Great Duck Island House | Wilderness


Things to Do while on the Island:

Hiking & picnicking. Bird watching: there are seagulls, guillemots, eider ducks, bald eagles, hummingbirds, and over 20 kinds of song birds nesting on the island. Fishing from the shore. Exploring the forests and shores of the island and tide pools with a variety of marine plants and animals. Amazing star gazing without light pollution. Watching sunrises and moonrises over the open ocean; watching sunsets over neighboring islands to the west. Photographing beautiful views everywhere. Lingering over breakfast on the east deck overlooking the sparkling open ocean. Breathing in the sunset light while having dinner on the west deck. Curling up with the love of your life in front of a woodstove fire at night.


Because of cool sea breezes, it rarely gets very hot on the island, but you may want to bring shorts and short-sleeved shirts. Temperatures in summer are usually in the 70’s during the day and 60’s at night. However, even in summer there are some cold days and nights on the island–as low as 60’s during the day and 50’s at night. So bring warm clothing just in case. For very brief dips in the approximately 55 degree ocean or longer dips in tidal pools you should bring bathing suits. To be able to stay in the water for any length of time you will need full wet-suits.

For landing on the island and walking around in the wet tall grass, we recommend calf-length rubber boots. For exploring the trails and shore, bring hiking boots or shoes with good ankle support. Great Duck is a rugged wilderness island.

Equipment & Supplies:

Among the many amenities to make your stay comfortable and enjoyable are flashlights, binoculars, a radio, a DVD player with an 18′ flat-screen TV (there is spotty TV reception on the island), a small library of DVDs, a CD player, a cassette tape player, speakers for playing music from a phone or computer, children’s toys, board games, puzzles, and a library of books for both children and adults that are available for renters’ use.

There are outdoor lounge chairs, benches at various viewpoints, and a hammock that hangs between two trees behind the house. We do not have fishing equipment, so bring your own if you want to fish.


In the kitchen, there is everything you will need, except the food you plan to eat and whatever you want to drink. We supply dishes, glasses, silverware, napkins, cooking utensils, a large variety of pots and pans, (including a large pot for boiling lobsters), plastic storage bags and containers, paper towels, napkins, and aluminum foil, dish soap, etc. There is also a blender, a microwave oven, toaster, a Cuisinart food processor, an electric ice-cream maker, and a gas barbecue grill.

Bathroom & Linens:

We supply blankets, pillows, and sheets as well as dishtowels and bath mats. We also supply tissues, toilet paper and hand soap. Please bring your own towels, wash cloths and shampoos.

Electricity & Fuels:

All fuels for woodstoves, heaters, refrigerators, and gas stove are provided.
Electricity is provided by a solar electric power system.


You must bring all your food to the island. There are no stores there, so be sure you bring enough for your stay. However, if it turns out you do not have enough food, there is always an extra supply of canned and dried food in the house You do not need to bring basic spices or cooking oils (olive and vegetable) or staples like flour or sugar. You should bring any condiments that you want (mustard, ketchup, etc) and whatever you would like to drink (coffee, etc.)


If you want to bring lobsters, the best place to buy them is from Beal’s Lobster Pier, which is at the end of Clark Point Rd. The address is 182 Clark Point Road Southwest Harbor, ME 04679. Their phone number is (207) 244-3202. Visit their website: Beal’s Lobster Pier. Ask them to put the lobsters in a styrofoam box with frozen gel packs or dry ice to keep the lobsters cool. When you get to the island you can put them in a storage cage which is kept underwater so the lobsters stay alive. (Lobsters must be cooked live). Details about this are described in the House Manual.


Our electric refrigerator has 10.46 cubic feet of storage space plus a 3.87 cubic foot freezer.. There are also coolers available which require ice.  You can also bring your own cooler, if you like.


We have a well which provides water for the bathroom shower, sink, toilets and the kitchen sink. We ask that you use water sparingly since the capacity of our well and our storage tank is limited. A hot water heater provides hot water as needed.


Everything that you take out to the island should be well packed in small suitcases, boxes, bags, or ‘totes’ that can be easily loaded and unloaded. Have as few loose things as possible. There is no dock on the island. The Water Taxi will tie up to our mooring 50 yards offshore. Then you and all your gear will be transferred from the Water Taxi to a 16 foot skiff, which takes you to a little cove near the house. Everything is then unloaded on the shore. You may want to cover some things in large plastic trash bags in case it’s raining or to protect them from the wet seaweed or any water pools on the shore.

Bring only as much as you can carry yourselves with the assistance from a helper who will accompany you on the “Elizabeth T,” the boat that takes you to the island. Everything you bring has to be loaded in and out of two boats, carried up the shore, and then carried 100 yards in a motorized garden cart or a wheelbarrow to the house.

Boat Arrangements:

After consulting with you, we will schedule your boat transportation to and from the island on the ‘Elizabeth T. ’ This is a very solid, U.S. Coast Guard inspected 40-foot passenger boat owned and operated by Sail Acadia. We will arrange it so that you arrive and leave as close to high tide as possible, which makes it much easier to land.

Water Taxi Fee:

The Water Taxi charges a flat rate of $675 for the round trip to the island. This includes a deckhand or helper. Please give a check, payable to “Sail Acadia” to the boat captain on your return trip from the island or you can pay with a credit card at the office on the dock. The deckhand or helper will assist you in carrying your baggage and to show you around the house. We encourage you to tip him. $10, or more, is a good amount.


In case of bad weather, the boat trip to the island may have to be rescheduled. This very rarely happens during the summer months, but it is a possibility. We will give your cell phone numbers to the Sail Acadia water taxi so that they can reach you before the trip if they need to reschedule due to bad weather. You can monitor the weather yourself by looking at<> which has the forecast for Frenchboro, Maine (our neighboring island). You can also check the marine forecast by clicking on this link:  <>

If you are delayed and are going to be late please be sure to call Sail Acadia directly at their office: (207) 266-5210.  If you can’t reach them, try calling the owner, Karl Brunner at (207) 266-3942.