Chesapeake Bay Voyage: Still Pond to Fairlee Landing

The Chesapeake Bay Voyage is a series of kayak trips, with the goal of paddling the entire length of the bay from north to south. It is taking place over several weekends during the warm seasons of 2014.

Day 3 (Sat 4/19/2014): Still Pond to Fairlee Landing (9.5 miles)

Oh, if only most days on the water were this easy!

A somewhat larger group of 13 were instructed to meet at the Great Oak marina. Just as I was approaching, I saw Dave’s car coming the other direction and stopped to roll down my window. Dave said the marina was busy prepping for the season, and with so many boats scattered around under repair and work going on, it would be a difficult place to launch 13 kayaks without being in the way. He went off to scout the public launch at Fairlee Landing only a mile upstream, while the rest of the group gathered and awaited further instructions.

We did relocate to Fairlee Landing, where we consolidated boats onto cars and drove a caravan (minding all speed limits this time) back to Still Pond. I wiggled into my drysuit, already feeling overly warm from the sun, and vowing it would be the last time I wore a full drysuit this season. The water temperatures were rising, and at some point the risks of immersion are counterbalanced by the risks of overheating while staying upright.  Others agreed as we lined up our kayaks on the sandy beach and floated off.  Dave offered good counsel about sticking together especially on long crossings, and staying below the mean tide line wherever property ownership is questionable.  We are teachable, and adaptable!

Aht worshipping at the church of kayaking.

Aht worshipping at the church of kayaking.

With a delayed start due to the relocation, we had the advantage of an ebbing tide AND a slight tailwind to push us along. Rounding several points on our way to the finish line was effortless.  My favorite kayaking experiences are when we can sidle up and chat while still maintaining a reasonable pace.  No wind howling in my ears, no bumpy water to distract our attention, no resistance whatsoever.  We talked and watched the scenery go by, until we were directed to a long beach north of Worton Creek for a lunch stop.  I sat on a comfortable log, sharing it and my smoked salmon with new friend Deb from New Jersey, feeling lucky to enjoy such a perfect day.

Could there be a more perfect lunch beach?

Could there be a more perfect lunch beach?

The relatively short distance of the day’s itinerary seemed over too quickly.  We watched two yachts struggle with a strong current exiting Fairlee Creek, so we let them through with a wide berth before entering the creek as a group.  The barrier island to Fairlee Creek created a calm spot where our leaders suggested we practice some rescues.  James, who was new to our group, was the only one who’d gotten wet all day — after a long hiatus from paddling, he’d bombed his first attempted roll and brushed it off with humor — at least he could report the water was not intolerably cold.  About 3 or 4 people took turns trying the “Tina Turner” leg hook reentry, while others watched.  When we were through with practice, we paddled the lazy last mile to our take-out.

Heel hook, rotate....

Heel hook, rotate….

Artists who’d been rotating through the Art Works shop at Still Pond were kind to let us take turns using their dingy but functional bathroom, since the porta-john had been removed from the site. They were working on clay pottery, and one had a very friendly and fuzzy dog who tried to follow me into the changing room.  Dried off and packed up, the group reluctantly filed out of the parking lot.  I went off to my next adventure, meeting up with Peter to spend Sunday at Cape Henlopen.

Link to more photos

Link to Google map of Chesapeake Bay Voyage series

Link to Dave’s Spot tracks


~ by pasadenagina on May 4, 2014.

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