The Kayak Chronicles ©
by Darren Caffery
A Great Day on the Great Bay
Tuesday September 17, 2002
I awoke to a beautiful summer day. It was sunny and warm in NJ and a perfect day to spend on the water in my kayak. I had the day off from work so I immediately called Bob Smith, a paddling buddy and member of my kayak club, Jersey Shore Sea Kayak Association. I suggested a simple plan. "Let's paddle a 20 miler today down in the Great Bay". Bob Smith agreed and we set our time to meet. Paddling "at least 20 miles" was our only goal since we both had no commitments for the day and the late summer NJ weather was perfect for such a plan.
We launched into Little Sheepshead Creek and out into a very flat Great Bay shortly after 11 am. The greenhead flies turned over greeting privileges to the gnats as the tiny buggers swarmed and started biting us the moment we arrived. They weren't going to stop us from paddling. We were armed with DEET which we sprayed very generously on ourselves. There was no wind and there were very few powerboats on the waterway.
Our travels brought us out Little Sheepshead into the Great Bay along the Seven Islands, near the old abandoned fish cannery. We then paddled into Big Sheepshead Creek and eventually made our way out into the Little Egg Inlet for a little ocean play. The inlet passage was relatively tame with just a few areas of confused currents and some nice rollers. After riding the rollers and pushing through the confused currents, we paddled across the inlet and then across 5.5 miles of the Great Bay and around to Graveling Point for a landing and lunch break on a small white sand beach.
After lunch and a chat with some local beachcombers, we launched back into the Great Bay. After a short paddle, we soon ducked into Jimmies Creek which meandered back into Big Sheepshead Creek. After meandering the snake like creek for a while, we had to make a short portage across Great Bay Blvd as there was no bridge to pass under. (The need to portage wasn't indicated on our GPS map!)
We made it back to our landing and observed a spectacular sunset over a very tranquil Great Bay. At 7:10 pm and after 23+ miles of paddling, we called it a day...and a great one at that. Great paddling and great company. I took the sunset pictures just before I left.
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