MD - Thomas Point Lighthouse - 2008/08/10 - 12.4 miles



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Thomas Point lighthouse is the one remaining unique Chesapeake Bay style lighthouse actually out n the bay. The others are all at museums, so this is the last one you can actually paddle to.




It was a bright cool sunny day. A cold front had just pushed through the area bringing cool dry air from Canada to replace the sticky hot stuff from the Gulf of Mexico that makes up most of our summer weather. Even though the 10 to 15 mph winds from the NW had not materialized, it was a lovely day for paddling through the sailing capital of the world, Annapolis Maryland.



We started our little day trip from a small free park under the northeast end of the Severn River Bridge that carries MD 460 from Glen Burnie into the city of Annapolis. At one time this was the major route from Baltimore into Annapolis. The old swing bridge was replaced with a high rise fixed bridge many years ago. Now with the completion of Interstate 97 and a second bridge up river from this one, it is now almost a backwater in the madding crowd pressing down from the south and out over the Chesapeake Bay bridge to the destinations on the eastern shore of the Bay.
Anyway, the park is a small little spot with a remnant of the old bridge being utilized as a fishing pier. With a small parking lot, garbage cans, and porta potties, it is one of the few places in the state that is free to access.



This morning there were only two parking spaces left when I pulled in at twenty minutes until 10:00 A.M. A group of runners was just coming off of the southern end of the Baltimore to Annapolis rail trail. Soon they were packing up and leaving and about half the parking lot was empty by the time Rick arrived.

We unloaded the kayaks from the car tops and took them down to the 100 meter crescent of brown sand that formed the beach here. Signs were posted prohibiting swimming. This seamed strange as the beach looked like a perfect place for that activity. Several other groups were picnicking along the beach and there were fishermen casting lines out from the abbreviated bridge fishing pier.




By 10:30 we were on the water and paddling south out of the busy Severn River. The boat traffic in this area is probably greater than anywhere else in the world. Al manner of boats from runabouts to luxury yachts to fleets of racing sailboats are all milling about in the river and the approaches to Annapolis harbor. We paddled along the edge of the river until a opening in the traffic appear when we crossed to the southern bank to paddle along the seawall of the famous U.S. Naval Academy. The classic bronze domes and roofs of the granite academic halls steeped in the history of Naval training dominate the peninsula down river from the colonial town that is the capital of Maryland.
When we came to the end of the seawall, we poked out around the corner carefully looking out for any traffic coming along the seawall from the other direction. Here the waves were particularly choppy as the myriad crossing boat wakes rebounded from the high vertical seawall and reflected back creating a confused surface of small peaked waves. Now we needed to cross the channel into Annapolis Harbor, a riot of moving boats. Staying together we paddled briskly across the traffic to gain the relative calm of the opposite side. From there we continued past Eastport, coming upon a first time kayakers receiving lessons from the L.L. Bean Outdoor kayak school at the Annapolis Sailing School.

We continued along the shore past charming houses looking out of the water of the Bay. Rounding the point we could see Thomas Point Lighthouse standing off Thomas Point. it was about a mile offshore and a little over two miles away.




As we headed across the open water to this symbol of the Chesapeake Bay, the winds which were light from behind, switched to the standard summertime breeze, 5 mph from the south. Even though it was a headwind it was welcome as the following wind had left us paddling in dead air.

Wakes from passing motor vessels on occasion provided an opportunity to catch a little assist as we paddled to our objective. It took better than an hour to reach our objective as we were facing a small but building tidal current running north.

There were several boats in the immediate vicinity of the lighthouse, fishing the rock pile the lighthouse stands on. We bobbed around the lighthouse taking various camera shots of the well maintained structure. The roof of the lighthouse was festooned with gauges. It is part of the CBOS system, Chesapeake Bay Observation System. Readouts of the conditions are available on-line.


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