"Between the Piankatank and the Hole in the Wall" Gwynn Island by grandmaR

Gwynn Island Travel Guide: 9 reviews and 12 photos

Sunrise - 1 November 2003
Saturday - 31 October 2003

There is a very nice protected Deltaville anchorage in Fishing Bay on the north side of the Piankatank behind Stove Point (top of chart) Unfortunately, it is not at all protected from the south side, and we had south winds. Also it takes a long time to get there from the Chesapeake. The guide books say for a south wind to go to the opposite shore from Fishing Bay, but it would take just as long to get there as it would take to get into Fishing Bay itself.

Bob and I discussed anchoring off Gwynn's Island in the Piankatank. He wanted to anchor on the east side of Cherry Point (the northern tip), but I feel that will be too exposed to the Bay. So we went around and anchored west of Cherry Point (which doesn't take us too much longer) at 1623 in between some fish traps (pound nets) in 17 feet of water. Our anchorage is at the end of the green line marked by an anchor.

Gwynn's Island is on the south side of the Piankatank. On the north side is Deltaville. The 1500 acre island (one of the largest on the Chesapeake) is connected to the mainland by a swing bridge which was built in 1939. It is one of the busiest drawbridges in Virginia, which is saying a lot when you consider all the bridges in the Norfolk area. Before the bridge was built access was by private boat or after 1884, by ferry.

Between the island and the mainland is a body of water known as Milford Haven, which is very popular as a fishing and boating destination in the summer.

In order to get to the town of Milford Haven by water, one either goes in from the Piankatank through the bridge to the Milford Haven bay, or goes in from the south side through the shallow flats in an area called the Hole in the Wall. This entrance has shoaled to 3 feet and should only be attempted with local knowledge.

For the very interesting history of Gwynn's Island, see my General Tip.

When I came up into the cockpit from calling our son to tell him where we were [Bob insisted we were NOT on the Piankatank but he had it confused with the Poquoson where we anchored on Chisman Creek in Nov 2000], and where we expected to go the next day (this is called filing a 'float plan'), and our daughter (to ask her to throw out the steak that we forgot and left in the refrigerator meat drawer), there were two ketches anchored next to us. Neither appeared to have an anchor light although when we saw them later, ETHERIA swore that they did.

We had steak and succotash for dinner. The wind generator was making noise, but not putting in many amps. Didn't really want to watch TV, so went to bed REALLY early about 6, after watching a good sunset.

November 1, 2003

We spent a peaceful night and got up about 6ish. I found that I could now sort of read the names of the two ketches. One was named ETHERIA (It was hard to read the name but we saw them later at the South Mills lock) and the other I think was NORTH WIND although with it painted in gold on gold-brown wood it was also very hard to read.

We pulled the anchor and were underway by about 0655. Very little wind. The two ketches followed us out a bit inshore. Battery bank #1 appears not to be holding a charge well - not a good sign.

Since we've decided not to go to Old Point Comfort, I put an amended track into the computer. We had breakfast - cereal and hot tea for Bob and a bagel and hot tea for me.

Bob pulled out the jib to give us a boost and then the main. But when I came back from going to the head, he'd pulled them back in as the wind went from 5-6 knots to nothing. The sea was glassy smooth.

Got an email message from our Maryland daughter via pocketmail (a device that sends and received text messages via accoustic modem) about sending medicines and tried to call and got our grandson who said (correctly) that she was at the gym working out, and apparently told his dad that we were coming up to get the medicines (wrong). I finally called her cell phone.

Next stop Portsmouth.

  • Last visit to Gwynn Island: Oct 2003
  • Intro Updated May 9, 2016
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Reviews (5)

Comments (3)

  • Sep 12, 2009 at 4:43 PM

    Spent many years visiting Gwynns Island; stayed in a cottage owned by Deeni and Margaret Callis (my grandmothers sister.) I'm trying to find information on exactly where the cottage was located on the Island. I want ti visit there again!

  • Apr 2, 2008 at 9:05 AM

    Thanks for all the inforamtion on your web site. I am a relative of Col. Hugh Gwynn and plan to visit the island during the second week of May 2008. Thanks again, Bill Stanton

  • Waxbag's Profile Photo
    Dec 23, 2003 at 8:52 AM

    Wow, I can't believe someone wrote a tip about Gwynn Island. My family has a cottage here and have been coming for years. Never checked the museum though, maybe it's time.


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