Absecon is one of those words that keeps popping up in this area. There is Absecon Proper, a small town on the mainland, Absecon Island, that encompasses the towns of Atlantic City, Margate, Ventnor, and Longport, and little places like Absecon Creek.
The Creek itself is not what it used to be. Once upon a time, they build ships on this body of water, launching them out Absecon Bay and then off to places unseen. Today it is a small tidal and freshwater creek, choked off by the Dams that supply water to Atlantic City. As such, it's height ebbs and flows with the tide.
Except for the noise of traffic as you pass under four bridges. (Route 30, Train tracks, Ohio Ave, and New Road) you would never know how close to civilization you are. It really is a relaxing little paddle through some very pretty marshes with all the wildlife you would suspect is there.
Unfortunately I had a camera issues this time around. One didn't charge and one shut off after five minutes. I did still have my small handheld nikon that doubles as a video camera, so everything is from that. As such, this is just a short video and my first to include music.
Next time I promise the cameras will work properly.
With my Dave Gentry Designed Chuckanut 12S kayak completed, I had the bright idea of going to lake Lenape in Mays Landing to do her (and mine!) maiden voyage. Having new Kayaked before, I can't say I knew what to expect, but I did come away feeling worn out, sore, burnt, and accomplished.
I imagine more sane people would have just paddled to the far end of the lake and returned, but I never claimed to be sane. Lake Lenape was formed by damming up the Great Egg Harbor River about mid-way along it's path to the sea. This was done to power a mill that stands vacant next to the dam itself. While not very deep or large, it is the closest body of freshwater to home and one I am more familiar with.
So, having established that I am not totally sane, what did this neophyte kayaker do? I paddled to the far end of the lake and kept going, a good mile and a half upstream on the river. I made it to the approximate halfway point to the Weymouth Furnace before realizing it was getting late and turning about to head home. This was a good thing as the very last mile back to the launch area was pure torture.
If you ever needed proof that the Southern Half of New Jersey is mostly swamp and forest land, here it is:
I also discovered a new pet peeve. I wound up following a group of three kayakers back down to the lake. I paused a long time to let them get out of earshot as I was tired of hearing them blast their music through this pristine looking river.
Near to here is the small little town of Mays Landing, actually the County Seat for Atlantic County. It is a pretty little town with a rich and varied history. Home to Lake Lenape and the headwaters of the Great Egg Harbor River, water is never far away in this sleepy little crossroads of a town.
Just outside of town is the South River, a Tributary of the Great Egg Harbor River. Flowing from the low swampy areas just south of town, it's an area redolent of listless waters the colour of well brewed tea. The stuff of life, born from the rotting vegetation deep within the swamps that cover South Jersey.
Here in Atlantic County New Jersey, what is not taken up by towns and small cities is managed by Townships. The three big ones are Galloway, Hamilton, and Egg Harbor Township. Unlike Galloway and Hamilton, EHT is a meandering place with parts that are completely disjointed from the rest.
Deep in the heart of EHT is a small Nature Reserve. This nice little park is entirely rustic, with two three unpaved and barely improved paths, two parking lots, a small office, and some port-a-potties. It is not at all ADA compliant and does not pretend to be. The sight was once a Sand Pit where they mined sand for building the Casinos and other large buildings that needed it. The problems started when the owners got greedy and pulled more sand than they were allowed and then they hit a freshwater spring...
The spring is where it gets interesting. After settling with the state and township for their misdeeds, EHT suddenly had a plot of land with a small lake in the middle of it. After cleaning up all the debris from the mining operation, they decided to make it into a Nature Reserve for any and everyone to enjoy. because the lake is spring fed, it is completely clear, unlike most bodies of water here in the Southern Half of the state. Most lakes and all the rivers and creeks are fed from the Pine Barrens, thus the waters are dark and inky with tannins from centuries of falling and decaying pine needles.
I will have to get my kayak here once the weather warms, it would be nice to paddle on water that is not black or dark green. Until then, enjoy the view from the shoreline.
I recently "discovered" this lake not too far from where I live. At only 30 acres, it is very small by any stretch, only a tenth the size of nearby Lake Lenape. Unless you know it is there, it is also nearly impossible to find even though it does have fire roads and is part of a wildlife management area.
Like most lakes in NJ, it looks to be Man made, but it is very pretty and hopefully too small for most people to bother with. I look forwards to exploring it come spring.
The Fall is a welcome time for some, while I do enjoy the softer breezes, the coming colours, and the lack of tourists, I do not look fowards to the colder weather that Autumn brings in it's wake. So much for nothing, it was time to make the best of the quiet shore.
With heavy gusting again forcast for the Shore, I retreated back the Union Lake in Millville. There were only a few boats out and about and even fewer breezes as I arrived at 1 in the afternoon and soon launched a little past the bottom of the hour. I think I am figuring out how the winds work here, only a few miles north of the Deleware River. First thing in the morning the water is warmer than the land so all the wind goes from North to south. Around the middle of the day, as the land warms, the beezes get fickle and clock from North to South and back again with little Rhyme or Reason. Then as the afternoon wears on and the land is decidedly warmer than the water, the breezes rush up the Cohansey from the Deleware and head northwards.
I could be wrong, this is only my second time visiting this nice little lake.
After heading south towards the dam, I turned towards the shallow northern end, passing the yacht club and the few homes that touch the lake and into the marshy "upland" areas. I finally made it around a small submerged island with only it's cattails showing before heading southwards again. I did bump something on the bottom that forced the board up, but it did not last a second.
With the clocking and fickle breezes, the trip north had been a drifter, the further south I got the more the winds increased. Never to the point where I wanted to pause and put a reef in, but it was a nice reminder that stronger gusts were always forthcoming. I did make the mistake of trying to cross behind two islands on the way to the dock. After bumping bottom with the board once more, I found myself without any wind at all. Rowing with one oar while steering straight quickly put me back into the (stronger) breeze and back on track to the dock and removal from these brackish waters.
All told, four hours of delightful sailing.
After devastating parts of the Gulf, the remains of Hurricane Laura are heading our way with rain, thunderstorms, and "damaging winds". Not wanting to take a chance to destroying Spark as she only weighs 300 pounds, I decided that prudence was the better part of valor and put her back into storage for the weekend.
Sorry about the watermark, being on furlough, I do not have access to the really good video editing software at work (if they would even let me use it)
While the lake of the same name in Washington State is much more famous, Union Lake in the middle of South Jersey in the City of Millville is a little diamond. The biggest lake in Southern NJ, it is a man made lake built to power the Mill that gave the town it's name.
Covering almost 900 acres with an average depth of 10 feet, it allows for a decent days sailing not affected by fickle sea breezes of tide. It is also home if a small Yacht Club with some sizable small sailboats. With HP limited to 10 HP or less, this is a quiet and calm bit of water.
I have rigging pretty down now, taking about twenty minutes from start to finish, not too shabby for a small sloop with three stays, a roller furler on the jib, a sizable main and a 22 foot long wooden mast. I imagine I will get faster with practice. Once she was all rigged and ready to go, I discovered that the ramp was suitably steep enough to sink the trailer, a bit plus in my book. I really need to lower my Spark's Trailer some.
At first it was a real drifter, I found myself sitting on the twart leaning away from the wind to get the sails to set at first. Slowly I made my way north from the ramp all the way to the shallow end before turning back. here and there I was teased with little gusts that came and went, but for the last half of the lake, I had some spirited sailing on a good 10 knot or more breeze.
After ripping the screws out of Spark's rudder head on Saturday, I managed to get it temporarily fixed enough to go out sailing. It was not a good day to do so, threatening rain, a few random sprinkles, and fickle winds that went from zero to 20 mph with little warning. Not wanting to overpower my little GP, I sailed along on Mainsail alone and still managed to get her up on plane a few times.
I also managed to find the leak that was vexing me. It was both where I thought it was, but not what I thought it was. It was also not one leak. When I pulled out and repaired the centreboard trunk, I managed to neglect to reinstall the screws that held it together. Currently only the epoxy I used to repair it is doing the job.. this means the dozen or so screw holes I left empty are weeping water into the boat itself. An easy job to fix, I just need to buy more bronze screws.
I also need to seal down the centreboard case's caps as they spray water into my GP when at speed, makes for an interesting way to cool down in the hot sun
Yesterday's trip across the Delaware on the MV Cape Henlopen was mostly uneventful. It was a rainy and misty day with little wind that tended to keep the swells down and any whitecaps to a minimum. I can think of worse times I have crossed this particular stretch of water.