The Kayak Chronicles ©
by Darren Caffery
MANASQUAN RIVER, NJ:
GLIMMERGLASS TO OSBORNS ISLAND
July 12, 2002
Jersey Shore Sea Kayak Association member, Tom Kelly and I launched into the Glimmerglass boat launch at Jackson Ave and Perrine Blvd. in Manasquan at at about 3:15 pm. Once out of the Glimmerglass, we paddled up the Manasquan River against some very swift current, approaching the notorious NJ Transit trestle. The tide at the time would keep the water depth low enough for us to pass under the northern sections of the trestle and to avoid the main channel section of the trestle, however the swift current and 10-15 knot winds created 2 ft standing waves under each of those 10 ft sections of the trestle. We could see the raging waters under the trestle as we approached. In addition, the wakes from powerboats and the large fishing charters confused the turbulence. Although the waters looked challenging, they did not seem impossible to pass through. As I approached the trestle, I picked up my speed as my kayak plunged forward even faster on some large following waves behind me, plunging my bow under water and directly into the large standing waves. I leaned back slightly and balanced myself, only to be plunged forward into another standing wave by another following one. My adrenaline surged. This is the closest sea kayakers come to whitewater on tidal rivers and for a few brief moments I wished I was in a whitewater kayak instead of a 17 ft rocket that just blasted off. I managed to dig my paddle into the standing waves to brace, pull forward and maneuver, to avoid hitting the sides of the bridge pilings which were filled with very sharp barnacles and large wood splints. I finally passed through safely but not without hearing, “oh shit” behind me. I looked back to see Tom Kelly’s kayak up against the piling wall with the standing waves appearing to have his craft pinned. He was still upright and did not make any body contact with the pilings. Luckily, a larger following wave sent him flying forward and he managed to maneuver himself out from the waves and current flowing under the bridge. “You said we were paddling the Glimmerglass..this is no Glimmerglass” he shouted. After our adrenaline subsided we had some fun paddling in the headwind with lots of boat wakes, some of which went right over our bows.
In a short while we finally made it to Osborns Island where we landed. Osborns Island sits in the middle of the Manasquan River just offshore from the old Point Pleasant Hospital at the mouth of the Point Pleasant Canal which connects Barnegat Bay with the Manasquan River. The island itself was actually created from the earth removed in the construction of the canal. While exploring the island, I also played Tarzan for a bit, swinging on a rope hanging from a huge old tree on a cliff. After play time was over, we launched back into the river, crossed the channel and this time took the course of the south transit trestle which had plenty of clearance. Since it was near slack tide, there was very little current and we paddled along Gull Island to the north and the fishing boats of channel drive to the south as we approached the Manasquan Inlet.
Boat traffic coming in and out of the inlet was very heavy, so with great vigilance we managed to cross the channel to Sedge Island from around the eastern tip of Gull Island to make our way back into the safety of the Glimmerglass. I only logged 6 miles but I was tired. The swift current, turbulent waters and winds made for a good paddling workout on a beautiful clear summer afternoon.
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