SHARE
The water-filled gully has been attracting crowds of children and adults.

By DONALD WITTKOWSKI

A gigantic “baby pool” of sorts has suddenly appeared on Sea Isle City’s beach.

Children and adults alike are splashing around and having fun in a long gully filled with ocean water starting at the 72nd Street beach and stretching north for a few blocks.

Mayor Leonard Desiderio said the shallow gully has formed due to sand buildup along the shoreline created by a beach replenishment project in Sea Isle completed in June.

“This isn’t uncommon following a beach replenishment project, and our public works crews will be addressing this to the (fullest) extent possible. For the most part, Mother Nature takes care of this, as the profile of the beach adjusts with the natural action of the tides and waves,” Desiderio said during a City Council meeting Tuesday.

Maintenance crews will cut trenches, or swales, into the sand to channel the pools of water back into the ocean, City Business Administrator George Savastano explained in an interview after the meeting.

Savastano said there are really no health hazards for people wading or swimming in the gully as long as the ocean water is being flushed out and replaced on a regular basis by the tides.

“We just don’t want it to be stagnant,” he said.

Savastano joked that the beach now has a “baby pool.”

The gully starts at the 72nd Street beach and stretches north for a few blocks.

The water-filled gully is an apparent byproduct of a major replenishment project that restored sections of Sea Isle’s eroded beaches and dunes with fresh sand.

The project added a total of 932,000 cubic yards of new sand in two areas: in the midsection of the island between 29th and 53rd streets and in the south end between 73rd and 94th streets up to Townsends Inlet.

“(Following) the recently completed beach replenishment, we’ve seen some conditions along the shoreline where a shallow gully has formed due to sand buildup along the coast,” Desiderio said.

Something similar happened during another beach replenishment project in Sea Isle completed in 2016. At that time, mounds of new sand trapped the ocean in shallow gullies to create pesky pools of water.

Work crews regraded the beaches in the morning and cut channels in the sand to allow the water to drain back into the ocean in 2016.

In some spots, sunbathers were inconvenienced by having to walk around the gullies to get to their favorite beaches. The problem prompted some local residents to complain directly to City Council during its meetings in 2016.

This time around, though, the water-filled gully starting at 72nd Street has become a popular attraction for beachgoers and their children.

Vacationer Matthew Lear and his sons, Everett and Beauden, splash around in the shallow water.

Matthew Lear, a vacationer from Allentown, Pa., joined his sons, Everett, 7, and Beauden, 5, for some fun time Monday afternoon in the shallow water on 71st Street.

“I thought it was fantastic because the kids love it,” Lear said of the first time he saw the pool of water. “They used their boogie board and were playing in it all day yesterday and today.”

Lear estimated that the pool of water was no more than 2 feet deep. He noted that it offered a safer alternative to the rough waves and deeper water in the ocean for his 2-year-old daughter, Rowan.

Other beachgoers splashed around in the gully while tossing a football or playing on a makeshift sliding board that descended into the water.

Paul Kawoczka, a vacationer from New Hope, Pa., built the sliding board by piling up sand and placing plastic trash bags on top. His 5-year-old daughter, Tommie, was one of the kids playing on the sliding board on Monday.

“She’s having fun in the shallow water. She is learning to swim,” Kawoczka said.

The pool of water was a pleasant surprise for Kawoczka when he discovered it at the start of his family’s weeklong vacation in Sea Isle.

“It was cool,” he said. “We got here on Saturday and saw a hundred kids in there.”

Vacationer Paul Kawoczka shows off the makeshift sliding board he built for his daughter, Tommie, and other kids on the beach.