Sunday, September 25, 2011

Kiptopeke Paddle 9/24/2011

102_4875_2 by jmharper60
102_4875_2, a photo by jmharper60 on Flickr.

Four intrepid Mice ventured to the Eastern Shore on a soggy weekend, hoping to get a good paddle in. After the torrential downpour of late Friday afternoon, it wasn't looking likely; but the rain pretty much held off after that, and gave us a window around lunchtime of Saturday to squeeze in a paddle.

It was probably too soggy for tent camping, but it wasn't too bad for those with a camper. The rain held off long enough for a fire each night, and was light enough for a trip into Cape Charles after the paddle.

Around Raccoon Island

102_4904_2 by jmharper60
102_4904_2, a photo by jmharper60 on Flickr.

The paddle was the traditional one for Kiptopeke, around Raccoon Island after putting in at the wildlife refuge. Half of the paddle is in the navigation channel between the mainland and the island, and half in the open water between the island and the ocean and outer barrier islands.

We also took a look at Skidmore Island before noticing some advancing showers and heading back to take-out. It drizzled for about half of the paddle and the wind was pretty light- not the best paddling weather, but not bad!


102_4882_2 by jmharper60
102_4882_2, a photo by jmharper60 on Flickr.

Since we were out once again at low tide, we had to avoid the substantial sandbar on the far side of the island. We paddled out far enough that we thought we were going to nearby Smith Island. We remembered a lesson learned on an earlier Kiptopeke trip- If birds are standing, it is probably too shallow to paddle.

Here, Jerry, Laurie and Debbie work east, looking for the end of the sandbar.


102_4877_2 by jmharper60
102_4877_2, a photo by jmharper60 on Flickr.

A cormorant observes the strange creatures approaching, and debates whether to stay put or fly away.

For those who stuck it out, (and the cormorant didn't) it was a nice paddle around Raccoon Island, and a not so soggy camping weekend.


Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Smithfield Waterways Paddle 9/18/2011

One intrepid mouse went paddling on Sunday at Smithfield, despite the ominous clouds and sprinkly weather. Put in was at Windsor Castle Park.

The wind dictated the direction of the paddle. If you paddle into the wind to start with, the wind will help you back when you get tired. In this case, going against the wind led to the town of Smithfield.

Easy In, Easy Out!

Easy In, Easy Out! by jmharper60
Easy In, Easy Out!, a photo by jmharper60 on Flickr.

It doesn't get any easier than this. Set your boat on the rails, hop in, and slide into the water. One of the nicest facilities you will find for kayaking.

A Cloudy Windy Day

A Cloudy Windy Day by jmharper60
A Cloudy Windy Day, a photo by jmharper60 on Flickr.

A mini-nor'easter was just finishing it's roll through the area. It sprinkled on the way up to Smithfield, it sprinkled on the way back. During the paddle it was just overcast and a steady wind from the east. Turning up a few side creeks gave a break from the hard pull against the wind. Of course, the trip back to take-out was much easier.

On the Pagan River

On the Pagan River by jmharper60
On the Pagan River, a photo by jmharper60 on Flickr.

The Pagan River branches off the James and winds its way up to downtown Smithfield. The river continues up to the meat packing plant. When the wind is blowing right, as it was this day, you can smell the pork products!

Ready to Take Out

Ready to Take Out by jmharper60
Ready to Take Out, a photo by jmharper60 on Flickr.

The view from the water coming back to the dock. Just put the nose of your boat in the middle, and use the rails to pull yourself up on the rollers. Then you can just step out.

A little on the windy side, but dry- a nice paddle!