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Old 12-11-2009, 13:10   #1
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Swimming in Chesapeake, VA Area...

I am near Norfolk, the Chesapeake Bay and on the Virginia Cut ICW. None of which look appealing to swim, maybe not even safe. I don't know.

Would you VA and NC locals share the location of swimming areas with me?

What are the dangers swimming around there?

How far South or North do I need to go for good, safe swimming (relative). Albermarle or Pamlico sounds maybe?

I want to take family out on the boat and they want to swim and jump from the boat, but I am not native to the east coast and unfamiliar with local conditions and dangers.

I guess I am mostly worried because the water is dark and I can't see what is in there and I see a lot of JellyFish.

At what point heading south does the water become clear, like in Florida?

Or are there some fingers/rivers off the Chesapeake Bay that are nice to swim?

Thanks in advance!
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Old 12-11-2009, 14:27   #2
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Kiptopeke on the Eastern Shore is an easy trip from Norfolk and has a really nice beach with an anchorage nearby. They have some old concrete ships that they've sunk to create a breakwater. You can dinghy to the boat ramp and enjoy the beach or swim right from your boat. There is also a state park there with a campground and facilities. It's a short drive from the southside if you want to drive over and do a little recon before making the trip by boat. We're in Virginia Beach and prefer Kiptopeke to any of the local beaches. I would not swim in the ICW. The southern branch of the Elizabeth river is highly polluted due to all of the industry that has been based along it's banks. Do a google search on Money Point in Portsmouth to see what I'm talking about.
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Old 12-11-2009, 15:31   #3
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That is very close by, thank you. Looking at the charts now, I see the breakwaters and beach but where would the best anchorage be? Do you have Lat/Lon? Looks to be all open coast line.

Are the Jellyfish bad there? I don't know anything about the Chesapeake jellyfish, any information about them would be good. Are they seasonal?

I didn't mention, I will be looking at March, April, or May for the Spring trip.

I hope more people reply, I am also interested in Albermarle and Pamlico sounds as much as the Lower Chesapeake Bay.

I am willing to travel about 100nm or so.

I have never been swimming/wading in the water anywhere on the East Coast, so any information is good information. I am from the West Coast.
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Old 12-11-2009, 16:00   #4
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I second what Ti' Punch suggested. Kiptopeake is one of our favorite places. In October you can watch the birders catching and banding birds at the State Park there.

The water is deep close to shore. We try to anchor as far NE as we can get on the south side of the old ferry terminal. No good if there is appreciable wind out of the SSW to WSW. Then you have to go north of the terminal, but the swim buoys keep you farther out. If wind direction (or perhaps light offshore wind bringing mosquitoes ) causes you to move closer to the concrete ships, be aware of strong tidal currents at times.

We have seen the anchorage cluttered with crab pots at times. I respect a working man, but I find it irritating that with the millions of acres on the Bay suitable for crabpots, and the much much smaller acreage suitable for anchoring, they feel they have a right to that, too. Oh well, some day soon they will have wiped out the crabs as well.
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Old 12-11-2009, 18:15   #5
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About Jellies:

Quote:
Originally Posted by ggray View Post
I second what Ti' Punch suggested. Kiptopeake is one of our favorite places. In October you can watch the birders catching and banding birds at the State Park there.

The water is deep close to shore. We try to anchor as far NE as we can get on the south side of the old ferry terminal. No good if there is appreciable wind out of the SSW to WSW. Then you have to go north of the terminal, but the swim buoys keep you farther out. If wind direction (or perhaps light offshore wind bringing mosquitoes ) causes you to move closer to the concrete ships, be aware of strong tidal currents at times.

We have seen the anchorage cluttered with crab pots at times. I respect a working man, but I find it irritating that with the millions of acres on the Bay suitable for crabpots, and the much much smaller acreage suitable for anchoring, they feel they have a right to that, too. Oh well, some day soon they will have wiped out the crabs as well.
You won't find them in fresh water. The Sassafras River is their approximate northern limit in the Bay.

You won't see them before ~ June 30, depending on the year. You are totally safe in May,though the water will be cool.

It depends on tides and wind. Even when they are in season, they tend to be pushed around and may not be where you are.

They can't sting through any clothing, even panty hose... although I think I would rather get stung!

They aren't particularly dangerous, though response varies. I barely feel them. My daughter gets hit harder.

The town of Cape Charles is nice, too. Nice town marina. Good beach. Kelly's Gingernut Pub is great eats, though the rest of town is rather dead.

There is some stuff on my blog too:
Sail Delmarva: Search results for trip report
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Old 12-11-2009, 20:59   #6
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Thank you, glad to know the jellyfish are not a big deal. I see them all over.

Can anyone speak for Albermarle and Pamlico sounds?

122 people looking, but only 3 replies. It seems like many interested to know but not many actually get themselves into the water.
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Old 12-11-2009, 21:42   #7
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I grew up on the shores of the Pasquotank river, and always swam in it, the Albemarle sound, the beach, and the creeks around them. The only thing we ever kept an eye out for were snakes. I guess you just get used to things you grow up with and got used to things you couldn't see brushing up against you. I actually thought it was funny someone would ask if it was safe! Everyone I know still has all ten fingers and toes...except for one guy ... Just kiddin'!
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