laura paddles delmarva

exploring the shorelines of Delmarva via kayak


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Claiborne to Romancoke

Today was such a perfect day from start to finish. I began the day by kayaking from Claiborne to Romancoke, and thoroughly enjoyed blue skies, 70 degree weather, and flat calm waters. I also had a buddy shuttle me back to my car – my Aunt Margaret Ann! We stopped for lunch and a hike on the way back to to Claiborne. I can’t thank her enough for helping me complete this leg since it would’ve been WAY too far (and dangerous!) for me to pedal.

After dropping Patrick off at school this morning, I headed straight to Claiborne, about an hour and 45 minute drive from home. Since I used to live in St. Michaels, it was like visiting an old friend. I used to ride my bike to Claiborne Landing from St. Michaels on a somewhat regular basis, and the drive made me mildly nostalgic for my single, only-have-to-care-about-myself stage of my life in my mid-20s.

The morning had been foggy, but the fog had lifted enough for me to paddle safely by the time I got on the water around 9:45. And the paddling was soooo easy. The water was so flat. It felt like butter. My kayak gracefully sliced right through the whole way. The trip was definitely more of a “connector” trip, rather than a scenic journey though. The scenery was blah, and the only wildlife I saw consisted of a single jellyfish and a handful of gulls and common loons (loons are still cool though).

It was also a very short paddle in comparison to come of my other trips, at just 4.5 miles. I was done in an hour and 15 min, which might be a record for me! My Geotracker app said my average moving speed was 3.89 mph!

When I arrived at the Romancoke fishing pier, I wasn’t quite sure where to get out, since I had never actually been to this spot before. But I figured it out by paddling under the pier and finishing at the official kayak launch. And perfect timing – Margaret Ann was there on the beach, waiting for me and reading a book.

Here’s the path I took:

We loaded my kayak (and all of my crap) into her truck and headed up the road to check out Terrapin Nature Park for a hike, and then grabbed lunch at the Jetty on Kent Narrows. Wow, we were sitting on an outdoor, waterfront deck, and I was wearing a tank top… in November!


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Big Stone Beach to Bowers Beach

It’s November and I’m still kayaking! Today I left work early to squeeze in some paddling because it was sunny, 70 degrees, and 5 knot winds; no way could I pass that up!

Now if you read my last post, I kinda poured my heart out, so this post is going to be short and to the point. In fact, the paddling trip was short and to the point too – just 5 miles!

I began by driving to South Bowers Beach to drop off my bike (locked it to a guardrail). I then drove to Big Stone Beach to launch my kayak. Big Stone is so bizarre to me. It’s this weird, forgotten little beach village of maybe 8 houses right on the beach, some of which have been abandoned. There’s a small public access area, but few people seem to know about it and there’s probably only parking for half a dozen cars on the side of the road.

The water temperature was 59 today, and if I paddle in anything less than 60, I wear my farmer-Jane wetsuit. Some might say it was plenty warm between the water and the weather and that a wetsuit was overkill, but since I’m paddling alone, I don’t take any chances. I’ve taken enough trainings that cover hypothermia to know that freak accidents happen.

As soon as I launched and started heading north, this was my view:

Aaaannnddd… that was essentially my view for the full 5 miles! Beautiful, sandy, empty beaches, but that was it. I saw a few bald eagles and a handful of gulls, and… that was it.

Finally I landed on the south end of Bowers Beach and pulled my kayak ashore. See? I told you this post would be short and to the point!

I lugged my kayak about 100 yards to wear I locked up my bike. From there I swapped my kayak for my bike, but before I could ride back, I had to change out of my wetsuit. And let me just tell you. Peeling off a skin-tight wetsuit on the side of the road in the marsh was, well, interesting to say the least. I was also trying to time it so no cars were driving by. I was wearing a bathing suit underneath, but I’d still feel super awkward if someone witnessed my extremely ungraceful wardrobe change on the side of the road! Here’s a couple photos of where this all occurred:

I finally got situated, hopped on my bike, and rode back to Big Stone Beach which was about 7.5 miles. When I got there, several other cars had arrived and I saw some people fishing on the beach. As I was loading my bike into the car, a lady next to my car rolled down her window and said “Mindy, say hi!” I turned around to greet a toothless woman and her kitten, Mindy, sitting on her dashboard. Um. What? I politely smiled and said “aww she looks sweet” (about the cat, not the woman) and the woman went on to tell me how great the kitten is on a leash. Okay? I smiled again and said “oh how sweet, how awesome, have a great night!” And then I jumped in the car and left Big Stone Beach. I told you the place is bizarre. Clearly attracts some interesting characters too!

Here’s the path I took today: