The Kayak Chronicles ©

by Darren Caffery



Corson's Inlet State Park, NJ

July 31st, 2005

After a night of camping at Bass River State Forest, Craig and I headed down to meet the rest of the Jersey Shore Sea Kayak Association gang down at Corson's Inlet State Park on Saturday morning. After catching up with Eric Fleming, by chance, at a small deli in Ocean City, we  arrived at Corson's at about 8:30 am. There we met Jeff Cooper, and waited out a short rainstorm until Steve Fries, Drew Ricchiuti, and Bob Smith arrived.
We launched into the inlet at about 10 am for a short inspection of the ocean conditions.  It was just an hour short of low tide so the paddle into the Great Atlantic was very tame. We could see the areas of the breakers in the distance, however. After some playing in the swells, it got closer to 11 am so we decided to start paddling back to the launch to meet up with Bruce Jenkins for our planned back bay paddle. After meeting up with Bruce, we started our southward journey through the intracoastal waterway and the main channel until we reached Ludlam Bay. With the wind mostly behind us and an air temperature in the high 80’s, it seemed much hotter than reported, even under a hazy sky. After about a 1 mile crossing of Ludlam Bay, and about 6 miles of paddling, we approached the Sea Isle City bridge and landed at a small beach near the boat ramp. After a snack and some rehydrating we launched back into the bay and made our way back across, this time entering Whale Creek on the eastern side of the bay, alongside the shore town of Strathmere.  
It was a bit cooler with the wind in our faces and the sun began to poke out as we made our way to the Strathmere Bay. As we paddled by the Deauville Inn on the water, the outdoor deck was all too inviting so a few of us landed at the beach and secured a table on the deck, while the rest of the group paddled back to the landing at the inlet. After some munchies, a few ice cold drinks, and general enjoyment of such a beautiful Summer day, we launched back into the water.  Eric entertained a few people on the waterfront deck with his kayak rolling skills before we started our paddle back to Corson's Inlet. It was nearing high tide, so most of the group with good kayak surfing skills went off to play out near the breakers while I landed on a pristine white sand beach and went for a swim.  There were small boats and jetskiers everywhere but this is Summer at the Jersey Shore.


Although the kayak surfers were searching for the great surfables farther offshore, Eric Fleming reported the wave action to be only minimal. It was choppy but the waves weren’t up to par for his excitement levels.  Once he paddled out a bit farther however, and separated from the rest of the group he reported  the waves started forming pretty and he was able to get a few good rides.  He also reported practicing a combat roll at the tail end of a big wave after it dumped him over.

“It was a bit tough to keep the kayak straight in the bigger waves, but it sure was fun trying” Fleming remarked. After they had enough surf play, the rest of the group headed back towards the beach where I was swimming so I got ready to launch back into the inlet. After getting into my kayak and securing my spray skirt, I realized I wasn't far enough into the water, and was slowly turned sideways by a few consecutive breakers.  Meanwhile, the waves continued to break over my kayak and push me farther into the sand. Eric paddled by and graciously offered to help, but stubborn me refused his assistance. I could have easily just got back out of the kayak and righted myself and launched again but I was also too stubborn to get out of my boat. Instead I struggled to get myself back to the water while in my kayak. As Eric was laughing I told him I was practicing a new launch called the Beached Whale Launch. I think he really enjoyed watching me, and it's really too bad he didn't have his camera handy.


After finally making it back into the water, I rejoined the rest of the group and we all made it back safely to the Corson’s Inlet landing at about 6 pm, and after about 14 miles of total paddling.
Since no one was in a rush to get back home, we made our way to the Anchorage Inn at Somers Point for a nice relaxing dinner. I got on the parkway north at about 9 pm and although there was heavy volume, it was smooth sailing all the way to exit 90. Made it home a little after 10 and was sleeping like a baby by 11.
It was my first trip to Corson's Inlet and I'm sure it won't be my last. Corson' s Inlet certainly is another NJ paddlers' paradise.  It's the kind of place you can just plan on hanging out all day in your kayak. There's surfing, paddling the ocean or the back bays and creeks, waterfront dining, swimming or just hanging on the white sand beaches.
It was another great day of Summer Paddling.



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