All Things Kayaking

Miles and Tizzard Islands

A calm day on the water can turn windy and rough very quickly. When we arrived at Taylor’s Landing, near Girdletree, MD to begin our paddle the water was still with excellent visibility. A very deceptive start to our day.

Taylor’s Landing offers multiple paddling options into the E.A. Vaughn Wildlife Management Area. On this late September day we chose to paddle directly to Miles Island, cruise north along the shore and then investigate Tizzard Island and Johnson Bay.

While Taylor’s Landing is still a working watermen’s site, several of the colorful buildings are in disrepair. Often times we have this landing, which the county recently rebuilt, to ourselves.


From the landing paddling straight to Miles Island is a two-mile paddle. On this calm day it was a smooth ride across to the island.Local crabbers store their unused crab pots on the marsh making for a colorful picture.   Reaching Miles Island, we turned north along the shoreline investigating the marsh and clear water. Jellyfish were still in evidence, and crabs scattered as our kayaks glided over them.

This late in the summer, or early fall, flowers still bloom on the marsh. Along the edge were long strands of small purple flowers in abundance. I have not been able to name these yet.

We know eagles live on Miles Island, and this time we spotted the nest. Without a doubt this nest, in a stand of pine trees, is the  tallest eagle’s nest we have ever observed.  Its shape reminds us of a large sack made of sticks.

Traveling along the west shore line of Miles Island one reaches a large horseshoe-shaped sand beach. Several other boaters also found this beach attractive.  Exiting our kayaks here provides an excellent view across the marsh. Looking across the interior of the island numerous tidal pools exist. It’s fairly obvious a large tidal surge will eventually breach the island at this and several other points. The water here is clear, and just offshore white sticks denoted an aquaculture.  Strolling the beach a barnacle encrusted crab trap float caught our eye. In the distance egrets fished in the marsh. By late September the majority of the shore birds have left this area.

Continuing north along this western edge of the island brings you to a large dock. This probably provides access to the one house on the island.  It also makes a great landing point for a flock of cormorants.

Leaving Miles Island we paddled further north across the open water to Tizzard Island.  By now the wind and wave action increased making for a bumpy ride.

Looking for a place to put ashore was becoming increasing difficult as the wind and waves were increasing, along with a high tide.  In the picture below Miles Island is in the distance.

20170904_140834_Tizzard Island Shoreline

We crossed the mouth of Rowley Cove and were able to put ashore at Hudson Landing. Rowley’s Cove offers an interesting paddle for exploration on another day. At high tide one can also paddle through Bridge Creek to explore even further north.

By now the winds and waves were even worse and the distant view of Taylor’s Landing looked close but yet so far. The last leg of our journey was difficult and we fought for every inch of headway.  One of the things we’ve learned over the past 10 years is our Wilderness System 160i’s provide a rock solid ride on days like this. A great upper body workout, but we avoided windy days for a while.

20170904_144311_Distant View of Taylor's Landing

Distant view of Taylor’s Landing from Rowley’s Cove


20170904_180427_GPS Topo Map

Directions: At the intersection of 113 and 12 in Snow Hill turn south on 12 to Girdletree, about 5 miles. Entering Girdletree, turn left on Box Iron Rd. Go to stop sign, bear left and then stay to the right. Road dead ends at Taylor’s Landing.

Services: Port a john is in the parking lot. There are no services in Girdletree. Stores, restaurants etc. are in Snow Hill.


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