Put-In: hard surface boat ramp or sandy access near by
Distance: 7 miles roundtrip
Water Type: creeks, open water rivers
Difficulty: moderate to strenuous
Cautions: powerboat traffic, open water w/ wind and tide issues, see notes.
Distance: Approximately 7 miles round trip.
This area is popular with power boaters, many of whom are inexperienced, some of whom are intoxicated. Traversing the Wicomico River at this juncture crosses what is sometimes a heavily-trafficked boat highway. Also, certain combinations of wind and tide can make this a very strenuous passage.
Your destination, Cobb Island, is not readily recognizable as an island as you view it from Bushwood Wharf. Aim for a spot somewhat north of the southernmost visible point; as you approach the shore the opening of Neale Sound will become apparent.
The mouth of Neale Sound is home to three marinas and three restaurants. Traffic in and out here can occupy all you attention. Things quiet considerable once you pass under the bridge. There are two boat landing spots just west of the bridge, on your right (the north shore of Neale Sound) one on each side of the restaunt/marina complex. Each is a hard surface–one a concreted boat ramp, the other a very small oyster shell beach.
Neal Sound leads to the Potomac River on the west side of Cobb Island. As you approach the Potomac, Cobb Island, on your left, dwindles to a narrow spit of land. Just before the massive breakwater at the entrance to the Ptotomac there is an attractive bit of unspoiled land ahead and to your right. The tides have never allowed us to get closer than twenty feet to shore–a very shallow muck bottom surrounds this wild space.
At the mouth of the Potomac you can see downriver to St. Clement’s Island on a clear day. The near pile of rocks at the mouth of the Wicomico is the remains of a lighthouse that burned in the 1930s. Across the Potomac the cliffs of Westmoreland Park are visible, and, upriver, the entrance to the diminutive resort town Colonial Beach. The adventurous and hardy could circumnavigate Cobb Island from this point, returning to the mouth of Neale Sound and passage back to Bushwood on the east side.
After you enter Neale Sound from the Wicomico, there is an inviting sand beach on your right. Just where this beach becomes grown over with phragmites and other reeds, a barely visible path leads to an old, picturesque church.