Quinby (VA) to Cape Henlopen, Lewes (DE) / May 12 - 21, 2015
May 12, 2015
We stayed on site at Virginia Landing RV Resort & Campground (Quinby, VA). There was a strong wind and we planned to leave the next day. Bill, our neighbour, offered us a bottle of white wine. He is from New York State and it was very interesting talking with him. Nancy (Fitzgerald), an employee of the campground, brought us strawberries, spaghetti and chicken parmesan. It was a nice surprise and we were very grateful for her generosity. We ate and drank very well. Thank you Nancy! Thank you Bill!
May 13, 2015
We decided to stay here another day, just because people are too nice! Nancy did it again this morning! She brought us strawberries and bread. It was a nice relaxing day offered by the campground. Thank you!
May 14, 2015
We are back on the water, but before we could get to the water, we had to portage 18 km. We had to get to the boat ramp located in Wachapreague. We already had walked about 1.5 hours when we met Jonathan. He offered to transport us to the crossroads of Wachapreague village. In a very short time, Pierre was sitting on the tailgate of the pickup truck holding the canoe while Jasmine and I rode inside the truck. I had a blast talking with Jonathan! He and his husband are nomads. Jonathan is a nurse and he wanders from town to town, from state to state. He finds work where he wants to go. He has been doing this for the past 10 years. He can spend 2-3-6 months before moving to a new location. Jonathan is also a Canadian at heart. He knows the province of Quebec very well and all its guilty pleasures, such as fresh cheese curds and Coaticook ice cream.
By early afternoon, we had put the canoe in the water and then paddled for 14km. The water is green and we could feel that the sea is nearby. The bays are not very deep, but by canoe....no problem. In late afternoon we found a patch of sand where we set up our camp. We are on an island that, according to our maps, is underwater. A little piece of heaven for the night.
Special mention to Mark and Mike Lanser: Your wheels are great, and work beautifully!
May 15, 2015
We left under a bright sun. Not a thrill on the water, but the current in our face. The tide was ebbing and it played a trick on us by blocking our way to the channel in one place. There was not enough water even for us to go through. Luckily we had another alternative creek we could take west of the channel. In no time, we were back in the channel.
We saw many many turtles of several species. We also saw a shark. At times, we could see bubbles rising up to the surface of the water, it was as if the water was boiling. In these places, there was a strong smell of methane, which explained that boiling water. By late afternoon, we approached Chincoteague Island. We saw a sailboat registered in Iqaluit, Canada. It's rare you see a boat from that village. This got our attention and we went to talk with the owner.
At the mouth of the inlet, on the southern tip of the Chincoteague Island, we were caught in breaking waves (caused by opposing wind and tide) forcing us to stop earlier in the day at the nearest marina. Fortunately, we were able to walk afterwards to the campground located east on the island. It was a big day!
May 16, 2015
We stayed put. The wind was strong and the waves were not very inviting. So we took advantage of the day to relax. In front of us, and on the other side of the river, we could see the wild horses that live on Assateague Island. We look forward to seeing them more closely, because from the campground view, they are only small dots.
May 17, 2015
What a beautiful day! We saw quite a sight this morning when leaving the campsite. After seeing the Chincoteague National Wildlife Reserve lighthouse and an old camp on Morris Island, we saw a mare with her foal at the edge of the shore. We were able to observe them a while before we decided to continue on. It was magical and we felt privileged. Jasmine was lying on the deck of the canoe and did not bark at all. Neither of the horses were frightened of us. I think I took 50 pictures in only 2 minutes! What I did not know at the time was that we would see other horses later, just before arriving at the campground of Assateague Island National Seashore (Bayside).
Along the way we saw a very peculiar phenomenon. It seems that this is the breeding season for horseshoe crabs. We have seen thousands in the shallow water along Assateague Island. These prehistoric creatures with 450 million years of history are considered living fossils. We also saw rays and sharks. At the campsite we saw hares and an opossum. You can not ask for more. It was hot all day. We even stopped to take a swim allowing Jasmine to refresh. It made her feel so good! Ha! We're now in Maryland.
May 18, 2015
We left this morning by saying that we had to do 50km to get to the Delaware State Park. In the afternoon the weather changed quickly and a risk of thunderstorms was announced. We cut our paddling day short and stopped at a campground located only 30 km from the starting point. We had a great campsite. The scenery was beautiful and we are glad that we decided to paddle the east side of that large arm of land separating the Atlantic Ocean from the Chesapeake Bay.
May 19, 2015
The fog was thick when we left this morning, but it gradually dissipated when we entered the first straight, and narrow channel of the day. The landscape appeared to be still asleep, except for ospreys that seemed to be busy bringing food to their babies. Once in the Indian River Bay, the water was almost eerily calm. The sky was grey; there was still the mist in the distance. The sky and the water seemed to be one. It was really beautiful. And the smell of the sea finally came back to us.
We observed thousands of horseshoe crabs, but this time several of them had gone to the beach where the birds were waiting to eat their eggs. Female horseshoe crabs lay their eggs in holes they dig on the beach. They can lay between 60,000 and 120,000 eggs at a time. The male will then fertilize them. The females are much larger than males. When a male has chosen a female, he will get a ride on her back to the beach. We were able to observe this phenomenon regularly during the past few days. Another interesting fact about horseshoe crabs is that they have blue blood. Their blood has a property that is used in medicine for the detection of bacterial endotoxin.
After paddling 43km, we arrived in Lewes, DE. Opposite the marina where we stopped, there is the museum of the U.S.Lifesaving Station, which is now the U.S. Coast Guard. We put the wheels under the canoe and went for a 5km walk to get to the Cape Henlopen State Park. We booked for 3 nights at the campground.
May 20, 2015
Rest day. Pierre went to town to run errands. A small, 12km, walking round trip.
May 21, 2015
This is our last day here. We are pleased to have resolved our camping problem for the long weekend of Memorial Day. Everything was booked here and in Cape May, but, from all of the ideas received via Facebook and Twitter we found a solution. Tomorrow we will take the ferry to Cape May as the weather will not be good to paddle the Delaware River. Thank you all for your help!!
Despite the rain, we visited the park. There are several installations from World War II. Observation and surveillance towers were erected on the coast during that time. We were able to climb the steps of one of them. There is also Fort Miles where buildings and artillery cannons are on display. Among other artifacts, there are artillery batteries and long range cannons. The beaches in the park are beautiful and very long. It is a beautiful region to visit.