Author: Amy Ellis Nutt [NJ.com]
The heat wraps around the dock so tight even the sea gulls aren’t budging. Neither was the Great Escape or Dutchess or Magoo or Bay Midget. It’s 1:19 on a June afternoon; it’s low tide on the Delaware Bay; and at the Fortescue State Marina, the first thing you notice is the stewy smell of mud and clams. In the middle of an early summer Sunday, only one or two small boats from the marina are out on the water.
Everyone else is stuck, because most of the marina’s boats sit sulking at their berths, beached in silt and sand. Normally there is at least 6 feet of water under the vessels, but nothing has been normal since Hurricane Sandy.
Eight months after the storm built up a 300-foot-long sandbar in the middle of Fortescue Creek, only the tiniest crafts can pass into the bay at low tide. Which means the charter and party boats waiting to take recreational fishermen out onto the bay aren’t going anywhere. Occasionally, weary of waiting for high tide, a boat will try to make a break for it, only to strand itself on the sandbar.
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