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.
As our other kayak tour options have been busy this summer, the same can be said for our kayak fishing tours! We’re stoked to offer this unique outdoor experience in some of the best fishing areas our region has to offer: Back Bay for our freshwater tours and Rudee Inlet for our saltwater tours. A recent trip out to one of Back Bay’s true honey holes saw an ideal scene for pursuing largemouth bass, the world’s most popular freshwater gamefish. Thick, healthy beds of aquatic vegetation called Eurasian water milfoil blanketed the reed-lined cove — the perfect cover for these voracious ambush predators. The presence of these grass beds is a great sign that our water quality is top-notch, which translates to ample fish populations as well as an overall good bill of health for the Back Bay watershed. Our trip saw plenty of action with steady hits and a nice, lively catch (and release!). Enjoy these images from our latest fishing trip on Back Bay and click this link to sign up for your fishing tour!
Photos & words by John Streit.
When most think of the word “paradise,” images of palm trees and white sand beaches come to mind. While that’s a scene all of us can appreciate, I’m here to challenge the notion that paradise can’t be found right here in and around Sandbridge — especially during the summer season. Our beaches are top-notch in their own right; and the recreational opportunities the Atlantic Ocean, Back Bay and False Cape State Park offer stand up next to anything you can find in the tropics. All it requires to view our rugged outbacks in this way is a minor change of perspective and an appreciation for the natural beauty our coastal environment puts on display. There’s arguably no better way to experience these diverse landscapes than striking out on one of our False Cape Bike Tours! We start on the pavement out of Little Island Park and make our way into Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge on the tightly-packed gravel trails perfect for a simple beach cruiser. Waterfowl empoundments, high dune ridges, the open waters of Back Bay and the expansive sky mesmerize the rider as the journey reaches the gates of False Cape State Park surprisingly fast, though 5-plus miles have already been covered. It’s easy to lose track of time when the scenery reveals wildlife such as river otters, bald eagles, deer, turtles and a wide variety of shorebirds and migratory waterfowl. The scene then shifts to maritime forest and the pine groves of the higher dune elevations. A hop over the dune reveals the vast Atlantic Ocean to the east and the dunes and forest to the west. We even offer a coastal cruise option with our fat-tire sand bike tours! Put your foot to the pedal and discover our slice of paradise!
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!
Words, photos and video produced by John Streit. Filmed by Les Frankel & Streit.
False Cape State Park is the kind of place where the usual travel or nature buzz words like “breathtaking” are used to describe it, but inevitably fall short of actually summarizing its majesty. No matter how many times I have made the trek from Sandbridge to Virginia’s southernmost state park, I always return with a renewed sense of awe and appreciation for this incredible stretch of natural beaches, high dunes, maritime forest and marsh flats. All of those ecosystems were on display under sunny skies and warm temperatures for our 2015 False Cape Bike & Surf Trip, which took 15 stoked participants from Little Island Park to False Cape’s Barbour Hill and back with a four-plus-hour surf session in between for good measure.
This trip also serves as a preview for our False Cape Retreats, which return for three special runnings this summer starting on Saturday, June 20 followed by Saturdays July 11 and August 22. We are also offering False Cape Bike Tours which offers participants the option of biking the interior trails or on the sand with our fleet of fat-tire sand bikes!
Until then, enjoy the video and photos capturing the action from another classic Bike & Surf Trip!