On Saturday, April 25, I paddled from Johnson’s Wharf in Parksley, VA to Crystal Beach in Onancock, VA. However, this time I had a paddling partner! My BFF from 6th grade, Julia.
Julia and her husband, Alex, are from the Baltimore area and occasionally come down to visit us. However this time, I was eager to get away from home too, so we spontaneously decided to rent a house on the Eastern Shore of Virginia. And when I say “get away”, that is exactly what we did. The house we stayed in had hardly any cell phone reception and was 5 miles from town. And when I say town, I’m talking about Onancock, VA – I think the whole downtown area consisted of 4 blocks. Maybe.
Julia and Alex rented kayaks from a local place called Southeast Expeditions and they were kind enough to deliver the kayaks to us on Saturday morning. Brian drove us up to Johnson’s Wharf (about a 15-minute drive north of the house) where we planned to launch and kayak back to the house. Although it was late April, temperature were in the low 50s and we were pretty bundled up for kayaking. It was Julia’s first time kayaking in cooler weather but she handled it like a champ! There was also rain in the forecast for the afternoon so we didn’t dilly-dally and took off at a good pace.
It was really nice to have a paddling buddy with me for a change. Although I really do enjoy the solitude of paddling alone, it was great to catch up, talk about life, and enjoy the scenery together. It’s also fun for me to answer all of her questions about kayaking, coastal wildlife, the bay, watermen, and navigation on the water – all things that I’m passionate about, that she doesn’t experience often.
Although the day was extremely gray and overcast, it still made for a beautiful paddle. We got our heart rates up a little by paddling straight through open water, and we also got to explore and navigate a winding marsh creek, full of mallards, black ducks, and Canada geese.
As we came out of the marsh creek, we spotted the boys – exploring a marsh island and harvesting mussels. We thought about stopping and joining them, but we were in the home stretch and decided to push forward (not to mention the fact that we were a bit chilly and craving a cup of tea and hot brunch back at he house).
Our total trip was 2 hours and 50 minutes, and we covered 8.54 miles. That’s right at 3 mph which is my average pace – very proud of Julia for keeping up so well! I’ll have to drag her out on more kayak trips in the future!