euryhaline paddler

exploring the shorelines of Delmarva via kayak


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South Point Road to Ocean City Inlet

Yesterday’s paddle was simply a warm-up for today!  Today was also much more enjoyable than yesterday.  I started out at South Point Road Landing (which is off 611, the road that takes you to Assateague).  Brian dropped me off around 10:00 and I was to meet him near the Route 50 bridge where he would be tautog fishing all day.

The first 2 miles were a little rough.  Although I had a nice tail wind (12 mpg SSE), it tossed me around quite a bit.  If it was summer time, I would have had fun riding the small waves and being rocked around.  However, the threat of capsizing and hypothermia freaked me out a bit so I decided to paddle close to the shoreline.  However, after about 2 miles I rounded a small point of marshland and the wind seemed to be affecting me much less.

Once the wind died down I was able to relax and enjoy my surroundings a little bit more.  Here’s a quick recap of the wildlife I spotted today: horned grebe, brant, bufflehead, canada goose, pony, common loon, ghost crab, green crab, and various gulls and shellfish.

After crossing under the Assateague bridge, I pulled up to an old state-owned boat launch.  This particular launch has a crabbing pier that we used to go to when my family vacationed to this area when I was a kid.  I even remember a time when I was about 10, we were all crabbing off this pier when some girl asked my Dad if she could borrow his pliers.  Or maybe a knife, I don’t know.  Of course he said yes, she took them, and then proceeded to throw them in the water.  Yeah, not a great story, but for some reason that story stuck with me.

I took a break to stretch my legs and wandered into the Assateague welcome center which is new and really fancy.  Almost too fancy.  It’s a park people, not a museum.  But don’t worry, I won’t use this blog to express my feelings about the National Park Service….

After a quick snack I made a bee-line to the island.  I headed straight towards a large sand over-wash that looked like it could’ve happened during Hurricane Sandy.  I am always fascinated with barrier island migration, plus a fresh over-wash makes the perfect kayak landing!  I was tempted to take a long walk on the beach but low tide wasn’t too far off and I wanted to reach my destination before the tide changed.  I just wandered around for a few minutes, took a few pictures, and continued on.

As I pushed northward, I had to stop and be a complete tourist because, well, PONIES!!  Yes, I stopped to look at the ponies.  I even snapped a few photos.  Ugh, I was being the exact person I complain about in the summer.  At least I wasn’t stopping any traffic!

After another mile or so the water began to get really shallow.  Like 4 inches shallow.  I really wanted to paddle along the shoreline of Assateague but that was not going to happen.  Even after I altered my course slightly to the west, it continued to be shallow.  So shallow that I came to an island that was surrounded by a giant mud flat.  I was starting to get warn out and I really didn’t feel like paddling around it so that called for another portage adventure.  Luckily the mud was pretty hard and it was pretty easy to walk across, dragging my kayak and all my gear behind me, but anyhow, I was quite winded by the time I reached the other side.  I’d say it was at least 100 yards (but I’m a really bad judge of distance).

I stuck close to the marked channel for the last stretch of this trip.  I didn’t spend much time sightseeing as I was getting close to the tide change and I didn’t want to get stuck  paddling against the incoming tide.  I could not however, miss the incredibly gaudy and huge houses along the shoreline.  At first when I see these houses I think “wow, I wonder what these people do for a living that they can afford that” and then I quickly think “really?  do you really need a house that looks like a castle with palm trees? palm trees in Maryland? really?”

I was always a bit nervous about paddling near an inlet so I took my time and stayed focused on boat traffic as I passed by the Ocean City Inlet.  It wasn’t bad.  I’m glad that I paddled this stretch in the off-season though.  I can’t image what it would have been like at the height of the season.  Although I’ve driven over the Route 50 bridge and visited the amusement parks at the boardwalk many times, it was weird to see it all from this angle.  This will probably be the only time I take pictures of roller coasters and ferris wheels from my kayak!

I concluded my 11 mile journey at the Homer Gudelsky Park, or as the locals call it, “Stinky Beach”.  It was perfect timing because Brian was running out of bait and was just about finished fishing for the day.  Here he is, my knight in shining armor.  Or more like, my silly fisherman in tacky yellow plastic!  And it was the perfect end to my day because he caught dinner!  A 17″ tautog 🙂

   

And here it is!  Check out my path:


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George Island – Truitts Landing

I have definitely been lazy as far as this kayaking blog goes, but I finally got back out on the water today, November 11.  Today I headed to Chincoteague Bay with Brian.  He dropped me off at George Island Landing which is just east of the tiny little town, Stockton, MD.  I headed north, my destination being Truitts Landing which is near the town of Girdletree, MD.

I was amazed at the clarity of the water today.  Even when I was in 4-5 feet of water, I could still see straight to the bottom.  I’m not sure if that was because I was paddling in a less developed area?  Or maybe because the angle of the sun in the fall is different than what I’m used to?  It was surprising though, considering the amount of rain we’ve had with Hurricane Sandy and the last nor’easter.

Another thing that I found interesting was how far Assateague Island looked from where I was paddling.  I knew from looking at Google Earth that is was nearly 5 miles away, but still, it just seemed weird.  Here I was paddling in a coastal bay and it just seemed like the barrier island should have been closer.  There were quite a few islands between the mainland and Assateague.  Some of them even had old, abandoned houses or hunting shacks on them which was cool to see.  I decided to go slightly off course to check one of them out.  The closer I got, the nicer the house looked.  And by the time I was less than 100 yards away, I realized it was really well maintained and there were people in the yard!  I don’t know why, but this was unexpected to me.  Of all the little houses and shacks I’ve seen out on marsh islands, none of them are maintained and actually have people living in them!  Maybe it was George of George Island Landing?

I finally found Brian (the fishing was not good) and reached Truitts Landing in just under 2 hours, covering 5.22 miles.  Check out my path:


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Isle of Wight WMA

On October 1st I launched at the Isle of Wight Wildlife Management Area which is located off Route 90, heading into Ocean City, MD.  I was under the impression that this piece of land was an island.  Hmm… not so.  The launch is located on the south side of Route 90 and from there I started out going east.  I looped around the “island” and was back where I started in about an hour.

There was one minor snag in this trip – a need to portage.  As I began to realize that this piece of land was not an island, I was already a mile and a half into my trip and I did not feel like turning around.  I paddled right up next to St. Martins Neck Road and got out.  After waiting for what seemed like forever for the traffic to die down, I was able to awkwardly carry my kayak across the street and place it into the water on the west side of the road.  A few people driving by stared at me with curiosity as they drove by so I was a little embarrassed, but hey, it got me where I wanted to be a whole lot faster!

Unfortunately I did not take any photos on this trip.  It was kind of a spur of the moment outing and there wasn’t anything worth taking photos of anyway.  Except my ridiculous portage adventure!