Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Kiptopeke Weekend 2006

Around Raccoon Island, originally uploaded by jmharper.

The weekend after Labor Day, the River Mice gathered for the sixth annual Kiptopeke weekend at Kiptopeke State Park on the eastern shore. Located just three miles past the toll plaza of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel, it is an ideal retreat close to home.

Camp was set up under the trees at the spacious campground. Most of our sites backed up against each other, making for a nice community feel.

The highlight of the weekend is the Saturday paddle. This year, conditions were ideal to paddle around Raccoon Island, a close-in barrier island. A large group headed out, including Bill and Cheri, Ed and Connie, George and Bev, Jeff and Chris, Jerry and Jeanine, and Peggy and Jim. Debbie and Joe arrived early in the morning, and decided to get acquainted with their new camper instead of paddling.

No matter where you are, the bridge-tunnel isn't far away. It is off to the left of this picture.

Among the Barrier Islands

Among the Barrier Islands, originally uploaded by jmharper.

Saturday's paddle had ideal conditions for exploring the barrier islands. The tide was up, and the wind was down. Those far-off islands were more inviting than ever, and most of the group took the bait. After traveling most of the way around Raccoon Island, our intrepid paddlers took off for the far point of Fishermans Island, a mile away across open water.

The trip out and back took most of an hour, with no chance for rest. Fishermans Island is completely closed to human visitors. Finally, it was time to take out in the mud. The tide had dropped about 3-4 feet since put-in. Then it was back to camp for showers, dinner, and another night around the fire.

Touring the Concrete Ships

Touring the Concrete Ships, originally uploaded by jmharper.

On Sunday the group took advantage of the beautiful weather and paddled out to the concrete ships that serve as a breakwater. Yes, concrete ships. They were an experiment during world war II, when steel was in high demand. Concrete was used for the ship's hull, and yes, it floated! When the Little Creek-Cape Charles ferry terminal moved to this location, the owner purchased the ships, floated them into place, and sank them to serve as a breakwater. Now, they are one of the sights of Kiptopeke.

It was another great weekend of paddling and friendship. The weather was near perfect- not too hot, with little wind. All in all, Kiptopeke was as it should be, a perfect way to start the end of summer!