Tobacco Island near Onancock, VA offers a number of paddling options; around Tobacco Island, explore Chesconessex Creek, paddle Pompco Creek or explore the marsh inside Tobacco Island.
We met family at the Schooner Bay put in on a very windy late September Saturday.
The windy weather led to a lengthy discussion of how windy was too windy for kayaking. After a time we agreed that kayaking directly to the leeward side of the island seemed like a good plan. Safety is a priority on all our kayaking trips. One of the advantages of this area is the water is shallow. With the water temperature still in the 70s anyone capsizing would not be in any real danger. A great site for determining water temperature, tide and other useful information is the Tides for Fishing site.
The put-in on Bluebill Lane has both a boat ramp and a nice sandy beach kayak launch spot.
After launching we paddled directly towards Tobacco Island near Factory Point, and then skimmed along the leeward side of the island to escape the strong currents and whitecaps.
Our first beach stop allowed us to scan the island with binoculars and look at the waves condition on the other side. They were extremely rough. On an earlier trip to this area, we paddled the bay side of Tobacco Island. This windy day meant we would stay on the inside of the island. Any place there was a lot of fetch resulted in whitecaps and strong winds.
Near the beach two monarch butterflies hung on to the ragweed for dear life. The strong wind blew the plant stalks to and fro shaking the butterflies like rag dolls.
Our second beach landing presented a contrast. The leeward side was calm and still, while just a short walk across the beach brought us to crashing waves and howling winds. Looking out into the bay one could see Watts and Tangier Island.
The wind and current made our trip back quick and in record time. All in all it was a fun paddle on a beautiful day and I’m glad we embarked on this adventure.
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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