Sunday, October 19, 2008

Appalachian Mountain Club

Our final group for the 2008 season was the Appalachian Mountain Club. In what has become a tradition, a group of people new to Sedge joined several veterans for the four day Columbus weekend. On our first day’s paddle we decided to head into the wind by paddling north along the shore of Island Beach State Park. Progress was slow, but by noon we had made it to Tices Shoals where we pulled out and walked across the boardwalk to the beach. On the way home we stopped to clam in Johnny Allen’s cove. Here we were pleased to discover that some of the clams stocked by the Division of Fish and Wildlife were just large enough to keep for dinner.

Our Sunday paddle was more ambitious. First we headed south four miles to Viking Village. This part of the trip was made easier by the wind and the current- both of which were behind us. We walked the docks to check out the Barnegat Light fishing fleet. We then we headed north to the public launch ramp where we landed and walked to the lighthouse. We had lunch and then while waiting for the tide to change, many of us climbed to the top of the lighthouse for a beautiful view of the surrounding area- especially the Sedge Island Marine Conservation Zone. In the late afternoon we paddled back along High Bar Harbor with a stop at Gull Island to check out any remaining birds. We found that most have migrated by this time. After a delicious dinner, seven of the more ambitious members of the group launched “Baby Beluga”, our 22” white canoe, for a night paddle around the island. We were rewarded by a fantastic display of bioluminescence that was so bright that we could see the wakes of fish shooting out ahead of the boat.

After a huge breakfast on the last morning, many of the group paddled toward the western side of the bay and then circled back through the southern end of the Marine Conservation Zone. During this time, I stayed behind to get some work done. I would like to give a special thanks to AMC member Paul Dice who stayed behind to help pull up the buoys marking the northern end of the Marine Conservation Zone. This is hard, dirty work and Paul did it willingly and cheerfully.

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