Hurricane Sandy Cometh

The dreaded last ride of the season is upon us. I don’t usually end the season so early but this impending storm concerns me. After a quick call to Moby Dick Marina in Fairhaven my fate was written.

“Hello, Moby Dick Marina.” I recognize the voice as one of the owners. “John, this is Rick Coraccio. How are you?” “Rick! What’s up pal?” John asks. “Well…I sure wouldn’t mind taking my boat down there tomorrow.” I say “You and everybody else!” John states the obvious. “Well, you know, the storm and everything,” I say. “No problem Rick. C’mon down.” Thanks John, ‘preciate it” “What time will you be here?” he asks. “Oh…’leven, twelve.” “Put it right on the ramp, if some one’s there, pull her into a slip,” he says. “Thanks again John.” “No problem Rick. Safe passage.”

Friday 10/26/2012 6:00 AM
I brew a pot of coffee and run through my exercise routine to bleed off some of my excess morning energy. The thermometer hanging just outside the kitchen window reads 61 degrees. Wow! Sixty-one! Really? I open the back door and step out onto the brick stoop. It’s so warm! Not a cloud in the sky, birds are singing, nary a breeze. Damn! It’s the nicest weekend we’ve had around here since forever and I gotta pull the boat out because the perfect storm is gonna tear through in 72 hours. Where is the justice in that? I start cooking the bacon and soon I hear my wife Susan moving around upstairs. Last night I warned her that I would be waking her up early. “Just pour some coffee down my throat and I’ll be ready to go,” she said.

Down at the beach, the sun pops through the trees as I untie our dinghy. “It’s so nice out!” I say as I lower the old Honda outboard into the water. Our boat “Ginger Lee” looks so lonely. There is only one other boat in this normally bustling mooring field. It’s really kinda sad. I hate the end of the boating season. Susan senses my dismay and hugs my neck. “It’s for the best, this storm looks really bad. Remember when we came down here during Hurricane Irene?” Helplessly from the shore, we watched our boat buck and sway violently against her mooring lines. It was sickening. I’ll never forget it. “I know…I know,” I agree. Boating has always kidnapped my soul, but this particular boat has kidnapped my heart. Dammit Rick! Enough of this mushy crap, just fire up those engines and get her safely to her winter home in New Bedford Harbor.

As soon as we round the Bird Island light I notice the normal Buzzards Bay chop has taken the day off, as if to say; “I slapped you guys around enough for one season. Have a nice last cruise.”

Along the way we listen intently to a developing situation being reported on the VHF channel 16. A boater reports to the Coast Guard that he has come a upon small boat adrift in Mount Hope Bay with no one aboard. “Just a fishing rod,” crackles the voice. Later another report of an empty life preserver ring afloat in the same area is reported. Silence fills our warm salon with the realization that a fellow boater has possibly taken not only his last cruise of the season, but the last cruise of his life.

New Bedford Hurricane Barrier, from the harbor

New Bedford Hurricane Barrier, from the harbor

As we pass through the New Bedford hurricane barrier, a crew on a small barge is working on the door. No doubt they will be closing these doors as hurricane Sandy is predicted to hit the eastern seaboard at high tide during a full moon. I raise the Popes Island Marina on channel 9 and ask about a pump out. They direct me to a small floating dock in the middle of a huge bulkhead breakwater. As I approach, I realize how much I like the way Ginger Lee responds to the controls, how much I will miss her. Jeez Rick! you are NOT getting nostalgic about the last pump out of the season are you? Well I guess maybe I am. Hey! It’s all part of boating, all good as long as we are messing about in our boats.

Ginger Lee out of the water for the winter

Ginger Lee out of the water for the winter

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