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Top 10 Gunkholes (Cruising Anchorages) – East Coast US

Selden Creek, CT: a more ideal gunkhole you won't find near or far. Just, please, don't tell anyone about it.
  1. Selden Creek, CT
  2. Wye River, MD (Dividing Creek)
  3. Damariscove Island,ME
  4. Muscongus Bay, ME
  5. Pulpit Harbor, ME
  6. Cape Poge BayMA
  7. Quissett Harbor, MA
  8. Muddy Creek, MD
  9. Morgan Island, SC
  10. Prudence Island, RI

Who would have thought that the top gunkhole could be smack in the middle of civilization? The basic definition of a gunkhole is that ideal but shallow anchorage that was dicey at best to get into in the first place and impossible to leave behind after experiencing. It's the place where you might be all alone, at least for most of the time, unless you count the wildlife. It's the place you never mention to anyone for fear of spoiling what only you alone know about. It's the place you dream about.

Selden Creek is just that kind of place. It is not a real creek but rather a channel of water that cut a land mass from the mainland and formed an island. If you can find it and are willing to try navigating through it (not marked), you can truly be alone at anchor here. We're not going to tell you where it is but if you find it on your own, you are welcome to share it with us.

Until we found Selden Creek, we thought Diving Creek off the Wye River on the Upper Chesapeake Bay was the ultimate gunkhole. Protected and surrounded by nature preserves, Dividing Creek comes in a close second. The crabbing here is about as good as it gets. Large and plentiful, the blue crabs literally jump aboard. Trouble is too many people know about it now.

The destinations in Maine are pretty idyllic but the fog can make them even more challenging to find and hang out in.

Cape Poge Bay is a most remote destination on the northern tip of Chappaquiddick at Martha's Vineyard. This undeveloped "almost pond" is accessible only via a narrow channel from Nantucket Sound. The nesting birds and an occasional scallop fisherman may be your only companions. It's a great place for swimming off the 2.5 mile long barrier beach in the Cape Poge Wildlife Refuge.

Quissett, on the other hand, was once a gunkhole but is now a mooring field that is still pretty as a postcard and can be deserted on a weeknight. We included it although it really doesn't fit the description.

Muddy Creek, MD a tributary of the Chesapeake at the Elk Neck peninsula of Cecil County on the eastern shore in northern Maryland, has the benefit of being protected under the Forest Legacy program. The forested tracts along the banks were settled in 1635 and are still inhabited by the decendants of the Dilks family.

Morgan Island, SC was home to a rhesus monkey breeding colony which was relocated there from the Caribbean in 1979. By 1989, there were about 4000 monkeys living there quite happily. Morgan Island is located in St. Helena Sound in Beaufort County and is now under the guidance of the SC Department of Natural Resources as the Morgan Island Protection Project, providing sanctuary for the bald eagle, eastern indigo snake, and loggerhead sea turtle.

Prudence Island, RI is a bit of a schizophrenic place. Half is populated and half is protected forever against development. It's the northern half we like. The National Estuarine Sanctuary surrounds Potter Cove, which although dotted with moorings for weekenders, can be found completely empty - no people, no boats, only empty moorings - during the week.

Enjoy the search. Perhaps you'll find us in one of the gunkholes this summer.

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