Eastport's Old Sow is largest whirlpool in Western Hemisphere

Bike Maine 2016: North America's Largest Whirlpool

EASTPORT, Maine (NEWS CENTER) — The Old Sow is a naturally occurring whirlpool off the coast of Eastport. The waters of Passamaquoddy Bay collide with water from the Bay of Fundy just south of Deer Island. Beneath 300 feet of water sits a 250-foot hill. It causes water to swirl. On incoming tides, whirlpools form.

Skip Harris captains the Vonnie and Val, a fishing and sightseeing charter boat out of Eastport. He says the Old Sow is not a hazard to navigation. "It will kick you around a bit," says Harris, who marvels at the beauty and power of the whirlpool.

The oral history of Eastport tells us that the Old Sow takes its name from the pig-like or sucking sounds that the eddy makes. Others suggest it comes from the Old English word “sough,” which means “drain.”

Mike Morse of the Eastport planning board says it’s a wonderful tourist attraction.

"It looks just like glass, but you can tell looking down at it that is just boiling underneath," Morse says. "All it takes is one little break in the surface and it starts swelling."

Copyright 2016 WCSH


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