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

Friday, May 11, 2012

Cypress Creek - 5/11/12

     Cypress Creek is a muddy, tidal creek that begins in rural Isle of Wight Co., Virginia. It flows northward, and ends up forming part of the Pagan River at the town of Smithfield.  My put-in point was Windsor Castle Park in Smithfield, which is a very well appointed park for a town its size, centered around a colonial era plantation. There is a designated pier for launching kayaks with free parking. At the end of the dock is one of those roll on/roll off launchers which make it possible to never have to get your feet wet, and it is the nicest facility I have seen yet. I wish there were more places like this.

     On this trip I brought along my dog, Penny. I have been working with her on a small pond at my parent's place to get her accustomed to the kayak. Penny has no body fat, can't swim and sinks like a stone, so I bought an Outward Hound life vest at the local pet supply store. I think she had more of a problem with the vest than the fact she was kayaking.  I knew the nice launch and generally light weekday traffic on the water would be better for our trip.  After the first mile or so she settled in and slept most of the trip.  I have not taken her since, as the space she occupied is now taken up with a waterproof case that holds my good camera. Sacrifices must be made for art.

     I tried to time my visit to coincide with the best situation for the tides, but I just could not work it out with my day off.  It did not really matter as the tides here do not run that strong, but obviously at low tide you are more limited as to where you can explore.  Also, the water is very murky making it hard to judge depth, and at low tide there is a greater risk of getting stuck on the bottom, and believe me, you do not want to have to get out and push.

     I headed upstream, against the current and passed many fairly nice houses with requisite docks.  Once you cross under the Rte. 10 Bypass Bridge the creek becomes a little more wild around the edges.  The riverbank here alternates between broad swaths of salt marsh and wooded shoreline. The usual birds were present, great blue heron, great egrets, osprey, belted kingfisher and others.  I only saw a few fish jump, but there must be more in the water, because I was able to spot a family of river otters, a real treat for me.  I paddled close to 4 miles before I turned around and headed back to the dock.  Paddling a short distance further north of the dock you can easily reach the Pagan River and the Smithfield Station Marina.  If you head west (left) on the Pagan you will soon near some of Smithfield's more historic homes sited on a bluff above the river. But this will have to wait for another trip.

View Cypress Creek 5.11.12 in a larger map

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