Day 13 – May 31st – Onancock to Tangier Island

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I’m here on “the point,” Port Isobel of Tangier, listening to the birds welcome the day and the Chesapeake Bay Foundation’s boat creaking in its moorings. The wind hasn’t started quite yet but it will, SSW and then SW and W before clocking more to SE. Hopefully the more westerly aspect won’t pick up until I’m at least within site of land and maybe even a few miles from it.

One of the staff, Jeff,  brought up a chart yesterday so I could see where the shipping channel is. There is kind of nothing quite so worrying as being in open water and not knowing when you need to gun it across the channel, and to see a vessel on the horizon and not know where you need to be to stay out of its way. Generally speaking, you want to not be in front of it.

I arrived yesterday in time enough to scramble for WiFi, so I could do the little ten minute or so video blurb on Ecowatch’s FB page. Someone commented that I looked like I had been huffing paint because of the zinc oxide smeared on my face. Clearly the commentator didn’t know it was zinc oxide and that if you are out in the sun you will be fried, as I’ve already unfortunately allowed once in this trip, without it. Ah well! This ain’t no beauty pageant!

I got a brief little tour of Tangier-grabbed a flounder sandwich and a salad at Lorraine’s along with a tiny painting I’m going to somehow squish in my bags. Then Luke and Jeff of CBF treated me to ice cream. Perfect day, and I’m glad I decided to stay instead of continuing on.

The CBF center here rubs three day camps for kids to learn all about their watershed and the “bay life.” They set crab pots and spend the day outside learning about the ecology of the place and how they impact it, no matter where they come from within this watershed. The Chesapeake Bay’s watershed is enormous, encompassing the surrounding lands and further up the many rivers that feed into it. I remember paddling to DC in ‘08 but from the C&D canal and snapping photos of corn growing right up to the water’s edge. Crazy. The kids and their parents might be impacting the watersheds, for sure they are, but the corn on the bay and the chicken farmers in PA whose run-off hits the Susquehanna are doing way more damage than a few families. But heck, we need it all, we need to educate the people and we need policy to protect us, well, if we want to keep our resources healthy and us healthy, that is.

Education is a huge part of why I’m paddling why I have paddled all over and why,  after I’m done paddling long distances away from my family, I will continue to keep organizing and educating. It needs to be nonstop and we DO need policy to ensure our bays and rivers and ocean are protected. It’s also why this upcoming March for the Ocean is so important. It’s a tremendous tool to educate and show our electeds AND the powers that be that are so now running the show that we wIll stand up for our ocean and our water. Both need to be clean and both are required for life.

I really, really, really, really hope we can make a big stink for our Ocean on June 9th. It’s going to be fun! So grab a boat and meet me along the way and we’ll have a nice short paddle (only about 4 miles) from the Anacostia Community Boathouse to The Wharf where we’ll tie up and walk to the march. I can’t wait. This is the LEAST we can do for our ocean!!! (Hey, ditch your single use plastics, that’s a pretty big thing, but it’s a very good thing, too!)

For the Ocean!

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