Circumnavigation of Cape May

by  arks

A self-supported trip created by arks

Trip Overview

A beautiful July day arrived with sunny skies and light wind, so we decided the time was right for this trip. We launched on the Delaware Bay just north of the canal at 9:30 AM. The beach/ shoreline there is rather soupy but I managed to get into the boat without any issue. We paddled south across the canal entrance just past the riprap and stayed about 1/4 mile off the beach. Reached the Concrete Ship at Sunset beach in about 30 minutes. Lots of dolphins were in the area and were very interested in us, coming right up to the kayaks and looking at us! The Concrete Ship is now broken into 2 pieces and I paddled right in between them. We didn’t noticed any tidal influence at this point but the breeze was pushing us gently toward the south. We rounded the Point and got a good look at the lighthouse and old Convent building right along the beach. Just beyond this point we were about 1-1/2 hours into our trip so we decided to do a beach landing, which went well for me but dumped my partner in the surf- no big deal, We took some pictures and had a drink before a local came up to tell us the beach is protected and we shouldn’t be there (?!). We argued gently that we’re not harming or disturbing any wildlife and are appreciating the natural beauty- just as they are walking on the beach! We decided to get moving again and launched into the (small) surf. This time we ventured a bit farther offshore (maybe 1/2 mile tops) and here are even more dolphins! They really seemed to enjoy our company- I know I did theirs- and they joined us for the next hour as we’re paddled off the beautiful Cape May beaches. Life really is good when you’re out here on a good day with a friend! We stopped paddling a few times to take more pictures and just roll over the swells. We planned to make the canal around 1 hour after high tide but we were a little later. It didn’t matter much so we waited until boat traffic cleared before entering from the ocean side. No problems at all, passing the Coast Guard station and into the harbor. We paddled over to the Fisherman’s Memorial and landed there for lunch. Such a spectacular day, sunny with a nice breeze! We launched again and paddled up through the marina area (Shellengers Landing) and under the low bridge where the whale watching boat is docked. From there we paddled past the public boat ramp and out the the canal. Not a lot of boat traffic so it was easy, aided by the tide pushing us 2 knots without even paddling👍. I think we saw more birds here than anywhere else on our route. Approaching the ferry terminal, we were very careful to stay as far away as possible and, sure enough, just as we were getting close, one of them departed to a bunch of loud blasts. We waited until it was away then continued out into the bay and turned North to our put-in spot. Next time I’ll pick a better launch spot but it worked fine this time, just a long way to walk thru the muck.
Total time 6 hours 45 minutes and about 16 miles. We both had capable sea kayaks with spray skirts and lots of experience. I would not recommend this trip to anybody with a smaller recreational kayak because the ocean swells, boat wakes, and currents that may be a bit too much.

Safety Notes

Not a trip for beginners or small open kayaks.

Gear Notes

Sea kayaks, PFD, VHF radio, spray skirts, spare paddles, pumps, hydration, tow line.

Trip Details

  • Trip Dates: 7/16/2018
  • Sport/Activity: Kayaking
  • Skill Level: Intermediate, Advanced
  • Water Type: Open Water/Ocean, Surf

Trip Location