"The sea, once it casts its spell, holds one in
its net of wonder forever."—Jacques Cousteau

May 20, 2012

May 19 - Somewhere Between Boat & Home

Chesapeake Facts
Henderson's Wharf Marina

We spent twelve hours today heading south and west...only 1585 miles between our Pearl and our great state of Texas. All that time in the car gave me a chance to learn a little more about the Chesapeake Bay. We've spent over 80 days so far exploring this great body of water. We've anchored in 18 areas and have visited 16 cities and towns, and there are so many more we'd like to see. I can definitely see how people can spend a lifetime boating and never leave this area. It is truly my favorite place we have visited in our 4000 miles of cruising.
Geography:
  • The Chesapeake Bay is an estuary: a body of water where fresh and salt water mix. It is the largest of more than 100 estuaries in the United States.
  • The Bay is about 200 miles long, stretching from Havre de Grace, Maryland, to Virginia Beach, Virginia.
  • The Bay's width ranges from 4 miles near Aberdeen, Maryland, to 30 miles near Cape Charles, Virginia.
  • The average depth of the Bay is about 21 feet, but is 174 feet at it’s deepest.
  • The Bay and its tidal tributaries have 11,684 miles of shoreline – more than the entire U.S. west coast.
  • The surface area of the Bay and its tidal tributaries is approximately 4,480 square miles.
Water and Watershed:
  • The Chesapeake Bay holds more than 18 trillion gallons of water.
  • The Chesapeake Bay watershed covers 64,000 square miles.
  • The Chesapeake Bay watershed includes parts of six states – Delaware, Maryland, New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia and West Virginia – and the entire District of Columbia.
  • Approximately 51 billion gallons of water flow into the Bay each day from its freshwater tributaries.
  • The Susquehanna River is the Bay’s largest river. It provides nearly 50 percent of the fresh water coming into the Bay – an average of 19 million gallons of water per minute.
  • The Chesapeake Bay watershed is home to more than 17 million people. About 150,000 new people move into the Bay watershed each year.
  • More than 100,000 streams, creeks and rivers flow into the Chesapeake Bay.
  • Approximately 7.3 million acres of land in the Bay watershed portions of Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia and the District of Columbia are permanently preserved from development.
  • There are more than 700 public access points on the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries.
Flora and Fauna:
  • The Bay supports more than 2,700 species of plants and animals, including 348 species of finfish and 173 species of shellfish.
  • The Bay produces about 500 million pounds of seafood per year.
  • The Chesapeake region is home to at least 29 species of waterfowl.
  • Nearly 80,000 acres of bay grasses grow in the shallows of the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries. Young and molting blue crabs rely on bay grass beds for protection from predators.
  • Approximately 284,000 acres of tidal wetlands grow in the Chesapeake Bay region. Wetlands provide critical habitat for fish, birds, crabs and many other species.
  • Forests cover 58 percent of the Chesapeake Bay watershed. The region loses about 100 acres of forest each day to development.

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