Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Going Down the Mattoponi

Two weeksago a fellow Watertribe member, WaterDog and I did the Mattoponi and York rivers of Virginia. It just happens that we picked the rainiest and coldest two days of November.

The Mattoponi River has some of the largest tidal differential on the Chesapeake. The four foot tides generate 2-3 knot currents going up stream. We fought the current most of the first day often doing only one knot down river.

The fog lasted way past noon often accompanied  with rain squalls. Even with a dry suit on it felt like we were swimming all day. The upper Mattoponi is very remote. We launched from Aylett the furthest reach of the tides. This is a very historic region with several homes from the 1700's. Before the day of steamers and propellers the settlers used the tidal currents to their advantage pushing supply boats far up the river.

 There even was a cabin from "Deliverance". The fog gave everything the special effect. The visibility was limited so each bend in the river held a new surprise.

Around 5 PM cold front came through dropping the temperature into the 30's. Along with the front came  more rain, lightning and wind. We needed the wind. A lot of miles were lost fighting the current. We were way behind schedule. The river has no navigational aids with few houses to mark the way. Once it turned dark I depended heavily on the GPS keeping to the center of the river.

I made two videos of the Mattoponi River: Enjoy...working on the York River part of the trip...


  1. Hi Paul, I helped you carry your TI over the hump to the start beach at the EC2011. I was in the Kruger Seawind next to you. Well a funny thing happened-I bought a TI and will be running it with a friend in the EC2012.I really enjoy your videos. I may have to pick your brain about a few things!
    Randy Kroeck "HonuSail"

  2. Great footage,,,,sorry the weather was against you most of the trip. My name is Carol and my bf and I live in Beaufort,NC we having been following your post.We have the Hobie Mirage with sails and love kayaking around this area.
    If you are ever in our neck of the woods give us a holler...

  3. Randy,

    send me a e-mail any time. It is on the Watertribe Website.


    Love Beaufort and Cedar Island. I have done the Watertribe NCC two years in the row there and couple of scouting trips. Next summer I want to take my wife to the Shackleford Banks to do some camping on my Tandem Island. Let me know how to contact you and I will. It is always good to know some locals...


  4. Just wondering why you don't use the tramps. I know they can catch the wind sometimes if you're not careful but I usually have mine deployed when I'm out.