27 December 2013
Deale is the biggest Western Shore port of call between Annapolis and Solomons. But to get to its protected waters, boaters have had to pass Scylla and Charybdis. The modern-day incarnations of those Odyssean monsters have grounded many a boater.
Scylla, the rock, is the 900-foot stone jetty protecting the harbor from the north. If you get through Scylla, you've still got to tackle Charybdis. A whirlpool in her native Straits of Messina, Deale's Charybdis is the shoal water of Rockhold Creek, the channel into Deale harbor.
Scylla is firmly entrenched, but every six years or so the Army Corps of Engineers tackles Charybdis, dredging Rockhold Creek some 7,000 feet from the harbor mouth to the bridge across Route 256. The federally designated channel was last dredged in 1994. It's supposed to be seven feet deep.
Now, it's as much as a foot and half shallower in some places, according to Tom Wilhem, marina manager of Herrington Harbour North, on the creek. Marinas like Herrington keep their own passages navigable.
"The channel is silting up, and a lot of people won't be able to get their boats out," worries on of those people, sailor Jack Hanse, who docks on the creek at Shipwright Harbor.
Help is on the way, according to Congressman Steny Hoyer, who included the half million dollars in the House Energy and Water Appropriations bill passed last year.
"We've tried hard to get the job done as quickly as possible because it's so important to the Deale water community," Hoyer said.
Two companies bid, including local Southern Maryland Dredging of Friendship.
The winner, Bay West Inc. of St. Paul, Minn., trucked its Mud Cat™ Series 370 dredge by early February with a month to complete its dredging.
The Mud Cat™ Series 370 dredge, designed and built by the Baltimore-based dredge builder Ellicott®, is a pontoon-borne hydraulic dredge that augers up the sediment and sends it through a pipeline to a dredge site. In this case, Herrington Harbour North is accepting the dredge spoils.
Excerpted from Bay Weekly On-Line Publication