Pre-Independence Day Paddle by Chip Walsh
July 3, 2010

Put-in: Anchor Bay Marina, Bear Creek, Dundalk, MD
Paddlers: Tony Aldred, Kara Brown, Russel, Ken, Chip Walsh

We met more or less at 9:00 on a clear, sunny, low wind, day with an air temp of about 75 that went up to 80 or so as we paddled.  It just doesn't get nicer than that on July 3 in Maryland.  We were on the water by 10:00.  Chip had only word-of-mouth bearings on the target of the morning's paddle: the Francis Scott Key buoy at the mouth of Baltimore's harbor. 

A formation of fighter jets flew low overhead as we paddled out.  Later, as we were paddling back, several A-10 attack aircraft peeled into steeply banked turns above Bear Creek.  Apparently, the natives of Dundalk were celebrating pre-Independence day with a parade complete with fly-overs.

We proceeded several miles out Bear Creek and turned west beneath the Key bridge.  We paused and scanned the water looking for the telltale stars and bars.  The buoy was right there, a third of mile in front of us, but it was difficult to spot it with the background clutter of the harborscape.  It was gratifying to finally get a up-close view of the buoy after having failed to find it in two previous trips in this area. 

Kayakers show their love for stars and bars

The buoy commemorates the place where Francis Scott Key witnessed the British bombardment of Fort McHenry during the war of 1812, after which Key wrote the lyrics of the Star-Spangled Banner.  I wondered what the area looked like September, 1814, the night of the Battle.  Tony thinks what is now the industrial waterfront of Seagirt and Beth Steel to the north was probably marsh.  East lies Ft. McHenry and the city behind it. The Fort is a good two miles away, and from this distance I was not able to see the flag that must fly there.  Supposedly, the Brits had canon capable of 2-mile range.  But not so accurate at that range.  The American guns would only go 1.5 miles.  The battle was a stand off.  We guessed the Fort was 2 miles from the buoy, so this would have been the right distance for observing the battle.

We took a turn around Fort Carroll and visited with the terns who now habitate the island.  And we deadheaded back to the Anchor Bay Marina for a mid-afternoon lunch.

Ken makes his way around Ft. Carroll
Ken making his way around Ft. Carroll

Floating docks at Anchor Bay
The floating docks at Anchor Bay Marina

Camel got nose in tent
The kayak is like a camel that got it's nose in the tent!

Hold still, bouncy buoy!photo: Kara Brown
Boat wakes had the buoy bobbing while I tried to give it a hug.

Hug!photo: Kara Brown
Nice to meet you, FSKB!

2Guys & Buoy!photo: Kara Brown
L to R, Chip, FSK Buoy, Tony, with Ft. McHenry in the far background, over Tony's stern.

Thank for the patriotic background gif

Chip Walsh, 7/7/2010