This will be a "Chesapeake Bay" paddle even though we will never actually venture out in the the Bay itself. We will launch from Galesville. Every other time I have paddled from this location we have blasted straight out of Galesville, through the entrance of the West river (where it dumps into the Bay), and into the Rhode River headed towards the islands that are near Camp Lett and near SERC (the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center). Truth is I have barely seen anything of the West River area itself. So this paddle is going to follow the shore line with the goal of only 1 crossing of the boat lanes (near where the West River opens up to the Bay to get back across to the west side of the West River where the launch is at Galesville).
This is an exploratory paddle. While I know the general area, I know next to nothing about what we will see in and out of all the little coves and side creeks. Not even sure where we will be able to get out and stretch our legs (or if it is even possible). As this is not a minutely planned out paddle and as this is connected to the Bay, I am going to be overly cautious this first time with my requirements. I do not consider this to be a "beginner-friendly" paddle (i.e., this event is for paddlers who are somewhat seasoned: a nice description might be someone that has paddled at least a dozen times this year and has done trips of at least 8 miles). FYI, if I do not know you I will most likely start an email dialog to verify experience.
Everyone must wear a PFD. I am expecting this to be a paddle for sea kayak 12' or longer in length. Everyone in a sea kayak should wear a spray skirt and know how to do a wet exit while wearing one. Sit on top (SOT) kayaks are also welcome. I know folks paddle this area in recreational and open cockpit (OC) kayaks (like a Pungo) all the time but, as this is an exploratory paddle for me, I will not be allowing these for this paddle (hoping perhaps for a less restrictive event next summer when it is warmer). If you are not sure your kayak will work, drop me a line and let's talk. I am also asking that everyone bring clothes in a dry bag on their kayak (at the very least some sort of jacket). The water is still fairly mild but it can get real chilly really fast if the wind picks up.
We will launch at 9am. Everyone should be there no later than 8:30am (and I know some like to get there even earlier). There is a small lot with about 10 spots right at the Park. I will find out where the overflow parking is and update this description. We plan to be out on the water 3-4 hours. The beauty of this paddle is that we will never be terribly far from the launch spot so if some folks want to go back early, they can (as long as they are in groups of 2 or more).
Some of us are planning on eating out afterwards right there in the area where we launch (either Thursday's or Pirate's Cove).