As soon as you get on the penisula (1/4mile), there is an access road on the right into the refuge. There are no signs, but it is the first right onto a dirt road. Follow it to the end, and keep bearing to the right. eventually you will come to a small tidal creek on the right (this is it),> The road continues to a semi-private ramp that is gated and owned by the hotel farther up route 13.
The creek winds it's way out to the small boat channel, near the private ramp. pay attention to how you paddle out, so you wont get confused on the way back in ( You can't get lost, but you could feel like you might.) Hang a right at the boat channel. You can go left also, but it takes longer to wind around the inner barriers to smith point. By the way, the boat channel is loaded with flounder, reds, or whatever is in season.
after padldling 20 minutes or so you will exit out to the area between fisherman's island and the peninsula:
Here you have the bay bridge 1/4 mile to the west, and smith point 1/4 mile to the east. The currents between the fisherman's island and the land are really very easy to handle-even though they look sketchy. I never venture around f-man's island, because to the east, west,and especially south, the currents are brutal and deadly. I would not want to be around the tip of it(Fisherman's island) on an outgoing tide. The area north, and under the northern span od the bay bridge is always safe. I get up under the bridge in the small boat channel to cobia-striper fish.
Going east to smith point is a cakewalk. if you hug the barriers out to smith point it is like a small pond. the water between the inner barriers and smith point is 3 feet, to 8 inches deep, so it's not as dangerous as it would seem. The tidal rips and perpetiual dangerous currents are very visible a mile to the south (on the east of f-mans island).
Anyway, smith point, and the area in general is one of the most beutiful in the state. I have seen bald eagles standing on the beach with a turtle shell every 100 yards. The area is totally unspoiled. I get a sense of awe when I go out there, cause that is how the beaches used to look all up and down the east coast 60 years ago. I had a big green turtle come up within 12 feet of me once and scared the crap out of me! I should tell you that the whole are is a wildlife refuge, meaning no one is even supposed to be on the beaches. I have never run into any trouble, though, generally us kayakers are seen as eco-friendly, and no one will say anything about you stretching your legs on the beach ( and casting a few lines to stretch your arms!). I have never seen a warden anyway.
Note: Smith point used to be owned by Gen. Lee's family(or in-laws), and he went out there once to check out the hogs they would 'raise' semi-wild on the island. There are also old fish camps that are pretty interesting.
Another note: obviously you need a decent kayak. Not the el-cheapo $300 Dick's special; but you don't need a 1500 kevlar composite either. I have an old first generation fiberglass keppler, circa 1985. that I paid 300 for used. It has horrible tracking,destroys my lower back,has 5 extra pounds of fiberglass patch and stinks of bunker oil. It does fine out there.
Get a map of the eastern shore. The tidal creek will be on it.
If you want company, let me know. I'm about due for a trip out there.
Fishwagon. Thanks for the information. I appreciate it very much. I was in the area for a week during 4th of July week. I did do some scouting on the seaside and I think I know exactly what you are talking about. I did see some kayakers out there. It sounds great. I would love this type of adventure. I really appreciate the offer. I don't have a canoe or kayak yet, but when I do, I'll let you know. Thanks again.
If I ever get my hands on a better model (hopefully this fall) I'll let you paddle it, and I'll take the old backbreaker. One trip out there and you'll be hooked. You can also tear up the flounder by drifting minnows, with no shadow or moter to spook em'.
The hotel on 13 has a place next to it that rents them in the bay . I don't know what their policy is about taking them into the refuge. they usually want to know that you know how to get back on a kayak in the water.(a 'three point rescue' or 'float rescue'). You can buy a book to read up and basicly teach yourself if you are fit. They might want to give you a lesson before they rent you one (probably 20-30$). I was amazed to find that in the obx they rent for 30-35$ an hour. (in maine it's 35-40$ a day). Anyway, you might try renting one the next time, even though they probably don't want you carrying fish around with it.
So, if I get my hands on another one, i'll let you know the next time I go out there.
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