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.