The Kayak Chronicles

by Darren Caffery

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Kayaking Kettle Creek

Brick Township, NJ

September 10, 2005

  

On Saturday morning, the weather was so nice I decided to squeeze in a last minute paddle before my afternoon plans. Shortly after making a phone call to one of my paddling buddies from the Jersey Shore Sea Kayak Association, Tom K and I launched into the Kettle Creek at about 11 am. Neither of us had ever paddled the area so after looking at some local maps, we scouted a few potential new launch sites and ended up launching at the end of Cherry Quay Rd in Brick. The site provides great access to Kettle Creek.
 

        

In the mood for a relaxing paddle, we decided to head inland up the creek, so we began the first leg of our paddle up the northern neck.  This area of Kettle Creek consists of some developed shoreline mixed with scattered parcels of preserved wetlands and wildlife areas.  It was very peaceful with very few powerboats and no "jerk"-skis.  After about a mile of paddling, we approached Old Hooper Ave. There was no bridge to paddle under but there were two large tubular pipes connecting the creek to the other side of Old Hooper Ave. As we approached the tubes, we realized we would be able to paddle into them and get to the other side.  We approached them with caution and scouted for hazards.  There were no obstructions or current and the tubes seemed safe to paddle into ... so in we went.

      

On the other side of Old Hooper Ave, the shoreline was mostly wooded with just a few homes set so far back into the woods you could hardly see them.  The water, was a bit brown, but mostly clear since we've not had any rain to upset the bottom and stir up the mud.  The area was teeming with fish and turtles which we could see clearly as the sun allowed us to see to the bottom of the mostly shallow creek.  We also observed a Great Blue Heron which was feeding in the area.  The creek narrowed and was canopied with trees, some of which were hanging into the water but did not pose any obstacles or require a portage for passage.  We were able to continue paddling for another half mile before we couldn't get any farther.  At this point, the creek opened up into a small tidal pond with some flowering water lillies and even more fish and turtles.  Although it was beautiful and mostly peaceful, we could hear the roar of a busy highway nearby and it turned out to be Brick Blvd.

      

After soaking up some sun in the tidal pool, we started to paddle back down the creek and explored a few other branches of the creek. The shoreline had more waterfront homes, a few more wooded areas and one area had small marina. On our way, we also came across a very small public waterfront park called Mallard Point. Signed indicated it is a public area owned by the Township of Brick. It had some weather beaten wooden picnic tables, and a few small pole mounted grills.  I snapped a few pictures, took a GPS waypoint reading and added the site to our kayak club launch site directory.

      

     

 
After poking out of this neck we paddled a bit farther to another more southern branch of the creek which looked like it had mostly undeveloped shoreline. We paddled up into it.  The creek had tall marsh grasses on both sides of it and as we continued to paddle deeper into it, it narrowed and shallowed.  We observed alot more fish, crabs and another Blue Heron. After paddling through the narrow channel with the marsh grasses on both sides, we entered another tidal pool where some snowy egrets were feeding.  It got a little too shallow there, so we decided to turn back.  It was nearing time for me to get off the water so after a quick scout of the mouth of the creek and the Barnegat Bay, we headed back to the launch.  We landed back at Cherry Quay near 2 pm and after only 6.5 miles of paddling.
 

     

 
Thanks to Tom K for the great paddling company on this beautiful sunny day.  It was the perfect day for a relaxing exploratory paddle.  It's always fun to explore new areas, especially close to home. The trip also provided two new launch sites to our ever growing kayak club directory!

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