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Old 08-11-2012
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Re: Sand Shoal Inlet, VA --- Channel information?

Here's some additional information I just PM'd to the OP:

The small harbor behind the Coast Guard Rescue Station silted in many years ago and I had trouble getting a 21-foot Pro-Line center console fishing boat in and out of that area. There was a deep pocket in front of the old CG launch skids, but I'm pretty sure it's gone as well.

If the wind is coming from the southwest, which would be normal this time of year, there's a good anchorage near the mouth of Running Channel, which is a bit farther inside Cobb Bay on the south shore. The bottom comes up pretty quick there, so watch your depth finder closely.

Ramshorn Channel is completely protected, very deep, but the problem there is the tidal currents are incredible, probably exceeding 6 knots in some places.

Lots of good anchorages along the edge of Mockhorn Channel south to Magothy Bay, but this is one of those areas where local watermen tend to run down the channel at higher speeds and hit you with monster wakes at the crack of dawn.

The Magothy Bay area is a neat place to explore in a small boat, but unfortunately, unless your mast height is less than 40 feet you cannot pass beneath the Route 13 Bridge to Fisherman's Island. Many, many years ago I was able to easily navigate Smith Island Inlet, but that's completely silted in now and part of the surf line between Smith and Fisherman's islands.

During a really bad blow, some sailboats will seek safe harbor at the basin at Oyster. The channel is just 3-feet at low tide, and the basin is just 5-feet deep at low tide. At high tide depths at both locations can be as much as 10-feet. The bottom is black, sticky, gooey mud that almost requires a power washer to get it off the anchor and chain.

A little history on this area, 10,000 years ago, when the town of Oyster and the barrier islands didn't exist, this was ocean-front property. The sand dunes are still there, separating the town from the tidal marsh, and people frequently dig among the dunes to find ancient, native American artifacts.

Good Luck,

Gary
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