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paddling Spa Creek

The weather here has cooled and dried down to near perfection. And so I took my new, as-yet-unnamed kayak out on Sunday for a paddle in Spa Creek, in Annapolis, Maryland. Like Deep Creek Lake, it isn't a place for serene contemplation of the natural environment. The other boats around in Spa Creek, though, are much, much bigger.

I put my kayak in the water at Truxtun Park, which appears to be the area's only public boat launch. Getting there around 10:00 a.m., I was worried I'd face a herd of fellow boaters filling up the parking lot and launch area, but that wasn't a problem at all. There were a few people launching sailboats and classic old motorboats every so often, but there was plenty of room for everybody.

looking onto Spa Creek from Truxtun Park, Annapolis, MarylandI had with me my new marine VHF radio (a Uniden MHS 350), snacks and drinks, and NOAA's Annapolis Harbor BookletChart (overkill, really). Since I had my GPS receiver with me and on the whole time, you can see my 4.6-mile route, too. I'd been thinking I'd use my cell phone to take pictures, but once I was on the water I felt nervous about taking it out of its dry bag, and once I returned home I found that the pictures are pretty crappy and cumbersome to get off of the phone. I did want to take more photos along the way, though, so I'll think up another camera solution.

Heading out of Spa Creek, the wind seemed a bit brisk, and paddling upwind felt like a struggle I wouldn't want to keep up for a long time. But the wind settled down over the course of the day. Going under the 6th Street drawbridge, I noticed a sign gave the phone number for the drawtender but not a VHF channel, as I would have expected. I took a left into Ego Alley, being careful of the large boats in the close quarters around me. Diners sat down to brunch on one side of the channel, and I fantasized about tying up to a piling and climbing up the ladder to enjoy a civilized meal. But I kept paddling, by a flock of ducks gathered for handouts, and by a guy in a tiny sailboat (though the sails weren't up, and he had its little motor running) with a tiny lifejacketed dog along for the ride. Coming out of Ego Alley, I saw the Harbor Queen push away from the dock on its regular tour. In the docks by the harbormaster's office was the schooner Sultana; I'm definitely going to look into joining one of its short public sails.

After that I paddled alongside the rather blank sea wall by the Naval Academy. I turned around at the point where the academy grounds jut out into the Severn River, heading back up the creek along the southern shore, past the Chart House and some beautifully situated condominiums and houses. I passed a yellow buoy in the middle of the creek that might well have been this one, which seems to have stopped logging data a few months ago. I paddled into some of the creek's coves, finding napping waterfowl and residents fastidiously maintaining their boats. At the end of the cove by the Truxtun Park boat launch, a pier stands abandoned, beached by dint of accumulated silt.

Back at the put-in, I ended the paddle, and with a stranger's help I loaded my kayak back onto the roof of my car. I wasn't ready to stop enjoying the weather, though, so I got my picnic blanket, snacks, and the Sunday paper from my car and appreciated the air, the sunshine, and the view from a grassy area by the boat ramps. A few couples did likewise, one of them drinking from stemware pulled out of their picnic basket. Now that's the way to picnic.



( 5 comments — Leave a comment )
Sep. 17th, 2007 10:14 pm (UTC)
Great fun!

Re camera solutions, the one that springs to mind is to get a waterproof snorkel housing for a digital camera. (Snorkel housings are rated to 3m, rather than 40–50m+ like scuba housings and are thus cheaper.) You can get either a hard plastic housing customised to your camera (not every camera will have this) or a flexible bag that fits around most cameras. The former is more expensive.

They add to trip preparation though, you really need to set it up and test for leaks before a trip. You don't want to find out it leaks after recovering from a capsize after all, and only the really expensive housings come with anti-housing flood insurance.
Sep. 22nd, 2007 02:37 am (UTC)
People name their kayaks?
Sep. 22nd, 2007 10:46 am (UTC)
I don't know if many kayakers name their kayaks, actually. But after I got mine, at least two people asked me if it had a name. I'd like to name it, but only when a meaningful name comes up, whether by someone else's suggestion or by my own cogitations.
Sep. 25th, 2007 04:18 am (UTC)
Sounds like a lot of fun! You may want to consider one of those CVS el-cheapo digital cameras.

Your story reminds me of the time I helped to row the Fyrdraca into Ego Alley:

It was well-received by the locals! We were hired to row a couple who were getting married in Annapolis to their reception, the bride was Norwegian and the whole thing was a surprise for her.
Oct. 6th, 2007 01:32 am (UTC)
yellow bouy
I wonder if that yellow bouy was involved with some work i contributed to. We were using GIS tools to map out floods of the Chesapeake Bay area.

( 5 comments — Leave a comment )