Chincoteague to Assateague
Oct 30-31, 2005

Solo trip in the Azul Sultan kayak.

Ever since out trip to Assageague in November 2004, I've been wanting to know what was beyond the levee that runs east-west just south of Popes Bay.  I had two days free at the end of October and took the chance to return and see what was there.  Understandably, I received no response to my last minute invitation for co-paddlers, so I went solo.  I know its much safer to make these trips with others, but I must say, as much as I like paddling with friends, I enjoy being out by myself, too.

I paddled in with a moderate NW wind the waves quatering onto my portside bow.  I searched Calfpen Bay until I found the Will Hole.  Given the day's wind, it would have been great to paddle the interior marsh, but I had no way to be sure it went where I needed it to go, so I headed back out to Chincoteague Bay.  I wanted to take Virginia Creek to get out of the wind in the lee of Pope Island, but I couldn't recognize the spot where you turn in for the Creek.  So I stayed in Chincoteague Bay and arrived at Popes Island camp site just in time to set up camp before dark.  I cooked myself dinner in the dark.  After dinner, I took a star-lit walk to the beach.  It was getting cold by the time I got back, so I tucked myself in and had the best night's sleep since my last camping trip.

I was up at first light, ate breakfast and set off to walk the beach to Virginia.  October 31 warmed to unseasonably high temps in the 70's, and I kept taking off clothes as I hiked.  I went to the State Line and by the time I came back the wind had come around to the south.  I paddled back against a moderate strength wind, in shorts and short-sleeved shirt.  I had neglected to bring sun block and got a bit of a burn on my arms.  The boat was on the truck by 3pm, and I was back in Gambrills in time to dish out candy for the first trick or treaters.
This is the Will Hole, a narrow cut of water at the Northeast end of Calfpen Bay.  After about a quarter of a mile, it ends upbruptly at a levee
This is the top of the levee.  It's 20 - 30 yards wide.
An inland marsh stretches north of the levee and I suspect it continues on to the levee at the south of Popes Bay.  What I could see of the water was only a few inches deep.  I was tempted to carry across the levee, but it was too late in the day, especially since I would have had to unload and reload the boat to get it over the levee.

Some very large crab carcasses lay on the levee.  I suspect they grow big in that marsh, but are probably vulnerable to birds in the shallow water.  I had an apple in my pocket and laid it down for size comparison.

I didn't find the entrance to Virginia Creek on my way to Pope Island.  On the return trip, I paddled out that way, and once I got out to Chincoteague Bay, I took some pictures to help me recognize it if I am lucky enough to pass that way again.  This photo shows the horizon to the east, just prior to where you will want to turn east into the creek.  Virginia Creek is in there somewhere.

There's an island with a house and some duck blinds on it just before you need to turn east to get into Virginia Creek.  Pass on the east side of the house and turn right (east) soon afterwards.

If you pass the remains of a structure, the most prominent feature of which are a couple metal bedframes, within, say, half a mile of making the eastward turn, you are on Virginia Creek.

Fence at image left is the Virginia line.  Trees at image top right are on Pope Island. Its hard to tell from the picture, because it almost looks like the trees are on top of the dunes.   Structure on horizon left sits on the east side of Popes Bay, and Pope Bay itself lies between the structure and the tree line.

Monday morning, about 9, not too crowded at Assateague beach.  Monday blues?  Only things blue out here are the sky and the water.