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Volume 15, Issue 23 ~ June 7 - June 13, 2007

Gunk- Holin’
by Alice Snively

Catch the Breeze at
Elbert’s Cove on Edge Creek

But first, update your charts for a new season

It sometimes happens, even early in the season, that the weather turns hot and muggy and the breezes blow everywhere except where you are. Traditional gunkholing takes us to places that are remote and protected. We want the seclusion and the lush surroundings. The downside of this is that in hot, stagnant weather these places can be miserable. For those days, I offer a breathable gunkhole on the Eastern Shore.

On the Edge

Elbert’s Cove on Edge Creek is our destination. This location is a branch of Broad Creek, but unlike many of the other creeks and coves there, it isn’t a high traffic area. Elbert’s Cove, on the southeast side of Edge creek, isn’t a traditional gunkhole. It’s not possible for most boats to go far into the cove because it’s shoaled and shallow quite a distance out from shore. However, it’s a good place to anchor out of the way at the close of a hot day and still have some moving air.

Making your way to this location isn’t difficult, either, and that’s another plus. Consult your charts and make your way to the mouth of the Choptank River. Just east of the southern end of Tilghman Island, and north of Cook Point you will see the Red 10 bell. A heading of about 54 degrees will take you 3.8 miles to northeast to the Green 1 marker that is the entrance to Broad Creek. Keep this marker to port and travel north until you see the Red Nun 2 to port, a little more than a mile. Change course to northeast, a heading of about 30 degrees; in about two miles you will find the Red 4 to starboard. Keep this marker well to starboard as you travel past it. Ahead you will see the Green 5 marker; keep this marker fairly close to port as you pass it because there is a shallow hole to starboard. It is marked by a Red 6, so you will travel between the green and red markers.

Turn to starboard and look for the Red 2EC marker off the end of Hambleton Island to the north. It’s wise to pass this marker to port, but keep very close to it because there are shoals on both sides. Cedar Point will be to the south. This is the entrance to Edge Creek.

Once past this marker, keep to the middle of the channel. Then ease to starboard as the creek widens. The Green 5 marker to port is directly across from Elbert’s Cove. This is a sizeable area, and you can anchor anywhere that offers enough depth for the draft of your boat. It’s wise to move as far to starboard as possible to keep out of the way of any traffic. Holding was good here; ours was tested by a strong thunderstorm.

The surroundings of the cove are rural with fields and woodland. There were herons, swans and osprey to entertain and not many houses to remind us of the hustle and bustle of civilization left behind. This is also a good location to watch workboats from St. Michaels and nearby as they come and go to their crab pots or to fish for other delicacies that make our summers complete.

Chart This …

On the subject of charts, here’s a question: Is it time to update yours? The information contained on marine charts, especially those on Chesapeake Bay, can change dramatically from year to year. While the majority of the data will be valid for several years, there are updates that may be valuable to you.

Shoals frequently shift, and they generally increase rather than decrease. If your charts are three to five years old or more, you might just find yourself aground in an area where shoals have shifted or grown. Planning trips by setting way points to numbered markers is handy, but you may find that numbers have changed or markers have been moved, or both.

Whether you use pre-printed or computer-generated charts, update them often, especially if you will be cruising into tricky areas such as those with fish traps, spoil sites or where crab-free channels may be located. Depth data given on charts also will change, and the compass roses will be updated with the magnetic shift. Locations of marinas and points of interest, overhead cables, bridges or government-restricted areas also change from time to time. For a lot of very good reasons, it’s wise to invest in current charts.

Edging Past Elbert

If you plan to be in the area of Broad Creek, Edge Creek is your waterway to San Domingo Creek and the back door to St. Michaels. Instead of traveling to Elbert’s Cove, all you need to do is turn to port at the Green 3 and head north to an anchorage on San Domingo. It’s more narrow and protected, however, so if the weather is oppressive, Elbert’s Cove is a place to catch a bit of a breeze.

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