The Seaside of Virginia's Eastern Shore is sheltered by a string of uninhabited (but not always so) barrier islands, most of which are protected in one way or another, primarily through the Nature Conservancy, NASA and the National Park Service. This area is one of the largest uninterrupted and undeveloped stretches of coastline on the East Coast, and in my mind a national treasure. Behind the marshes are miles and miles of salt marsh interspersed with lagoons, creeks and small bays generally teeming with life. Separating the barrier islands are inlets that allow the vast marshes and the Atlantic ocean to exchange water and organisms several times daily. Gargathy Inlet seperates Metompkin and Assawoman Islands, and the tides and currents here can run strong. Not being familiar with how all the waterways worked with each other, I was a little unsure as to how I would proceed. Thank ye gods of the internets for Google Satellite View, it was a big help.
One of the main reasons that the Nature Conservancy is so active here is due to the birds. This area is an important breeding and feeding grounds for many species, including the Black Skimmer.
Despite the wonders of nature all around, I was most intrigued with some of the works of man, and woman. There were several vacation homes, more like fishing and hunting shacks, rising on stilts above the marsh. They contrasted with some of the Florida images still rolling around in my brain from a few days earlier.
Please bear with me while I end this post politically. There is considerable interest from one side of the aisle in opening the area just off-shore from here to oil and gas exploration. This area is a critical link in a very fragile chain, and I have said before just how damned special this part of the planet is to me. If anything were ever to happen to it because of our seemingly unquenchable thirst for non-renewable energy, I am not sure how I would react, but it won't be pretty. Just sayin'.