Gunk- Holin’ • by Alice Snively
Leadenham Creek in Fall
Migrating ducks, misty mornings and vivid sunsets soothe the soul
Looking for a scenic, semi-secluded autumnal weekend? One of the best we’ve found is Leadenham Creek. This tributary of Broad Creek off the Choptank River on the Eastern Shore is a delightful anchorage, and easy to find. Broad Creek and its tributaries are overlooked by a lot of cruisers, and that’s good for those who don’t want to be part of a crowd.
Leadenham Creek has a mix of attractions. There are few houses around the most navigable area, but there is wildlife. Mute swans and herons frequent the coves, and various species of ducks appear as fall comes on. The creek is lined by low, wooded banks, and offers relatively good protection from storms.
Of the boaters who have spent time cruising the Broad Creek area, many say there is a certain enchanted feeling about it. There are no marinas or amenities, so there’s not as much boat traffic, except workboats, and it’s fun to watch them come and go in relative silence trying for a day’s catch. The cruise up to Leadenham is a pleasant scenic trip.
To cruise to this lovely creek, begin at the Red 10 Bell Buoy in the mouth of Choptank River. This is located just to the east and between the southern tip of Tilghman Island and the northern tip of Cook Point, closer to Cook Point. From this buoy, follow a course of 54 degrees for about 3.8 miles to the Green 1. This is the mouth of Broad Creek.
Keep well to starboard of Green 1, then change to a course of about 343 degrees, which will be to the northwest. Continue for a little more than a mile toward the Red Nun 2. Then change to a course of about 30 degrees. Travel just about two more miles, and you will see the Red 4 buoy to starboard.
Keep Red 4 well to starboard as you approach. Once past it, ease to port and look for the Green 1 channel marker. This is the mouth of Leadenham Creek. As you pass this marker, turn to port into the creek. The creek splits here, and if you turn to starboard you will be in Grace Creek. There are no other markers in this creek, but navigation is easy, and a working depth finder will keep you from straying too close to shore.
As you enter Leadenham, you will see a small cove to starboard, shown on some charts as Baby Owl Cove. To port the creek bends to the south, and there is very good anchorage there, just south of the main channel, which is open to cool southerly breezes. This is where you are likely to see swans and herons. This area is bounded by a spit of land jutting north from the southern shore. On the other side is more good anchorage.
Farther up the creek to starboard is another cove that is ample for anchoring, but there is a home and pier there. The creek is navigable nearly up to its headwaters, but we don’t recommend going past the point where the creek branches to the northeast. There is more habitation in this area and not as much space for anchoring.
The navigator’s friend
As you may have noticed, directions to this destination were given by compass headings from point to point. So now’s a good time to remind every boater that there’s no substitute for an accurate compass as standard equipment on your vessel. It’s the navigator’s best, most enduring friend. Most cruising boats are equipped with at least one. In fact, it’s a good idea to have more than one correctly working compass on board so that if something happens to one, you still have a backup navigator’s friend. In addition to a mounted compass, it’s also nice to have a hand-held sighting compass for taking bearings to shorter distances.
Plotting your course with your GPS and/or charts is important. But it’s also important that you know how to read and use your compass. If your GPS goes down, the compass is your fallback. Never leave home without it.
Misty mornings and glowing sunsets
Leadenham Creek is a lovely place for gunkholers who seek seclusion. Misty mornings are not unusual and create an other-worldly, romantic atmosphere. This is the ideal setting for a leisurely breakfast as preface to a relaxed day of reading or other pleasant pastime.
There is a feeling of intimacy with nature here. The resident swans gliding along the banks add to the slow pace of the place. The lay of the creek’s course is such that sunsets appear in glowing colors, vividly visible, not hidden by the trees. All this subtle beauty offers opportunities for photography, or studies for painting and drawing.
Try Leadenham Creek as a weekend tonic for your cruising soul’s desires, and come home smiling.