Nestled off Elliot Avenue in Ocean View is a hidden gem. Ocean View Marina, formerly known as Harbor View Marina, is now owned by Tom Fowler of Back Bay Tours. Their location, at the north end of the Assawoman Canal and Whites Creek provides many opportunities for getting on the waters of the creek, bay and ocean.
“It’s been around forever,” said Fowler of the 40-slip marina, which can hold boats up to about 25 feet long. “I have been running my tours here for five years, and a group of us acquired the marina this spring.”
He added that many people are surprised to learn the marina is there, even some who live nearby.
“There’s some people in Ocean View that don’t know we are here,” he said, laughing. But once they find it, there’s plenty of fun to be had.
New this year, Fowler has added banana boat rides. The ride is described as “part whitewater rafting, part Jetskiing and part horseback riding.” Up to 12 people – six at a time – get a boat ride out and then straddle the raft-type banana boat while being pulled by the bigger vessel, and then they try to hold on!
The trips costs $23 and last about an hour. The actual time on the banana boat is about 20 minutes, but with the time it takes to get out and come back, it’s about 50 minutes to an hour.
“It’s a lot of fun,” said Fowler. “And they get a nice boat ride, too.”
Also new this year, the marina has kayaks for rent at an hourly rate. This is in addition to the classic offerings of Back Bay Tours: the two-hour sandbar trip, the sunset cruise and the three-hour fishing trip.
The sunset cruise is a more laidback event, so it is recommended for adults. Participants cruise the headwaters of Whites Creek before heading out to the bay.
“It’s peaceful and nice,” said Fowler. “We recommended it for adults because we are puttering around and taking everything in.” The sunset cruise has a four-person minimum and a six-person maximum.
The sandbar exploration trip is ideal for those who want to learn more about the bay’s creatures and their habitats. People will get to hold blue crabs, spider crabs, hermit crabs and possibly starfish. And they will get their feet wet wading to the sandbar. This trip is recommended for families or anyone interested in learning more about the area’s wildlife. The trip lasts a little over two hours and has a four-person minimum and a six-person maximum. They can charter for larger groups, if necessary.
And, of course, there is the fishing trip, one of the business’ more popular trips. The trip includes all rods and bait, and those who go are treated to three hours on the Indian River Bay. There is no need for a fishing license, and Fowler said he will take one to six people out.
No matter which tour people pick, Fowler said he and his team aim to please and want everyone to have a great time.
“We are very relaxed here,” said Fowler, “but always professional,” adding that they have two licensed captains for their trips.
Prices range from $23 to $225, depending upon the tour. Excluding kayak rentals, reservations are required for all trips. The Ocean View Marina and Back Bay Tours is open May through October, tapering off to only weekends after September. They are located off of Elliot Avenue in Ocean View. Off of Central Avenue, turn on to Daisy (at The Gallery on Central Avenue), then turn right onto Elliot. For more information, call (302) 539-0707 or (302) 388-1915.