Volume 14, Issue 30 ~ August 3 - August 9, 2006


A Floating Report: In Praise of Boating

News Flash: There is no better way than boating to beat the heat and drive away the stress of everyday life.

Here in Chesapeake Country, where the Bay meets land like a hand slips into a glove, boating is an accessible everyday remedy to everyday stress.

Lolling on the bow, awaiting the next rush of breeze to blow away sweltering heat, we’ve a convenient, 360-degree view of three dozen or so like-minded souls.

A catamaran with an orange sail captures the breeze that on land is nowhere to be found. Beyond are a dozen or so sailboats, white sails fat as they make way silently on the least expensive of all fuels: wind power.

Fishing boats, drifting or anchored, pursue small fish. There go two runabouts chasing the gulls that are chasing the menhaden being chased by rockfish and perhaps blues.

Now, a freshening breeze shifts our vessel and five others at anchor so our view shifts to the southwest. For Sunday lay-abouts like us, this change in perspective is a big deal. A tandem kayak travels south along the shore beneath an eagle’s nest as big as VW Bug.

Oh, and there goes a runabout adorned with teens in bikinis and a canoe stuffed with two kids and a Lab.

On land, the heat index is 100 degrees-plus. Out here: Who cares?

The dog days have arrived, and our copy of Bay Weekly’s Indispensable Guide to Summer on the Bay is dog-eared from use. But we’re still having fun, for we’ve found that the best way to spend the last days of summer is on a boat.

Don’t let yourself be daunted by expense or access. Boating doesn’t have to be expensive. Kayaking — which we’ve advocated since Bay Weekly’s first issue — is finally catching on in Chesapeake Country, bringing boating into everybody’s reach. At today’s prices, you can likely afford your own kayak, but if you’re not ready, you can paddle for free every Thursday from 6 to 8pm at Discovery Village in Shady Side.

Not even Anne Arundel and Calvert’s scandalous scarcity of public boating ramps can keep a kayaker off the water. Most waterside parks in both counties have put-in spots — though wheeled transport is a wise investment.

For a full list of places to Paddle through Paradise, consult Way 43 of your own dog-eared copy of our 101 Ways to Have Fun (or find it on line at http://www.bayweekly.com/101ways_06/101_index06.html).

Whether you choose gunkholing adventure, kayaking along the shore or meeting at the dock on a hot, hazy Tuesday evening for a quick, cold and cool dinner, our advice is simple: Climb aboard.

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