Vacant New Jersey

The Fish Factory

Status: Region: Type: Gallery:
Abandoned New Jersey Industrial 41 Photos

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I could not stop licking my mustache, I mean it wasn't like I wanted to, nor was I even really cognizant of my bizarre actions, rather, it was just how my brain told me to react in response to such an entirely new found stimulus. The mustache felt so crusty underneath the touch of my tongue, and exhibited a strong tangy salty flavor. I actually really hated the feeling; uncomfortably coarse and scratchy, but the bitter briny taste of the wind driven, sea salt caked facial hairs was grossly addictive. And so like a bored house cat cleaning its fur, I too just couldn't stop licking. My entire beard felt as if it had been replaced with a pad consisting of tiny prickly hooks. I despised the feeling so vehemently that I started to envision my beard existing as just a patch of velcro and that with one fluid tug I could rip all the anxiety off and away.

All this time we had been paddling against the wind, seemingly making little progress as we attempted to cross a wide open expanse of the Great Bay. Cresting just inches above such a massive open stretch of water within a hollowed out chunk of fiberglass more commonly referred to as a kayak truly made me feel one with the water. Such a realization is all mind opening, heartening, stirring, perhaps even rousing, and certainly any other such inspiring adjective, song long as you don't become one in the water. Becoming so will instantly replace each and every one of those positive adjectives with certain disproval denoted simply by yelling fuck, and perhaps even adding in a quickly mumble shit, once or twelve times for good luck before finally going under. I describe this in such disapproval not because I fear water but rather that I respect it. And so exists the dilemma water and I face, for to respect something means there is no room to push boundaries or explore, so as I result I don't find myself swimming in water against my own will all too often and certainly did not wish to do so with a backpack stuffed with camera gear while wearing no life vest.

Paddling head-on against the wind for just a few seconds I learned right quickly that there exists no such anomaly as a slight breeze over open water, the air is either dead still or your worst enemy. Fortunately the kayak existing as a low profile watercraft has its advantages when it comes to piercing the wind but adversely so against wind derived waves. Even the dinkiest mound of water oscillates the nimble craft to-and-fro quite violently. And so having paddled about a half mile into the Great Bay we bobbed up, down, left, right; like a video game cheat, except we were losing against the boss, Mister Wind.

Bay waves easily crest the kayak's hull, spilling into the cockpit, which admittedly isn't initially anything to fret, but could certainly become a sinking problem if the speed of water entry, trumps water drainage. From perspective of inside the kayak, bay waves exist as massive hurricane driven rogue disturbances. But from a view point with any bit of an aerial advantage, such as from up top the large fishing boat passing directly by, we probably appeared like two dopes desperately holding on to some Little Tikes plastic boat trapped within the currents of an overflowing bathtub as some toddler splashes around inside. But our problems weren't over just yet, for when the motorized fishing boat cruised past it produced a tsunami of a wake, which I thought for sure would instantly flood the kayak, and best case scenario we'd be dangling vertically from the bow, as the stern of the kayak full with all our gear quickly sank. However the reality of the situation turned out to be far from cataclysmic, as the narrow kayak effortlessly cut through the approaching wake, taking on just a splash of water, causing the craft to rock no more violently than the tidal ebb and flow of the bay water itself.

Paddling into the wind is much like walking into a wall in many Nintendo 64 video games; your legs keep moving, but you'll sure get nowhere fast. Rather than reenact such an analogy we decided to row utilizing the energy of the headwind, which meant we'd no doubt be off track some, but wouldn't be exerting wasted energy from paddling feverishly and moving nowhere. This proceeded to work quite effectively as the wind moved us out of the open water and towards a narrow strait surrounded by reeds and tall grasses. The winding strait was no more narrow than twenty feet and judging by the murky brown water purged up from our paddles scraping the mucky bay bottom, wasn't more than a foot or two deep at most.

The tall vegetation surrounding us completely obscured our ability to see any landmarks or surroundings, but the trade-off was the disruptive wind we battled over the open bay water had been curbed by the tall vegetation growing within the slender strait, the tops of which swayed and bent in the still strong wind howling just above. With the wind no longer a issue, it was relatively easily paddling from here on out.

Following the repetitive and monotonous channel for sometime I realized I had again begun to lick my mustache. "Goddamn it, this is too fucking weird" I thought to myself. I tried to stop, wanted to stop, but the thought of not touching it burned and itched at my idle mind. But perhaps such a quirk actually explains why I explore in the first place. To skip adventure is to be okay with missing out on unique experiences, knowledge, stupidity, life. The mind and imagination is fueled and rewarded by the fruits of exploration and adventure, and to sever such stimulation is to thwart self discovery. Without self, a void in the mind opens, which is easily filled but never fulfilled by trivial things such as what to eat for dinner, work, money, drugs, pills, what to buy next, material goods. Without at least occasional bouts of adventure I would literally drive myself insane, dwelling only on insignificant quirks and daily routines, until monotony and boredom eventually fried my brain beyond resuscitation. Exploring at its very least takes your mind off sea salt encrusted facial hair and other seemingly negligible problems which could otherwise drive you mad. Fortunately if you find yourself on edge, adventure is everywhere to be found and it doesn't need a prescription nor be swallowed with a glass of water directly after a meal to work, it just needs you.