After seven hours and 25 miles of prone paddling, Mark Carter allowed the tide to slowly float him by the future home of the Grove Park canal dock in Rehoboth Beach. He said as he floated it was the under-construction dock that drew his attention.
“I was a bit in awe of the project,” said Carter. “Even in its construction phase, the canal bank is looking so much better than it did. It truly is going to be a nice extension of an existing beautiful park, and it will be an aesthetically pleasing gateway to the town.”
Looking to raise money for the Grove Park canal dock project, Carter navigated his way Aug. 10 from the Indian River Inlet north along the Atlantic Ocean beaches, around The Point in Cape Henlopen State Park, across the mouth of the Delaware Bay to Roosevelt Inlet in Lewes and then south along the Lewes-Rehoboth Canal to the dock site in Rehoboth Beach.
In an Aug. 11 email the morning after his trip, Carter said except for some biting greenhead flies and the beating of the sun, the trip was awesome. He said he had a great support team, and the direction of the swell, tide and wind were all in his favor from inlet to inlet. There was a bit of a headwind once he passed by the old railroad bridge in Lewes, but he said the prone board has a low profile and he can deal with the wind if he gets some help from the tide.
“Overall,” said Carter, a longtime member of the Lewes Rehoboth Canal Improvement Association, “I’m pretty happy with the adventure.”
Paddling in the prone position for that long gives a person time to think, and Carter said he had two more fundraising ideas pop into his head during the trip. One, he said, was possibly completing the circle by paddling from Grove Park to Indian River Inlet by way of Dewey and Rehoboth Bay; the second is more of a leisurely group paddle event with the dock as the ending point and beneficiary.
“I’m not thinking Dogfish Dash scale, but perhaps a sizable flotilla of paddlers enjoying the nature that connects our communities,” said Carter.
In all, through the GoFundMe campaign, personal checks and some cash, Carter said he raised over $11,500 for the project. He said he’ll keep the GoFundMe site up through the end of August, so there’s still an opportunity to offer support.
“Thank you for the contributions and thank you for the words of encouragement,” said Carter.
As for the $1 million project, Carter said the project is taking shape, and completion should be in late fall. It’s exciting to see a barge containing the pilings, gangway and docks moored by the site.
It would have been pretty nice to pull up to the completed project and take out his board there from that paddle, said Carter.
For more information on the project or to donate, go to GoFundMe Grove Park.