The next six to eight weeks represent the heart of the 2017 Atlantic Basin hurricane season and the likelihood of tropical storm and hurricane formation will increase. Now is the time when storms are more likely to form off the central and eastern Atlantic Ocean, giving them plenty of time to feast on what’s now bathtub-warm water as they move thousands of miles towards the North American coast.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) recently updated its 2017 hurricane projections noting that wind and air patterns in the area of the tropical Atlantic and Caribbean where many storms develop are very conducive to an above-normal season. As all of us here in the Channel are acutely aware of our community's true vulnerabilities to these storms and their accompanying storm surges, it goes without saying that it is imperative that each of us stays aware of any and all storm forecasts between now and the end of this hurricane season.
This past Saturday I was supposed to be accompanying several intrepid seafarers from Broad Channel out to Montauk where we had planned to meet up with the local "Captain Quint" aboard his charter (The Orca?) for some shark fishing. Our conversations were always peppered with the possibility of catching the big one, a Great White, and then all of us would stand around the dock in our Rockaway Times T-shirts with the huge beast hung by its tail behind us. Now I don't know about the rest of you but I see absolutely no reason why I would go out of my way to drive miles out to the end of Long Island and then get on a boat, head out into the ocean, and start looking for a big fish that could make a meal out of me in one bite. Keeping that in mind, I didn't see any need to tell my brother fishermen that my closest encounter with a shark was a one-foot sand shark I accidentally stepped on off the beach in shallow water some years ago which found me screaming like a maniac, splashing crazily back towards the beach in a panic. A lifeguard ran over to me to check and make sure I was okay stating that he couldn't understand how a six-foot man could be having difficulty in a foot of water. Obviously, the well-intentioned lifeguard was not a Jaws aficionado.
Needless to say, my fears were unfounded because as the weekend trip approached we were all reminded of the sage words of Robert Burns from his poem "To a Mouse," where he states that the best laid plans of mice and men often go awry. Circumstances quickly spiraled out of control and ultimately the trip had to be cancelled. In an effort to salvage what we could of the weekend, I suggested that we all head up to the VFW on Saturday and sit around a picnic table in the yard armed with fishing rods wearing waders and caps festooned with lures while drinking cold beer and watching "Jaws" on a computer tablet with the caveat that each time the shark made its presence known during the movie we would all jump up from the table and yell in unison, "We're gonna need a bigger boat!"
I can see you all snickering out there… laugh all you want but the last time I checked there were no sharks in the VFW yard!
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