“Look there’s three of them on top of one another!”
“Oh goodness grief... I DON’T BELIEVE IT!”
Couples, threesomes, foursomes.... groped, clenched, grabbed, fondled and clung together in an intense mating ritual of unbelievable proportions.
One by one we watched in awe.... our limp spray skirts encircled our bodies. The bizarre scene astounded even the strongest of us. I gasped. I just couldn’t believe it. Was I becoming aroused? Those old hidden feelings surfaced of the years where I spent my secluded youth growing up on a farm during those cold Montana winters with only Betsey, a lone sheep, for companionship. Oh my gosh!!!!
I looked at my companions. It looked like they were experiencing similar flashbacks. Andy Burtsell had a wicked grin on his face. It was the kind of flirtatious look one would pass in a singles bar. Capt. Al seemed overwhelmed. Lucy Avramenko had a knowing smile but it was John Petrocelli and Don Gorski who were the most affected. They didn’t even wait. They climbed down and started to stroke the participants.
We heard of this happening. Matter-of-fact, we had driven 225 miles the night before hoping we might catch this phenomenon. And the truth is.. it really must be experienced to be believed. Horseshoe crabs by the thousands .... by the hundreds of thousands... climb up on the beach in a several week long orgy in the marshes and creeks surrounding the "Crustation Oasis" known as the Delaware Bay.
We were in Fortescue, New Jersey this early May weekend: Jane Ahlquist (and co-navigator Eric Klein) lead another one of her often strange and bizarre trips. Her co-conspirator - Laurie Bleich was absent. This was noted because none of the men were forced to appear in drag as Laurie’s “women only” trips require, according to the fine print portion of their trip waiver form. They figured any men who made the massive effort of shaving their legs, wiggling into their wives housedresses, painstakingly applying mascara to disguise their 5 o’clock shadow won the right for further humiliation from boy scouts, rangers and park wardens they were sure to encounter along the way.
Jane and Eric led several adventurous kayakers into the marsh lands off Delaware Bay. The marsh lands aren’t for everyone. Only the best orienteers need apply because the marshes run like an English hedge maze. Even armed with a topographical map and a good sense of direction, many kayakers have been known to get lost for hours in the marshy and mosquito laden interior. You must always bide your time (and your tidal charts) because the withdrawal of the sea when the tide goes out can leave one stranded in the middle of this muck filled world for up to six hours before its return.
After hours of wrong turns and dead ends in the marsh lands we finally found the through creek back to the beach where our cars were parked. We were all famished. Don Gorski in particular. Matter-of-fact, his stomach growled so loudly that we offered him an old leather shoe sole to gnaw on until we were packed.
We finally went to dinner at Dino’s, a very inexpensive Italian restaurant. The food portions were so huge that several times we considered renting a forklift to haul our linguini-stuffed butts back to the campsite.
We spent the night at beautiful Parvin State Campground in New Jersey sharing the campsite with a very hyperactive and rambunctious group of Boy Scouts who spent nearly every waking moment running around in their skivvies trying to scare the living daylights out of us. Several of us were snared in the dark when they snuck up behind us and threw their crawdad nets over us. Oh.. how I just love kids.
On Sunday we made a trip out to Riggin’s Ditch mashes for further observation of these phenomena. The thousands of sea birds that migrate to feast on the crabs and their eggs during May and early June brought back the rumblings of last nights dinner at Dino’s. I raised my water bottle to Jane as I dipped into my emergency rations and dropped an Alka Seltzer tablet into it in gratitude for making it through another wonderful Jane Ahlquist trip.
A SALTY DOG SEAKAYAKING MAGAZINE
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