Tonight was a beautiful night on Forge Pond for kayakers in Brick Township. Myself, and some other members of Jersey Shore Sea Kayak Association, including Tom, Eric, Terry, Diane, Ronnie, Micheal and newbie Trace launched at Forge Pond (off Rt. 70 West in Brick Township) at about 6:30 pm tonight. In addition to our group, a large crew from the Jersey Paddler store, about 12 of them, also decided to paddle down the Metedeconk River and enjoy the weekly scheduled SummerFest Concert at Windward Beach with us. We launched ahead once our group was all together, paddled down a little more than a mile on the Metedeconk and landed at Windward Beach before 7:30, with the Jersey Paddler fleet landing shortly thereafter. What a beautiful sight on the beach at Windward...all those kayaks, I counted 20 of them, all lined up on the beach...all the different shapes, sizes and models really made the beach look more like a PaddleFest.
There was a crowd tonight of over 10,000 people al! l enjoying the nice weather tonight and the music by Larry Chance & the Earls and waiting for the fireworks display over the river . Boat traffic was moderate (I've seen it much worse than tonight) and there was some good wind in the middle of the Metedeconk. After hitting the grease trucks we launched back into the river with the rest of the fleet under the purple sunset sky and the slowly rising almost full moon. After maneuvering between the many anchored boats on the river, we found an area to watch the fireworks from. Night fell on the kayak and boat filled river and the moon was bright. Fireworks didn't start til after 9:30 but they were worth the wait. The vivid colors lit up the boat and kayak-strewn Metedeconk River and the loud booms echoed up the Metedeconk to Forge Pond and down to Barnegat Bay. After the spectacular firework finale went off...all you could see on the Metedeconk River were small lights from the armada of paddlers...all heading back upriver alongside the channel and the motorboats. I've never seen the landing site at Forge Pond this bustling, even during the day...nevermind 10:30 at night... and a weeknight.
It was a great night for the entire fleet of kayakers on the Metedeconk tonight. We watched the fireworks, enjoyed the music, and had a great 'almost full moon' paddle, even though many of us have to work tomorrow. This is the Tao of Paddling.
This is also a great route to take during the day, especially in early to late spring when there is little to no boat traffic. Once you launch at Forge Pond, you can take the lower Metedeconk River down about 4 miles into the Barnegat Bay. This route can be somewhat challenging for a beginner or novice paddler, depending on weather and tide conditions. The lower river is wider, tidal and is prone to high winds and heavy, sometimes confused chop. In the summer, you should also be prepared for heavy boat traffic. Another option more suitable for beginners from the launch at Forge Pond is to paddle upriver where the river narrows. This is a more tranquil route and, in season, has an abundance of turtles, snakes and bird life, including some very large Great Blue Heron.