July 23, 2009 by Bethany
This is Dan writing by the way…
As you probably watched in the video, we left Lewes beach DE early in the morning. The dolphins were out in force again by the breakwater/inlet. I have never seen as many dolphins in one place as I did by lewes! The paddle down the shore was nice and the fish were also out. I decided to stop trolling because I was catching to many blues. As we paddled into the into the inlet we could not find a place to get out of our boats so I called the campground to see if they had any sites avaliable. “No we are full,” was the answer that I received… Seeing a marina across the water we headed over there and pulled up in the boat ramp. As we were sitting by the ramp eating our lunch Bob and Friend zoomed over in their golfcart and yelled out “No kayaks aloud! You can’t launch from there!” I replied “Ok we will move them” but was thinking inside “don’t most people start with a hello?” We sat and ate. They sat and glared. I went over to ask where the office was and he said “why do you need the office! Come on people, get these boats outa here!” Ugg… We then walked over the office to see what was around these parts and they were a little help and told us about Tuckahoe acres across the water. Great 2.5 more miles and we can sleep. On the way out of the office we got them to call Bob and tell him it was ok to have our boats there and launch. He was a little nicer.
Arriving at Tuckahoe acres Bethany walked up to the office and found out that this was a RV park only! With a little explanation they decided to let us camp on their property. A huge relief. That night we played 40 games of bingo with the people at the park. Much more fun than Atlantic City I must say.
That morning we got on the water early to paddle through the Assawomen Canal. It looked more interesting than another day on the ocean and it was. Birds, Jellyfish and kayakers. We saw more kayakers that day than our entire trip combined. Paddling towards ocean city was rather dull but arriving there was nothing the same! No one had warned us that Ocean City was a… City. The biggest city since NYC… We paddled for MILES looking for a Marina to keep our boats or camp at. All the campgrounds were full. Finally we pulled up to the Bahia Marina and at last for 20 dollars they let us keep our boats for the night. The first of the entire trip. At least the Trump Marina in Atlantic City gave us our money back. Our trouble was not over at that point but we did have a friend of a friend coming to meet us for dinner! Cheryl who lives about an hour away in VA, took us to a great seafood dinner. Thanks! Also, we met a guy on the docks who said we could camp in his yard but later on after Cheryl had dropped us off, he never returned our phone call. Great. Now to find a hotel… “I am sorry but the best i can do is $220” Most were full. Finally at about 11, one place had a person leave and was re-selling the room for $90. I WILL TAKE THAT. Sleep at 12:00, about an 18 hour day. The next morning we could not leave. We were so exhausted that the prospect of leaving about killed us so we decided to stay another night. The best 200 dollars I have ever spent!
After resting we were ready to head out to Assateague. The famous island with the horses right? Eh don’t go. So the day before when I was trying to figure out where we were allowed to camp the ranger ended the conversation with “I guess you will have to figure that out foryourself.” Honestly, who says that to someone asking for advice about your park… Hitting the Inlet we decided to go outside instead of on the inside as to miss the bugs. Mistake. Northeast winds to make the ocean choppy. This was the worst inlet we have been through with some large standing waves. A nice class 3 or 4 rapid. The ocean was not much friendler. Seeing the lifeguarded beach that the ranger told us to find, we surfed in (good job Bethany!) and walked up. Wrong park. It was the state park and they were full. She gave us a rough idea of where the backcountry sites were and we paddled back out into the ever increasing seas. After getting to were we thought the backcountry camping was I surfed in. Then next came Bethany. As I waded out to grab her bow to give her a nice ride up onto the sand, she flipped! Luckily Bethany chose to flip right in front of me in the shorebreak. I reached over and righted her (kayakers would call this a “Hand of God” rescue for future referance). She was smiling. No rolling even needed.
As luck would have it we were on the wrong part of the beach and found no campsites. The backcountry sites were a half mile through the island or 1.5 miles down the beach (learned this 3 hours later). We called the ranger asking if we could get a permit and he said we had to go the ranger station. We told him we would not be able to get there unless somone came and picked us up. He said “ok I will send someone.” 3 hours later no one had come. This was also after the second phone call. Wanting to be law abiding citizens we saw a official looking vehicle and flagged it down. He explained the situation. When we asked if we could just leave our boats on the beach and walk to the campsites his response was “no then it would be abandoned property.” Anyways I will leave the full ridiculousness of the situation to a later date but it was ridiculous. I said well I guess we will just go ask one of the guys surfishing (HUGE trucks) to give us a lift. He said “no you cannot have anyone help you?” What? Free country man? As soon as he left and I had the permit we walked over to Ed of http://www.zippersportfishing.com/ and he gave our boats a tow as far as he could into the woods with his huge 1980 pickup. Bugs, Horses and a rainy night.
The next morning we decided to get outta dodge. And since our boats were allready halfway across the island and we were on the bay side why not just paddle on the bay side. This involved a nice drag across the marsh. NEVER a good idea. We had over 25 miles to go that day since we did not want to ever spend another night on Assateague. The paddle was glassy and HOT. Then around 3:00 a south wind picked up. At 4:00 we still had 10 miles and an opposing tide. At last at around 8:00 we made it into our campground on Chincoteague. Oh yea the water was really shallow in parts and one time I got out to drag my boat and tried to run and jump in my boat… Flip. At least bethany and I have gotten our flips out of the way now. Mine was a little less cool with me just ending up in the mud. That night we spent around a campfire with some great Canadians.
So now we have been on Chincoteague two days checking the place out and resting. We have about 80 miles of nothingess until VA Beach. Then another 25 to NC! We got food and water and we are ready to roll bright and early in the morning.