Bluefishing remains good but only back on the ocean side past the Race Point Ranger Station. There are still a few striped bass around, and they’re biting as well, though they will soon be departing for southern latitudes.
What is notable is that we have not had the bonito we have gotten used to. For the past three years, we have been getting huge numbers of palm-size bonito in the harbor and much bigger bonito in the bay. But this year there’s been none of that. That, combined with the fact that there have been no bluefish, striped bass, or giant tuna in the bay, is a real head-scratcher. It raises the question: what’s going on in our bay that’s creating this void? Is it just that the fish have made the random choice to eat and live somewhere else? It’s a big ocean, so that’s a plausible explanation. I’m just not so sure anymore.
As I write this, we are facing a real chance of having to deal with a Hurricane Lee landfall.
The European model has Lee staying out to sea, though coming very close to the U.S. mainland. But the American model has Lee scraping Cape Cod, then heading for the Canadian Maritimes. I feel like this storm is going to get pushed by a low to our north and track just a little east of us, but it’s too early to be confident about anything.
Not since Bob in 1991 has the Cape had to deal with a full-fledged hurricane. I was here then, and even as a category-2 storm Bob wrought significant destruction on the Outer Cape. Trees were down blocking roads everywhere, power outages were widespread, and the power stayed out for many days. Summer business came to a screeching halt.
The Lobster Pot was one of the few businesses that had a generator and could open. It was the only place in town where you could get a hot cup of coffee in the morning. So, the thought of Lee making a Cape hit as a category 2 or higher makes me very uncomfortable. My boat is already off her mooring and on the hard. I am taking no chances.
Boats on moorings need to get out of the water. Northside Marina in East Dennis is really the only place where you can get a boat that’s too big for a trailer hauled out, and they give priority to their regular winter storage customers.
New Bedford is another port where many of the bigger boats go for protection, as it has a hurricane wall that closes as the storm gets closer. It’s vital to get in before the wall closes, though, because there is no reopening it until after the storm has passed.
The direction of the wind will be paramount in determining how much damage Lee can do here in Provincetown. A southeast or east wind of hurricane force would be the worst-case scenario, as we’re wide open to huge wind-generated waves unless you are directly behind the breakwater. Any other direction would be bad but not as bad as east or southeast.
Here’s the reason there is no way any boat should be on a mooring to ride it out: our harbor offers very little true protection from the elements compared to almost any other harbor.
I hope this nasty storm passes to our east and leaves us be. But in this age of global warming and warming ocean temperatures, I think we are living on borrowed time. When it comes to being hit by a major hurricane here it’s not if but when.