Autumn afternoons on Back Bay Virginia like the one these Norfolk State University students and faculty experienced tell the story of a coastal estuary in transition. As a result, wildlife sightings have been ample and fall colors are becoming more prominent as the season holds on to its last few warm days before the winds of winter arrive. Migratory birds are buzzing south along the Atlantic Flyway, which aligns perfectly with our waterway. Winding through the northern portion of Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge, the tributary offers a complete cross-section of the watershed’s natural environment from maritime forest to marsh to open water. For more information and to book your group outing on our scenic stretch of sheltered, flat water, call us at (757) 721-6210 or follow this link. Thanks to NSU’s Living-Learning Communities coordinator Patrisha Aregano for bringing the crew down to Sandbridge! Photos by John Streit.
Photos & words by John Streit.
While we approach every family’s Surf & Adventure experience with the utmost passion and enthusiasm, it’s always a treat when influential members of our community choose to hit the water with us. That was the case last week, when Dr. Bill and Kathy Magee — founders of the global, Virginia Beach-based medical nonprofit Operation Smile — brought their big, happy family down to Sandbridge for our famous Back Bay Eco Tour! Comprised of the elder Magees, several of their children and many more grandkids — 21 in all — the crew was stoked to take on our three-mile track down our waterway and into the open waters of North Bay. Youthful energy and adventurous spirits ran high as we made the paddle through the maritime forest into the open marsh and open water. Some of the resident critters decided to put on a show for the Magees, as we spotted turtles, snakes, muskrats, red wing blackbirds, purple martins, vultures, osprey and even a pair of bald eagles soaring over the marsh in the bluebird skies.
The Magees founded Operation Smile in 1982 after visiting the Philippines and witnessing the remarkably high concentration of cleft lips and palettes in the local population — most of which in poverty-stricken, rural areas. Since then, Operation Smile has steadily grown into one of the world’s most celebrated and recognized nonprofit organizations for their tireless work in improving the lives of their patients — free of charge — around the globe. The Magees have been the recipients of numerous awards and honors including the first $1 million Conrad N. Hilton Humanitarian Prize in 1996, the Servants of Peace Award in 1997, the Golden Plate Award and Kellogg’s Hannah Neil World of Children Award in 1999, and in 2001 the Common Wealth Award of Distinguished Service and the Antonio Feltrinelli Prize for Exceptional Endeavors of Outstanding Moral and Humanitarian Value by the Accademia Nazionale dei Lincei. In 2007, USAID presented the Magees with the President’s Call to Service Award from President George W. Bush. In addition, Kathy Magee was highlighted in November 2009 in US News & World Report’s issue “America’s Best Leaders.”
We would like to offer huge thanks to the Magees for their incredible contribution to humanity — not to mention bringing the family down for a good time on the water!
Photos & words by John Streit.
We invite you to join us on the waters of Back Bay for a late afternoon paddle from Surf & Adventure’s boat dock into Pungo’s Muddy Creek to one of the area’s best restaurants: Blue Pete’s! As we’ve been dealing with a scorching heat wave, staying as cool as possible has become an important part of daily life — and kayaking is no exeception.
In my opinion, the best paddling tours S&A hosts are its Blue Pete’s Dinner Tours. The hottest part of the day has already past by the time we hit the water; and it’s likely a cooler sea breeze will be blowing across Back Bay to provide a gentle push into Muddy Creek from Back Bay. Wildlife become more active as the cooler temperatures and afternoon shadows set in for the evening. The course also puts a wider cross-section of the watershed on display; with the S&A waterway showing the transition from maritime forest to expansive marsh to the open waters of North Bay, as Muddy Creek boasts cypress groves and remnants of our regions duck hunting heritage along its banks.
The tour is unique, as it requires the participants to park a Blue Pete’s 30 minutes before scheduled departure. The S&A staff then shuttles the group back to our location for a one-way paddle to the restaurant. It is recommended to bring a change of clothes to change into after the paddle at the restaurant. From there, the guides take care of transporting the craft back to the shop while you enjoy Blue Pete’s fresh fare in one of the prettiest natural settings in the area.
Give us a call at (757) 721-6210 or click here to book your Blue Pete’s Dinner Tour online! We can do the trip on SUPs as well!
Enjoy these photos of the Kerr and Savick groups’ (from Michigan and Ohio, respectively) recent tour!