Shallow Water Sailor
Wye River Cruise - Labor Day Weekend 1998
[The Wye River lies on the eastern shore of the Chesapeake Bay]
Kenneth Murphy


Dave in Saffron, a Dovekie
Dana in Happy Pappy, a Sea Pearl 21
Ron in his Sea Pearl 21
Dean, Mary, and Damon in Blue Heron, a Shearwater
Jake in Shore Bird, a Dovekie
Ken and Virginia in Sanity, a Bay Hen 21
John in Zephyrus, a Dovekie

        Virginia and I spent our very first night aboard the Sanity on the Wye River, that was 12 years ago.  We've been on the Wye dozens of times since, but we still find ourselves anchoring in new creeks and coves.  See the chart below of the Wye  and you'll see for yourself why the Wye has such interest for the sailor.

        What made it even better, this cruise, was the discovery that John had special knowledge of the Island itself.  He spent 1993-94 leading a Maryland Conservation Corps crew of teenagers.  The crew had worked on Wye Island making paths, bridges, and animal habitat improvements.  The Dividing Woods on the island is home of the Delmarva fox squirrel, an endangered species.  It makes its home in old growth forest.  John's crew built nesting boxes for the squirrels.  Most of the Island is State property and as such there are nice spots you can stop and walk around.

        For this cruise the SWSs came from a number of launch sites.  Virginia and I launched on Friday at the Shipping Creek ramp on Kent Island.  This is a nine mile sail in the open waters of Eastern Bay to get to the mouth of the Wye River.  This can be a great sail on the 10k breezes associated with highs during the Chesapeake summer.  If the wind kicks up to 20k, Eastern Bay is nasty, and can be too lumpy for small, flat bottoms like the Bay Hen.  Dave arrived just as we were leaving the ramp.  Both the Sanity and the Saffron had a nice sail to the mouth of the Wye.  The Shipping Creek ramp requires a county permit, easily obtained at the Blue Heron Golf Course near the ramp.  But all MD counties seem to discourage the use of these ramps by out-of-staters by charging high fees for multi-day use.

        John put in at the Wye River Landing which is right on the Wye.  John was our safety valve in the case Eastern Bay became nasty.  Wye Landing is at the right-center edge of the chart.  This ramp is very busy on weekends.  The Wye is famous for especially large blue crabs because of its perfect brackish waters and Wye Landing is the perfect ramp.  John did the right thing by launching in late afternoon on Friday when the crabbers were home cooking their catch.  I had promised to meet him.  So Sanity left Saffron, with us motoring to Skipton Creek (off the chart near Wye Landing) to meet John and Dave sailing to Woodland Creek just a mile south of the mouth of the Wye River on the east shore of the Miles River.  We found John already anchored:

        Skipton Creek turned out a little noisy as it was close to the busy Route 50.  Some early morning crabbers added to the noise, complaining that "one of the sailboats did not have an anchor light." But otherwise a delightful moonlit night.

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