What a fascinating place we live in. We have two of the oldest lighthouses still standing in the United States right in our back yard; Old Point Comfort Light at Fort Monroe and New Point Comfort Light in Mathews. That gave me an idea back in 2010, to organize a trip for intermediate paddlers between these two famous landmarks. It was a great adventure that’s worth repeating. Besides the lighthouses this trip includes beautifully diverse scenery and wild life. Since I have no desire to organize a 21 mile crossing of the Chesapeake Bay, I've divided the trip into three manageable sections, each about 13 miles. These, weather permitting, can be complete in two weekends.
This 1st leg of our trip will take us from New Point Comfort Lighthouse at Fort Monroe, to Messick Point on Back River in Poquoson. Saturday morning we can meet at 7:15 at the city boat ramp located at end or Messick Road in Poquoson. We can load our boats onto my Jeep and kayak trailer for the thirty five minute drive to Fort Monroe. I have room for a total of 5 kayaks and paddlers. After launching at Fort Monroe, we’ll paddle past the old Chamberlin Hotel, Generals row, Old Point Comfort Lighthouse, the Artillery Batteries and Buckroe Beach. We can take a break for lunch or a snack on the beach at the entrance to Salt Ponds/Long Creek, and then follow the creek through Grandview Nature Preserve, or continue in the Bay around to Back River and Messick Pt. The entire days trip is 12.5 miles. Afterwards I'll need someone to give me a ride back to Ft Monroe for my car!
Here is some local lighthouse history: In 1798 a law passed by the U.S. Congress called for a light at Old Point Comfort, and proclaimed: “We wish, for the security of navigation, that the important work may soon be undertaken, for the safety of our mariners.” Between 1800 and 1801 Congress appropriated $5,000 for construction costs, and contracted the services of Elzy Burroughs to complete the octagonal stone structure. Burroughs completed most of the work on the lighthouse during 1803, which stands 54 feet high. The sister lighthouse, New Point Comfort Lighthouse was commissioned by Thomas Jefferson, and was lit for the first time on January 17, 1805. The 58-foot, sandstone New Point Comfort Lighthouse is similar in design to its sister tower at Old Point Comfort and other period sandstone structures constructed at Cape Henry and Montauk Point.
This is a 12+ mile trip with 6 or 9 miles of exposed open water in the Chesapeake Bay. It isn't a beginner trip. Please have an adequate boat, gear, stamina and open water experience. An adequate boat would likely be at least 14’ long, have bulk heads front and rear, and have a working skeg (or rudder). Gear should include a spray shirt, paddle float, and the experience to use them safely. I set these rules due to common open water conditions on the Bay like strong currents, wind and waves, an expected fast paddling pace and the distance. This will likely not be a fun paddle in a "short" boat or a "fishing" kayak, or for those with limited experience. I may excercise my right to bump you from the trip if necessary for the overall pleasure and safety of the group.
Like all meet ups, a life jacket (PFD) must be worn. I'll check the weather Friday @ 8pm and again Saturday @ 6am and post any change of plans.
Tide is low at 6:35am and high at 12:55pm