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This Summer Brought to You By…

Memorial Day Weekend 2020: We’d been allowed to open. Yippee!! But now what? How to open safely? We brainstormed, made plans, changed plans, built new doors and dividers, moved counters, painted directional signs, bought plexiglass, a portable sink, hand sanitizer, wash tubs, bleach, more bleach, soap, more soap, bleach sprayers. We changed the flow of customers, implemented new safety measures for guests and employees, and trained staff in our new cleaning protocol. But would it make a difference? Would we be allowed to stay open? Would the beach towns allow visitors? And, most importantly, would anyone come? People trickled in over Memorial Day weekend. The following week, the trickle dried up. Light traffic volume on Route 1 rivaled the mid-week, off-season days before the current new construction explosion. Raucous Laughing Gull calls easily outnumbered phone

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Mitch’s Coast Day Zoom Presentation

Watch Mitch's information-packed Coast Day 2020 presentation about the pros and cons of different types of kayaks and the equipment you need to stay safe on the water!

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The Hard Way: How we know what we know. Part 1—Dry bags

Circa 1995: We unloaded Mitch’s Sea Lion and my Scimitar from Mitch’s teal Ford Ranger, carried them close enough to the water that it was lapping at their bows, and set them down on the gently sloping, rock-strewn beach with sand the color of brown sugar. Next we unloaded all of our gear into mountainous piles on the pavement beside the pickup. Then we took our brand new roll of garbage bags (we’d sprung for the heavy-duty ones) and began bagging up our gear. In our excitement for our first kayak camping trip, two nights of island hopping off the Maine coast, we’d brought a ton of gear. We filled up bags, shoved them into bows and sterns, pulled them out, burped air bubbles, and jammed them back. More than an hour later, our hatches

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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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Neil Baker

The Coastal Kayak family lost a treasured member yesterday. Neil Baker passed away in his home after his nearly two-year battle with pancreatic cancer. I find it so hard to write these words because it was not Neil’s time yet. Neil and his wife, Patty, moved to Ocean City once Neil retired from Ohio State University as a Professor of Microbiology. He started guiding for Coastal Kayak in 2010 doing 5-9 tours per week, always willing to work doubles and pick up shifts when asked. His deep-seated instinct to teach and his eagerness to introduce participants to the natural world made his tours favorites with customers. He bought small, boxed-shaped microscopes to take with him on tours so that kids could get a close-up view of even the tiniest critters in the salt marsh. His

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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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