2010-09-10 / Sports

Tales From The Wheelhouse: Remembering 9/11 Heroes

By Captain Vinnie Calabro

The sun sets on Jamaica Bay. The sun sets on Jamaica Bay. Jamaica Bay has a history, stories to tell for those who care to listen. Such thoughts go through my mind usually in the early mornings as I slice through the marshes and cuts that I have become familiar with over the years, passages in the bay traveled by mariners, in vessels under power or in by-gone years sails maybe even canoes by Native Americans all of whom have left a story.

Inside the marshes one can easily become absorbed with the surroundings and for a moment or two hear the sighs it releases with each tidal flow. Deep in the “pumpkin patch” as I use this route often on my way to the sea I’m lost, lost from civilization as the marsh grasses and islands shroud the noise from highways and airports. It’s as if they try to comfort me and seduce me to stay within these friendly confines.

On this particular morning for some reason it seems as though the bay wants me to remain here within these marshes, here with the herons, the ospreys, killies, blue claws all manner of life that I have come to know since I was a boy. Stuck on a sandbar I’m able to back off raising the engine of the skiff with its shallow draft. It seldom gets stuck and I continue no thanks to the bay for the tide was ebbing a few minutes more and I would have been high and dry. Odd my mind wandered off but who could blame the bay, for this time of day each turn holds a portrait.

Finally I leave behind Ruffle Island as I head due west toward Norton’s Point, the grounds I chose to fish this day.

Dawn appears to be seeping through the horizon and slowly the façade of the city begins to unravel. I left the GPS plotter in my truck the navigational aid which will put me right on the wreck I’m going to fish, but I’m not worried I can range the spot.

Simply put one ranges by putting two points in alignment and as they intersect you’re on the spot. I haven’t ranged it in a while becoming dependent on the GPS, but the memory of the ranges is etched in my mind.Imprinted as if it were yesterday, I’ve done it hundreds of times. Some things you never forget. I pass the seven can and begin to run down my ranges the Brooklyn stanchion of the VZ on the white building and the parachute off of Coney Island splits the Towers those in line the wreck comes right up.

I’m alone looking for something that doesn’t exist and can only wonder how many people are doing the same on a much different scale. Heading ninety degrees at twenty knots, I’ll be in the patch in fifteen minutes. I’m not fishing today …

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