Saturday, October 19, 2013

October bay visit

Went down to the bay to see what was going on.  It was quiet, I mean erie quiet.  Activity was very low. There were only a few fishing from the shore, the tide was higher than normal, and the boat ramp parking lot only had about trailers in it.  I wanted to see how many sailboats remained in Keyport Harbor, so I ran along the bay to Keyport Yacht Club to see what was going on there.  It was early so I really didn't expect many people there.  Very quiet!  I drove down the street to Olsen's and there was John power washing the bottom of a boat just hauled out.  Really taking advantage of the time and tide.  This is the busy season for them and much of their work is governed by the tide.  

Along the Keyport shore flooding was evident at many locations.  Some areas where I haven't seen it or just didn't take notice of it before.  The boat ramp had only a short distance of angled pavement showing.  The parking lot where the Ye Cottage Inn use to be now had the bay pushing water over the bulkhead into the parking lot.  The flooding down by Wagner's seemed the normal for a high tide and was just a nuisance.   

Saturday, September 28, 2013

End of my 2013 Season

Sorry to anyone looking for more current things happening around the bay.  I had a motorcycle accident and have been recovering from many broken bones. On my first visit to my orthopedic doctor (a fellow boater) told me to have her hauled out as I was done for the season.  The Harley is still sitting in the driveway where my neighbor placed it for me.

I did take a trip to pick up the boat and bring her home where I could work on things during the winter. Having your boat hauled out early does have benefits.  When I called and explained my problem and I was incapacitated and not capable of climbing onboard and securing anything.  I arrived and the bottom was spotless, not one barnacle left.  At the end of the season the quickly job is obvious.  Everything onboard was tied down leaving little to do besides hook up and drive away.

The Keyport area was pretty active with the ramp parking lot just about full.  The pier is open now for a couple months and there are many putting it to use.  I would usually stop and talk to people, but I wasn't suppose to be driving, I was on pain meds, and if anything happen the wife would have disowned me.

I am hoping to make my off season trips as usual and enjoy the bay life.  Repairs still go on from
Sandy and we will investigate those and post.

At least we leave on a good note.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Fish on the move

Sunday was a great day out on the water.  It was a little cloudy which took away some of the hot sun and the breeze was very light.  The breeze was not a good breeze for drifting.  We set out early Sunday to make sure we could get the incoming high tide and the out going high tide later on.  We first tried the same spot we hit the blues last week off of Union Beach, but there were not to be found.  After several trolling passes in that area without a hot we moved across the bay to the channel along the shore of New York. we fished there for a while with only a couple bites and no takers.  The water was 55 feet deep and we fished the max depth, the drop offs to the channel and the flats on both sides without any fluke.  We did see a few shorts caught on other boats, but we caught none.  We worked our way back onto the flats in 25 feet of water where we finally did start getting some nice hits only to find out it was spot and grunts.  I finally hooked up and it turned out to be a dog fish. 

we decided to work our way back across the bay with bucktails trolling behind.  By the time we reached the #1 can we were amazed at no takers.  This time of year we usually have great luck trolling for the blues.  As we continued our voyage back to Keyport Harbor I hooked up just at the mouth to the harbor.  It was a nice blue that fought hard, jumped, and shook his head so many times I though he would surely spit the hook.  In any case I got him close and Blue netted him. 

It was a nice fish at about 30".  Not the monsters we were catching last week, but still a good fit.

We called it a day around 2:00pm and headed back to our mooring in Keyport Harbor.  We will have to get out and give it a try again next weekend with great hopes of catching some nice fluke.

Monday, August 5, 2013

August 4, 2013 Fishing Report In Raritan Bay

Fishing in Raritan Bay has always been exciting for me.  Though I can catch more fish, in most cases, fishing fresh water, the size and fight are totally different.  Sunday we packed everything on board for a day of fishing.  We headed to Ambrose Channel to try our luck and were only catching short fluke.  We headed along the Staten Island shoreline following the channel occasionally stopping to try a drift.  After hours of doing this and nothing making the way to the cooler, we decided to try a different approach.  We setup or poles for trolling. All that I can say is OMG!  KABOOM!  Once we found the Blues we were catching some big fish.  One after the other.  Using bucktails sweetened with a spearing and trolling about 5 knots seemed to be the magic ticket.  Most of the fish were caught in 6' of water off Union Beach.  After losing lures, popping lines, catching fish too big for the net, and getting cramps in the arms, we called it a day early, 1:00pm.  It isn't too often you run into days like this. Outgoing tide, sunny day, good breeze, and plenty of bluefish to keep the excitement coming.
  These fish were all around the same size and hungry.  OK, so when isn't a bluefish hungry...  There were a couple that were bigger than this and we either broke the line, straightened out the hook, or jumped and spit the hook.  It was a great time to say the least.

Raritan Bay offers some good fishing.  The problem is finding out where to go.  The forums and bulletin boards do not allow you to say where you were fishing which is just crazy to me.  Why not share in the fun? I can understand those secret fishing holes, but if it is one of the known fishing holes, why not be able to say it?  This has be thinking of starting a forum where people can share there fun with others.

This fishing trip caught most of the fish at 40° 27' 30.42"N, 74° 9'46.13"W, off Union Beach.  As soon as we broke 5 knots, we would have another fish on.  A great day of fun. We did this until low tide and headed back to Keyport Harbor and the trip hope.  We did not keep any of these fish.

So get out there and try your luck, the big blues are here.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

A moon tide on the summer solstice

June 22

As we took the dinghy out to Lil Provo today I immediately noticed that the mast was rocking back and forth. It made me look more closely to see what the problem may be.  As we got closer I saw a tangle of rope and steel cable and we got closer I could see the problem.  The standing rigging going to the spreader had half broken though and the strands of cable that broke had flung around and caught the flag lines in the broken strands.  It seemed to make the balance of cables loose.  Once I got on board I went and adjust the cable tension on the good cables and ran the jib halyard to the deck plate on the side that sprung and put as much pressure on it as I could. This secured the mast.  I then had to make a decision whether we would venture out into the bay.  Being the mast seemed secure I decided we would go out under motor and do some fishing.

We dropped the mooring ball and headed out into the bay.  The water was calm and almost like glass.  I had no problem with the cable damage as the mast was secure and not moving much at all.

We went about 2 to 3 miles and began to fish. While we were fishing we noticed a large number of sailboats were headed in our direction.  Eventually the sailboats arrived with a couple power boats that were carrying large buoys.  It was the Keyport Yacht Club regatta group and it was regatta day.  They set up the buoys and the boats began cruising back and forth.  We just sat there watching and fishing.

A few hours passed and they were still cruising around. We noticed they were going a lot faster than earlier and took a check of wind, current, and wave action.  It was starting to get rough and we needed to think about getting Lil Provo back to the safety of the harbor.

I started the motor and gradually got her up to full speed, just a little over 6 nots.  The wave action was making the mast rock side to side so I knew I had to find the line that would allow us to smooth out the ride.  I turned her a little toward the wind and it made the ride a little smoother.  We cruised back the 4 or 5 miles and made it back to the confines of Keyport Harbor.

While we cruised with in outer part of the harbor I realized the tiller was jumping up and down.  I couldn't figure out what it was and then realized it was bottoming out.  I changed direction toward the channel hoping to get to deeper water when suddenly the tiller pushed up and out of the brackets.  I had a hold of it and pulled it into the cockpit and used the motor to steer.  This had never happened before and I was concerned about the brackets leaking water into the bilge.

When we entered the harbor the motor started to die and did.  It sounded like we were out of gas, but checking the tank proved otherwise.  There was. Plenty of gas. It had to be a gas filter problem or maybe vapor lock.  Being we were already in the mooring field we needed to maintain control of her and not bump into any other boats.  I restarted tried restarting the motor and she started right away, but if I tried to run normally at low rpm she sounded like she was going to stall.  I gave her full throttle and she took off and gave me control.  I was cruising through the mooring field at full speed, something I would not normally do.  As we got close to the mooring I heard someone yelling and as I looked around there was a person on a boat yelling and waiving his arms. I thought he was upset with the speed I was going through the mooring field, but he pointed up and there was a person on the top of a mast.  I reduced the throttle and moved Lil Provo to her mooring.  Once there I looked over at the other boat and my wake was nil to the other vessel. No big deal, we continued to moore.

We took care of everything on board and made sure she was secure.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

The boating season is here

As i sit in front of the gym waiting for them to open this morning, I am starting today's blog. It will be a busy day and this is the best way to do a brain drain prior to actually starting things.


Today is the day where Lil Provo heads down to her summer home sitting on the water in Keyport Harbor.  She is all clean in and out, has the basic required gear on board, and is packaged up and ready for the trip east.  I have to pick up my salty dog buddy Blue and bring him back to verify the tail lights are working and just in case there are any issues on the trip, it will be nice to have someone who can help or share the pain.

Need to verify we have the right ball on the hitch as we tow a few different trailers.  Check the lights and make sure they are working properly. Run over the tie downs and load straps making sure they are secured and tight. Throw a couple extra ropes on the mast just to make sure it doesn't go anyplace. Make sure we have gas and oil in the back of the truck, a case of bottled water, and tools.

In looking at the boat the other day I noticed the boat was not all the way forward to the stop by the winch.  Nothing I can do about this at this point, she must have slide back an inch or so on the trip home. We'll just make sure we have her secured pretty good.

It may be a challenge to find a home for her at the boat yard as it was still packed with boats last week with very little available room.  If there are people working on their boats, the little space available will be used for parked cars. We have to get there early to beat this possibility. Then take off the tie downs, remove the ropes, get the boom out of the cabin, and make sure they have everything they need out and ready to raise the mast with the hoist on top of the building.  Then she can be placed on her mooring which is about 100 yards off the KYC dock.

Over the next couple weeks as I come down to take her out, I will bring more of the summer supplies down.  Things like the fishing tackle, snorkel or dive gear, portable radio, DVD player, cooler,  change of clothes, and whatever else I remember.

It is now time to pick up  Blue and start this mornings adventure.  First thing is to hook up the trailer to the truck and inspect everything TWICE.  I back up to the hitch and make sure we have the right size ball and plug in the wiring.  No tail lights!  Time to now see where the problem is. I pull out the back up wire from the back of the truck and change to a new trailer wire hookup. Ahhhh, some lights are working. Time to check bulbs.  Another 5 minutes and all seems fine with the lights.  Time to jump in and take our time towing the boat to the bay.  No rush!

The ride is uneventful. Thank goodness.  We pull in and look for a place to park the boat.  Blue gets out and helps with directions as I try backing her in and getting her in a safe spot.  Sometimes leaving her in the way makes them put you in right away. Hmmmm, should we?  I back her in and then take a walk to the office to confirm she is fine where she is and John tells me that is fine.

I have Blue grab a nearby ladder and I climb on board to remove all the lines I have holding the mast in place. Blue removes the tie downs and load straps. I go into the cabin and bring out stage boom which I leave in the cockpit along with a baggy of Clevis pins and round cotter pins I case they need an extra.  Next we get the rudder attached to the back and are pretty much done at this point.  We undo the hitch and I move the truck up a little to we can load the truck with items taken off the boat. I then walk around the boat and take my annual pictures of boat as dropped off.  This is a good practice to get into!

Instead of leaving we take a walk down to the ramp and notice there are now about 20 boats in the mooring field and KYC dock is finished and the launch is an horde right off the dock.  This means the mooring field will begin to fill over the next week or so. I take a few pictures out into the harbor and we return to the truck and boat.  Blue puts a cinder block under the front of the trailer so we don't have to reply on the crackdown wheel.  I go the fridge in the back of the truck and pull out a couple nice cold waters for Blue and I.  We head on back and detour along the Keyport water front which is very active.  We notice that Pedersen's has put in a bunch of new docks on the old pilings and still adding more.

Another successful beginning to another season.  We head home.

Next project is to finish the dinghy.  She's pretty much ready, but I want to replace the wheels on the transom with new wheels and relocate them so we don't have to turn her upside down like we have for years.  The idea is to set the wheels up so we can just pull her up the ramp with everything still inside.  Previously, we would unload her and turn her over and pull her up the ramp.  I began to think how inconsiderate this was for others waiting to use the ramp. So I plan to change that this year.  It will require some major work on the transom and rear bench seat, but it will be worth it.

First thing to due is turn her over and cut some holes in the front face of the bench seat so I can use bolts and not self tapping screws.  This will also allow me to back it with an aluminum plate to add strength. When done I can fill with foam.

This method will allow me to turn the boat upside down when I get her up to the spot I store her in the boat yard.


Today we have to finish up the dinghy.

blue and I turned her over and I cut a hole in the face of the bench seat large enough to get my arm I side with a wrench.  I figured out where I wanted the wheels to be ans marked the transom. The bolts you get with the wheel kit are not long enough to make an easy installation.  I used a drill the next size smaller than what the bolt would require and screwed the bolts into the transom. After screwing a bolt into each hole I removed the bolts and pumped silicon into the holes.  With the kit they give you o-rings and washers to help seal out any water. Being I had no room for washers or o-rings, placed a glob of silicone on each hole. I placed the wheels on and screwed in the bolts which tighter right up.  I then went inside and put the self locking nuts on each bolt.  I was really surprised how much silicone came through each hole.  After all the nuts were tighter I ran a bead of silicone around each wheel plate to give some added protection from leaking.

Later on after the silicon had dried, I put a coat of paint on the transom.  And other fiberglass work I had done.  The dinghy is now ready and rolls along perfectly. Just the way I planned.

We will bring the dinghy down next week in hopes there is some room.  Today the place was still a zoo with absolutely no place to store the dinghy. Maybe with high tide during the mid-day time this week they will get more boats in the water and giving us some room for the dinghy.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Raritan Bay Fishinig and Bay in General


Raritan Bay fishing is really cranked up.  The bunker are in, but most of my reports say clams are still the favored bait. On Friday bunker were snagged and used, but only the clams brought in fish.  Some real cow stripers were brought in and some big blues as well.  Big fish is the word!  The Knoll has remained productive.  There were some nice Blackfish caught as well but thrown back.  There also seem to be a lot of skates being caught.  Great fishing on boats, but not as good from the shores.

The marinas are filling up and the Keyport mooring field is starting to have the sailboats placed on the moorings, but at a slow rate. KYC is still rebuilding as the Keyport waterfront and Penderson's Marina. The season is here and some places are not ready yet.

We should have our boat in the water this week.  We will have a chance to fish and sail the bay.   That will have us ready for the Memorial Day weekend which will be here in a flash.

We'll leave you with this thought.


What happened to the weather?  40's this morning!  Same thing is on the agenda for tomorrow.  I guess there is no need to rush the boat down to the boatyard today.  I will finish packer her up with supplies and take her down sometime this weekend.

The sailing is not usually that good early in the season, but the fishing is.  Stripers are being caught at average around 20 pounds, blues have entered the bay in big numbers, bunker schools are here as well, fluke has started with some good sizes fish being caught. And sea bass opened Sunday and there have been some nice fish taken.  Those looking for Ling will just have to keep looking.  Some big blues are in the bay and gives you one heck of a fight. Using steel leader or 50lb plus leader and circle hooks are a must if you plan on bringing them on board.  Flynn's Knoll is still turning out some really nice fish, plus you can catch fish from the front of the bay to the back of the bay right now.  Some nice fluke being caught in the back bay.  This weather may slow things down or even set it back a little due to the temperatures.

The Keyport mooring field has a few more boats in it than last week, but nothing like usual.  I do believe Sandy slowed a lot of us down due to damage control, making ourselves a little longer than normal.  It appears KYC will have the dock finished soon.  John Olsen and the boys are still setting mooring balls and trying to get some control over the yard once Sandy. Once the boats are off the hard would be a great time to bring in some dumpsters and whip out the chain saws to get rid of the pile of boats damaged beyond repair or of no value.  I have kept my boat there for years and this a year it was a zoo!  Due to the lack of the ability of other boat yards, Olsen's was fuller than I have ever seen.  I'll bet they were pretty busy this winter with repairs.

Keansburg pier looks like it will be finished shortly.   I was told fisherman were using some of the pier already.  The amusement park looks like it is pretty well together and if interested you might want to check their website.  Most of the shores have been cleared of damaged buildings and seems so barren in some areas.

I don't know about you, but we are ready for this season.  Sailing, fishing, relaxing cruises, trips up the Hudson, and just hanging on the boat will all be here before you know it.  Have fun!


Another ride down to the bay.  Stopped in South Amboy and it is lacking the normal Sunday morning cars in the parking lot.  I walked down to the shore and see three fishermen trying their luck, a few boats out on the bay, but no usual Memorial Day weekend.  The wind was blowing off shore at the waterfront and it was very gusty. The fishermen were a good walk down the shore toward Old Bridge so i just observed from a distance and saw no action. They were able to cast pretty far with the help of the wind.  I then got back on Route 35 and thought I would check out Viking Marina and found a few boats in the water, but not much else going on here.  Back on the highway and off to Aberdeen where there was a guy fishing from the rocks and had a good size bluefish in the cooler.  It was really windy here with waves lapping against the shore and the bay was covered with white caps.  I jumped back into the truck and headed over to the Keyport Marine Basin.  This is where there is a lot of action. Tons of boats in the water, boat traffic moving out to the bay, and just a better feeling of activity. They will all be in for a surprise once they get out there.  The ramp has a good number of trailers, but few boats visible from the parking lot.  There was a large yellow cigarette type boat being unloaded from the trailer.  With the waves and the chop, this is not a good idea. Most the fishing boats cn not be seen and are most likely up around Old Orchard, Romers, or Flynn's Knoll.

Now time to check on the sailboats, but am surprised to see the mooring field empty except for a handful of boats.  I would have thought, based on yesterday's activity, there would be a bunch more, but no changes.   Wow, this is the first Memorial Day I can not remember not seeing a mooring field full of boats.  I'll bet that the KYC dock has something to do with it.  If there is no dock ready, there is no way for members to get to their vessel, so most are likely waiting for the dock to be finished.

A stop at KYC reveals that is definitely a factor.  dinghies are lined up on the hard, the parking lot has two cars and the crane looks like it still has more work to do. Across Keyport Harbor I see a group of fisherman on shore with coolers, chairs, and a bunch of poles on sand spikes. They are ready for the holiday weekend!

We pull out of KYC and head down the street to Olsen's.  We see an immediate parking problem win the number of boats on the property.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Mothers Day Down The Bay

Have you seen that aluminum 26 foot vessel cruising around the bay?  That is the Army Engineers seeing what has changed in the bay from hurricane Sandy.  They are checking the channels and updating all the maps. It will be important to purchase on of these updated maps when they are released.  Another benefit is the debris they find and document the location.

They are still finding boats and other large articles sitting on the bottom.  If you find or see anything on your trips out, be sure to log the GPS coordinates and report them.

This may be a banner year for fishing.  While out clamming for stripers large blackfish are being caught.  Most are females and they must be let go anyway, but the size of these fish are unbelievable.  The stripers are here with hogs being caught on a regular basis.  Fluke have already started their migration into the bay. Bunker are swarming into the bay and believe it or not this may be a bigger bunker year than last year.

Down in Keyport John Olsen and the guys have been busy setting up the mooring field.  The harbor is full of the white balls with only a few vessels moored.  Within the next couple weeks the mooring field should be getting pretty full, including our vessel Lil Provo.  By Memorial Day the field will be packed with boats.  Keyport still needs to get to work on the fishing pier and bulkhead along the waterfront parking lot.

Most of the Bay Area marina and boat yards have bounced back.  I did hear Viking Marina was sold and that may be why it seems the building is still in need of repair.  Even Atlantic Highlands Marina is looking pretty normal considering what it looked like in October of 2012.   Things did not happen for a while, but all of a sudden things took a change and work began. We do bounce back pretty good here in New Jersey.

I have been monitoring by friend Byron's blog down in Turks and Caicos.  If you want to know what true island life is all about, you have to visit his blog.  They recently purchased a nice catamaran and have had it on the dry getting it reworked.  They bought it in Florida and sailed it back through the Bahamas and south to Turks and Caicos.  That takes big ones when you don't know the boat or what is on the verge of disrepair.  They did make it home with some problems along the way, but Byron is a pretty resourceful guy as you see if you visit his blog -

I decided to take a run down to the bay early on Mother's Day as to not disrupt the planned events for the day.  Got to the gym early to get my 2 mile swim in and off I go before most are out of bed.  Traffic was nil at 7:45am and I made I'd down to Keyport in a little more than 20 minutes.  Just need to see what the scoop is at Olsen's for when we have Lil Provo delivered. My the way the name comes from an island in Turks and Caicos, not Utah.  With well over 200 dives there I consider our boat my northern escape and she puts my mind in that special place. Okay enough with the boat name.

As we cross the route 35 draw bridge we can see there are a number of boats still on the hard. Though nothing in the water.  As we take the curve on Amboy Road we begin to see boats, boats, and more boats.  It seems either more people are coming here or there have been a lot of new boats picked up. I roll through town and make my left down toward the ramp and see there are a number of empty trailers parked there, meaning many fisherman on the water.  Making the right to head up to KYC and Olsen's I notice more boats on the water.  Love it!

As I pull into Olsen's boat yard I can see the place has thinned out more with more boats missing.  But there are still plenty more still on the hard.  Mooring balls are still in piles for future additions and half links of chain lay scattered along the ramp.  I walk around and take a few pictures to document the current status.  Not much more to see so I swing over to KYC to see how they are coming on the dock.  They are still at work and it should be nice when the repairs are finished.

At Olsen's they have all the pendants and flats ready as they start moving boats into the mooring field.  The sailboat "Blown Away" still sits at the bottom of the ramp. Why not get rid of this piece of scrap?it does it no good filling with water on high tide and draining on low tide.....

Time to head home. I ride along American Legion Way to see what Keyport has done, if anything, over the past week. Wow, Ye Cottage Inn is. Giant sand box.  Does this mean they will not rebuild?  I checked online and there is nothing related to them rebuilding or not.

Some places are all rebuilt and filling those slips fast.

Work continues on KYC.

As you look out onto the bay you will see barges with cranes.  I can only assume they are clearing the channels of debris or sunken boats.  From the Keyport ramp you could three rigs out on the bay and all appeared to be in the channels.

Our closing pic as the sun moves up from the horizon.

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Quickie Update

We have been busy with work and working on the boat.  The trip to the bay has been a regular thing at least every two weeks.  We even tried fishing from the shore with little interest on the part of the fish.  Over the past few weeks changes have come to the shores of the bay. Jakeobob's has been knocked down and made into a pile of rumble.  The same took place to Ye Cottage Inn in Keyport.

I have no idea of what the future of this landmark bares. It think it would be nice to see it come back.  The fishing areas of Keyport waterfront still sit in disrepair, and the fishing pier remains closed.  The season is here and those thinking about fishing Keyport will have to find another spot.  Those interested trying the Keansburg pier will be in luck shortly, they have been moving along and have a good area of decking replaced.  Not much going on in Union Beach where the beach rail fence is still not fixed or replaced.

With the water temperatures in the bay hovering in the low fifties, it is time to start fishing. Over the past week the striper fishing has opened up, bunker are coming into the bay, and blues are close behind. Maybe the weakfish will follow....  The evidence of fishing picking up is the lack of parking spaces at the Keyport ramp.  One spot available!

Down the road piece there are some noticeable changes.  The old building along Amboy Road, in front of Browns, has been knocked down.  Up The Creek Tavern seems to be something in our past.  The site's only evidence of the Tavern is the sign along Amboy Road and the satellite dish looking over the boat slips.

There will be more to come over the next few weeks.  The boat will be in the water within the next two weeks. This will give us a chance to scout around and see first hand how the bay is recovering, plus if the fish are biting.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Cautions for 2013 Boating Season

This is the first in our series of the cautions of Raritan Bay, Sandy Hook Bay, and Lower New York Bay.  You can just read this blog and get a lot of information that I have searched the web for.

To get things started, I think most of you will enjoy this link to the the post hurricane Sandy Google Earth page.  It has most of the bay via satellite pictures.  The map in the link to various satellite maps post Sandy.  The one covering the most area is the October 31, 2012 map.  Just check the box for Post-Sandy Imagery and the October 31, 2013 map box.

You are sure to have a great time searching through the maps and see the damage left behind my Sandy.  To look at an area before the hurricane and then after is very surprising.  I have no idea of how long they will leave these maps up, so look at them now before they are gone for ever.

A warning was issued by NOAA for the coming boating season.  It is something most of us already figured out, but I thought I would share their release with you.

Hurricanes, tropical storms and other major storms may cause considerable damage to marine structures, aids to navigation and moored vessels, resulting in submerged debris in unknown locations. Charted soundings, channel depths and shoreline may not reflect actual conditions following these storms. Fixed aids to navigation may have been damaged or destroyed. Buoys may have been moved from their charted positions, damaged, sunk, extinguished or otherwise made inoperative. Mariners should not rely upon the position or operation of an aid to navigation. Wrecks and submerged obstructions may have been displaced from charted locations. Pipelines may have become uncovered or moved. Mariners are urged to exercise extreme caution and are requested to report aids to navigation discrepancies and hazards to navigation to the nearest United States Coast Guard unit.

Raritan Bay Chart can be viewed at   
Back a few months ago we were told they cleanup of all the boats and debris would be done by Memorial Day.  Now the latest scoop is that it will not be done in time.  The state hire Ashbrit to clean up the state after being clobbered by hurricane Sandy.  Ashbrit is a Florida based company with many years experience in cleaning up after disasters.  They do hire local companies and do very little of the work themselves. Their vast experience is suppose to help keep the costs down, but many local companies have submitted bids lower than Ashbrit and get no response as to why Ashbrit continues the cleanup at higher costs.  We will surely be hearing more on this subject.
Following are some links to missing boats in various areas, Monmouth, Ocean, and Point Pleasant.

There is some progress moving ahead at some of the marinas. Most have begun the rebuilding process and are diligently building docks. Today I visited Keyport marina and they were busy build new floating docks and getting them in place.

What happened to all of those missing docks? It is just more stuff we have to watch for. Fortunately a lot of the floating debris will end up on the shore lines and out of the waterway for a while. It will eventually return to the water during storms and moon tides. The only way to get rid of it is to pick it up and get it off the beach.

As I stop and talk with people along the bay it is all the same story for those with boats. They worry about the junk on the bottom. Boats, cars, lawn furniture, coolers, logs, boards, and so on all be something to watch for.

As I worked my way along the shore I noticed that Pendersen Hans is not working as much on the docks as all the others appear to have done by now. I did see activity there so I believe they are still in clean up mode. Browns has done a good job on getting things to look a lot closer to normal. They even have boats in the water. As you work your way along I get to the Keyport ramp where it looks the same as weeks ago. The floating docks are still sitting in the parking lot.

My next stop was to see what was going on at Keyport Yacht Club. I get there too early for anyone to be hanging out and take a walk around. It seems like all the dinghy a are stored nicely for the winter. They have removed their floating docks and only the main pier remains. Otherwise it looks ready for the new season.

With all the repair business going on, that is most likely the reason there is no room left in the yard. The parking lot is filled with boats on stands and waiting to see the water this new season. Other yards also have so much damage they can't store all the boats they normally did. Olsen's was one of the very few that does not have to worry about rebuilding and can concentrate on fixing the boats damaged by Sandy.

The past week we have had some good winds blowing any floating debris to shore. Taking a trip to the south shore of the bay you find the shores full of junk. There are large timbers, floatation, bumpers, lots of plastic, and garbage washed onto the shore. Now is the time when volunteer organizations should pool together to pickup the junk so it doesn't wash back I to the water. I feel very strongly about this and would love to see this being done.

I thought about grabbing this bumper sitting in front of me but would get shot if I bring home more boating stuff. I turn around and look down in the other direction and see lots of debris and a couple fishermen trying their luck.

The garbage makes itself pretty easy to clean up as it creates a water line along the shore. With a bucket loader each town could quickly clean the shores of larger debri. You have to wonder why they don't do it.

The following picture was thanks to Google Earth Crisis. It is Viking Marina at the Route 35 draw bridge two days after Sandy.

Union Beach Update

I would have had a new post this past week, but somehow deleted the draft causing us to rewrite it.

This trip took place on 2/17/2013 and it was frigidly cold with high gusty winds.  Though the sky was pretty clear with some light clouds, it was a wintery day.  We passed by Ye Cottage Inn to see they look like they are gettig ready to begin working on the building.  It is now all fenced off so keep people away.   Here is our first stop to the west of the Keyport Boat Ramp. Listen to the wind!

We drove through our regular spots in Keyport and headed for Union Beach to see how the recovery from hurricane Sandy was progressing.  As we came to the bay we took a turn to our right or east and travel with the windy winter bay off to our left.  The first thing you notice Jakeobob's is untouched. Still sitting there without any sign of rebuilding.  There seems to be a consolidation of bar stools near the front of the building.

As we past by I took a turn into the parking lot.  You immediately notice the entire railing along the parking lot to the bay is down.  The restaurant is sitting there with the entire back open to the bay.  As we get close we see that there was no progress or attempt to rebuild yet. Does this mean they will not rebuild?  We hope not.  This was one of the few places left where you could stop and eat lunch while boating.  

As we cruise along the bay we take a turn into the neighborhood and are surprised of what we saw.  Streets of slabs, no homes, no debris, just sand and concrete, with the exception of a boat on the hard. I was really amazed to see houses being raised a good 10 feet above where the house use to sit.  This has to also benefit you on the new cost of flood insurance.

The neighborhood seems deserted. Very few cars, no people out side, and piles of debris here and there.  Some rebuilds have begun and one home we saw was raised about ten feet. A couple others appear to be following suit and raising their homes.

On the way home we took a cruise to one of my fishing beaches in Cliffwood Beach to see if anything had changed. We pulled into the parking area and the wind was really blowing, the sand was hurting any part of exposed skin as it blew down the beach.  We took a quick look around, a quick video, and returned to the truck.  As we got near the truck there was a SUV pulled in alongside the truck.  As we got close the window went down and the gentleman inside said, "We'll that didn't take long."  I told him it was too damn windy and cold to be hanging on the beach. It seems he was waiting to see how we did before he got out to check out the beach. He decided not to take a walk after watching us. The following video doesn't show too much sand blowing, but it was.  You can hear the wind as it hits the camera microphone. One quick pan up and down the beach and we were out of there!

The following picture is after we left the parking lot and there was this sand blowing all over the street.  It had been piled on both sides of the street and it appears they had come in with a grader or backhoe and cleaned the streets of sand as there is a distinct edge along the side of the road.

You can see the car in front of me is in a sand blown area as I snapped the picture. You can also notice the pile of sand pushed up along the side of the road by a grader or backhoe blade. We headed back home and will be back in couple weeks to check on the recovery of water debris throughout the bay.

We will end today's blog with the following picture.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Winter Trip to Raritan Bay

A trip down to the bay is an attempt to get rid of those winter blues.  This morning (2/3/2013) I went down to Keyport and Union Beach to see how things were rebounding from Sandy.  As you cross the route 35 drawbridge you begin to see the remnants of hurricane Sandy. Looking down from route 35 you can see Viking Marina.  Though desolate this time of year, you can still see the building heavily damaged, boats still scattered around the marsh and banks just where Sandy left them, and there is still a boat lying in the Old Bridge Police lot. Otherwise, many boats looked perfectly normal, wrapped and blocked, in the marina for the winter. 

The next area that lets you know there was a problem is as you cruise down route 35 looking out into the marshes and seeing boats still stuck out in the reeds and grasses.  I immediately think, how do you get a boat out of the marsh?  You would need a crane to pick them up, but how would you get a crane there, if you can't get a boat there? Does this mean these boats will be there forever?  What's the life of fiberglass? 

As you turn off route 35 onto Amboy Road and drive just a half mile there are many reminders of Sandy.  Boats are still all over the Blue Rock Cafe parking lot.  The catamaran sailboat is now blocked up in the parking lot along with a few others.  Crossing the bridge you immediately notice Up The Creek Tavern is no more.  The building has been demo'ed to the only evidence there was a building there is the power wires hanging from the pole. I wonder if they will rebuild?  From my understanding the flood insurance for many of these businesses will be outrageously expensive.

As you get near town there is work beginning at Ye Cottage Inn.  There is now a fence surrounding the property. It appears demolition or rebuilding will begin shortly. Just across the parking lot sits the new Mike's Subs building which is very similar to the old building, but is all brand new.  This will be the first new building since Sandy.  Up the street I make a left and head down to the boat ramp.
I find it a little funny that there are other people just like me, taking a ride along the bay stopping and watching the bay for a little while and moving onto the next spot.  Today there were about eight cars sitting there with people just staring out at the water.  The parking lot for the ramp has sections of rail missing, but it appears they are missing so they could pull the floating dock up and into the parking lot.

It was just a little after sunrise and you can see the factories on the horizon contributing to our global warming. The cloud layer was low and it felt like we were going to get more snow.

I headed over the Olsen's Boat Works to see how things were.  Olsen's was one of the lucky ones during Sandy.  Most of the yard was saved and being they are up so high, the water had only made it to the top of the ramp.  The place is packed with boats.  The most I have seen there! Being the other marinas were hurt in some manner from the storm, he was able to take in a few more boats. Plus, many must be there for repair from Sandy.  I didn't even try to pull in as it looked like I would have to back up to get out of there.  I headed back toward town and went to the waterfront.  Things are pretty much the same with little progress.

The museum and bar look just like the week after Sandy.  You have to wonder why some places can be totally rebuilt and others don't seem to be making any headway.  Is it the insurance or is it the finance? 

Heading on to Union Beach I see some progress.  With most of the debris cleaned up and some organized work on buildings and homes.  While stopped and looking out toward New York I was able to see the new Freedom Tower reflecting the rising sun.  I tried to take a picture but it just didn't show the glow I saw.   It was still heavily overcast so I headed on back home to get things ready for our annual Super Bowl party.  Just before I got to the route 35 drawbridge I took the right and went down to the channel and saw about a half dozen people fishing under the bridge.  What they were fishing for I have no idea.  I continued home and wrote this blog.

Hope to have some interesting blogs this season. Keep in touch.