Portsmouth Harbor can be reached from route 1 in Maine just over the border via the exit for 103. Follow 103 which also becomes Pepperrill Road. On the right, we turned into a public launch behind a restaurant. The ramp had a flush toilet bathroom, making the choice of drop-offs a good one.
We did a simple route that only took a few leisurely hours. Some people choose to go around New Castle Island and Seavey Island, but due to an afternoon start, we decided to paddle out to the abandoned coast guard house on Wood Island and a lighthouse Called Whaleback Lighthouse.
The route is nice, and in many parts the water is to too deep so you can see the bottom and watch the occasional fish pass by. Several types of birds also make the trip interesting.
We stopped at the abandoned Coast Guard House (photo below) which is situated on a rocky island, making it a cautious landing for glass kayaks. The flowers no the island are pretty, but the structure itself is boarded up and dangerous. Renovations are planned in the future.
From there, we paddled out to the gray lighthouse (photo at top) where the waves became a bit rougher and attention needed to be paid to the rocks off the edge of its island.
To return, we followed the same route, but paddled to the other side of the Coast Guard House.
Our friends started early in the day and took a route around Seavey Island and new Castle Island.