The Eastern Shore of Virginia is rich with kayaking possibilities. Tidal flow, currents and tidal flats impact kayaking plans on the shore. For a better understanding of the area, and particularly the tidal influences, we asked Shannon Alexander, of Bay Country Kayaking, to join us and offer guidance.
Accomack County, VA provides 27 boat launch ramps. We chose the Schooner Bay ramp at Factory Point allowing us an opportunity to visit Tobacco Island.
A low-lying marshy island Tobacco Island has sandy beaches on all sides. We took advantage of the beaches to stop and explore. At our first stop Shannon led us to many broken turtle egg shells on the beach. While viewing the eggs, two Black Skimmers flew low over the water. They were way too fast for a photo, but a great sight.
The second beach where we came ashore featured many fiddler crabs attempting to attract females by waving their large claws in the crab equivalent of “come hither”. One crab got lucky and a female came to visit him.
Egrets were plentiful along the shoreline, and we cruised along slowly enjoying the egrets and shorebirds. Late in the summer the water warms and we enjoyed time floating in the water.
Rounding the end of Tobacco Island the high tide carried us towards the landing. Shannon timed the trip perfectly to allow us to use the high tide to our advantage. A large egret stood on the point as we kayaked past. Our trip covered about 5 miles. This area potentially leads to much kayak exploring and we will return.
Topo map of paddle around Tobacco Island
Services: None at the boat ramp. Onancock has stores and restaurants and is about 10 miles away.
Directions to Launch: End of Bluebird Lane (Rt 802 near Chesconessex). On Google Maps search for Schooner Bay Rd, Onancock, VA 23417
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