euryhaline paddler

exploring the shorelines of Delmarva via kayak

Claiborne to Tilghman

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On October 1, 2014, I paddled for the first time in Talbot County.  Although, that’s a little bit of a lie because I’ve been kayaking many times in Talbot Co, seeing as I used to live there and even had a part time job as a kayak guide for the local YMCA.  But this was the first time I’ve kayaking in Talbot County as part of my “around Delmarva” goal.  Not only was I very familiar with this general area, it was also nice to take a short walk (or paddle) down memory lane as I passed right by Poplar Island, where I used to work.  Here’s the 9.3-mile path I took:

I left work at 12:15, thinking that was plenty of time for this adventure.  I must have been stopped at every light and stuck behind every slow vehicle on the way there because I didn’t get to Claiborne until 2:30.  I spent about 10 minutes organizing my gear and locking my kayak to a lamp post and during that 10 minutes I counted 5 cars that drove in to the parking lot, looked around, and drove back out.  I couldn’t figure it out.  One guy looked kinda sketchy, but the other cars just had middle-aged sight-seers in the car.  It was still bizarre to me.  Was I missing something?  Was there something exciting to see?  Or were they scoping the place out for a drug deal or some other illegal activity?  Or maybe I’m just over-analyzing the situation now.

Anyway, I then drove down to Back Creek Park, a county park right next to the drawbridge leading into Tilghman.  My plan was to ride my bike back to Claiborne and paddle back – the Talbot Co website and the sign at the park indicated there was a kayak launch a little further down that path.  Perfect.

I didn’t want to waste any time because I had left my kayak paddle and PFD (and snacks!) with my kayak, unattended.  My biggest fear is that someone will swipe some of these key kayaking accessories in the time that I’m biking.  Everything of value I had with me (phone, camera, VHF radio, money, keys).  I hopped on my bike and started heading up the road.  I wanted to go quickly because I knew I would be racing for daylight, but at the same time, I’m not a strong cyclist so I didn’t want to waste too much energy and save my strength for the paddling.

I covered 9 miles in about 40 minutes which was faster than I expected, and a good thing as I didn’t hit the water until 3:45, leaving just 3 hours of sunlight to cover 9 miles of paddling.  Eek!  No dilly-dallying on this trip!

I don’t have much of a story to tell with this trip because my mind was set on finishing the whole time.  One thing that was pretty cool was being able to see the houses at the end of the driveways that we used to pass on our commute to work every day when I worked on Poplar.  We (my fellow carpoolers and I) would pass many driveways, usually with fancy signs naming their property something like “Loblolly Point” or “Black Cherry Plantation”.  You could never actually see to the end of the driveway and I was always curious what kind of fancy mansions were there.  Here’s a few:

I was so worried that I wasn’t going to finish before dark that I barely stopped to look at my phone and evaluate how much further I had to go.  I barely stopped paddling the entire time, only a few times to snap a photo.  Luckily the wind was pushing me along which helped me to maintain a speed of roughly 3.75 mph.

Check out this handsome guy.

Check out this handsome guy.

Last view of Poplar

Last view of Poplar

I finally paddled all the way passed Poplar Island and into the vicinity of Tilghman.

Since I didn’t take the time to check out the Back Creek Park kayak launch, I wasn’t totally sure what I was looking for.  We I first reached the park the shoreline was covered in phragmites and thick brush.  I figured I’d paddle around the curve and there would be a nice sandy spot to get out.  No such luck.  Nothing.  This park definitely did not have a kayak launch.  What the heck, Talbot Co parks??  Nothing along the shoreline could have even resembled a kayak launch.  I ended up pulling up in front of the Tilghman Island Inn.  THEY had a kayak launching area 😛

"trespassing" through Knapps Narrows Marina

“trespassing” through Knapps Narrows Marina

I was a bit nervous that someone from the inn would question whether or not I was staying there and I was trying to come up with what I would tell them when they realized I was trespassing.  I left my kayak on the bank and hurried to my car (not far at all).  One advantage of pulling up to shore here, as opposed to the park, was that I was able to pull my car up right next to my kayak, rather than dragging my kayak up the path for 100+ yards to my car (the park’s parking lot was pretty far from the “kayak launch”).

By the time I had loaded my kayak onto my car, the sun still had a good 15 minutes before setting – not bad!  All that was left to do was pick up my bike and head home!  Since I rarely go kayaking around sunset, here are a few shots of the sun setting over the bay:

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