Monday, August 24, 2015

Warehouse Creek


Much of Kent Island is over-developed and crowded, due to it's proximity to the Bay Bridge. However, branching east of Cox creek is wide, marsh-boardered Warehouse creek, with only a few houses at the mouth and at the head, and a lot of solitude in between.

The beaches are silty rather than sandy (south shore has wadeable areas) of SAV (submerged aquatic vegetation), but at least they are firm, and if you step out to look at something, you won't sink in up to your knees. But mostly it's a quiet place, with a few fisherman, a few sailboats anchored near the mouth (few go up very far), and bigger fish chasing little fish.

Near the head is a small public landing, protected by a stupidly high fee for nothing more than gravel lot and a short board walk. On the other hand, if you land with an unregistered kayak, I think there is nothing to fear.

A few hundred yard walk east (pleasant) on the road will take you to route 8, and a few hundred yards south on route 8 (unpleasant) will take you to the entrance to Matapeake Park, an unremarkable park on the bay with a ramp, pier, swimming beach, and a club house often rented for weddings.





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Warehouse creek carries 7-foot depths until the final split about 1/2-mile from the head, though there are a few lumps in the channel that may reduce it to 6 feet without local knowledge. The holding is good in firm mud.

rev. 2-18-2016. I liked it so much I returned in the spring. Miles of unspoiled, uninhabited shoreline.


Thursday, July 24, 2014

Deep Cove Creek

 Broad Water Cheek center, Deep Cove Creek right
 A few miles north of Deale, MD, just northeast of  Broad Water Creek on the western shore is an unimportant break in the coastline. A small marsh-lined creek, just navigable by runabouts, winders inland through marsh for a fraction of a mile before broadening into a beautiful pond. One afternoon, sailing alone without really enough wind to sail I decided to stop and explore, and was greeted by a pair of bald eagles; enough for the spot to make my list of places to take folks.

It's a small area, with a few tiny beaches on the south side protected by a small breakwater. Turtles nest on the beach; leave them alone.

 There is a shallow indent in the coast here, running north, but don't mistake this for an area where you can tuck in and anchor; it's less than 4 feet for 1/4-mile. However, the holding ground is excellent (a firm sand/silt mix) and in settled weather it is perfectly practical to anchor in the open for a while. There is kayaking all along this stretch of coast, but the closest approaches to shore are west of the creek.

The pond, looking towards the Chesapeake

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Janes Island

One of the largest marsh areas  in the Chesapeake Bay, I'll be returning again and again, for there is much I have not seen. The town of Chrisfield isn't much to visit, not to my tastes, but there are a few restaurants and the marina has a nice pool.

 Normally--always--I'm quiet in the marsh, but on this occasion I lost all track of time, realized I was late for dinner, and had to scoot. My faithful 3.5hp 2-stroke will plane very nicely if the dingy is light and well-trimmed.


Because of extensive shallow water, anchoring a cruising boat neat the island is basically impractical unless your draft is quite shallow in which case there are a number of nice coves. For the rest of us, the Summers Cove marina makes a good staging ground, just a fraction of a mile from the park. You will nearly pass the marina entrance before it is clearly visible. Just keep an eye to the right for the obvious opening.

I don't know how to communicate silence in a photograph. Nothing but a light hiss of the wind in the reeds.


Water Trail Guides

Monday, April 22, 2013

Blackwater and Fishing Bay Refuge

Though not accessible by cruising boat, it is a part of the Bay (at the head of Fishing Bay) and is a jewel no Chesapeake explorer should miss.

http://www.fws.gov/blackwater/visitorctr.html
 http://www.friendsofblackwater.org/paddling.html#rental

FISHING BAY WATER TRAIL, CAMBRIDGE Fishing Bay Wildlife management Area is adjacent to Blackwater. Owned by the State of Maryland, it’s actually larger than its Federally owned neighbor, at 28,500 acres. It’s the largest publicly owned tidal wetland in the state. With no visitor center, just several boat ramps, and largely unknown by the public, it offers a remote wilderness paddling experience. Expect to see whitetail and Sika deer, native muskrat and alien nutria, quail, Bald Eagles, and osprey. The water trail has two identified trails totally about 10 miles. Both are subject to strong winds and strong currents at times. Copies of the waterproof, tearproof map are free. You can find them at the Sailwinds Visitor Center in Cambridge, or at the WMA. The map doesn’t show any office. They might be at the boat ramps. You can also send a e-mail to: aking@dnr.state.md.us This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it . Put “map request” in the subject line. Include your name, mailing address, and number of maps you want. The URL for Fishing Bay WMA is: http://www.dnr.state.md.us/publiclands/eastern/fishingbay.asp#ar

 http://www.dnr.state.md.us/publiclands/trailguides.html

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Cape Charles Impact Crater



The Cape Charles Impact Crater

A plaque on the board walk at Cape Charles commemorates the very reason for the Chesapeake Bay's existence, at least in the place and form we see. Thirty-five million years ago an enormous meteorite, 2 miles in diameter and moving 60,000 mph, plowed into an ancient seabed, creating a crater some 60 miles in diameter, and vaporizing or incinerating everything within hundreds of miles. There are no obvious surface signs of the crater, and examination of nautical charts reveals no abyss. A similarly sized meteorite struck Tom's Canyon on the continental shelf off New Jersey within the next million years, and a combination of ejected material and devastating tsunami erased all surface trace; actually three meteorites, including these two and Popigai in Siberia, fell in a straight line and may have been simultaneous, much like Shoemaker-Levy 9’s multiple impacts on Jupiter in 1994. Even now, millions of years later, the ground in the Hampton Roads/Norfolk area continues to subside as the rubble from the impact continues to consolidate, causing the most rapid sea level rise rates in North America. The buried Ice-Age channels of  the Susquehanna, Potomac, and Rappahannock originally crossed over the Delmarva on their way to the ocean, but were redirected to the south by this continuing subsidence as sea levels rose, forming a brackish water estuary unique in the world. Though the Chesapeake Bay in its current form is more recent, created only 10,000 to 18,000 years ago by rising sea level, the underlying geography is much older.
The discovery of the crater was somewhat fortuitous; it was the search for dramatically increased drinking water supplies needed to support the World War II build-up at the Norfolk and Newport News shipyards that began to reveal this secret. Sedimentary rock formations encountered while drilling test wells did not fit the established patterns of the Virginia coastal plain. Saltwater intrusion was found in places established coastal geology could not explain, including pockets higher in salinity than the surrounding ocean. It has been theorized that sea water was trapped soon after the time of impact and concentrated by an effect similar to reverse osmosis, with fresh water squeezed out through the rock, leaving behind a more concentrated brine. It was not until the early 1990s that technology and experience gained in researching other large impact craters allowed the identification of this area as an impact crater.
Although this was certainly a climate changing event, it has not been connected with any mass extinction. A larger meteorite, Chicxulub, created the devastating crater off the Yucat├ín Peninsula is generally credited with causing the extinction of over 60 percent of all life forms and initiating the transition from the Cretaceous to the Tertiary period, over 65 million years ago. Some five times smaller, perhaps the Chesapeake Bay meteor was simply not sufficiently massive to cause the widespread extinctions necessary to be obvious in the fragmented fossil record, or to change the course of evolution.  Perhaps life is more tenacious than we give credit.

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A few links...


http://meteor.pwnet.org/impact_event/impact_crater.htm

http://www.virginiaplaces.org/geology/bolide.html

Saturday, April 20, 2013

James Island

August 2008: A trip report.

James Island was once a very sizable island, in fact a peninsula on the south shore of the Little Choptank River. However, with falling sea levels—yes I do mean falling sea levels, since it was a sandbar formed when sea levels were much higher—it has eroded into three islands that will probably disappear in my lifetime. You'll not find a description of James Island in any guidebook and little on the Internet. I spotted it on Google Earth as a lonesome spot with potential, researched on the Internet that the owner doesn't mind visitation by low impact users, and stopped by briefly on a trip a year earlier, while passing from Smith Island to St. Michael's. What we discovered was one of the nicest little desert islands on the Chesapeake Bay. The east side of the center island forms a beautiful sandy crescent, protected from all but east winds. From any other direction doesn't look like much.

 Thin Water. Though we spent the night, 3 to 4-foot depths extend for about 1/2-mile.


We arrived mid-afternoon, anchored near the shore and next to two small powerboats. We walked the length of the island to reacquaint ourselves with the beach. Jessica explored the tidal pools at the north end. She then began to lead me through the brush and in the middle of the island… and within 15 seconds came charging back at me, followed by a cloud of flies and mosquitoes. Her assault on the interior of the island had been repulsed.

The rest of the afternoon was spent… well, not really doing anything. That's an odd choice for an adult like me, who is inherently goal oriented. Not that I'm a super achiever in business. Not that I'm a workaholic. But my goal is to go sailing I want to go sailing well. If the goal is to go rock climbing, I want to climb well. Today my only planned activity was to relax, and I suppose I did that well. With a book in hand, bug spray applied to the back of my neck, my boat anchored 30 feet off the beach, and the calm sandy bottom on which to plop my butt (chest deep in the 80 degree waters of the Bay), I proceeded to think about very little for the next few hours. I fished a little, but only tiny croaker and spot were biting.
We settled down for the evening. A passing thunderstorm grazed us, providing some fresh air but no rain. We watched a Jackie Chan movie on a portable DVD player. We tried fishing again—I reasoned that if there were small croaker during the day there might be larger fish at night—and we cleaned up. One fat fish after another, all over a foot long. “Fishbites” was the trick, an amazing fake bait. I tossed the cleanings off the stern, attracting squadrons of smaller fish.

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Visit while you can; these islands will be gone in a generation. There has also been discussion of converting James Island into a dredge spoil disposal site. The Army Corp of Engineers has the project on temporary hold.

http://www.chesapeakeboating.net/Media/Quick-Cruises/James-Island-Treasure-Island-Hunting.aspx