Liquid Lines

Keep Your Binge Watching to Yourself, Folding Out Flo, Letter from Holgate and a Fabulous Maker’s Fest

‘Finished My Favorite Series. Any Suggestions?’ Yeah, Go Outside
By JON COEN | Sep 19, 2018
Photo by: Jon Coen The Maker’s Fest last Saturday at Manahawkin Lake Park was a huge success.

“Just finished watching the final season of (insert series name here). Any recommendations on what to watch next?”

Have you seen this post on social media? I’ve seen it a lot, and surprisingly a lot recently. What the hell do you people do all day? I mean, the loose translation of that post is: “Hey, I’ve had all this free time on my hands. I mean, I have had absolutely nothing to do. I’ve been watching TV at eight-hour clips. But now I’ve run out of episodes and I need to fill another 12 hours of my life.

It would take over 14 hours to watch the entirety of “Stranger Things.” I know because I found a website called “Game of Thrones” would take 63.5 hours, “The Walking Dead ”... 126 hours!

Now I realize that I likely wasted a minute of my life looking that up, but someone out there spent almost 14 days of their life watching “Grey’s Anatomy”! Who are you people? Do you have careers?

And I’m not going to be that quasi-intellectual guy who says, “I don’t watch TV. I just read.” I know pretty much every line of every Seinfeld episode, and I loved me some “Boardwalk Empire.” I also got turned onto this AMC series called “Turn,” about George Washington’s spy ring. I’ll probably get more into “Peaky Binders” when the weather gets cold.

But that’s all in the winter. Hey, when we have a blizzard or one of those weeks where the wind howls across the frozen bay and it’s dark by 4:30, it totally makes sense to get some good couch time.

But July, August and September? Granted, the start to Local Summer was anything but glorious, but there’s still plenty of outdoors to be doing. And then there’s this other concept called a “job.”

I think I watched a total of eight hours of TV since May, including a Sandler movie with my kid. And that last one qualifies that I’m not one to look down on mindless entertainment. Some of the series I mentioned are fantastic works of cinema.

It’s a given that society comes to a grinding halt every Sunday at kickoff time. But most people I know take advantage of every moment of not-winter to be riding waves, chasing sea life, catching bands and other good times far from the remote. Of course, there’s plenty of scrolling on phones to see who else is riding waves, chasing sea life, catching bands and other good times, but most of the people in my life don’t have eight hours to watch a full season of “Orange is the New Black,” much less two or three seasons.

FLO’D OUT: Flo, Flo, Flo. What a mess you have made.

Hurricane Florence continued to be a headliner right up to Tuesday of this week, when she crossed over us from the west. You wanna talk about your storm legacies? After being watched for a full two weeks in the Atlantic, making historic landfall, dropping record rains and visiting funny places like Kentucky and West Virginia, she crossed over New Jersey and went out to sea. (I’m not totally convinced that her story is over.)

Coming off a nor’easter that never cleaned up, I might add that every single move Flo made was the worst possible track for LBI to get surf. First off, we fare terribly on long-period groundswell, any winds that we had associated with Flo were onshore, and then her final track came over us from the west and went east out to sea, instead of northeast, which would have given us a window of offshore winds.

There were waves. I heard a few reports of one spot that was able to hold the groundswell, but most of the Island has been junk for two weeks now. I ventured to the South End a few times, and it was pretty awful. Between the poor winds, lack of jetties, and long-period swells, this will not be a September to remember. And to top it all off, the recent storms have basically ruined most of our sandbars.

But hey, we can’t complain. Our coastal brothers and sisters in the Carolinas are going to be dealing with this for a very long time. That area happens to be called “The Low Country,” but I’m not sure the moniker will be used as affectionately this week.

I’m sure that everyone saw the mess that Flo made on the national media. The area south of the Outer Banks got it the worst, around Wilmington. Strangely enough, it seems Wrightsville Beach came out OK. The issue is going to be Wilmington and dozens of other small towns that are more on coastal waterways than the oceanfront. There are huge areas that received 20 and even 30 inches of rain. That’s mind boggling.

Many folks who evacuated can’t even get back to their homes because the flooding is so bad. And as we know, the longer before those homes can be remedied, the more of an issue mold can be.

Many of us here make pilgrimages to the Outer Banks to surf and fish. I spoke to a friend in Buxton, N.C., and Hatteras Island and the towns north were actually spared from the worst. He said the particular track that caused all the rain south of there actually saved them. Make no mistake, they had days of crazy winds, rain and overwash, but NC 12 remained open, and those towns south of Oregon Inlet were not cut off, which is a huge fear. They never even lost power.

He said that by Sunday everyone in town was walking around like zombies, in a state of exhaustion and shock mixed with guilt that they fared OK while their neighbors to the south took the beating. They are already organizing their own relief efforts for the flooded towns.

Obviously, simply navigating the flood waters is going to be an issue this week, but I have to wonder if that unprecedented amount of rainfall will bring some medium-range recovery issues that no one is talking about yet. It seems that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention was getting out ahead of some challenges that have historically occurred by getting tetanus and flu shots to shelters. They’re also going to be vigilant of disease-spreading rats. How’s that slap of reality?

The environmental impact is going to be horrendous. I’m sure you’ve read about the lagoons of pig waste that could overflow. Last year, Puerto Rico faced outbreaks of leptospirosis, which can affect people who come into contact with infected animals or the waste from infected animals. This would seem likely in the Carolinas considering the amount of factory farming. With all that flooding, the response is going to be bottles of water purchased literally from Coke and PepsiCo. Authorities will not filter the water; they will just create millions of pounds of petroleum-based waste that won’t be recycled.

The weather in New Bern will be in the high 80s this week. After the water starts to recede, that will be one very large mosquito breeding ground, and North Carolina has already had some mosquito-borne illnesses when there wasn’t 3 feet of water draining from half the state.

While I like to consider the source of anything I read, I do not generally run around blaming my problems on the national “fake news.” I am, however, bummed out to see CNN with giant web banners directing folks to donate to support victims. On a whole, it’s not the worst thing in the world, but all of the organizations they have listed are huge organizations with massive administrative budgets. Meanwhile there are plenty of smaller groups that get a larger percentage of your dollar into the hands of those who need it., and some of those will pop up this week. I’m disappointed that CNN didn’t do some research to find and vet the boots-on-the-ground folks who can make more-direct impacts.

I’m told there are some local fundraisers in the works to help out down south. Most notably is START, which has already organized the Hurricane Florence Relief. They have a list of needed items that can be dropped off at Bowker’s Spray Beach Deli in Spray Beach or Shore Fire Grille in Manahawkin. Or take a look at the Core Sound Waterfowl Museum and Heritage Center’s fundraising efforts.

Who wants to drive the U-Haul full of Skin So Soft down I-95?

UPDATE FROM HOLGATE: There was a nice letter in last week’s SandPaper from Rand Pearsall of Holgate, addressing my recent coverage of the proposed terminal groin in Holgate. Pearsall particularly addressed my comment that “The ‘you’re going to destroy a one-of-a kind, historic surf spot’ is a tough sell in the face of ‘save my house.’”

The context of that notion is that despite efforts toward conversation, better information and a petition, the surf spot known as the Wooden Jetty may be radically altered as a surf break, if there’s a breaking wave there at all. But it’s a tough argument to make when people’s homes are at risk.

I can be sarcastic and facetious, but I am saying in earnest that it was a fair letter, and I hope it leads to a better outcome for all.

Pearsall counters that it’s not an “either/or” situation by writing, “Most believe barrier island homes and surfing should go hand in hand, along with fishing, cycling, sunbathing and barbecues.” Totally with him.

He also says, “With the proposed groin, we can’t be sure what will happen to the surf, for better or worse. But we have a pretty good idea what will happen to a few homes if we get a series of bad nor’easters, much less a hurricane.”

I agree with that, also, 100 percent. Hey, if we can save the homes in Holgate and keep that very unique sand set-up, I am all for it. I would like nothing more. I hate to sound negative, but I just don’t see that happening. Like he says, we can’t be sure what will happen to the surf. That’s key. Even if the mayor is assuring us that there will be a fantastic left going south of the Wooden Jetty, it sounds too good to be true.

Currently, that general surf “zone” consists of not just the Wooden Jetty, but also the jetties at Washington , Pershing and Carolina avenues, known locally as “Beach One” (aka the Suicide Jetty), “Beach Two, and a very special wave at “Beach Three.” If the proposed 500-foot jetty gets built and acts as it’s supposed to in keeping the next round of replenishment in place, it will bury all three jetties. It could possibly affect the surf north to Beach Haven, maybe for better, maybe for worse.

And once we lose those jetties, it’s possible those waves close out like they often do the other 17.5 miles of LBI. We better hope like hell that the sand bypass around the Wooden creates a cross between Mundaka and Raglan.

And if that doesn’t happen? Well, maybe we lose all three surf spots. Does that give a better idea of what’s at stake?

And this will likely save the homes east of the Boulevard, specifically around McKinley Avenue, for now.

I think anyone can see that these homes were built too close to the ocean, someone’s dream vacation home that now sits precariously close to the sea. But if we start making that judgment call in the face of climate change, then we condemn all of LBI to fall into the sea, everyone’s home from year-round locals to those who have “investments.”

I might argue with Pearsall on the statements that “we have severe erosion that is in part the result of a flawed, man-made effort to build new dunes.” Erosion is not a result of a man-made effort to build new dunes any more than a hot day is a result of leaving your ice cream in the sun. Erosion is going to happen; we just put more sand of different grain sizes (that is prone to erosion) into the littoral zone. Barrier Islands have been eroding since long before beach replenishment; Holgate has been changing long before the Lenni Lenape paddled over in dugout canoes.

However, I completely agree with his statement that “We have surf that is the result of the man-made effort that is the deteriorating old wooden jetty.”

I would take that a step farther and say that jetties have always made for better-quality surf on LBI, and I’d say with very good confidence that the surf quality has really suffered since they’ve been buried by (much-needed) beach replenishment.I used to do turns on my surfboard ,and I’m not even very good. Today we just hope for days that peel even a little bit, much less a few turns. We don’t know what will happen with the surf around this new terminal groin, but we have a pretty good idea of what will happen to these other breaks.

Pearsall goes on to say, “I don’t think we should roll the dice on the weather as the consequences for LBI overall could be disastrous. However, I think it is fair that the government entities be open to modifications of the groin over the next couple of years if the surf is negatively impacted. For that matter, the groin may have to be modified if the design doesn’t work exactly as planned to preserve the beach.”

I’d agree with him. But he assumes that the surf community’s concerns have been heard. If so, it’s partly to do with the petition and the worries by folks who see this as a threat to one of the greatest lefts on the entire East Coast. And pardon my skepticism here, but he’s also assuming that officials will be happy to adjust the flow of sand for the sake of the Forsythe Refuge and the wave. I’m not as optimistic.

I am optimistic about his letter on the whole, though. He’s looking for a good solution for everyone. How about we talk about some new jetties up and down the Island that work with replenishment? I’m open to finding it.

MAKE MY DAY:Another huge congrats to the women of the Makeshift Union, who pulled off an absolutely phenomenal Maker’s Fest on Saturday. After 12 days of utterly terrible weather, they had quite a day. I don’t know if there’s a way to gauge how many people attended since it’s free, but Old Manahawkin was hopping. At one point, traffic was backed up on 72 East at the Route 9 junction.

There’s no doubt that the LBI area has had a bit of an awakening in the last 10-plus years, and the Maker’s Fest is a very clear example of that. It began within the surf community on the Island and has now branched out into so many creative directions, all over the mainland as well. The ladies do such a great job curating this festival so that every single vendor is presenting quality handmade wares. It makes such a difference when it’s not just junk wares.

The surf community still has a good presence there with some local shapes and other handmade items. Then you add in really good food, seeing your friends, all-original music, stuff for the kids to do and yoga, all at such a great setting, and it really is a fantastic event.

ALL THE HAPS: Last Friday saw a great turnout for the Jetty Clam Jam Team Selection Party at the Old Causeway. Thirteen years in and the enthusiasm for this event shows no sign of waning. When you see those names each year, it’s a great reminder of how many fantastic surfers and people there are in our community. It’s also nice to see a few new young faces stepping up, ensuring the new generation is embracing the event.

The Clam Jam could potentially be as early as this weekend. The call will be made by Thursday. The early-week forecast keeps changing, but there are two moderate systems moving through late week and a possibility that Friday could kick up something for Saturday if things clean up. Too soon to say.

The Clam Jam will not be held on Sept. 29 and 30 on account of too many conflicts with Chowderfest. That would bring us into October, when the waiting period has traditionally begun in the past.

While the first few weeks of September didn’t resemble any kind of golden offseason, the weather has turned mostly for the better, and we can resume Local Summer on LBI. Sept. 22 is the Summer Party at The Local in Ship Bottom. This will feature corn hole, hot chocolate, raw bar, the food truck and fire pit, all before the leaves turn. And if you’re on the mainland, the Union Market will have its Campfire Series that day, as well, at the Tuckerton Seaport.

If you can do all that and you still have time for 13 straight hours of TV, maybe keep it to yourself.

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