An unapologetic plant geek shares advice and opinions on gardening, the contrived and the natural landscape, as well as occasional topics from the other side of the gate.

August 19, 2012

On the Bayside at Jobes Island

At the end of July we were able to spend some time on Virginia's beautiful Eastern Shore.  This part of Virginia forms the lower portion of the Delmarva peninsula and is comprised of two counties separated from the rest of the state by the Chesapeake Bay.  The Virginia portion of the peninsula is about 70 miles long, but only a few miles wide with the bay on one side and the Atlantic on the other. So you are never far from the water, which makes for many kayaking opportunities, and I took full advantage.

One of my trips was to Jobes Island on the bay side, not too far south of the Maryland border.  It was a beautiful day with clear skies and low humidity, quite un-July like.  I put in at Guard Shore, a place once much more popular than it is now.  Many decades ago people would come here to swim, frolic and dance to live music played at a bandstand.  These days it is just a quiet beach with a convenient place to park next to the shore.  I pointed my kayak across the broad water at Jobes Island, began paddling and after about 20 minutes I was there.  Off in the distance there was a crabber out early in his boat pulling pots, but the island was all mine - just me, the birds in the air and the fish in the sea.

Jobe's Island (4)

Jobe's Island (6)

Jobe's Island (38)

Jobe's Island (19)

Jobe's Island (30)

Jobe's Island (31)

Jobe's Island (34)

Jobe's Island (36)

Jobe's Island (20)

Jobe's Island (44)

In 2002 the Justis family, who had owned Jobes Island for generations, donated it to the Nature Conservancy, and I thank them.  


  1. Les, this feels like another of your open air churches.
    I was moved by the photos you took. Such serenity and beauty. Thanks

  2. Ahhhh, I can feel my breathing and heart rate slowing down. How I miss Virginia's waterways.

  3. The Nature Conservancy of Canada is one of my favourite charities.

    Kayaking is so peaceful. Your photos convey that wonderful feeling.

  4. I'll never set foot in a kayak, so I thank you for showing me the beauty of that place.

  5. Really lovely. I love the marsh grasses and water.

  6. Your photos are always extraordinary, really! The two pieces of large driftwood are beautiful on thir own But, the way you way frames them, they look like dancers.

  7. Very relaxing trip. What a beautiful day to get out and breathe in some fresh air.

  8. Fantastic! I love the visual movement of the wetland grasses and the sharp contrast of the red kayak in nature!

  9. Heaven. Utter heaven. There's nothing quite like travelling with only the gentle splash of the paddles and the slight gurgle of water under the hull, and what a beautiful destination. Love the texture of the grasses, and the shot of the two branches mirroring one another is fabulous.

  10. Wonderful image, Les. I visit another blog whose author is a professional photographer that takes most of his images from a kayak. It is such a perfect vantage point, but I can image it takes getting used to for focusing the camera. You have such wonderful scenery before your camera. And it must be so peaceful to go out on the water and just relax.

  11. Looks like you were in heaven. Nice that it is saved for future generations.

  12. I thank them too. We need more people to protect prime wildlife areas so other generations can enjoy them. This looks like an idyllic spot. I am amazed at how clear and calm the water is.

  13. Les, the place looks serene and the colours are beautiful, moreover your kayak seems very photogenic... You must have had great time! :)

    BTW, my attention was caught by the picture no. 36 - the wood with the small brown structures. Don't you happen to know what they are? Just the day before yesterday I was cleaning windows in our house and when I opened one window, I found such things there stuck in one corner. They looked like made of clay, were just 1 centimetre wide on average and I wondered whether they used to be some kind of nests...

  14. Beautiful pictures. I grew up near there, but have lived in the land-locked midwest for three decades now. I'm looking forward to a visit back, and if I'm lucky, maybe some canoe or kayak outings. I miss the look and the smell of the peninsula, it's like travelling back in time for me.

    Petra, those are barnacles on the log, but in your window, likely the nests of a mub dauber, an insect that looks like a thin black and yellow wasp. They are predators of spiders, so I'm always happy to see their mud nests.

  15. Hi Les,
    I just made a comment on another blog, saying that I travel through reading blogs. In June of 2007, my husband and I drove to the Outer Banks, because I wanted to see the ocean. We were in awe of it, and had a wonderful time.

    You are blessed to live where you do, and have all that water and beauty to enjoy. Oh, and before I got hooked on blogging and Facebooking, when I used to read books, I enjoyed James Michener's Chesapeake. Have you read it?

  16. Chavliness,
    I was like going to church. Thanks for the prompt to add that tag.

    The waterways will be here when you need them.

    Like any global charity, the Nature Consv. is not without its issues, but in my mind they do God's work.

    You are welcome, but I hope you may one day reconsider your resolutions.

    I too am fascinated by the grasses.

    I like taking pics of driftwood, but rarely do they look as good in the photo as they do in place. This came out to my liking though.

    It sure was.

    Spartina rules!

    Janet P,
    There is nothing like it, very zen.

    I would love it you could send my that blog's address.

    Janet L,
    Close, but I am not ready for heaven yet.

    The wind was mostly calm that day, which always makes for good kayaking.

    Like Mel said, those are barnacles, and I certainly hope they are not on your house, unless you have a houseboat.

    If you do come back and want to canoe or kayak, more and more parks and municipalites are renting them from parks at very resonable prices. Plus there some great tour companies like Southeast Expiditions on the Shore.

    Thanks for stopping by. I did read Chesapeake, ages ago, but still remember it. The sinking island in the book is coming true in places like Tangier.


  17. Wow. You can turn a flat, seemingly uneventful landscape into one of texture, movement and vitality. Great work, Les.

  18. Mel and Les, thanks for your help with the identification of those nests. Barnacles are really out of the question so mub daubers seem much more probable. Nevertheless, I looked at their picture and must admit that I've never seen them. Perhaps there is some similar kind living here.

  19. I love the shot looking out over the bow of the kayak. It is an artwork.