The Eastern Neck Wildlife Refuge encompasses Eastern Neck Island and is directly north of Kent Island, MD in the Chesapeake Bay.  We took a day paddle from the northern tip of Kent Island around the ENWR on a beautiful early winter day and were treated to calm seas and a huge variety and quantity of birds.  Our paddle began with a launch from the parking lot of the Hilton Garden Inn - Kent Island, which is directly adjacent to a small Marina which has many empty slips in the winter.  This entire area, directly across the Bay Bridge from Annapolis, is a madhouse in the summer and is a major destination for beachgoers.  The crowds are gone in the winter, hotel rooms are cheap, and boat traffic is light, making it perfect for paddling.  The water is quite cold, and a wetsuit or drysuit is recommended.  After our launch we made our way through the Kent Island Narrows, which separates Prospect Bay, from the mouth of the Chester River and the Chesapeake Bay.  The current through the Narrows can run at about 2 miles per hour during the flood tide, which can make for slow going, but isn't impossible.  After we exited the Narrows we paddled towards the western shore of the island and were treated to huge flocks of birds, which use the island as a stop on their migration routes.  The island is literally alive with birds;  flocks of hundreds of birds flit around the island, line the shores, and raise an amazing din.  The southern shores of the island are all inaccessible marsh, but there are several beautiful sand beaches on the lower western shore that are perfect for landing and taking a quick break before continuing on around the northern shore where breakwaters prevent landing.  At the northern end of the island we spotted several bald eagles fishing before we paddled through the shallow Eastern Neck Narrows.  After passing under a small wooden bridge, we continued south along the eastern shore of the island, which is actually on the Chester River.  There are a few sand beaches and beautiful creeks that run inland on this side of the island, but we pushed on to complete our circumnavigation and return back through the Kent Island Narrows. 

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