Life on Little Assawoman

Where is Everybody?

According to Mitch, back in the 1980s when he first moved to the area, the Tuesday after Labor Day you could roll a bowling ball right down the middle of Rt. 1. While the nesting and migratory habits of homo sapiens have changed radically in recent years, for most species, life cycle changes are measured in decades, centuries, and eons. Which means that, even though nowadays weekend beach traffic is thick no matter the season, you still won’t see a Horseshoe crab in Little Assawoman Bay in January. But where do our feathered, gilled, and web-footed friends go in the winter? Bird-watchers and scientists have always known that Osprey, easily recognizable by their high-pitched call, daring plunges, and platform nests guarding over our bays, leave the Mid-Atlantic for southern climes around the same time kids

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Winter Kayak Maintenance

In our household exists two opposite maintenance ideologies: Mitch believes in it and I don’t. That’s not exactly true. I think regular maintenance is great as long as someone else (Mitch) does it. The wonderful thing about kayaks, especially plastic ones, is that for most of the year they require little to no maintenance. No engines to flush, oil to change, wiper fluid to fill, or batteries to replace. However, it’s a good idea to pamper your kayak a little before tucking it in for its long winter nap, so it is happy and perky when it comes out of hibernation, ready for a summer of exploration. Drain and dry your kayak: Although our winters here in the mid-Atlantic are mild, inevitably we will have some sub-freezing nights and days. Any water left inside the

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Game Plan

You may notice a few changes to Coastal Kayak. But behind the masks and the plexiglass, we’re still excited to see you! Here is what you can expect when you come to rent a kayak, paddleboard, or sailboat this season: 1) We ask that only one person in your group approach our front door (with a sign that says “Start Here”) wearing a mask. We will give that person the release forms for everyone to fill out. (We also have digital release forms available on our website if you'd prefer to take care of this step without contact.) 2) Everyone in your group will need to sign the forms. You can either take them back to your vehicle to fill out or we will have tables available. If using the tables, please do not go

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Not Your Normal Summer Tourists

This past summer we greeted a lot of friendly faces - families from Pennsylvania, Ohio, Colorado, New York; young professionals from D.C, Philadelphia, Manhattan; retirees from Lewes, Selbyville, Millville. But some of our most surprising visitors this year didn’t drive into our parking lot. They flew and swam into our bay. Pelicans: We saw more Brown Pelicans in Little Assawoman Bay than ever before. On the ocean side, pelicans are not a rare sighting. But sometimes years will pass between sightings on our bay. However, this summer, at one point, we counted over thirty pelicans at one time circling or floating on the water near Point of Cedars Island. Pelicans are more fascinating to watch than the Weather Channel during hurricane season - the way they fold their awkward beaks sleekly into their bodies while

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Congrats to Ms. B! Delaware STEM Teacher of the Year!

When Sarah Betlejewski isn’t guiding CK customers through the Delaware and Maryland salt marshes and cypress swamps, she is teaching science to 7th graders at Millsboro Middle School. Recently Sarah (known to her students as Ms. B) won the Delaware Middle School STEM Teacher of the Year Award. She received her award at the Delaware STEM Symposium on Oct. 8th. STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics. According to Sarah, “STEM focuses on problem-based learning where you take a current, community-based problem and try to create solutions with technology or engineering.” Not resting with just one award, Sarah’s students are also state finalists for the Samsung Solve For Tomorrow award. Open to public middle and high schools nationwide, the goal for the contest is to integrate the student’s learning with community leader’s feedback to

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Toughing it Out

Somehow they know it’s time. Towards the end of summer, the small changes in daylight signal rituals of preparation. They flock together, watching and waiting. One morning the marsh is full of birds hunting and preening, and the next morning, usually after a strong north wind, they’re gone, those same tidal ponds eerily empty. Yet, thankfully, not all birds desert our beaches and inland bays. Throughout the winter, besides the short-lived migrations of northern birds passing through, we have hardy, year-round residents. Instead of following food sources south, they’ve figured out ways to hunt, forage, and survive in the worst of weather. One of our largest avian year-round residents is the wild turkey. They roam in flocks and when you see them run across the road or a field, it is impossible not to smile and

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Falling Marsh

"I think the salt marsh turned brown last night," Mitch said as we were driving to Assateague yesterday. This year, with the summer-like fall we've been experiencing, the inevitable seasonal changes in the area flora took us by surprise. But no matter what the thermometer is saying, the days are getting shorter. And that means that the salt marsh has to prepare for winter. The most prevalent grass in our marshes is smooth cordgrass (Spartina Alterniflora). While it flowers July through September, in mid to late August it goes to seed. When that happens it grows fast. "In 2-3 days it doubles in height," says Mitch. "It grows from about one and a half feet to three feet virtually overnight." This can be problematic for Coastal Kayak guides. "We look at the amount of grass

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The Race is On

The score of our “PTW” competition fills the lower right corner of our scheduling board. To customers, it looks like a confusing jumble of names and numbers. But staff members know what it means. It means serious business. PTW stands for Pedal/Paddle to Work. The rules are simple. The person who uses human power to get to work the most wins. You get one point for each round trip (a half point means the person got a ride home). At this point, the distance doesn’t matter. What the winner wins, other than the title, is still up for discussion.  The contenders: Danielle - 6 Danielle is the defending champion. She’s slacking off at Coastal Kayak this year because of her less important job as a mail carrier. Still, she’s not giving up on the competition. 

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Where to Launch at the Beach

When we first started Coastal Kayak in the mid-90s, recreational kayaking was in its infancy. Kayak manufacturers were just realizing that the more comfortable and stable the kayak was, the more people would be willing to try it. Back then, 95% of our customers had never been in a kayak before. These days, not only have most people tried kayaking, many people love it so much that they've bought their own kayaks. Things have definitely changed for the better! Of course, once you buy your own kayak and/or paddleboard, you understandably want to get it in the water. One question we get more and more often these days is, "Can I launch from your site?" The answer is - sometimes yes, and sometimes no. Because we run out of parking, during the busy season we

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How to Interpret Your Weather App at the Beach

You’ve finally arrived at the beach. Now it’s time to plan out your week. You open your weather app and… major disappointment! Every single day shows a cloud and a lightening bolt. Do not despair! Our forecast for the weather forecast here at the beach shows a 99% chance of inaccurate forecasting. Many temperatures and masses live side by side in this area. The ocean is cool. The land is hot. The bay is in between. We have sea breezes and land breezes. The wind speed and direction differs on the different area bays. Weather forecasters have a tough job here! At Coastal Kayak, when we see a forecast with anything less than 80% chance of rain, we don’t pay it much attention. 90-100% chance - we’ll take note. But even then it is definitely

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