This past weekend I hopped on my 30 year old ten speed to take part in the UrbanTrekkers/UrbanPromise bike ride. Urban Trekkers is an experiential learning program that gets kids from Camden out and exploring nature. Jim Cummings has been leading kids to adventure and pushing their limits, very often surpassing what they thought was possible. Last year I got meet Faith Kroma, who advocates for the Cooper River (you can read about Faith here-http://www.urbanpromiseusa.org/blog/2013/03/13/urbanpromise-student-shares-love-river-new-jersey-land-conservation-rally) . In addition to cleaning up the river, Faith also hopes to improve access to it for the residents of Camden. It was wonderful to see her again-and this year we made a promise, that, unlike last year, THIS year she WILL get down to Ocean City to take advantage of our free surf lessons at our South Jersey Chapter of Surfrider Foundation’s International Surfing Day!! (check our chapter out on FB, we post our events regularly- https://www.facebook.com/pages/Surfrider-Foundation-South-Jersey-Chapter/203920463942?fref=ts )
As the kids noted (see this awesome Courier Post article- http://www.courierpostonline.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2013305050013), the first ten miles of the bike-ride were pretty hellish. I wondered about doing the whole 65 miles, especially since I hadn’t biked more than five miles at a time since the last ride! I was seriously wondering why i was doing the 65 mile ride and not the 35 ride! For whatever reason though, after suffering through the first 40 some odd miles, the last 25 felt like cake. I met up with some friends-truly inspiring folks who just don’t seem to ever stop giving-Mark Hanlon, Tom Calesterio, and Christine Tucker. Mark is always searching out new ways to give and causes to ride for, and Tom has been active in the UT boatbuilding program (trying to get him to build an OC6!). Christine Tucker works for the City of Camden and is my friend and neighbor here in Medford Lakes. I never get to see enough of her, so it was icing on the cake to run into her at this.
On Sunday Carl and I roused the kids up early before church to drop me off at Crowley’s Landing below Batsto so I could do battle with the wind. We bribed them with promises of breakfast sandwiches to go at The Roadstop on 206. I was a tad underdressed for this paddle. It was overcast for the first 22 miles or so, and so windy and chilly that I didn’t want to drink much water-not only would I blow backwards if I stopped, but I’d freeze in a second. My hands were always chilly, but as long as I kept moving I could stay ahead of completely freezing. Next time for sure I wear a thicker wetsuit. Lightweight paddling pants are great for shorter trips, but bouncy rides, gray skies, chilly water, and serious winds make for a very unfun experience. Definitely next time a different clothing plan! (my route can be viewed here- http://share.findmespot.com/shared/faces/viewspots.jsp?glId=08MWaxdZDVp99MhCYFB6OTqSDfunq2D5j) I am seriously hoping that the weather warms up a tad, so it’s a little more comfortable to do the WaterTribe race I’m looking forward to doing. It’s more a personal challenge than anything- a 64 mile circumnavigation of Kent, Wye, and Neck Islands in the Chesapeake. For sure I will be dressing warmer! (the 10 m booties WERE the ticket, though!) Link to the OkoumeFest UltraMarathon can be found here- http://watertribe.com/Events/OkoumeFestUltraMarathon/Default.aspx
I was hoping to find some banded Herring and Blackbacked seagulls, but alas, it was so windy that I couldn’t even stop to get the binoculars out of my bag. The gulls I did manage to get close enough to, a few of the Herring Gulls, were not banded. I’m stoked to be tracking, or at least trying to track down, the large gulls that have been banded in a program at Tufts University. Dr.Julie Ellis is heading up this research. She hooked up with the folks at Adventurers and Scientists for Conservation (http://www.adventureandscience.org) who reached out to me about this project. Hopefully more water time and less windy days will translate into some awesome data collection!
In the meantime, I’m looking forward to our last conference call for the Blue Vision Summit. Don’t forget to register for this fabulous celebration of the sea, pertinent workshops/panels, and the BEST networking opportunity for ocean lovers and activists on the East Coast!