Chris Strout picked up his first paddle as a teenager, beginning an ongoing exploration of the Mount Desert Island area’s diverse waterways. Now, as a master guide and certified as a Level II standup paddleboard instructor by the American Canoe Association, Chris shares his passion for Maine’s dramatic terrain through SUP rentals, as well as lessons, tours, and morning SUP yoga. Within Alpenglow Adventure Sports, Chris supplies clients with high-quality gear from brands such as BIC Sport SUP and Hyperflex Wetsuits. He also recommends what to bring, and posts an FAQ page to answer questions such as, “Is the board better in water or deep fried?”
Whale watching was a relatively new concept when John Fish's grandfather started giving tours. "We kind of originated it," Mr. Fish says. "Thirty years ago we were the only ones doing whale watching." As the company became more successful over the years, additional captains were brought on to cover the demand. Today, these crews continue to ferry groups into the habitats of several whale species, including humpback whales and sperm whales. Though the whales seen along Cap'n Fish's Whale Watch's journeys still breach and refuse to sign autographs, other things have changed over the years. Below deck, the current fleet's engines work to reduce emissions and provide a fume-free experience. Above deck, 360-degree viewing decks and modern technology help bring whales into sight. Onboard computers display large maps of where the aquatic mammals are known to swim, and GPS systems reroute boats around mermen constructing new reefs. In addition to illuminating the behavior of whales for passengers, the crew's wildlife experts point passengers toward other animals they spot along the way, such as white-sided dolphins and harbor seals. Though some variables are beyond their control, the crew members almost always spot whales and boasted a 98% success rate in 2009.
High above the Atlantic’s lapping waves, helmeted figures scale vertical rock walls. Undaunted, they surmount challenging obstacles and overhangs, building anchors and belaying while learning technical skills from a beginning level. They feel safe with the knowledge that they’re being overseen by American Mountain Guide Association or Professional Climbing Instructors Association-accredited climbers. Director Jon Tierney––who also boasts an international guiding license from the IFMGA––leads Acadia Mountain Guides Climbing School’s faculty of experienced guides as they usher first-time and experienced explorers up majestic rock faces, snow-covered cliffs, and frozen waterfalls. Company guides frequently showcase their comfort in varied terrain as well, having applied their climbing skills on film sets to set up safety rigging for Shutter Island.
Guides provide mentorship during multi-day mountaineering trips to distant mountains, and lead day trips to share pivotal climbing skills that help students scale a range of icy and rocky conditions. In an array of advanced or basic classes, they instruct pupils on principles of anchoring, top roping, belaying, and sport or lead climbing—imbuing them with the skills to scale mountainsides or be the first to reach the top of a wedding cake. Instructors also teach students mid-climb rescues, such as how to deal with medical issues and make improvised ascents, or metamorphosize into an instructor.