Growing up in Talbot County, I was hooked on the water at an early age, if you do not count that swimming lesson when the teacher finally took away the barbell float. But once I got past that, you would think I was part fish.
Summer afternoons at the swimming pool were augmented with trips in my father’s boat. Living in Easton, we had quick access to the Tred Avon, Miles and Choptank rivers and Tuckahoe Creek.
When my brothers and I were not trying to show up one another from the end of a towrope, whether on a kneeboard, skis or a wakeboard, we were out fishing.
At summer camp, there were canoes and Sunfish. This being the Eastern Shore, there was a special camp week during which you spent every morning running a trotline for crabs on the Chester River. My best friend and I did that one two years in a row — and I can still remember the smell of the salted eel we used as bait.
Cruising on boats, I always wanted to be closer to the water. I wanted to feel more like a part of the river. I wanted to feel the water move me. But I also wanted to cover much more distance than swimming would allow.
Kayaking got me closer to that feeling. At the same time, I was able to explore many of the shallower and more narrow waterways that previously we would only motor by in a boat.
I still sought to get closer.
Then I was introduced to standup paddle boarding. That has become my go-to way of finding peace and feeling like a part of the water around me, to being one with the natural world around me.
Paddling in the shallows, I watch the turtles, crabs and fish dart around. Other outings, I head out into the channels to catch the drift and just ride the current.
Living in Kent County now, I have the Chester and Sassafras rivers, Turner’s Creek and the grand Chesapeake Bay itself all close by. I can just toss my board in the back of my aging Ford Explorer and go.
There are so many great rivers and creeks waiting to be explored on the Shore. Pick your favorite mode of transportation — be it motor, sail or paddle — and discover it all for yourself. As the Beatles once sang: “Turn off your mind, relax and float downstream.”