In this area threaded with rivers and inlets, kayaking is everywhere. In DC you see kayaks cruising near Georgetown and in Solomons they snake in and out of tiny inlets off of the Chesapeake Bay. Annapolis is no different. The “sailing capital of the U.S.” is surrounded by boats of all sizes from Navy ships docking at the United States Navy Academy, 12 million dollar yachts and the famous Trumpy boats, to small bug-eye fishing boats and… kayaks.
I remember kayaking in small inflatable ones when I was a kid. My dad and I would head to Alpine Lake in California’s Sierra Nevadas to kayak on the calm waters there. I loved it.
It’s been more than two decades since I’ve patched a hole on an inflatable kayak, but I decided it was time to go again, so I booked a tour with Kayak Annapolis Tours, spent more than a few minutes trying to figure out if I could get away with kayaking in a skirt (opted for a smart athletic skort – the only one I own), agonized over whether I should bring my camera or not (they wouldn’t guarantee that I’d stay dry),and made sure that I arrived on time.
I arrived excited, but nervous that I’d
A) not be physically capable of paddling around in a kayak for two hours,
B) inadvertently flip over the boat soaking and embarrassing myself AND ruining my “fancy” camera,
C) get run over a ship never to be heard from again, or
D) all of the above.
Luckily for me (and not without a bit of prayer), the answer was
E) none of the above
I’m happy to report that I survived to write this post and more importantly, my camera survived tucked into the top of my chunky life-vest to take the photos that you see here!
The kayaks are just off of a tiny beach at the very end of Truxtun Park where we signed in on a tiny floating hut that acts as their office. They provided a dry bag, a life vest, and an oar and gave a short lesson before we climbed into our “green machine.” I was happy that there were first time kayakers there and that my oldest daughter was there for moral support (and fun). We had a choice of one-person kayaks or sharing one and we decided that it would be more fun to share (and less work?).
The tour went at a nice even pace – not so slow as to be boring, but not so fast that this mid-aged gym-phobic couldn’t handle it. There were all ages and body styles. I fit right in.
Our guide took us down Spa Creek towards, but not into, the busy Annapolis harbor. He told enough jokes to keep us laughing and gave us enough quirky bits of information to teach us something. As someone who’s been to Annapolis frequently, I didn’t learn a lot about the history that I didn’t already know, but I did learn about some of the houses along the creek (one belongs to prominent Hollywood producer Barry Levinson) and the fancy yachts (the Checkmate sold for 12 million) parked near Ego Ally.
Half-way through, we took a break on another miniscule beach for snacks and drinks. They provide waters, juices, and granola bars which are much-needed on a hot day. From there, we crossed Spa Creek and paddled up the infamous Ego Ally, a tiny canal that I’ve walked along countless times on trips to the city. It was fun to see from this new angle and I was thankful that it was a quiet day on the water without too many boats to paddle around (or get run over by).
The ride back was leisurely. Dustin ended his tour when we were in a safe place, but not near the beach, so we could paddle back at our own pace and stop to see the blue herons along the shore. Now that I’ve done a tour, I’m excited to rent a kayak and go out on my own. It was a lot of fun, provided a few nice photos ops (would be better if I controlled exactly where I went), and gave my arms a workout they haven’t experience in a while (ouch).
- Bring sunblock, a towel, and a hat on a hot day.
- Kayak Annapolis provides water, juice, and granola bars. (Which I LOVE – one less thing to worry about)
- You WILL get wet. Some got wetter than others, but tipping is unlikely. I was able to tuck my camera into the top of my life vest and it was fine. I would bring my camera again and may be even another lens, but it’s my risk. There are no guarantees.
- Truxtan Park is only 10 minutes from the Annapolis Harbor Center, where you can shop, grab lunch (we like the Lebanese Taverna), or even see a movie. Or head to old town Annapolis and stop at Chick and Ruths or try an ice cream at Storm Brothers.
Primrose Road, Annapolis, MD 21403