For three seasons of the year, the harbor is one big marina. A democratic marina, to be sure, where small paddled boats share the waters with a few ocean going yachts (tied up, to be sure, on the docks.) Mostly small motorboats large and small, everybody wanting have an attachment to the water.
It always amazes me that such expensive luxuries mostly just sit around unused. The clammers, at least, go out most days for livelihood, but our neighbors and everyone else seems to just let the money pits bob up and down, just so they can get out for a few hours offshore each year. Anyway, they provide a certain unique picturesque quality, like that of the Mediterranean.
The James Joseph II goes sporadically out of Halesite for an “adventurous” day of fishing in the sound two miles or so away off Lloyd Neck. I’ve often seem them anchored out there as I walk along the shore of Caumsett park. Sometimes, in certain seasons (for flatfish) the captain seems to get lazy and they go about a quarter mile from the dock and anchor in the middle of the boat channel _ if I were one of the paying customers I’d probably feel ripped off.
Still, they seem to get adequate crowds, and the seagulls love them, flying around thickly when they return. Often there are fish bones and heads washing up on the beaches _ but probably from the pleasure boats, not these guys. In the right mood, I enjoy watching the parade add to the ambience of the day.
Sometimes seems there won’t be enough water for all the wood and fiberglass. Marinas everywhere here at the end of the harbor, and a few dotted along the shores, all with power vessels of all types and sizes. Yes, even all the apparent sailboats have power, Virginia.
You’d think with these multitudes of ships the channel would be a busy place, but it never ceases to amaze me that most of the boats you see here _ and all the rest you don’t _ seem to only get used a few hours a year. Considering the considerable expense of docking and upkeep, there is probably some lesson in that.
Now this guy has his own ideas. Who needs to pay a marina, or even take up much valuable garage space? The only really weird thing in all this is he does seem to be using a hand pump. I can’t tell you _ often I find it is more fun to leave things mysterious, even to myself.
Kayaks are out mostly for the town-run summer camp at Coindre Hall. But Kayaks are so last year _ there was a time when the water was filled, now they are very few and far between. The current fad is stand up paddle boats. A decade ago it was small sailboats, followed by a surge of canoes. I guess being out on the water just isn’t enough anymore. Kayak once around the harbor and _ well, another checklist complete. Let’s go buy a sailboat _ or whatever comes next.
The boat and dock are remnants of a once thriving lobster industry. Not long ago, in the winter, the floating docks would be piled high with metal box traps. Now they serve various purposes _ in this case providing a bit of orange to a photography _ until they inevitably rot and decay into unusability, when they will either be towed to the boat ramp on Mill Dam for disposal, or break up and drift away in pieces during some big storm.
Can you count a working barge as a boat? Sure. It may take a tugboat to get where it’s going, but if it happens to run you over in a fog you don’t much care what it’s called technically. These are kind of the tramp steamers of our limited shores, putting in from marina to marina and dock to dock picking up odd jobs like driving pilings or pulling out wreckage.