Pointing to Mallows Bay (Photo: Jenna Jones)
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Thirty miles south of Washington in Charles County, Maryland, the lower Potomac River holds the Western Hemisphere’s largest concentration of shipwrecks. Mallows Bay, a shallow embayment off the Nanjemoy Peninsula, is the site of this fascinating “ghost fleet” of nearly 200 vessels dating from the Revolutionary War through World War I. They had been sent to the bay in the early years of the last century to be destroyed, but instead were abandoned and now linger in varying states of decay.
There’s no better vantage point than a two-person kayak from which to experience this dramatic collection, as well as to explore the bay’s marshy tributaries filled with abundant wildlife. Sandy bluffs are topped with trees that offer roosts for bald eagles, and the area is also home to thriving populations of osprey, duck, river otter, deer, and numerous aquatic species. The flora is equally fascinating, from towering sycamores to an array of edible and medicinal plants such as wild rice, duck potato, and pawpaw.
The 3-hour tour is guided; a snack and bottled water are provided; all participants use tandem kayaks; beginning-level kayakers are welcome.
Parking is available at Mallows Bay Park. Detailed information is emailed in advance.