laura paddles delmarva

Circumnavigating 650+ miles of Delmarva's shorelines

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Goldsborough Creek

I took the YMCA’s Tuesday Night Kayak Club to Goldsborough Creek on Tuesday, June 26.  The wind was strong enough that there was a small craft advisory so we decided to stick to a creek that was relatively protected from the NW wind.  The 5 of us paddled up a creek until we were hitting bottom.  We spent quite a bit of time marveling at some of the waterfront homes and guessing what the homeowners did for a living – gorgeous houses with beautifully landscaped yards and even a few boathouses.  The creek was also filled with great blue herons, a few osprey, and lots of jumping fish!

We covered 3.74 miles in about and hour a half.  Here is the path we took:


Even though the afternoon was very windy out on the open bay, the evening turned out to be extremely peaceful.  Fun was had by all.

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Wisharts Point to Queen Sound Landing

On Sunday, June 24, I completed the first leg!  I started at Wisharts Point which is in the town of Atlantic, VA.  I paddled 7.93 miles to Queens South Landing which is located just off the Chincoteague causeway.  It took exactly 2 hours.  Take a look:

I was pretty stoked to start this journey.  I hope that smile in the beginning remains throughout the coming years!  And you gotta love Brian’s fabulous photography, with that artsy, tilted horizon.  I also had to crop out his finger.  Good thing I’ll be taking most of the photos for this blog!

The first part of this paddle was a bit boring because it was mostly open water and not much to look at.  However, as I entered the marsh creeks, wildlife was abundant.  Plenty of nesting laughing gulls, terrapin heads popping up every which way, and sting rays!  I saw 3 huge sting rays that were practically swimming on the surface of the water.  All of them were at least 20 feet away as I saw their wing tips breaking the surface.  Although this was a cool sight, I’ll always keep my distance – I was stung in the ankle 3 years ago and am literally scarred for life!

I timed this paddle well because the tide and wind were with me most of the way.  Even though the elements were on my side, I was still exhausted during the last 2 miles.  Every time I stopped to wipe the sweat away I swear the clapper rails were laughing hysterically at me (their call sounds like an evil cackle, always hidden in the marsh grasses).

I felt pretty accomplished as I pulled up onto Queen Sound Landing.  8 miles in 2 hours isn’t bad!  This made me optimistic for some of the longer legs I have planned in the future.  Next up, a leisurely paddle in Goldsborough Creek in Easton, MD.

Wish me luck and enjoy this blog!  I’d love to hear your feedback.  If you ever want to join me for a paddle, please let me know – it could get lonely out there!

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A Few Basics and Logistics

I put some thought into the “About” section of this blog to explain the purpose of this adventure.  The “About” section is a little sappy so I’m going to start my first blog post explaining the logistics of this endeavor.

My name is Laura and I plan on paddling around the entire Delmarva peninsula before I die.  It sounds daunting but I figure I’ve still got at least 40 good years of paddling in me.  I spent a few days on Google Earth plotting my intended course.  This was much more difficult than I expected.  There are many public landings, boat ramps, and water access points, but sometimes the geographic locations make it difficult to plan the journey.  I was able to break it down to about 95 legs, covering 695 miles.  I’m sure I won’t stick to it exactly, but it at least gives me a rough plan.

Another decision that was difficult to make was to decide how far inland I would paddle.  Should I paddle straight across the the mouth of the Chester River, or should I paddle several miles upstream and and several miles back?  My rule of thumb is to never be more than 2 miles from shore, and in most cases, less than 1 mile.  If I paddle straight across the mouths of all the tributaries, I’ll be missing some of the best opportunities for new scenery and new wildlife sightings.

Most of the legs will have to be one-way.  I don’t want to paddle out 10 miles, and then have to paddle back – seems like a waste.  Brian (boyfriend) has agreed to help with this dilemma when he can; he will drop me off at the start, paddle with me for a little while, fish for a little while, and then drive to pick me up at the finish.  I am also happy to have friends paddle with me, that way we can leave a car at the start and the finish.  If anyone else has some creative ideas for the logistics, let’s hear it!

As a fun part-time job, I lead weekly kayak tours for the local YMCA.  I will be including these paddles in this blog as well.  All of these trips are out-and-back trips that will be covering creeks that are not part of the overall adventure, but should add some diversity of scenery.

I am starting this journey in a 12′ Necky Looksha.  I’m sure I’ll want to upgrade eventually, but for now, it’s still perfect for me.  I’ll be bringing my smart phone which has GPS, marine weather forecasts, tide charts, and other nifty apps.  On longer paddles, I’ll be bringing a marine VHF radio with me for emergencies.  I have an awesome PFD and I’ll be purchasing a paddle float, bilge pump, and other kayak safety equipment.  And of course the standard dry bag with first aid kit, sunblock, bug spray, camera, snacks, etc.  Oh, and a few water bottles would be good too!

I hope to track every leg with the “My Tracks” app.  It’s quite handy and tracks your exact path onto Google Maps.  Then I can display the map on this blog.  It even calculates your average speed, omitting time stopped for breaks.

I think that’s it for logistics.  Stay tuned to hear about the first trip!