Thanks to all the posters and reviewers whose information helped my wife and I get started.
We have an Old Town Dirigo 120 “wife’s kayak” and Pungo 140” got to start somewhere”. We had our first outing at Rocky Gorge, Scotts Landing to the Rt29 Bridge and back. It was great but unfortunately you are not supposed to enter the water at RG. This weekend we were thinking about doing a little bit of Wye Island. We thought that one of the beaches we understood to be there would be a good place to work from while learning to recover from being rolled and swamped. However, I have never seen the area and only have reviews to work from. So the question is would this be a good place to get in a nice out and back paddle AND a beach to work on recovery skills? If not any suggestions? We live in the Howard county area.
Jellies seem to be attracted by commotion in the water. You can think you are okay, but as soon as you are out of the boat for a bit they are all over.
You can mitigate the unpleasant stinging by covering your skin. I have heard of water skiers wearing panty hose just to have a layer of protection. Don’t know if I’d go there–so hard to find panty hose in my size, you know? But I have worn lycra tights (purple, of course) and dry-lite long sleeve top to help ward the critters off. I discovered these fabrics also are amazingly cool once you get them wet and I frequently wear the top (bought for winter base layer) on wicked hot days. Cotton shirts do not behave the same way. I think the material needs to be skin tight so that the evaporative cooling transfers to your body. But this is a huge digression.
Thursday night CPA group paddles from Jack’s boathouse under the Key Bridge. They frequently cross the river and practice skills near the west end of T. Roosevelt Island. There is a bit of beach there and the bottom is solid enough to stand on. You could use that area. Better yet, link up with the CPA group and you will find people that will help you with recovery techniques. Visit www.cpakayaker.com and look for info on Georgetown Pirates for more info.
You can also find sand or gravel beaches on the many islands between Point of Rocks and the Monocacy River. That’s a bit further, but still much closer than Wye Island, and I can guarantee no jellies. The water quality in both spots is okay as long as you don’t go right after big rains.
And if you ain’t scairt o jellies, you don’t need to go to the eastern shore. There are plenty of protected spots on the western shore. Try putting in to the Severn at Jonas Green Park across the bridge from the Naval Academy. Ignore the no swimming and wading signs and launch. Then paddle to your right towards the Rt 50 brige. Before you get to the bridge, there is a small inlet leading to a little “pond”. There is a sand bar and little beach just inside the inlet that will meet your practice needs.
~~Chip Walsh, Gambrills, MD
Again, thanks for the info!!
Jellies seem to be the first comment we got from everyone in regards to Wye island, So we bailed, and went to Mason Neck state park, VA, on Saturday. It was easy to find after we figured out why the yahoo map directions lead us to a closed bridge “new road under the 95 overpass”. We put in and went to the right and up the creek. Things were going well till we came to a split. Another twosome went to the left so we went right to have some space, and we did, in a big pool of grass. It took a while to get out but then we went up the left channel as far as we could. Didn’t make it to the signs prohibiting further travel but they could not have been much farther along. On the way out we continued up the shoreline to the right and saw the Osprey nest, and according to the folks in the canoe the two juveniles hanging out. Mental note, need to add binoculars to gear list. Further up we ran into a log that had 6 Herons standing on it who let us coast in very close and get a good look before taking off. By the time we got back to the put in the algae was so bad near shore we skipped any practice.
Sunday we went to Conwingo pond in PA. There was a good breeze running up the lake and it made for some chop. We kept close to shore up the left side from the park till we neared the islands and then crossed. As we got closer the chop picked up to some 1 foot swells at the entrance between two islands. The problem was the wife was getting tired and the shore was a long way back. We pushed through the channel and found shelter out of the wind where she could rest. I see people own houses on those islands, how does one get to buy a island???. After we rested we decided we were in a little over our heads and headed back, once we cleared the channel we made straight for the landing. I loaded my Pungo up and took Vivian’s Dirigo out for a spin up the right side of the shoreline. Found the old lock(sp) walls and found a nice place to paddle, just along the wall under the trees. Went till I could see the power plant and then headed back to the park.
I found the Dirigo tracked better then my Pungo, but except for that I wouldn’t trade. The Dirigo seat, which has more padding, is less comfortable and feels less secure then mine. Also, the Dirigo put me up a couple of inches higher and I felt it was far easier to roll then my Pungo. The foot pegs adjust on the Dirigo is down by the peg, making it harder for me to adjust then the ones in the Pungo. So we will not be trading but the Dirgio does seem to be a better fit for Vivian, will have to see what she thinks of the Pungo next time out.
Many CPA kayakers post and take impromtu trips at Mason Neck, but I’ve never paddled there. I am a graduate of Mt. Vernon HS, not far from there, and am familiar with that part of the Potomac…well, not exactly the Park side, but the Gunston Bay side. I suspect it is mostly shallow and the bottom is very soft silt, i.e., shoe-sucking mud. Did you see any likely practice spots thereabouts?
How was the water quality?
Re Mason Neck
We didn’t see a good place to roll out and practice. At the launch site the water was heavy with algae but 20’ out or so it cleared right up. Up the creek was fine till my honey led me into the sea grass, had to poll my way out. We were out from 1:30 to ~ 6:00pm and there were no bug problems. When we put in a group was going out and they seemed to have a lot of gear, netted hats and long sleeve stuff so I guess the bugs pick up at dusk. Boaters were not a problem but we stayed to the right of the launch site. We were warned off about going to the left into boat traffic.
Last night, no jellyfish
I was in the water in the little inlet off the Severn last night for about an hour, and did not see or feel a single jellyfish. It was my first time in Bay water this year, so I don't know how infested the Bay is with Jellies. Your results may differ, but last night, not a one.
Nice full moon came up and everything got calm after dark. One of those magical nights to be out on the water. Floated around by the Naval Academy and didn't come in until 11.
I sent an email with info on Mason Neck, but forgot to mention the no-jelly phenomina.