An On-line Journal of My Kayak Adventures in Eastern Virginia

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge - 7/17/17

     Early on a hot Sunday morning I paddled out of Veteran's Memorial Park in Chincoteague on Virginia's Eastern Shore. The park has plenty of parking (at least while I was there), clean restrooms, a fishing pier, and a busy concrete boat ramp. From the ramp I headed directly across Assateague Channel to the marsh on the other side. I then turned right heading almost due south in the direction of Tom's Cove and Assateague Point on Assateague Island. The tide was high as I was heading out, and I had plenty of water, but I could tell that at low tide the area next to the marsh would be a mud flat. This channel that divides Chicoteague and Assateague Islands is marked with many poles, which I assumed delineate private oyster grounds. Several of the poles had no trespassing signs attached to them, but this did not deter me or several other kayakers, though I didn't have oyster poaching on my mind. I was after a herd of the islands' famous wild ponies. There were close of 40 grazing, wading, and lounging on Horse Marsh, and I was able to paddle very close to them. A strong southwesterly breeze was likely keeping the mosquitoes and horse flies away from the herd; they seemed quite at ease. Towards the end of each July many are rounded up and forced to swim across the channel to the town of Chincoteague, where a few are auctioned by the volunteer fire department. It is quite the event, and draws thousands to the island each year.

     I stopped next at a sandy beach on Assateague to explore the island a bit on foot, making my way over and under large fallen trees. At Assateague Point, which overlooks Tom's Cove, there were more dead trees along the water's edge, which called for further exploration, and provided photo ops. I was on a time constraint, otherwise I would have paddled across the cove to check out the old Coast Guard Station and fish factory ruins on Assateague Beach - maybe next time. Crossing the channel again, I paddled beside a vast marsh enjoying the swaying grasses, and the sounds of the gulls and red-wing blackbirds. Eventually I neared Tom's Cove campground which was packed for the weekend, and unfortunately the sounds of the marsh gave way to the low hum of many generators, and people waking up for the day. Despite the noisy end to my paddle, it was one of my favorite trips, and as I paddled it the trip was about 4 miles.

Assateague Channel
Assateague Wild Ponies
Assateague Wild Ponies
Assateague Wild Ponies
Assateague Wild Ponies
Assateague Wild Ponies
Assateague Wild Ponies
Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge - Assateague Island
Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge - Assateague Island
Horseshoe Crab
Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge - Assateague Island
Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge - Assateague Island
Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge - Assateague Point
Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge - Assateague Point
Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge - Assateague Point
Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge - Assateague Point
Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge - Assateague Point
Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge - Assateague Point
Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge - Assateague Point
American Germander (Teucrium canadense)
Cormorant - Assateague Channel
Duck Blind - Assateague Channel
Tom's Cove Campground

2 comments:

  1. Sigh. You know this is my soft spot. I love Chincoteague, but only in winter! ha. Now I want to see if from a seat in a kayak. Beautiful, Les, as always.

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  2. You never cease to amaze and humble me. SJP

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