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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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Which is More Stable: A Sit-on-Top or a Sit-Inside Kayak?

If all other dimensions are equal, a sit-inside (open-cockpit) kayak is more stable than a sit-on-top kayak. In an open-cockpit kayak you're sitting lower in the boat. Your center of gravity (aka rear-end) is at or near the level of the water. For example, when you're sitting on the floor, unless you've had one too many margaritas, it's hard to get knocked-over. But if you're standing, anything unexpected can make you lose your balance. That's because your center of gravity is higher. Many times kayak manufacturers will mitigate the higher center of gravity of a sit-on-top kayak by making it wider or by changing the bottom shape. However, both of these changes will affect the performance of the kayak. A wider kayak will be slower. And changing the bottom shape will make a larger surface

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Sailing Excursions on Little Assawoman Bay

Sometimes you want to move and sometimes you want to be moved. But just because you're in a chillaxed state of being doesn't mean that you can't get up close and personal with the bay and it's feathered and finned residents. Join us for a small boat sailing excursion on Little Assawoman Bay where the wind and your skipper will do the work. Without the drone of a motor you will be able to truly enjoy the sights and sounds of our coastal environment. In a world full of constant ringing, buzzing, dinging, roaring, and honking, the pure sound of water zipping past rudders and birds settling into nests refreshes the soul. When we say "small boat," we mean SMALL boat! We do our tours on small catamarans or day sailors with a maximum of

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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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A Home with a View

Hello! Thanks for calling ReNest. This is Robin. How can I help you? Ozzy: Yes, we’re newly weds searching for the perfect place to build our home. We need something fast. Do you have anything available? Robin: Of course! Describe your perfect spot. Ozzy: Well, we need to live near the water, shallow water preferably. We’d like an expansive view. And we don’t like neighbors.  Robin: I’ve got a platform in mind that will be perfect for you!   Paddling on the bays this time of the year, you’re sure to see Osprey couples guarding their nests. And if you get too close, you’re sure to hear their sharp, distinctive warnings. At this point in the season most of their eggs have hatched. So we’re now seeing the fuzzy heads of Osprey chicks peering from the nest.

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5 Great Spring Paddles!

The sky in the spring seems bluer than other times of the year. The new green leaves seem to be a green you just don’t see otherwise. The water is at its clearest. So naturally, you want to get out in your kayak to experience it. But the water is still cold. And that other thing that accompanies spring-blue skies, the wind, is the bane of early season paddling. But as long as you dress properly and pick an appropriate destination, you can get out in your kayak to enjoy this fresh time of year. In the spring, when the wind blows over the cool water, it turn a beautifully comfortable afternoon paddle into a freezing slog. Because of this, it is best to avoid open areas. Pick a spot surrounded by trees so that

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Don’t Let This Monster Ruin Your Vacation

If you're reading this blog you're probably an adventurous person. You love the beach. You love the water. You love being outside. But even those of us who consider ourselves 'adventurous' can succomb to the monster that preys on so many adults - Routine. Yes, Routine is the worst type of monster because, at times, it is necessary. With Routine we can get more accomplished, go on auto-pilot, sometimes it allows us to relax. Routine can be a comfort. But it becomes evil when it steals time. When it turns our days, weeks, months, even years into a blur. Since we have a routine and don't have to constantly make decisions, we don't think about what we are doing. Do you remember what you had for dinner two nights ago? Do you remember what you

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A New Captain in Town!

Congratulations to Mitch Mitchell! After a long, frustrating winter spent studying charts, books, flash cards, and videos, memorizing terminology, and working through hours of navigational problems Mitch breezed through his Coast Guard Captain's License test. Why did he put himself through this? Coastal Kayak is expanding its sailing program offering Sailing Nature Cruises and more in-depth Adult Sailing Mini-Camps. Eventually we hope to incorporate a larger sailboat with an auxiliary motor into our fleet. Anyone carrying passengers on a boat with a motor for a fee is required to be a Coast Guard certified captain. We think the Maryland and Delaware beaches are The Perfect Place to Sail - miles of shorelines to explore, plenty of wind, and bays where you can both cruise to a nice, waterfront restaurant for lunch or find a quiet

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