The Kayak Chronicles

by Darren Caffery


I was "baptized" into paddling on Cedar Creek in the Pine Barrens of NJ on a canoe trip with my 7th grade class and teacher, Don Novak. This is my first recollection of a phenomenon I call SynchronicitY. In my canoe on Cedar Creek, I felt a strong connection to what I can only describe as the natural order of the universe. It was an intense feeling that I was in harmony with something much larger than myself and it brought about a feeling of freedom, exhilaration and peace. The experience lasted no more than a moment but is as vivid to me today as it was then. This would ignite my passion for paddling and a strong communion with nature.  I call this communion with nature and kayaking,  Tao of Paddling.

I believe "Life is a river and Wisdom is knowing when to paddle and when to float".  Since I live less than 5 miles from the beach and am surrounded by a number of rivers, bays and streams, I try to  "go with the flow" as much as I can.

My passion for sea kayaking  continues to lead me on many explorative adventures and allows me to spend quality time with old and new friends.  In addition, my membership in the  Jersey Shore Sea Kayak Association (JSSKA)  has given me an opportunity to become more proficient in my paddling skills by paddling with, and learning from others who have more experience.  In addition the club has also allowed me to forge new friendships and to explore new paddling places.   In paddling, like life, the enjoyment is not only in the destination, but in the actual journey.  The following links feature pictures, tales and trip reports from some of the explorations along my journey.  Enjoy your Journey!

Sunset on the Metedeconk River @ Windward Beach, Brick Twp, NJ



Lake Mead at Temple Bar

A late November paddle and hike on a peaceful Lake Mead at Temple Bar, Arizona



Enjoying the Great Outdoors at Lake George, NY


Paddling the Lakes of the Adirondack Park, NY

Absecon Island (Atlantic City)  Circumnavigation

A 22.5 mile paddle & circumnavigation of the area while providing kayak support for an international marathon swim.

Atlantic City Bridge to Bridge Swim & Kayak Support

A circumnavigation of Chelsea and Ventnor Heights with a later kayak support for a local swimming race in the intracoastal waterway of Atlantic City.

Atlantic City to Skull Bay

After providing kayak support for the swimmers in the 10 K for the USA event, a few of  us paddled to Skull Bay.

Corson's Inlet to Sea Isle City

A 12 mile Summer paddle from my favorite salt water playground.


Ship John Shoal Lighthouse - Upper Delaware Bay

An adventurous paddle, 3 miles out on the Delaware Bay to the lighthouse  from Bayside Wildlife Management Area in Cumberland County NJ.


Mullica Magic - Lower Bank, NJ

We launched at 10 am and returned to the takeout at 8:45 pm, after  paddling 24 miles on the scenic Mullica  River. Some incredible sunset pictures.

Barnegat Light

A 17 mile round trip paddle in the Barnegat Bay from Berkeley Island County Park in Bayville NJ to the Barnegat Inlet.

Shelter Cove - Barnegat Bay - Toms River, NJ

A sunny Summer paddle from the west shore of the Barnegat Bay to Lavallette and back.

Rainbow Channel Challenge Kayak Race & Swim Support

Another great day of Summer paddling out of Kennedy Park on the Great Egg Harbor in Somers Point.

Lower Manasquan River - NJ

A short but challenging trip from the Glimmerglass to Osborns Island.

Jones Tide Pool - Barnegat Bay - Brick Township, NJ

A quiet Friday morning paddle with Linda.

Herring Island Cleanup

A cleanup of one of our favorite kayak "lunch stops" on the Barnegat Bay. 

Hackensack River - Secaucus, NJ

Urban paddling near the Meadowlands marshes on a sunny Spring afternoon.

Meadowlands Marshlands

An early Fall paddle in the "Wilderness on the Edge of the the City"


Outer Banks of North Carolina

Paddling tales & pics from a number of paddling trips in the OBX, including Roanoke Island / Croatan Sound / Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge / Lake Mattamuskeet National Wildlife Refuge / Bodie Island / Oregon Inlet / Colington Island / Pamlico Sound / Cedar Island National Wildlife Refuge / Ocracoke Island / Portsmouth Island

Elk Neck State Park - Maryland   A weekend of paddling and camping with members of the Chesapeake Paddlers Association Pocomoke River State Park - Maryland - A long weekend of paddling and camping


Kayak Camping at Assateague Island National Seashore - Maryland

A number of trip reports involving Wilderness camping and kayaking with the wild ponies of Assateague

Beaver Dam Creek - Brick Township  NJ

A tranquil, small creek paddle on a cloudy summer day.

Reedy Creek - Brick Township, NJ

A late afternoon paddle in the Summer  heat, haze and humidity from the Metedeconk River, through the Barnegat Bay and into the solitude and stillness of  the creek.

Kettle Creek - Brick Township, NJ

An early Fall paddle, close to home.

The Wildlife of Prospertown Lake - Jackson, NJ

A tranquil Sunday afternoon paddle that was anything but boring.

The Search for the Forge Pond Alligator

This is probably the most action Forge Pond has ever seen in one week.

The Swan That's Out To Get Me

A hair-raising encounter with a feathered Forge Pond local.


Kayaking to T-Cove

 A small lagoon to get relief from some late Spring Heat


Bahamian Adventure

A 3 day camping and paddling adventure in the crystal clear waters around the island of Great Abaco in the Bahamas.

Mullet Key  A 14 mile circumnavigation of Mullet Key & Fort DeSoto with some great paddling in the Gulf of Mexico and Tampa Bay.

Egmont Key  A sunny day paddle in the Gulf of Mexico from Fort DeSoto County Park to Egmont Key.

Sanibel - Captiva Islands   A Summer day of paddling in the Gulf of Mexico and the Pine Island Sound along the Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge. Key West  A Summer day of paddling and floating in sunny Key West.


Key West  Another great day of snorkeling and kayaking with Clearly Unique Charters.



Paddling the Staten Island Graveyard of Ships


Crossing the Delaware Bay

An 18 mile paddle from Lewes, Delaware to Cape May, NJ.  I'm often asked "Didn't you know there's a ferry to get from Delaware to Cape May?"

Rubber Ducking on the Cheat    My first attempt at solo whitewater in a 'duckie' on the Cheat River, WV.

Great Bay Wildlife Management Area - Tuckerton, NJ

This trip was planned as a "brief recreational paddle" (like Gilligan's 3 hour tour).  Mother Nature however, had something else in store for us!

A Great Day on the Great Bay - Tuckerton, NJ  A 23 mile trip in late summer.  It's great to have off from work during the week!

Nacote Creek - Port Republic, NJ  Ever kayaked back in time?  A 14+  mile round trip from the Bass River in New Gretna into the rustic Nacote Creek.  This creek is truly one of NJ's jewels.

Little Egg Harbor - NJ  A 20 mile circuit of the Little Egg Harbor from Parkers Cove on a hot & hazy Summer day.

Full Moon Howling - Shark River, NJ  Once a month, it's fun to paddle into a full moonbeam with a group of howling paddlers.

4 Bays in 2 Days   A two day, almost 40  mile trip on the NJ intracoastal waterways from Barnegat Bay to Mullica River in Port Republic, NJ

In memory of Terry Kessler, my frequent paddling partner and friend



Hell's Canyon Whitewater Rafting - Snake River, Idaho

Pictures from a 3 day whitewater rafting expedition

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