Cape Porpoise Names & Numbers
January 16, 2017
Chart: NOAA 13286
The Kennebunkport area is located on the southwestern Maine coast, midway between Portsmouth, New Hampshire, and Portland, Maine. The region is bounded by the Mousam River in the southwest and Goosefare Bay to the northeast, with the principal tidal estuary of the Kennebunk River in the middle, just west of Cape Arundel.
Cape Porpoise Harbor is about 15 miles southwest of Cape Elizabeth. The harbor is safe and protected—a good refuge for boaters caught in a blow. Approaching from the southwest, Goat Island Light (43º 21.5´ N, 70º 25.5´ W) is a 38-foot, white, cylindrical tower with a foghorn, and is the best primary mark. The light is on the south end of Goat Island and the east side of the harbor entrance. A lighted whistle buoy, about 1.85 miles southeast of the light, marks the approach, and red bell “2” is less than a 1/2 mile out. The channel to Cape Porpoise Harbor is clear and simple to navigate.
There are no marinas in Cape Porpoise. All moorings are privately owned and are only available if a fisherman happens to be out overnight. Inquire with the harbormaster at the main wharf (207-967-5040; VHF 16; Cape Porpoise Harbor), which sells fuel. There is no overnight dockside tie-up, although the harbormaster may be able to arrange something. Nearest marinas are on the Kennebunkport River (see “Focus on Kennebunkport” on this site). Note: the town is currently considering the installation of a few guest moorings in the harbor, which should be available for the 2011 season.
Anchoring at Cape Porpoise is allowed, but is a tricky proposition, as you’ll have to use 2 anchors to prevent your boat from swinging through the fleet. It is recommended that you anchor as far south as possible in the harbor, where there is more room and greater depth, and that you contact the harbormaster first. There’s more room in Stage Island Harbor, adjacent to Cape Porpoise Harbor. However, there is a noticeable roll at high tide and plenty of trap buoys to maneuver around. A public landing with temporary tie-up can be found just north of the Town Pier. If you want to tie up for more than 2 hours, check with the harbormaster to see if a longer stay can be arranged.
There is no public launch ramp at Cape Porpoise or the lower Kennebunk River. Both Chicks and the Kennebunkport Marina in Kennebunkport have ramps, but charge a fee for use. Kayakers and other paddle-craft users are no longer allowed to use the ramp next to the Cape Porpoise state pier for launching. Best spot for small-boat launching is the causeway on Pier Street, although this is only viable on the upper stages of the tide.
- Cape Porpoise Harbormaster
- Kayak Excursions (888-925-7496): Offers guided tours and rentals in the Kennebunkport area. Website offers Google map showing good put-in spots along the coast.
- Nonantum Resort (800-552-5651)
- Coastal Maine Kayak (207-967-6065)
- Bicycles can be rented at Kennebunkport Bicycle (207-967-8713)
- Coastal Cab Company (207-229-0783)
- Groceries can be found at Bradbury Brothers Market (207-967-3939), a short walk from the harbor.
- In Cape Porpoise, attractions and diversions are limited to a walk around the quiet Maine fishing village, with perhaps a stop for great clam chowder at the Wayfarer Restaurant (207-967-8961) or fried clams at the Lobster Pot (207-967-4607). You can also view art at the Wright Gallery (207-967-5053).
- Wayfarer Restaurant (207-967-8961)
- Lobster Pot (207-967-4607): Fried clams, fish and lobster.
- Pier 77 (207-967-8500): Seafood and more near the town pier at the mouth of the harbor.
- Cape Porpoise Lobster Company (800-967-4268): Dock-and-dine option on the harbor.
- The Captains Restaurant (207-967-2341)
- Nunan’s Lobster Hut (207-967-4362): Venerable, rustic restaurant a short walk from the harbor.