“Far better to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered with failure, than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy much or suffer much - because they live in the gray twilight that knows no victory or defeat!” -Theodore Roosevelt
DAY 7 RECAP: September 24, 2020
Crisfield, MD to Pungoteague Creek, VA
The Bay Paddle is an epic, 200+ mile journey by standup paddleboard to raise awareness and funds for Oyster Recovery Partnership. You can help by donating $10, which plants 1,000 oysters back into Bay waters. DONATE HERE or text BAYPADDLE to 44-321.
151 miles complete / 240 total planned miles (17 miles today)
$153,118 raised / $200,000
15.3 million oysters raised / 20 million
(As noted by Bay Paddle partner Bryan Kent Gomes, Educational Director, ClearSharkH2O)
Today we headed out from Crisfield, MD towards TBD Virginia (we wanted to make as much progress as we could given weather, tide, etc.).
Chris is pretty beat up - we knew today would be a slog-struggle. He's determined and that's inspiring. We're doing all that we can. We're so grateful for the support of the team behind us.
Chris and I headed out with Bay Paddle sponsor - and Chris' good friend - Dr. Milford Marchant, Jr. joining us for the day.
We cut through Broad Creek which was beautiful (and calm) - and the quiet before “the storm”.
Out of Broad Creek, we spent several hours fighting wind and waves heading out to Watts Island. It was blowing so hard I deployed my spray skirt!
We took a short break at an island as we scouted the second half of day.
Conditions continued to deteriorate through the afternoon until finally we had enough and came off the water a little short of Pungateague Creek. Check the picture of the growing blister on my thumb... Did I mention it was a tough day?!?
Wind was blowing hard in our faces most of the day.
The waves were big and rolling (check the videos)
And the weather was cloudy and rainy.
We finally pulled Chris off the water around 4 PM with 17 miles accounted for... This is a real struggle and he is digging deep to achieve the last 50 miles.
Our plans for the final days are totally TBD based on conditions, spirits, physical stamina... this is not easy.
FOR THE MIND
Water Quality Data at Taylors Island: Turbidity = 41cm, pH = 8.4 Salinity = 21PPT Temperature =19C (66F)
Wildlife sightings: Pelicans, Cormorants, Gulls, Great Egret
INTERESTING BAY FACTS
According to a Wikipedia article on Tangier, "Tangier Island is one of the last watermen communities on the Chesapeake. Today, the inhabitants of Tangier rely on crabbing to make a living. Tangier is often referred to as the "soft-shell crab capital of the world". Most fishermen catch and sell crabs and oysters. North of the island are many free-standing docks not connected to land which fishermen use to hold crabs while they moult. Once a major industry on the island, oystering has returned in recent years as a supplement to the more prominent crabbing business. In 2014, a new oyster-farming company, called Tangier Island Oyster Company, was founded by a group that includes a former attorney general of Virginia, Ken Cuccinelli."
Prior to the arrival of colonists on Tangier Island, it was a retreat for the Pocomoke Indians. The discovery of an ancient offshore oyster midden, thousands of years old and containing a huge pile of shells which could only have been deposited by humans, is further evidence that there was a regular population on Tangier, at least in the warm part of the year, long before it had an English name (Source: Wikipedia).
The first known European explorer of the island was John Smith in 1608. He named Tangier and the surrounding islands the "Russel Isles" after the doctor on board his ship (Source: Wikipedia). If you haven't yet explored the Captain John Smith Chesapeake National Historic Trail, then you'll definitely want to! The trail commemorates Captain Smith’s exploration of the Bay in 1607 through 1609, and is the nation’s first all-water national historic trail. It provides a significant conservation, recreation, and education resource that stretches over 3,000 miles and traverses most of the Chesapeake’s great rivers (Source: Chesapeake Conservancy). There's even a virtual trail option so that you can enjoy the beauty of the Chesapeake at home or from your mobile device!
Tangier island is at risk of disappearing due to erosion and rising sea levels caused by climate change; since 1850, the island's landmass has been reduced by 67%. Under a mid-range sea level rise scenario, much of the remaining landmass is expected to be lost in the next 50 years and the town will likely need to be abandoned (Source: Wikipedia). Watch this clip from PBS Newshour, Will the traditions of tiny Tangier Island survive or sink? "Life on Tangier Island has always been defined by water. Now it is menacing its very existence. Battered by Chesapeake Bay's relentless waves, scientists say the land’s shrinking is accelerating, as man-made climate change makes the waves from rising seawater worse. John Yang talks with Earl Swift, author of "Chesapeake Requiem," and examines how life in the singular community is threatened."
OYSTER RESTORATION PROJECTS NEARBY!
Partners working to restore oysters in 10 Maryland and Virginia tributaries by 2025—including @NOAAHabitat, @norfolkdistrict, @VaMRC, and many academic and nonprofit partners—made lots of progress in Virginia in 2019! They constructed 94 acres of oyster reefs at a cost of $1.54 million. Since 2014, partners have constructed 174 acres under the 10 tributaries outcome at a costof $5.17 million. Prior to large-scale restoration toward the outcome, 473 acres of existing oyster reefs already met the Oyster Metrics success criteria. Get full Virginia oyster restoration details here.
Great Wicomico was the fifth tributary selected for large-scale restoration in Virginia; the partners are still working on analyzing information on existing reefs and restorable areas to develop the blueprint for oyster restoration in this river.
Scientists use sonar and other mapping tools to analyze and determine the places in each river that are best for restoration. From NOAA Fisheries article (August 2018), "For each tributary selected for this large-scale restoration, first, the areas within that river that could be restored must be identified. The NOAA Chesapeake Bay Office maps areas using sonar technology from on board the Research Vessel Potawaugh, a 32-foot aluminum catamaran that can operate in shallow water, necessary to research areas for potential oyster restoration. The team also uses groundtruthing and visual inspection techniques." Learn more about this science.
LOOKING AHEAD TO TOMORROW
Picking up near Harborton and heading south... final destination TBD. Please keep your fingers crossed for our paddling crew.