By DONALD WITTKOWSKI
Jeff Milligan navigated his paddleboard around the bay waters Saturday while his 3-year-old son, Pierce, stood up and balanced himself on the bow like a member of the famous Flying Wallendas tightrope-walking family.
“He’s absolutely loving it,” Milligan said of Pierce’s very first outing on their new paddleboard. “He’s gotten used to it and now he wants to swim on his own.”
Pierce’s mother, Kaileen Milligan, and his grandfather, Tom Burke, waved to the red-haired boy while they were standing on the dock of Sea Isle City’s new fishing pier and kayak launch site on the bayfront near 60th Street.
Residents of Philadelphia who have a summer home in Sea Isle, the Milligans and Burke were enjoying a spectacularly sunny day, with temperatures flirting with the 90s, for their paddleboarding adventure.
After a lingering storm all but washed out the Memorial Day weekend, this was the type of weather everyone has been waiting for to kick off the summer vacation season at the shore.
“It was brutal,” Mike DeLuca said of the rainy Memorial Day weekend. “I sat in the house for three days. I was losing my mind.”
DeLuca’s wife, Linda, shook her head and laughed at his obvious exaggeration. The two were happy Saturday to be able to get out of the house and jump on their Waverunner for some fun in the bay.
“After a week of work, it’s very nice to be able to come down to Sea Isle to relax and see family and friends,” Linda DeLuca said.
The DeLucas live in Holland, Pa., and have a summer home in Sea Isle. Once they hopped on their Waverunner, they planned to head out to a small island in the bay to meet up with some friends. Later, they were planning to take a trip down to Stone Harbor for some drinks.
“This is our first outing for the summer,” Linda said as they left from the marina at Pier 88 in Townsends Inlet.
Based on the forecast, the shore may be the only place to escape 2021’s first official heat wave, which is expected to bake South Jersey through Tuesday. Temperatures are expected to hit the low 90s inland, but will stay in the 80s at the shore, according to the National Weather Service.
On Saturday, a slight breeze blew off Townsends Inlet to help keep beachgoers cool. Jeff and Trish Lomanno were joined by their daughter, Lauren Lomanno, and their grandchildren, 8-year-old twins, Peyton and Logan, while relaxing on the beach overlooking the inlet.
“It’s perfect,” Jeff Lomanno said of the sunny weather.
“It’s gorgeous,” his wife added.
The Lomannos, of Blackwood, N.J., watched as Peyton and Logan used a toy shovel to dig in the sand and hunt for shells.
Logan also waded into the water and described it as “a little warm.”
“I’m swimming and finding shells,” Logan replied when asked by his mother what he was doing.
Lauren Lomanno, who lives in Stratford, N.J., noted that the whole family was simply enjoying a leisurely day on the beach and had no special plans other than eating dinner later on.
“We’re being spontaneous,” she quipped, prompting laughter from the family.