Kayaking Delaware, part 1

Milton resident Terri Colloton started kayaking when she moved to Florida in 2006. She won a silent auction item at a church event – a kayak trip with two church members, who liked to kayak, and a gourmet picnic lunch.  

“We kayaked to Munyon Island in MacArthur Beach State Park, enjoyed a delicious lunch, and paddled around the interior of the island before heading back,” she recalls. “I was hooked”! 

After a 36-year career, the retired preschool and early elementary teacher moved to Milton in 2021. 

Her former PA teaching colleague and friend Rosemary Giangiulio, also a Milton resident now, lived on a boat for 20 years (11 full-time) in DC, so she had an affinity for water. She started kayaking in 2001.  

“Living on the boat in downtown DC., was the best of all worlds,” she said. “In the morning I could push my kayak off the stern of the boat and paddle before work. We had a perfect location for museums, restaurants, monuments and events.” 

While Sussex County may not boast the same amenities, there are plenty of places to explore and discover.  

So far, Colloton has only kayaked on the Broadkill River from the boat launch in Milton but she wants to investigate Redden State Park, Trapp Pond and Prime Hook.  

“Back in Florida I enjoyed paddling the Loxahatchee River, Fish Eating Creek, the spring runs in Ocala National Forest, and the headwaters of the Suwannee River in the Okefenoke Swamp,” she said while paddling through mangrove tunnels, cypress, water lilies and even dolphins, rays, manatees and alligators.  

“I have found kayaking to be meditation, adventure and exercise all rolled up in one delightful activity,” she added.  “It enables me to feel much more connected to the natural world”.  

Giangiulio cites Broadkill is her favorite, but she also enjoys kayaking at Trapp Pond because of its beautiful cypress trees. She typically transports her kayak on J hooks installed on top of her SUV. Colloton tucks hers in the back of her SUV and she hoists it like she was storing a bag of firewood.  

Giangiulio concurs about the connection to nature and the meditative aspect of kayaking, but she adds another benefit. “I also enjoy the upper body work-out,” she says with a smile.  

Fortunately, one need not own a kayak to enjoy the activity in coastal Delaware. On a recent summer evening, three Paynter’s Mill residents joined a Social Paddle group on the Broadkill organized by Delaware Paddlesports, a well-stocked shop on Coastal Highway in Lewes. Only Colloton had her own kayak. The other two retirees had not kayaked in years, and they were not the only neophytes. One retiree had never kayaked but another former retiree and group leader named Derrick was happy to help. He works for the shop. Social Paddle excursions take place on Tuesday evenings. It is wise to contact the store or its Facebook page for details.  

According to the group, the Broadkill trip was an easy ride out of Milton and a great way to meet other kayakers and potential kayakers. A special treat was a “bird’s eye view” of a huge Blue Heron perched on a dead tree branch seemingly posing for the paddlers. Another draw for the Milton location is the put-in point’s proximity to two popular restaurants – Irish Eyes and Dough Bar.  

While Delaware Paddlesports focuses mainly on sales, Quest, also in Lewes, specializes in rentals and tours. Part Two will focus on the pros and cons of owning and buying, the types of kayaks, and other popular kayaking locations. 

By Mary Jo Tarallo, Guest Journalist

Mary Jo Tarallo spent much of her career in public relations with various non-profits and spent 40 years involved with the ski industry as a journalist, public relations director for a national trade association and as executive director of the Learn to Ski and Snowboard initiative. Prior to her ski industry involvement she worked for the Maryland International Center in Baltimore and United Way of Central Maryland. She won a Gold Award for TV programming for a United Way simulcast that starred Ophrah Winfrey. She has been cited for her work by numerous organizations. Mary Jo grew up in Baltimore, attended the University of Maryland and Towson University, lived in Washington, DC for 21 years and has been a full time resident of Rehoboth Beach and Milton since May 2019.  

3 responses to “Kayaking Delaware, part 1

  1. Interesting article. With all the retirees down here, a great alternative to the awkward to carrry, hard shell kayaks is an “origami” folding kayak. We bought Tucktec kayaks because we wanted one we could leave in the car and be ready to go without having to load them on the carrier esp. since our go to kayak is a double and I’m to short to help my husband. They tend to be less expensive than a regular kayak as well. Check out their FB group for another perspective on types of kayaks. And, no, I have no affiliation with the company.

    1. Our guest journalist, Mary Jo, does a great job trying out new stuff and writing all about it. Thanks for your encouragement!

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