The love of being on the open water and creating lasting friendships is what our yearly trip from Long Beach Island, NJ to Ocean City, MD is all about. It’s 140 miles one-way and countless hours later we make use of our 3 day trip during the summer to cap off the joy of riding our PWC. It all started in 2009 with John’s adventurous nature. The pioneer has continued the tradition all these years. I joined this trip in 2010 with John and Nick, at which time Bar Bay Riders (Barnegat Bay, NJ) was formed. The following year, Alex joined us for the next adventure. John, Nick, Alex, and myself continue to spread the love of this sport by means of Bar Bay Riders.
Fast forward to 2013, the Northeast PWC group joined this trip. I’ve been riding with this group since 2009 and try to join as many trips that they have planned for the year as they always have a schedule of planned rides throughout year. As our group of riders has grown, so has the knowledge of staying safe and being prepared on the water to insure a trip no one will forget. Ed and Alan from NEPWC were a welcome addition to our group as they bring a lot to the table for the love of riding! Thanks to them, we decided to extend it to 4 days so as to enjoy our trip to the fullest instead of feeling rushed. (Or maybe as we get older we need more recovery time!) This year’s trip was by far the most epic ever.
Six riders left at sunrise from Long Beach Island, NJ, riding through the bays in NJ afforded the opportunity to be sheltered from the winds (or the total opposite). Luckily the winds were in our favor and the bay was as calm as one could wish for. We took a chance and shot out to the ocean at Little Egg Inlet to see if we could shave some time off the ride – so we could avoid all the intercostal slow/no wake areas. Bad move. Our moving average was probably closer to 10-15mph in the ocean.
We shot back into the bay at Absecon Inlet, Atlantic City, NJ and enjoyed the calm waters that the bay offered. We coordinated a meet up with 2 more skis in Ocean City, NJ to extend our riding family. The more skis in our group the better! Our last stop in NJ was Cape May before we crossed the opening of the Delaware Bay into the ocean. Crossing the Delaware Bay is roughly 25 miles of open ocean before hitting land again in Delaware. We remembered what the ocean was like and were not looking forward to this crossing at all! Steady 20mph winds out of the south meant we were riding directly into the angry ocean. Slow and steady we went. I’ve been through worse but this crossing was up in the Top 3 for bad conditions.
Luckily we all made it across with no issues and had a decision to make: stay in the ocean or tuck into the bay at Indian River Inlet near Rehoboth Beach, DE. No thought needed on that decision. We shot into the bay even though this route took us down the Assawoman Canal which is a 4-mile-long No Wake Zone. Riding 2mph-3mph for 4 miles. You do the math how long it took.
The tides were extremely low that week of the trip. We didn’t expect what happened in the middle of the Assawoman Canal that’s for sure. The water level was just above the calf/mid-calf in the middle of the canal for about 20 yards! Off the ski to push we went. It was barely enough water to push the skis at some points. Due to the low water a couple of skis ingested foreign material that required on the water surgery after we exited the canal.
We all came prepared for the worse expecting the best. Being 140 miles from home I better come with everything I could need to pull the intake grate (and pump as well) as to deal with small mechanical issues. After performing open water surgery and clearing the pump, off we went to our final destination, Seacrets Ocean City, MD. Nine hours and 140 miles later we tied up to the mooring stations and rested from getting beat up on the ride down.
The ride home was the complete opposite in terms of water conditions. All ocean riding back to Long Beach Island with the flattest, calmest ocean we could ask for. Barely a ripple of a wave. A perfect way to end this epic adventure and to have memorizes for a lifetime.