2011-03-11 / Sports

Rockaway Outdoors/Tales From The Wheelhouse

By Captain Vinnie Calabro

As we move through March each day brings anticipation of April 15, the opening of Striped Bass season in our area. The bay seems to have no shortage of herring and if that’s any indication of things to come bass will be foraging and making their presence soon.

I don’t know but there’s something about this time of year that has me restless. I get up earlier than usual and find myself down the bay more and more. Monday I was up in Inwood, toward the back of the bay, plenty of waterfowl venturing onto the now exposed grass foraging for a meal. It was a tough winter but the bay took care of them. They didn’t seem to mind my presence, as they gathered many will stay on having found a home in Jamaica Bay. I looked to the bay and have seen it age, like me at times not too gracefully.

The bay itself has been the topic of much conversation of late. Anyone reading a newspaper knows about plans for the expansion of Kennedy airport. As with any environmental topic it deserves much attention.

I think having been on this wonderful resource for the better part of fifty years enables me to reflect and share some thoughts about this old friend of mine, Jamaica Bay. The bay gives of itself unselfishly asking nothing in return, no admission fees, no restrictions; it has survived despite the impact of man and his environment. This bay endures not because of man but in spite of man; however the scars run deep, and now with its very vitality constantly tested we need to recognize what a true treasure it is.

“They” always have a plan and response to all matters of consequence. Matters of Consequence, a phrase repeated often in the children’s book The Little Prince, is echoed each time the little prince encounters someone involved with such lofty goals they tend to overlook the small things right in front of them.

“They” through surveys, data and site analysis can persuade us into making the right decision. It is easy to take on someone that has no voice. Or make decisions in an area where people have no time for battles, where blue collar, meat and potatoes people struggle to make a living. Who can’t always attend public meetings, or write poignant letters. The people that enjoy this bay are surfcasters, pier fishermen, bird watchers, and picnickers catching killies with their kids, people who come from the city rent a skiff and pretend to be a boat captain for a day.

The bay only gives to us unselfishly its fish, crabs, waterfowl, beautiful marshes, cool breezes on a summer’s afternoon, and so much more. Can you put a price tag on a child’s wonderment as he looks at a horseshoe crab wandering in the shallows, or the majesty of an osprey sitting atop its perch? I can’t and once they are gone they’ll never return. If we continue to insult the bay with unforgiving blights what will it become – something to admire in a book?

Until the last tide ….

Vinnie Calabro can be reached at his email at vinnie@karenanncharters.com

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