Jonathan Oltz were there and captured these photos of sea kayaks in their natural environment.

Questions about the event? Interested in participating next year? Click here.

Group photo on the beach.

Wooden sea kayaks of many shapes and sizes, from a CLC Shearwater 14, to a Chesapeake 17LT, to a Petrel Play SG.

A strip-planked Petrel.

At play in rock gardens. 

A skills session on shore.

Laughing Loon Baidarka (foreground), and a Petrel Play SG

Shearwater 16

microBootlegger Sport

Petrel Play SG

Shearwater 17


Stitch and Glue Night Heron

Petrel Play

Petrel Play 

Petrel Play and Stitch-and-Glue Petrel Play

Stitch-and-Glue Petrel