Kent Island in Maryland
Kent Island provides a beautiful backdrop to paddling the Chesapeake in the Annapolis area and has significantly less boat traffic. We decided to paddle from near the Chesapeake Bay Bridge to the Bloody Point Lighthouse, a late 19th-century iron caisson lighthouse at the southern tip of the island, a round trip paddle of about 19 miles; this would also give me a chance to take out my new (used) NDK Explorer (which ends up being a GREAT boat - see my review).
Our launch point was Matapeake State Park, which has a pier and boat launch ramp. There isn't a lot of information on the park, but it's there, open, has bathrooms, and is a great protected place to launch a kayak. The fee for launching is ten dollars, payable at an automated machine that takes credit cards. With the sun shining and virtually no wind we launched and began the paddle southward to the lighthouse.
Unlike Annapolis right across the Bay, the boat traffic is very light in this area, which is nice; we dealt with some larger wakes, but the cross-bay waves were gentle and barely rocked us, allowing us to paddle at a steady pace. The shores of Kent Island are almost entirely privately owned, with the occasional private, but accessible marina, so there's nowhere to land, although there are some creeks that run inland, they are also well populated. Large houses line the shores of the island and make for some fun viewing, but the scenery is beautiful in general, especially as sailboats begin to ply the Bay.
The lighthouse became visible about six miles out and steadily grew in size until we were directly under the rusted structure, which was probably once quite impressive. The boat traffic around the lighthouse is pretty significant, so you can expect fairly confused water as everyone tries to get a look at the structure. After rafting together and sharing a quick lunch on the water, we began our paddle back and arrived uneventfully.
This is one of those paddles where the focus was on covering some good distance to train for a long camping trip this fall, with a cool destination (the lighthouse) to make it interesting. The lighthouse is a very cool landmark and is worth the visit. This would be a tough trip during high winds since the entire trip would have you taking the waves broadside.
Large parking lot, bathrooms, pier and paved boat ramp.
10$ launch fee payable by cash or credit card to an automated machine.
Here are the coordinates for the boat launch. Plug into GoogleEarth to navigate:
38 57.333'N 76 21.254'W
The launch point is at Matapeake State Park.
Chart 12270_1 - Chesapeake Bay Eastern Bay and South River
Check out the following links for detailed GPS or GoogleEarth tracks on the trip:
- Sport/Activity: Kayaking
- Skill Level: Intermediate
- Water Type: Open Water/Ocean