The "Around the Island Tours" are typically 2 hours, with the "Sunset Tours" being about 2 1/2 hours depending on the guest interest. There is ample parking adjacent to the park just past the parking for Don's Seafood or down Post Office Street which is on the east side of Main Street. Boarding for all of the tours is from the Town's floating dock in the Downtown Park at the foot of the old draw bridge.
The "Around the Island Tours" and "Sunset Tours" start by going south under the bridge and down the Chincoteague Channel passing the old section of the Town on the left and Black Narrows, Wire Narrows marsh and Queen Sound on the right. We then turn left into the Canal and go around the south end of the Island. After passing the south end of the Island and depending on weather, dolphin activity and the guests preference we may venture toward the southern tip of Assateague and the ocean inlet. This is the best area to observe dolphins and other large marine life. For those interested in photographing the dolphins you should note they can be very difficult. I usually get a good picture of the splash rather than the desired dolphin in mid air. The dolphin photographed on the left above was in the main channel in the vicinity of the Hampton Inn during the evening of August 4th, 2009. The dolphin tail was in Tom's Cove. I was very lucky to get these shots as it is nearly impossible to predict when and where they will surface. The picture on the left above is an Atlantic Needlefish that was seen skimming the surface just above the dolphin at the southern end of the Island.
From there we proceed through Tom's Cove venturing north up the Assateague Channel. We will pass clam grounds in the Cove and Assateague's "Little Beach " on our right and the marsh which makes up the south east end of Chincoteague on our left. These locations in addition to the adjacent sand bars are often frequented by eagles, cormorants and large flocks of pelicans. Occasionally we will see bullnose and cownose rays on the surface with their wing tips extending just above the water.
Moving north we turn left following the center of the channel, Chincoteague on the left, Assateague on the right. At low tide the mud flats on the right will have a variety of shore birds, the random American Oyster Catcher and the occasional pony. We then pass the area where the annual pony swim occurs, Memorial Park to the left, Assateague marsh to the right. Frequently ponies are seen on the marsh in this area. Traveling on we pass the south end of Piney Island on the left, again with Assateague and the Assateague light house to the right. Usually herons, egrets and other shore birds are on the left.
After going under the Assateague Bridge we turn left and follow the Piney Island shoreline to the northern end of the Island. The north end of Piney Island has been a good area for eagle sightings. We have on occasion spotted a pair at this location as pictured to the right.
At the head of Piney Island we make an abrupt right turn and travel across a shallow body of water to meet with the Channel. At times during the period of low water we have slightly less than 2 feet under the keel. Turning left and again staying in the middle of the channel we move between oyster rocks, clam grounds and mud flats off an area known as Bow Beach. At this point Morris Island is on our left and Assateague is on our right. The Bow is a very productive area for herons, egrets, ibises, willets, yellow legs and various terns and plovers. It also affords the best location for a close encounter with the ponies.
Leaving the Bow we return to the eastern shoreline of Chincoteague where we see several watch houses and hunting cabins. This is also an excellent area to watch osprey, with several active nests. Continuing along the shoreline brings us to the head of the Island or Wildcat Marsh which is probably one of the best locations on the Eastern Shore to watch the sun as it sets across Chincoteague Bay. Also this is the closest you will come to the location of the wreckage of the "La Galga", the Spanish galleon that Mr. John Amrhein describes in his book "The Hidden Galleon" as the vessel which brought the ponies to the Island in 1750. The actual location according to Mr. Armhien is just south of Virginia Creek in the interior of the Island. The hunting cabin pictured here is actually on one of the Toby Islands just north of Wildcat and is abreast of the reported site of the La Galga wreck. Clicking on the cabin in the photograph on the right will give you an example of how these cabins are used today.
Leaving the head of the Island we turn left and follow the western shoreline of Chincoteague. Chincoteague Bay is on our right with 5 miles of open water between us and the far shoreline. You will be able to make out the features of Greenbackville and Franklin City which was the location of the railway and ferry dock serving Chincoteague at the beginning of the 20th century. Finally we will enter Lewis Creek and return to the Town Dock.
Our fee for this service is $40 per person, children 12 years of age and younger are $35. A $5 discount per seat is offered for payments by cash or check. The time and offerings of our morning, afternoon and sunset tours vary with the seasons, call for our schedule. Advance reservations are recommended. The trips are subject to cancellation because of weather. The boats are 25' pontoon boats that can seat 13 passengers however the maximum number of guests we take on a trip is six. We do operate two boats and can on occasion coordinate the tours and accommodate up to 12 guests on the two boats.