Sunday, January 24, 2010

Paddled at First Landing Park in VA Beach today

Today's paddle was at the Narrows at First Landing State Park. Formerly called Seashore State Park, it is the most visited State Park in Virginia. Miles of hiking trails, one long (flat) biking trail, a boat ramp, a campground, launch access directly to the Chesapeake Bay and another access off 64th Street to the Narrows. The Narrows is a just that-a constriction that separates Broad Bay and Linkhorn Bay. It's a great put-in and a fun place to play. Boat wake rides are available all day in the summer, and if you catch the right spot in the tide change on a windy day you've got all the wave riding you want.

Highlights of today's paddle-low 60's air temperature, saw a juvenile bald eagle, a great blue heron, buffeheads, hooded mergansers, lots of double crested cormorants, lots of brown pelicans-including one who put on a show with multiple dives into the water right in front of us.

Weirdest thing I've ever seen there-a mud snake, which is a beautiful, shiny black and red snake, was moving in and out of ghost crab holes on the beach at the Narrows. I've only seen two of these snakes ever. The other one was dead on the side of West Neck Creek.

Most embarrassing moment there-while guiding a kayak trip at the Narrows in the summer many years ago, I decided I'd cool off (and show off) with an eskimo roll. So over I go, executed a perfect roll, and came up smiling. Unfortunately, in the course of 360 degrees of kayak movement I wrapped a jellyfish completely over my face, around my neck, across my eyes, in my mouth, etc. Instead of a post-roll celebration, I was now grabbing and slinging chunks of tentacles as fast as I could. Got lit up good! The sting to my skin and my pride faded soon enough.

Today's weather was my least favorite combo for winter paddling. Cold water and warm air. Since one has to dress for the water temps, warm days can be miserable. Lot of sweat today.

Coming soon-proper preparation for winter paddling.

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