Wednesday, January 23, 2013

tidewater, unvisited

Here is the latest work from the easal of marine artist John Barber.  It is called "Island Memories" and shows a fireworks display viewed from Gwynn's Island at the mouth of the Piankatank River.  It is a very nice setting with Callis Wharf, which exists today, and a classic deadrise workboat.  

The painting reminded me of two things.  The first was watching the fireworks from Spartina on the Chester River during the cold, wet and windy Chestertown Downrigging Weekend in 2011.  That was an interesting and challenging weekend that you can read about here.  (The Downrigging Weekend has been battered by weather two years in a row, the unusual winter-like storm in 2011 and Hurricane Sandy in 2012.  Here's hoping for better weather this year for that great gathering of boats small and large.)

The other thing the painting brought to mind is that I have failed to explore Tidewater Virginia.  All of my Chesapeake Bay sailing, save for a one day trip across the bay to the Magothy River, has been on the eastern shore.

From the James River entrance north on the bay are countless rivers, creeks, islands and wharfs.  I've had more that one friend suggest that I visit that area.  And I really should.

Gwynns's Island, the beautiful Piankatank River (which I've seen only from a bridge), the Rappahonnock River with the old oystering town of Urbanna, the Great Wicomico River and Reedville - those are just a few of places I need to get on a cruising schedule.  And even farther north of that is the Potomac River and Solomons Island on the Patuxent River.

The schedule is full this year between rounding the eastern shore and a long solo sail on the sounds of North Carolina.  But what about year after?  Maybe a mid-Chesapeake Bay loop, starting on the eastern shore, jumping over to the western shore, heading north or south along the Tidewater shore, and then back again.  It's something to think about.



Bill said...

Correction: Gwynn's Island is at the mouth of the Piankatank, not the Rappahannock. The Rappahannock is the next river up, northside of Deltaville. Stingray Point is at the mouth of the Rappahannock.

I keep my boat at a tiny little marina in Queen's Creek, about 1-2 miles from Callis Wharf - right across from the Milford Haven Inlet (which is where Callis Wharf is).

Bill said...

Oh yeah and - you definitely should get over there and do some exploring. Spartina has a shallow enough draft that you likely could navigate the Hole in the Wall, or at the very least, you could explore (and anchor in) Milford Haven, which is a lovely little body of water.

There also is a great fresh seafood place on Gwynns Island, right near the bridge - we bought some crab cakes there that were absolutely fantastic - made with huge lump crab meat.

I'll be watching for the time when you finally say you're heading up that way, and I'd love to sail out to meet you - I can bring some provisions if you need anything...

Steve said...

Thanks for the correction, I'll fix it tonight. Maybe that's why I never visited the place-- I couldn't find it.


Shawn Stanley said...

Steve, If you ever make it to Solomons, I'll be here to greet you!

Steve said...

Sounds good, Shawn.