SUP Jamestown

Strong current and a little wind made for a bit more challenging paddle board session than anticipated, but it was enjoyable nonetheless. Saw an eagle, check.

Up Gray’s Creek, Surry, VA

This very warm, humid, sunny day was saved by a good breeze on Gray’s Creek. We could have enjoyed exploring more side creeks, but the thought of eating excellent seafood influenced our decision to keep it at about 6 miles.

We saw the usual wildlife: an eagle, ospreys, gray herons, green herons, kingfishers, red-winged blackbirds, buzzards, hawks, lots of fish in the shallows (possibly gar?), tadpoles, fiddler crabs, and one turtle’s head popping up.

Two thumbs up for The Surry Seafood Company. Fresh, well prepared, and well served.

SUP on Gray’s Creek, Surry, VA

Wonderful day in a new paddling location for me – Gray’s Creek on the other side of the James River. It’s always fun to ride the ferry on a pretty day, and the put in next to the Surry Seafood Company was scenic. A pair of eagles fishing made us happy – we always like to check that box. We didn’t get to sample the food because at 1:30 the wait was 90 minutes. Will definitely go back, though.

Deep Bottom Boat Ramp to Dutch Gap Conservation Area and Back

It was a very pleasant day on the water with paddling friends from the Virginia Paddlers MeetUp group. The James River south of Richmond, VA in Henrico county was busy with July 4th holiday weekend boat traffic, but the power boaters were respectful of our kayaking group.

This is a pretty area made more enjoyable by unseasonably cool 75 degree temps and 9 mph breezes. I spotted two eagles near the boat ramp returning. Jumping fish, egrets, herons, and ospreys were present. A single engine airplane was putting on a show for us near the I-295 bridge and we saw several commercial jets departing Richmond international airport. The small purple flower above is American Water Willow, which was growing in large masses at river’s edge. Trumpet vine was also blooming.

Ample parking at the boat ramp with bathrooms. No entrance fee.

Afterwards, we drove 4.5 miles west on state route 5 to Varina, VA and enjoyed good Italian food at Portobellos Ristorante. (Good enough to get takeout for dinner later.)

SUP 2 miles, Jamestown Beach

SUP 4 miles, Jamestown Beach

Very windy at 9:00 a.m., too much chop, so I waited until 11:00 to paddle. No track, no photos.

SUP, 3 miles, Sunset at Jamestown Beach

No track, no photos

SUP Dandy Point, Hampton VA to Factory Point

My first outing with the Stand Up Paddle Boarding Tidewater VA (facebook) group. Went about 2 miles. New “improvements” to AllTrails app have made it harder to use, sigh. I didn’t manage to get the whole route recorded.

Nice to meet more people who enjoy SUP and to see some crossover membership from my kayaking groups.

Race around Gordon’s Island, VA

My first kayak race, even though I’ve been paddling for 10 years. Yay, us! We brought up the Middle of the Pack! We averaged 4.7 mph on this 7.1 mile course, which is pretty fast for paddlers who are usually dawdling to see the wildlife and take pictures. It was fun being out there with all sorts of paddle craft. After seeing all of the “Flying Fish,” I’m dreaming of owning a racing stand up paddle board.

Exploring Virginia’s Eastern Shore

Even though I’m a native of Williamsburg and my husband has lived here for more than 30 years, neither of us had explored the Eastern Shore. Unlike most girls of my generation, I had never read the famous tweens book Misty of Chincoteague, because the book Black Beauty about an abused thoroughbred made me cry buckets of tears and I swore off of equestrian titles after that trauma. I’m glad I corrected that omission before we made this trip, because it made seeing the wild horses of Assateague Island all the more magical.

We started off with our little trailer across the amazing Chesapeake Bay-Bridge Tunnel to Kipptopeke, where we spent two nights, venturing up to Cape Charles for a day of jet skiing, shopping, and dining, then up to Onancock for a delightful lunch on the marina before heading up to Chincoteague for two more nights. Chincoteague may be our new favorite place! (But OBX is still in the running.) We liked the small-town feel and protected wildlife areas. It was only a 4-mile bike ride from our KOA campground to the ocean at Assateague.

We saw the wild horses as soon as we drove on to Assateague Island. What joy to hear them whiny to each other as their family group ran along the side of the road! The marshes were home to the usual egrets and herons this time of year. Across the marshes we could see more wild horses grazing, but the only evidence of them visiting the beach was tiny hoof prints and tiny …. um … well, you know.

The beach was unusual because you drive right up to the dune and park. On one side of the dune is the majestic Atlantic Ocean, on the other side of the dune and parking area is calm Tom’s Cove, where it was easy to wade or calmly float protected from the wind and tumult of the ocean waves.