Lee and I launched from chicks beach into the 'wrong as usual' NOAA forecast. But we were ready to go and paddled into the 10 to 15mph east-southeast wind driven chop. I was in my fully packed Ocean Kayak Manta and Lee was in my Prowler 15. With the SPOT tracker on and working, we got to the second island in under an hour and a half. We rested and jigged for flounder. We crossed between the 3rd and 4th island just ahead of a small convoy of fast navy ships that appeared from the thick fog that was rolling in. By the time we got to the shoals, the fog and wind and lifted and it was a nice paddle, Lee's wrist was tightening up on him but kept going. We got to the high rise in 8 hours. After some congratulatory pictures we realized the current was beginning to flow out. It took us another 2 hours to get 3 miles to SunsetBeach into the current. Lee's girlfriend met us at the tiki bar to pick him up, his muscles above his wrist was knotted up and he was hurting. A few days later he had to go to the doctors, his entire arm had swelled up. The crossing gave him tendonitis.
On the way across the mouth of the Bay.
Lee on the crossing
Luckly the fog rolled in after the Forth Island
On the other side.
It was cold on the crossing day, but the next four days there was a heat advisory. Heat indexes soared to 110 degrees. I am a heat loving critter and love it in those conditions. Although, going from wearing a sweatshirt and waders one week, to temps in the 100's the next, took me a day to get use to it. I fished the ships waiting for the current to flood and caught small flounder and grey trout. I also hit the Cape Charles jetty for a few more flounder. The shoreline was interesting and beautiful with long sand bars running along 100 to 200 yards out along the coast. The entire place was real shallow, and every evening I would hear a boat run aground.
Small flounder at the Ships.
Grey Trout at the Ships
More small flounder at the Cape Charles jetty.
The third night
A cool Eastern Shore creek
I got into a school of this size croaker.
I moved into the Pocomoke Sound when I landed on BeachIsland, a long spit like point on the end of a large marsh peninsula. On those hot afternoons I just sit with my back facing the sun and kill horse flies. When the sun lowers, I set up my tent and get ready for the next day. My mornings start off slow on the water, casting on fishy looking spots. There were plenty of fishy spots to hit and plenty of small stripers and croaker were hungry. I had to end my day on the northern shore of the Pocomoke, a cold front was coming through and changing the winds from the south to the north. The next day I crept along the marsh in the lee of the grass to Crisfeld for a shower and a refill of my water bottles.
Beach Island on the Pocomoke Sound.
This was the largest of the stripers around the marsh
Dragon flys will take a rest on my paddle while im paddling.
Sometimes, thats all the space I need
A cool beach on the Pocomoke.
Shower time at the Somers Cove Marina.
I had to make the crossing on Thursday because Friday the winds wouldn't be right. From the beach outside of Crisfeld, it was 25 miles to Smith Point. I wanted to set up for the crossing by camping on the south end of SmithIsland, but that wasn't going to happen. I launched and headed west. I followed the marsh to the south as it grew into sight. I landed six miles later looking across the bay. Standing, I could barely see the trees across the 12 miles of open water. But conditions were perfect, light north west breeze to keep me cool and more importantly, no ship traffic. I saw only one the entire morning. I was having allot of worry about crossing one of the busiest shipping channels in the east. I envisioned Frogger, only with giant cargo ships and current. I did a little stretch and pushed off. From my sitting position, I couldn't see the trees. I kept my eyes on my compass, WEST. About 3 miles in, a was able to focus on the little white spot on the horizon, I thought, " Thats got to be the lighthouse." I kept the lighthouse at my west as the tree line grew behind it. With no channel markers more than six miles across, it was hard to tell what the current was doing. Then I paddled by a crab pot that was nearly buried by the outgoing current. I angled my boat toward the north west. I lined up the lighthouse with a color change on the shore. As I got closer the current got stronger. I moved into the channel passing the only marker. The current was ripping, and my points were not lining up. The closer I got to the lighthouse the further back I got pushed, and I was obsessed with touching the thing I had been staring at for hours. I dug in as hard as I could and only got a break in the eddy. But I made it, I was out of the channel and safe, but I still had another 2 miles to go. The reason this crossing was so tough compared to the CBBT crossing, is there was no break places like the islands and pilling of the CBBT. If I get to do it again, I will take a few more days and go north to were the bay is only six miles across.
The Smith Point Light, the only shelter from the current on the 12 mile open water crossing at the VA/MD border
Smith Point Light
The rash I get on every tour.
The first night on the Western Shore.
On the 1st day heading south it got real windy from the south by the early afternoon. I stopped on a long beach point to take a break from the wind. The tall sparse pine tree lined shore had more ospreys in one area that I had ever seen. I counted 15 in an area of about 2 acres. I sat debating whether to call it a day. Then a saw a couple of people walking along a railing about 100 yards away. I then realized the area was like a nature walk path or something. I peered through my binoculars at the beach about a mile away and decided to make the move. I was focusing on the beach past the 3 foot wind driven waves. I glanced to my left and thought I saw a kayaker fishing. " What is that guy doing out here!" I said to myself. As I paddled up to him, I asked " Are you catching anything? Its gotta be something big to be out here in this mess!" His name was Don Davidson, founder of the Northern Neck Kayakers. They had been tracking me and came out to say hi. Don and Brian showed me a great beach to camp on and a shore line to look for Indian artifacts. I was already planning on taking the next day off because of the 15mph head wind that was forecasted, and the opportunity to find arrow heads sealed the day off. So many times before, I had told some one about camping somewhere and they asked," did you find any Indian stuff? that beach is loaded with arrow heads." So I wasn't going to pass this up. Don and Brian were two really cool guys. Both lead guided kayak trips in that beautiful area check out nnkkayak.com The next day I walked the beach and found pointy rocks that looked like small arrow heads but not your typical arrow heads. That afternoon I met some local sail boaters and learned about the drift wood tee-pee. every year they make a tee-pee out of the washed up wood and burn it after hurricane season. That night a mean and electronically active storm moved over but luckily the main part of the storm missed me.
Don from the Northern Neck Kayakers meet up with me in a 15mph head wind and showed me a cool beach to camp on.
Bluff point on the Northern Neck
Bluff point AKA Teepee beach
The sunburn from the day before the start of the tour finally pealing
The southern spit of Gwynns Island.
The New Point Comfort Lighthouse
New Point Comfort.
I past this hat on the open water a mile away from this beach. two hours later, it landed on the beach.
This storm hit with 50mph winds and sand blasted all of my gear
The York River camp.
My plan was to camp around the Poquoson area and fish the morning high tide but the wind forecast was changing for the worst and I decided to take the two days of tail winds on home. I did make allot of cast on the drift through the area and hooked up to a few hound fish. My last camp was on the cape at Grandview. I couldn't resist making a few cast on the rock pile 50 yards. First cast I hooked up to a 16" croaker. I fished it till the winds were to heavy to deal with and landed allot more big croaker and a 20" flounder. The winds on the beach that evening blew to 20mph. Sand was blowing, I wanted to wait for the receding tide to set my tent on the wet sand, but that wasn't going to be till at least 10pm. Then I had a idea. I took my hatch cover and scooped up some water and sprayed it up wind of my tent. This stopped the fine sand from blowing into my tent. "Why didnít I think of this years ago!" It would have saved my more than a few unconvertible sleepless nights. I learn something new every tour!
Alot of Houndfish (large needlefish) on the Poquoson Flats
20" flounder form the Grandview rock pile.
17" croaker from the rock pile
The Grandview camp, the last of the tour
The best touring seat ever!! the Surf to Summit Expedition
The behind the seat water holder
The Bay tour crate
Stern stowed gear
The Bow stowed gear
As I paddled the last few miles past Oceanview I could see the CBBT where I launched and Grandview where I returned and thought about how cool this tour was. No shortages of beaches. Miles of undeveloped areas and natural beauty. But 13 days was just to short, I had just gotten salty and it was over. But that's the way these 200 milers are. I feel lucky to be able to explore the bay and see it all from three feet high and at three miles an hour.