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    The best place to see Maine’s reversing falls

    for Travel - 22pembroke - The reversing falls at Pembroke, Maine. (Maine Office of Tourism)
    Maine Office of Tourism
    The reversing falls at Pembroke, Maine.

    PEMBROKE, Maine - The Pine Tree State boasts a number of unheralded natural wonders. In Cutler, the Bold Coast trails line the precipitous cliffs high above the raging Atlantic. In Passamaquoddy Bay, bioluminescent organisms glow at night, attracting a growing legion of sea kayakers who want to immerse themselves in the greenish light, illuminated by the expansive night sky when the weather is ideal.

    Then there’s Cobscook Bay, best known for its tremendous tide. When that tide surges in, often as fast as 25 knots, it can cause other tides to reverse their flow, resulting in a unique natural phenomenon called reversing falls. The opposing currents create a churning whirlpool. Fish that are swept up in the foamy water are easy prey for the seals on the seaweed-laden rocks and the eagles overhead.

    Last summer, I found Maine’s best example of a reversing falls at the end of Leighton Point Road in Pembroke. I could hear the rush of water as soon as I parked in the small lot. There were places to picnic in a grassy area overlooking the water, but I wanted to get a better view of the falls, so I took a trail down to the boulder-strewn shoreline.


    I watched the fog lift off the tall pines of a neighboring island and startled a seal that was resting on a flat rock. I found a place to sit, dove into my pint of wild blueberries, breathed in the salty mist, and was quickly mesmerized by the cauldron of water that was stewing in the bay. An hour before high tide, it felt like utter chaos with water flowing in an almost circular formation, battling tides, and spewing foam in the air. Listening to the rush of water and watching the seals dive in for a snack, I lost track of time and missed my next engagement in Eastport, a 25-minute drive away.

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    That can happen when your cellphone has no service and the hectic schedule of the 21st century is washed away by ageless tides.

    For more information, go to

    Stephen Jermanok can be reached at