Dock of the Bay

Volume VII Number 40
October 7-13,1999

Tempest in a Teacup

"Floyd was a flop," says Dermott Hickey, deputy harbormaster of the city of Annapolis. Dermott reports the storm of the century that hit Maryland September 16 caused no major damage to the Annapolis sailing and power boating community. "For that we can all be thankful," he adds.

Hickey and Annapolis Harbormaster Ulric Dahlgren had the foresight to evacuate all boats from the Annapolis City Dock and harbor areas. They gave boat owners directions to sheltered moorings where their boats could safely weather the storm.

As you would expect, the Navy has its detailed hurricane plans. The Naval Academy took Floyd in easy stride, evacuating all their sailboats to previously established safe moorings.

Back Creek also escaped serious damage. Desiree Bell, the manager of Mears Marina, reported that they experienced no damage beyond a power outage to one of their piers. Tides caused no problem, Bell says, and they kept all 229 boats safely secured throughout the storm. George Jonas stayed on marina piers all day to keep sail furlings tight and mooring lines taut. Jonas was a busy man, but his efforts kept boats from being damaged by riding into piers or losing furled sails in the high winds.

Down the Bay at Solomons, Chris Fassnidge, the manager of Solomon's Point Marina, also reported no damage or serious problems to the Solomon's Island boating community. Chris kept damage low to the 50 boats at the Solomon's Point Marina by moving some boats to land storage and checking on those at moorings throughout the storm to make sure that Floyd didn't get ahead of him.

Floyd's slight damage to local boats and marinas was the rule in Maryland, not the exception. Petty Officer Gary of the U.S. Coast Guard was underway throughout Floyd. He noted sustained winds at about 30 to 40 knots and tides a bit above normal. Falling trees caused the only boat damage he saw, and those were isolated incidents.

"Floyd was like a long, bad rainstorm," Gary says. "As a hurricane, it was no account."

The minimal boating damage from Annapolis to Solomon's Island was surprising considering Floyd's advanced billing. Floyd was a Category 4 storm with 155 mile per hour winds, 190mph gusts, and a storm front of 125 miles. It was projected to reach Category 5, capable of causing catastrophic damage. Floyd put the entire East Coast into a state of high anxiety, and parts are still trying to recover from the damage.

How did our boating community come through unscathed? The consensus: We were lucky. The eye of the storm was far enough to the east to keep the strongest winds away from us and to influence their direction. The winds that hit the Bay area were from the north and northwest, arriving as an offshore gale rather than an onshore Nor'easter. This was a principal factor in keeping tides low. Had the winds been from the northeast, they would have blown Bay tidal surges ashore. Sustained high northeast winds blowing ashore disrupt normal tidal ebb and flow, producing high water build-up and flooding. Flooding combined with high winds causes damage to moored boats by smashing them into piers, parting mooring lines and setting boats adrift to hit other boats or to be thrown onto piers or beaches: Not a pretty picture.

We also made a bit of our own luck with foresight and diligence. The foresight to move boats from exposed piers to sheltered moorings combined with marina staffs that worked through the storm to keep mooring lines taut and sails furled kept damage to a minimum.

So Floyd didn't live up to its advanced billing as The Storm of the Century.

"Nope, but I can live with the disappointment," said Solomon's Point Marina's Fassnidge.

-Sam Ginder

Sam Ginder is a liberally educated writer, Naval Academy graduate and engineer. A Storm in a Teacup, he notes, is the title of an 1854 farce by William Bayle Benard.

Bits & Pieces
by Darcey Dodd

Calvert Marine Museum's Fall Housekeeping

Two of Calvert Marine Museum's chief attractions - the historic Drum Point Lighthouse and the century-old bugeye Wm. B. Tennison - won't be open for a while.

The cottage-style lighthouse is one of only three still standing of its kind. It stood up-Bay for 90-some years before coming to the Calvert Marine Museum to live out a second life safe from vandals.

Beginning October 13 and running through November 3, the lighthouse will shut its doors while workers paint and refinish floor matting.

"We're just essentially trying to keep the structure in good shape on the inside because it does get a lot of visitors," says maritime history curator Richard Dodds.

Born to the sea in 1899 and built with a 60-foot hull made of nine logs, the old Tennison goes in for repairs this winter also.

By spring, after $50,000 of work - including engine overhaul and a rebuilt pilot house - she will be sparkling new to continue on into her second century.


Lotto with Captain Salem Avery's House

When you play Lotto, your chances are something like one in a billion. Not good.

But a Bay Country drawing worth $10,000 brings you better odds. It's the Shady Side Rural Heritage Society's annual raffle to pay the mortgage on the Captain Salem Avery House and Museum.

Here's the kicker. Only 2,000 tickets are sold. "I'm sure we will not sell all 2,000," says Mavis Daly of the Shady Side Rural Society. "So the odds are even better."

Last year, about $16,000 was raised. Ten thousand went to the lucky winner, and the remainder nearly paid the mortgage. Buyers have until the drawing on October 17, at the Captain Salem Avery House's Oyster Festival, to buy their remaining $10 tickets.

"Last week sales were up to $5,500," says Daly. "We have a long way to go."


Dollars Follow Floyd

Once the damage was done, President Clinton went to work.

On September 24, he declared 11 Maryland counties, Anne Arundel and Calvert included, disaster areas and authorized federal funding to aid anyone hurt by Tropical Storm Floyd.

This is when our tax money goes to good use.

Marylanders suffering from any kind of loss may be able to use federal grants and loans to recover.

Does this mean you?

It could.

"Anyone who suffered any damage from Floyd's winds or flooding should call," says Federal Emergency Management Agency spokesman Butch DuCote. "Our job is to make your home safe, sanitary and secure."

Businesses should apply, too. "Our job is to make sure you open up tomorrow," DuCote said.

Call 800/462-9029 or TTY 800/462-7585 to learn more.


Easing the Bite On Big Bass

Coastal fishermen have been hooking big striped bass, fish eight years and older, the past couple of years.

Now the Maryland Department of Natural Resources and the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission are holding public meetings to figure out how to lower big- bass mortality.

"Too many have been caught," says DNR spokesman John Surrick. "As a result, we're going to develop a plan to decrease the harvest of fish these ages."

Winners Again Chaney, Herrington Harbour

For marina operator Steuart Chaney, awards are nothing new. But he admits to being especially pleased with his latest recognition for environmental achievement, this time from the National Marine Manufacturers Association.

"They only pick one. It's really and truly very impressive," said Chaney.

The trade association for the nation's boating industry recently gave Chaney its Fourth Boating Facilities Environmental Responsibility Award.

"Herrington Harbour is proof that a recreational boating facility can not only coexist with the local natural habitat but by its design and management, can help nurture the environment," said William Keene, of the association.

Chaney's 1,325-slip Herrington Harbour marinas command the north and south corners of Herring Bay in Southern Anne Arundel County. He likens them to an hourglass; people arrive at his marinas from a wide swath of the region and then they disperse in their sailing vessels and powerboats out and across the Chesapeake Bay. He wants them to go smarter and cleaner, environmentally.

Three years ago, Herrington Harbour received Marina Dock Age magazine's Marina of the Year award in part because of Chaney's environmental stewardship. He has continued to make improvements even while expanding.

For instance, stormwater is dispersed through marshes. Likewise, all the water from boat-cleaning and powerwashing on his properties is filtered before reaching the Chesapeake Bay rather than running directly in, along with impurities.

"In the old days, you'd blast it right back into the water," Chaney observed.

Last year, the National Clean Boating Campaign was launched at Herrington Harbour South. Chaney has also tried to educate boaters by devoting a section of his newsletter to environmental suggestions.

Two years ago, Chaney rankled some of his own boaters by recommending Herring Bay as Chesapeake Bay's first No Discharge Zone. That proposal, which may take a few more years to achieve, did not find favor among some who had invested heavily in on-board water treatment systems.

Nonetheless, Chaney intends to continue his award-winning ways. "We work very hard to be an environmental leader, but there's always room for improvement," he said.


Wanted: Women with the Right Stuff

Maryland is looking for a few good women to honor in the year 2000.

Nominations are open for the Maryland Women's Hall of Fame, to recognize women who have made unique, lasting contributions to our state and who serve as inspiring role models for tomorrow's female leaders.

It's not just contemporary women who are being sought for the honor but also women who put their foot in the door down through history in Maryland.

Up to five historical and contemporary women are inducted each year into the Hall of Fame. Women honored in the past have included legislators, political and social activists, scientists, educators, writers, and spiritual and community leaders.

"For 15 years, the Women's Hall of Fame has added to our knowledge of women's role in shaping our society," said executive director of the Maryland Commission on Women Joanne Saltzberg at last year's celebration of honorees. "The women selected are now part of our state's permanent record, and we are all the richer for it."

Honorees this year include Dr. Elizabeth Johnson, at left, the first African American to earn the Girl Scouts' highest award. Johnson also directed the Head Start program for at-risk children and their parents and created two grassroots initiatives: the Maryland Girls Agenda and the Legislative Agenda for Maryland Women.

An historical honoree, Edith Houghton Hooker, at right, combined leadership and political skills in the Maryland women's campaign for the right to vote, editing and financing the Maryland Suffrage News when general-circulation newspapers virtually ignored suffrage.

Hall of Famer Florence Riefle Bahr, who died in 1998, left a legacy of artwork portraying significant events in Maryland. Her "outstanding visual record of 20th century life in America" is regarded as a state treasure.

Now it's your turn to bring a Maryland woman and her achievements into fame's limelight. She would be a native-born Marylander or have lived a significant portion of her life in the state. Her contribution or achievement may be in a particular field or may have benefitted the commonwealth.

The Hall of Fame is sponsored by the Maryland Commission for Women and the Women Legislators of Maryland, but an independent committee representing a cross section of citizens considers each year's nominations and makes recommendations. Those selected are honored by the governor in a special ceremony in March 2000.

All nominations must be received by October 19, 1999 at the Maryland Commission for Women, 311 W. Saratoga Street, Baltimore, MD 21201. For information and nomination forms, call 410/767-7137.

-Mary Louise Faunce

Way Downstream ...

In Virginia, a disclosure about a sacred American Indian site is putting the Mattaponi tribe on the spot. The Native Americans contend that a proposed $150 million reservoir in King County threatens their holy land. But they're having trouble backing up their arguments because they don't want outsiders to know where it is ...

In Nevada, the U.S. government is considering opening the notorious Mustang Ranch brothel - as a tourist attraction and research center for wild horses. The former owner forfeited the property this summer after fraud and racketeering charges ...

In Kansas, we're not sure Dorothy would have wanted this. The Oz Entertainment Co. wants to build a theme park at the old Sunflower Army Ammunition Plant. Unfortunately, the land is seriously contaminated with toxics from years of producing ammunition ...

In Canada, the soon-to-be-released report in the scientific magazine Conservation is grim. The study says that North American fish, snails, mussels and crayfish are disappearing at an "alarming rate" and that environmental advocates are paying little attention ...

Our Creature Feature comes from Yellowstone National Park, where the infamous tent-whacking bear has been nabbed. After reports about the ornery grizzly attacking tents, park rangers set up a trap: a decoy tent.

Sure enough, young Mr. Grizzly showed up, crushed the tent and got himself trapped. Rangers had the sense not to be inside.

The 2-year-old bear was dispatched to the Wildlife Way Station in California, where it will live out its years with abandoned pets, ex-circus animals and creatures left over from research. The bear will have buddies - two cubs from Montana whose mother was shot. No word yet on whether it will get its own tent.

| Issue 40 |

Volume VII Number 40
October 7-13, 1999
New Bay Times

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