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

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Lafayette River - Tanner's Point to Crab Creek

     The first third of the Lafayette River will take you through some of Norfolk's wealthier neighborhoods. If you appreciate eclectic residential architecture, peering into other people's backyards or looking at their boats, then this will be an enjoyable paddle for you. I usually put in at my normal spot on Mayflower Ave. and head towards the Hampton Blvd. Bridge and the mouth of the river.  Just before you get to the bridge on the south shore of the river is the old U.S. Public Health Hospital.  Now it houses naval offices, but the old architecture remains with its large cupola and over-the-water gazebo. I always find the space underneath of bridges kind of interesting, so I usually hang out here for a few minutes. If you need to cross the river, this is also a fairly safe place to do so, as all the larger boat traffic has to use the marked channel. Beyond the bridge is Edgewater Haven and the mouth of the river where it joins the Elizabeth. From this point you can watch the large cargo ships, working tug boats and the occasional naval vessel coming and going.

     The river begins at Tanner's point on the north side of the river, and this spot will give you a close view of cargo containers being loaded and unloaded.  Further east is The Hermitage, one of my favorite places to visit in Norfolk. If you turn north into Lochaven you can see the restored living shoreline on the grounds of The Hermitage. Further in you can paddle up to the base of a shingle-clad lighthouse, and there are lots of opportunities to see wildlife along the undeveloped shoreline. At the mouth of the loch is the Norfolk Yacht and Country Club, and you will likely encounter students from their sailing classes. Back under the bridge, the north shore of the Lafayette has several small creeks that are all worth exploring, especially at high tide.  The largest of these is Crab Creek, and at its entrance is a sand bar and marsh where I always see cormorants. Crab Creek is large enough that you could spend more time in it than the other creeks. If you explore everything I have suggested here, it would be about a 10 mile paddle.

Old U.S. Public Health Hospital
Old US Naval Hospital

Under the Hampton Blvd. Bridge
Hampton Blvd. Bridge

The Hermitage and its Restored Living Shoreline
The Hermitage (2)

The Hermitage (3)

The Lochaven Lighthouse at The Hermitage
The Hermitage

Pelician Take Off



Mosaic Dolphin

Cormorants at the Mouth of Crab Creek
Cormorants for JoEllen

Old School Sailboat in Crab Creek

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