Tours offer private peek at nature

Whether it’s an exploratory trip through the Indian River Bay’s sandbars, a sunset boat tour or a hassle-free outing to downtown Dewey Beach, Back Bay Tours offers private boat trips that allow adventurous vacationers and locals a chance to see what lies beyond Delaware’s shores.

Tours leave from the Harbor View Marina on a 26-foot privateer that owner Tom Fowler said was custom-designed to fit up to six passengers, with features suited for the trips through the bay.

Fowler, who has been an avid boater for more than 30 years and a licensed boat captain for 12 years, took time off from his job at the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control (DNREC) to begin the business this summer.

“Boating here on the bay is pretty much my whole life,” Fowler said. “I thought that people who don’t usually get to see all this would really like it, too, because it gives them a different perspective of the beach area.”

Fowler said he offers a variety of trips that he hopes will “make everyone happy.”

The sandbar tours, suitable for people of all ages, run about two hours and allow passengers to walk through the water with nets provided by Fowler. Tours leave at various times of the day, depending on the tide and depth of the water.

The cost for sandbar tours is $24 per person for a group of six, $26 per person for a group of five or $28 per person for a group of four or fewer.

Sunset tours, recommended for adults, leave the marina shortly after 7 p.m. and travel through the Indian River Bay, providing a glimpse of the wildlife that lives in the bay’s marshes.

The sunset tours last about 90 minutes and cost $23 per person for a group of six, $25 per person for a group of five or $27 per person for a group of four or fewer.

Fowler also offers a transportation alternative to dealing with downtown parking and congestion.

Upon request, Fowler will bring a tour group from the Harbor View Marina to the Rusty Rudder Restaurant in Dewey Beach and back, any day, between 4 p.m. and 9 p.m. The round trip cost is $22 per person, with a minimum of four people.

Additionally, Fowler offers a three-hour flounder-fishing trip for $165 per group. Included in the cost is all the necessary gear for fishing along the back bays.

Fowler said he first became interested in the bays about 10 years ago, when he worked on a bird-watching boat at the Bombay Hook National Wildlife Refuse near Dover. He said he hopes his experience with the area will help provide a better look at what the bays have to offer.

“On all my trips I will answer questions and point out anything of interest along the way,” Fowler said. “I think it makes people aware that the back bays are fragile and that they can’t be polluted.”

Tours will run until mid-September, when Fowler will return to his hometown of Newark, but he plans to return next summer to continue the tours again. For more information, call (302) 388-1915.