The park is open daily from 5:30 a.m. to sunset. Good view of the metal ribs, very skeletal. It’s a sunny morning in August and Mallows Bay is far from spooky. Mallows Bay is the resting place of almost 200 ships, many of them WW-I cargo vessels that were built in a hurry, and then just as quickly became surplus. The deterioration of many of the skeletal, vegetated vessels has advanced nearly past the point of recognition; they look more like estuarine knolls than derelict structures, until one gets close enough to notice the metal parts embedded in the substrate. As we headed back across the Bay and out into the river I used a row of pilings to carve in and out using bow rudders. I headed for open water, free to speed in my favorite kayak, a 1998 Dagger Meridian with a Kevlar hull, which I’d just spent good money to have refurbished with new gelcoat. Mallows Bay is situated south of Washington, D.C., along the tidal Lower Potomac River off the Nanjemoy Peninsula of Charles County, Maryland. I am merely an intermediate paddler and not an expert. DAMSELFLY The bay is the location of what is regarded as the "largest shipwreck fleet in the Western Hemisphere" and is described as a "ship graveyard. This shallow embayment, and the waters immediately adjacent, boasts one of the largest assemblages of shipwrecks in the Western Hemisphere, known as the âGhost Fleetâ of Mallows Bay. This is where the fun begins. The site was proposed to NOAA with broad-based community support to protect and celebrate the nation's maritime cultural heritage while expanding recreational, tourism, education, and economic development opportunities. Besides the above photo, all the others were shot by Mark, Dan, Bob, and James. If you lack a kayak, or want company, the county parks department offers an outfitted, guided tour on Sundays, May through October, for a fee, and local outfitters are also available. Extensions and Ideas for Cross-Curriculum Connections. through Mallows Bay Park. Because will arrive at Mallows Bay right around low tide, the ghost fleet should be visible. The vessels are quite fragile and can be dangerous to paddle over. It also provides a brief history of the site and identifies plants and animals most commonly encountered. Many species feature brilliant iridescent or metallic colors. It’s nice to have these facts in pocket while perusing the watery landscape, giving fuel to imagine how Mallows Bay’s history over time has accumulated cultural layers. I headed back toward Liverpool Point, Mallows Bay’s downstream boundary, and decided to return another day with a more impact-forgiving kayak, like my polyethylene-hulled Necky Looksha Sport, before trying to navigate the graveyard any further. It’s simple enough for a savvy, weather-wise paddler to avoid hull damage in a low-draft, super-maneuverable kayak, and other worthy preoccupations abound. So many ship remains have congregated here that dodging immobile metal is a paddler’s regular preoccupation. Surrounded by steep, tree-covered hillsides, Mallows Bay is home to the largest shipwreck graveyard in the Northtern Hemisphere, according to a Charles â¦ My group of 18 paddlers is eager to explore the new Mallows Bay-Potomac River National Marine Sanctuary in Charles County, Maryland in the United States (US). In the meantime, I brushed up on some history. Like Mallows Bay, it was designated ... His group, in partnership with others, produced a downloadable paddlerâs guide to the wrecks and wildlife in the area. Beavers splash around in the muddy cuts between ships. It turned out to be about 9 miles each way. The first time, in November, I did nearly everything wrong. Elsewhere in Mallows Bay, there are unmarked and unmapped remains dating as far back as the Revolutionary War. We will paddle about 1.5 miles across the Potomac and then about 2 miles downstream to As an eco-historical paddling destination, Mallows Bay has the Patapsco River’s urban shores beat by far. While examples from this effort remain at Mallows Bay—Casmalia, Mono, Bayou Teche among others—and a few are believed to be moldering still in Curtis Bay and Curtis Creek in Baltimore, most of those put out by Baltimore shipyards joined the others who met their fate in the Burning Basin at the foot of Mallows Creek. It is about an 8-10 mile round trip to Mallows Bay and back. Sweet spots can be found, often where bulkheads of abandoned maritime infrastructure create protected, quiet waters, but getting to them sometimes involves avoiding barely-submerged rebar or other pointy hunks of hull-battering metal. The bay is the location of what is regarded as the "largest shipwreck fleet in the Western Hemisphere" and is described as a "ship graveyard.". Itâs also posted online a map of three paddling itineraries, plus a series of virtual reality tours of the site. My visits to Mallows Bay bracketed this past winter. Fee includes an introductory kayak lesson, guided tour, tandem kayak (two-person), paddle, and PFD (personal floatation device). Mallows Bay Park is well maintained, has clean porta-johns, parking, some picnic tables, and an excellent put-in, with both a boat ramp and a canoe/kayak launch back in an inlet. Creep factor 8 out of 10. Mallows Bay is part of the Lower Potomac River Water Trail, which goes from Washington, D.C. to Chesapeake Bay. To cap off my first visit, I headed into what is essentially Mallows Creek’s tiny delta, dubbed the Burning Basin on the map. Just make sure to grab the map and bring it with you, and remember to leave the fancy kayak at home. With this Guide in hand, explore the trails and âreadâ the clues underfoot to explore past and present occupants of this land. Some vessels are grouped together, such as the Three Sisters Wrecks, lined up next to one another, and the Flowerpot Wrecks, so named because of their profusions of vegetation. Located on the Potomac River only 30 miles downstream from our nationâs capital, Mallows Bay is renowned for its diverse collection of historic shipwrecks, recreational opportunities and scenic beauty. As I played in the river’s main stem, I gazed at my GPS and thought of the possibilities: Mallows Bay could be a great put-in spot for more ambitious paddling outings, up or down the river. These ghosts add useful ecological structure to the local habitat, drawing all kinds of shelter-seeking flora and fauna. Rounding her, I pointed toward Grady’s Spit, a small protuberance of shoreline festooned with what the storms have brought in—Igloo coolers and deck chairs tangled up with large tree limbs. This slightly fraught aspect of paddling Mallows Bay forces a go-slow approach, good for letting the mind soak up the site’s historical and ecological assets. I timed the tides fairly well. They serve as perches for birds where they protrude. Itâs recommended that paddlers stick to trails within and on the perimeter of the main Mallows Bay embayment in the spring and fall, when the foliage is changing. The shipwrecks at Mallows Bay have become artificial reefs, providing habitat to many types of fish and wildlife. Have students begin researching ships using Points of Interest and map of Mallows Bay: Chesapeake Conservancy Paddlerâs Guide to Mallows Bay; Students can observe satellite maps and observe the ships, the Burning Basin and 2 different paddling itineraries of Mallows Bay: Chesapeake Conservancy âGhost Fleetâ Map of Mallows Bay When their final resting place is in the shallows, they fall to pieces in place over time, with loose parts ending up ashore to add to the riverbank’s nearby rack-line of tree trunks and other beached flotsam and jetsam. The trick: go slowly and wear polarized shades. "Charles County operates Mallows Bay Park. Bethlehem Steel once used the site for salvaging metal from the ships, but today nature wins out. Discover The Ghost Fleet of Mallows Bay in Nanjemoy, Maryland: The remnants of a wooden-hulled fleet built and abandoned in WWI, now home to a thriving ecosystem. All tours are led by an experienced and knowledgeable guide. There are more than a hundred wrecks. 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