I didn’t have much to do on Monday afternoon so I decided I’d head to Hope Springs Marina and take a kayak out for a paddle. River Rock Outfitter has kayaks and Stand Up Paddle boards (SUPs) for rent out at the marina. They are open 9am to 7pm Friday through Monday. I called my son and made arrangements to meet him there at 4pm. After filling out the paperwork, getting sized for PFDs and changing clothes we got on the water at about 4:30. It was a great day to be out on the water. There was lots of sun, a nice breeze and it was not too hot.
I can’t say I’m an experienced paddler having only been out in a kayak a handful of times and I don’t think my son, Daniel, has ever been out in one. We made good time crossing to the Widewater peninsula from the marina. On our way across the channel we saw Osprey on their nest atop a channel marker. Once we had gone under the rail bridge we saw couple of Blue Heron wading along the banks of Widewater State Park and three immature Bald Eagles on a fallen tree. Later, on our way further along the shoreline, we saw a male Bald Eagle flying around and two of the three young eagles heading in the direction he was leading. There must be a nest close by but we could not see it.
We followed the shoreline until we found and inlet to paddle back into. It was interesting paddling back into an area that seemed essentially untouched, except for a few hunting blinds. The water was not very deep, maybe 12 to 18 inches at most and less in many spots. It seemed like it might have been deeper at some time in the past but now it was getting pretty silted in. Water plants and grasses were all around us. Dragon flies skimmed across the top of the water and frogs croaked as we paddled by. I couldn’t help think that this must be pretty close to how it was for those living here 600 or more years ago. We turned around and headed back to Aquia Creek after we had gone about a mile or so up the watery path we had found. We decide to follow the shoreline a bit further and see what we could see. This is where we saw the Bald Eagle flying around.
The deepest water we were in was near the marina and when we crossed the channel. Most of the time we were out I think we could have gotten out of the kayaks and walked through water that was no more than chest deep. The water was clear and most of the time you could look down and see the bottom. Once we felt we had been far enough we turned around and headed back to the marina. We were on the water for about an hour and a half and made pretty good time for two novice paddlers. We both agreed that it was a great way to spend an afternoon.