The Wildlife of Chesapeake Bay

25th Mar 2017
boats docked at sunset

Diverse and dynamic, varied and vivid, engaging and enjoyable; the wonderful wildlife of Chesapeake Bay, and the natural environment within which it flourishes, is truly a pleasure to behold. Indeed, what better way to both see and engage with nature than to become a part of it, to immerse yourself within it, and to achieve this

From your vantage point aboard either a crewed ship, or a bareboat , you will travel amongst a diverse and wondrous ecosystem, witness a variety of flora and fauna and capture and create memories that you will hold onto for the rest of your life.

The Bay

You will perhaps only appreciate the true scale of Chesapeake Bay once you arrive. But in terms of numbers, it is simply enormous. It holds the longest coastline of any bay in North America. In fact the coastline extends to 11,600 miles. It is America’s largest estuary, and home to many famous writers, sailors and naturalists alike. Its history is unquestionable, from its creation via a meteor collision with Earth, through colonial and Civil War times, right up to today. It has an average depth of only 21 feet, but has deeper channels sufficient to sail a submarine through.

The width varies from 4 to 30 miles, and the Bay is fed by in excess of 150 major rivers and streams. Through summer it can be inhospitably hot and humid, and Spring and Autumn are better times to visit. From the North Susquehanna down to the West of Baltimore, with a quieter and less visited eastern area, you can expect to see variety, both in landscape and inhabitants. Sailing Chesapeake Bay is an adventure,  but it should be enjoyed leisurely, not rushed, taking time on occasions to sit, wait and watch. The very layout of the Bay encourages a hopscotching of layovers, each with enticing individuality. But at all times, remember that you are sharing the Bay with many others…

The Ecosystem

The geology of the Bay has been formed, from its inception following a meteor collision, through many ice ages and other natural phenomenon. Its coastal shorelines have been continually affected by currents and tides, tributaries and weather patterns.

The Bay is America’s largest estuary, where an enclosed area of freshwater combines with saltwater from the ocean. Estuaries are renowned for sustaining an amazing array of diverse wildlife. From species of birds, some migratory, including the Great Scaup, Laughing Gull and Northern Bobwhite. There are also many varieties of fish, including the Striped Bass, Cownose Ray, and Sandbar Shark; different crab species including the Blue Crab; to the famous Chesapeake Bay Oyster, which has supported a historical industry all by itself. In addition, the estuary and surrounding Bay area support many diverse mammals, such as the Black Bear, Beaver, Bobcat, Manatee, Deer, Fox, Woodchuck and Long Tailed Shrew.

Away from the wildlife, the beauty of their habitat can be witnessed too. The varied plants and trees, including the Cardinal Flower, Loblolly Pine and Red Maple, add a vibrancy of color and an outline to Chesapeake Bay and its waters.

Chesapeake Bays offers an unquestionably rich oasis of varied wildlife and natural beauty that can best be seen up close, and enjoyed by any visitor to the area. However, by experiencing the sights and sounds whilst sailing Chesapeake Bay, you can enjoy being at one with nature, and experience all that Chesapeake Bay has to offer.