laura paddles delmarva

exploring the shorelines of Delmarva via kayak

Red Bank to Quinby

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Love this photo captured by my friend Kim!

On Thursday, September 3, I paddled from Red Bank, Va to Quinby, VA, but luckily this was another trip with a paddling buddy! This was one leg of my journey that I was a little nervous to do alone, so I took it upon myself to find someone that could paddle along with me. Shout-out to BAD – Badassawoman Adventures of Delmarva, a group of outdoor adventure-minded woman on the eastern shore.

This meet-up style group has done some cool events in the last year or so, but COVID sort of put all of those events on hold for the last couple months. The facebook group however, remains somewhat active, so I stepped out of my comfort zone and posted in the group that I was seeking a paddling buddy to come with me on some of the longer, remote locations. Within a day of posting, Kim commented that she was interested in coming with me at some point.

From there I monitored the forecast, selected a potential day to paddle from Red Bank to Quinby, and Kim was all in! I was stoked to paddle with someone for a change, particularly since I so enjoyed paddling with my sister the day before. My only concern was… how serious was she? I’ve had people tell me in the past they want to paddle with me, but 11-12 miles is a bit much for a beginner. I certainly don’t want to be a snob, but I also don’t want to venture out, only to have to rescue or tow someone!

When we met at Quinby Wharf, I was instantly relieved when I saw she came with a nicer kayak than mine (fiberglass Perception), bilge pump, GPS, etc. I just thought to myself, “shew, she’s legit. She’s probably more experienced than me!” From there, we threw her kayak on top of my car, and headed to Red Bank. I was not familiar with Red Bank at all, except that a local ESVA aerial photographer frequently posts photos of the marsh creeks around it, and has mentioned time and time again that it’s one of his favorite places to photograph. Once we launched and started heading down the creek towards the bay, I totally understood why – the twists and turns of the creek, the wide open vistas of the bay – and it was especially gorgeous because there wasn’t a lick of wind and at times we couldn’t even quite tell where the horizon was between the water and the sky.

It really was great to have a paddling buddy on this trip. There were some long stretches that were more enjoyable with conversation, rather than being left to my own thoughts and surroundings, if that makes any sense. We paddled out of Red Bank Creek, across the mouth of the creek that leads to Willis Wharf, and up along the edge of Upshur Neck. The wind was so minimal that it looked like we were paddling towards the end of the earth at times.

The best part of the trip was a marsh creek that cut through a long point of marsh (and probably cut out 2 miles by going through the marsh, rather than around it). We weaved back and forth through the curves of the creek, admiring the birds around every bend. Kim has more experience birding than I do, and was able to identify just about everything we saw! My favorite sightings were about a dozen whimbrels and a black-bellied plover.

When we were about half way through the creek, we were actually able to identify where the tidal flow changed. For the first half of the creek, we were paddling against the out-going tide. It wasn’t super strong, but when we reached a point where we were paddling with the outgoing tide (leading out to another bay/inlet), it was a noticeable change. This might sound super boring to the average reader, but it’s these tiny observations that I get excited about! It makes me feel that much more experienced in understanding how tides work – something that consistently confuses and intrigues me at the same time.

When the creek finally opened back up to the bay, I could just about see Quinby in the distance. What I also noticed was a large mud flat in front of us! The water was pretty shallow, and I could see a coloration difference in the water ahead of us, and the brownish color signified a very shallow mud flat that would not be fun to try and paddle over. It may have only been a few inches deep! I interrupted our conversation, pointed out what I was seeing to Kim, she agreed, and we slightly altered out course to paddle around it. Success! We were in deeper water in a matter of moments, and we never ran aground or had to get out and drag out boats through the mud!

Before I knew it, we were rounding the bank leading into Quinby. I couldn’t believe how fast 4 hours went by! I truly underestimated how helpful it would be to have someone to paddle with! Thanks for a great day, Kim! Can’t wait for some more “B.A.D.” adventures!

We paddled 11.4 miles in 3 hours and 52 minutes. I’ve now paddled 363 miles of my ~650 mile goal 🙂

Here’s the path we took:

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