LBI Luxury Charters Opens Up Vistas, Excursions on North End of Island

Aug 22, 2018
Photo by: Jack Reynolds

LBI Luxury Charters is a new private charter yacht service featuring sunset cruises, day cruises and half-day excursions for up to six guests. Barnegat Light local Capt. Mike Spark, 31, and his fiancée, Kara Basque, operate their immaculately restored 1981 Fortier 26 with a strong background of knowledge in yachting here as well as in running 100-foot yachts in the Caribbean.

Trips on Barnegat Bay leave from Lighthouse Marina on Sixth Street in Barnegat Light. The chance to relax and let the professionals take charge will continue past Labor Day, into the fall.

“We will be running through Oct. 1, offering sunset and day cruises around Barnegat Inlet and harbor,” Spark said.

Not a fishing trip, the focus is on families coming together to enjoy a day on the bay without having to worry about all the fuss and stress of being in charge of a vessel, the couple said. Docking, provisioning and safety compliance are in their hands.

Spark holds a U.S. Coast Guard captain’s license and is also internationally licensed with Royal Yacht Training to be able to captain foreign-flagged vessels.

The Barnegat Light experience on Relentless lends itself to anniversaries, engagements, pre-and-post wedding and other celebrations, or just relaxing. Vacationers are especially discovering a delight within reach of an easy launch.

“People are telling us they never would have expected to see so much beauty and simplicity on the north end (of Long Beach Island). Being out in the water really provides a special experience,” reported Spark.

The boat, fully restored in Barnegat Light by Waretown local Justin Pimm, has a nice open layout for guests to stretch out and enjoy the vistas from the water. The option for sun/weather protection is found under an enclosed large custom hardtop.

The hosts will also drop anchor and give passengers the chance to immerse themselves in all the facets that boating offers on Barnegat Bay.

“We had a repeat customer last week – they were an absolutely awesome family with three kids – we did the two-hour day cruise where they were able to go swimming and do lunch, and they came back, wanting to do more and see more of the beauty of the sedges and Barnegat Bay. We were able to take a trip to Tice’s Shoals, which was an area they had never been exposed to. Kara swam in with them in the tidal pools. The kids were about 6 and 7 years old and had a blast.”

Wrote one guest on July 19: “Amazing half-day experience! Mike and Kara were personable, extremely accommodating, and professional. Such kind and genuine people with great stories and so much knowledge of the area! I highly recommend this charter and loved everything about their unique touch to their business!”

Specifically, below are the current packages as listed on the website:

Two-Hour Day Cruise: “Relax as Relentless motors you through the Sedge Islands and Oyster Creek Channel. This is a great opportunity for observing wildlife and breathtaking views of the Sedge Islands and preservation lands, Barnegat Light harbor and the historic Viking Village docks. Cool off from the hot summer’s day with a refreshing dip in the ocean-fed inlet.”

Hour and a Half Sunset Cruise: “Let Captain Mike hold the wheel as you enjoy the warmth of the sunset on Barnegat Bay. Sip your favorite beer or wine (BYOB and light snack fare if provided) as you cruise through Barnegat Light Harbor and historic Viking Village. The sunset glow deepens as you motor toward the inlet breakers and Ol’ Barney Lighthouse to take in her splendor from a unique angle.”

Private Half-Day/Full Day Charter: “Relentless is available for half- and full-day charters. The possibilities are endless as excursions can include down island, up the bay, and picnics! Customize your cruise by electing for a meal at the Captain’s Inn across the bay, and Relentless can motor you there and back in style.”

Spark added, “Another perk of this whole operation is that I’m a photographer as well, so when the opportunity presents itself I can capture the moments for the family and provide them with lasting memories.” Real estate photography is one of his specialties while pursuing the profession locally.

Spark tells the story of how Relentless became their vessel by which to pursue their own dream on the water, after operating boats for others.

“Kara and I saw a similar  Fortier 26 heading out of the harbor and thought to ourselves, ‘Why does something like this not exist on the north end, and how do we find one?’” Spark said. “We searched the internet and did find it in Waretown – lo and behold, of all places, a perfect vessel was right across the bay. It was kind of destined from the get-go, and it was in such immaculate shape for a 1981 boat.”

Relentless is powered by a 200 diesel Volvo Penta. Fortiers are known for their stable, dry rides with classic down-East lines as they are built in Somerset, Mass. Her draw of 2½ feet allows ease of navigation through the shallow waters of Barnegat Bay.

The couple met on Martha’s Vineyard while running a yacht management company. Their charter experience includes running a 100-foot powerboat in the Caribbean, taking families on a week’s exploration of the British and U.S. Virgin Islands. Among other tours, they chartered in the Bahamas for two years. The profession also took them to Newport.

“It’s nice to be back in Barnegat Light, for a six-month season,” Spark noted. Next season, the boat will resume by May 31.

Prices (under the “booking” tabs) and frequently asked questions are listed on the website lbiluxurycharters.com. The phone number is 609-756-3559.

— Maria Scandale

mariascandale@thesandpaper.net

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