My friends Rich and Deb have invited me several times to go out on the water with them and do some fishing. This year I took them up on it and was glad that I did. Here we are putting their boat in the water at the Barnegat Municipal Dock.
It's the season for Bluefish and that's what we were heading out for.
Here they are as we head across Barnegat Bay.
Rich was giving me primers on everything. Navigating the bay, recognising hazards, landmarks, and how to find 'blues. We had to go all the way out to where the ocean enters the channel to the bay just off Barnegat Lighthouse. Several dozen boats were clustered there as you can see, which was the first indicator. The second was the flights of birds gathering overhead and diving for small fish, which blues feed on.
Deb caught one and I handled the net, which was interesting. It also prevented me from getting a picture as I really didn't want to go overboard or lose the fish. Blues are strong and they fight. It took me two or three tries to get it in the net and then onboard. You have to be very carefull getting them off the hook as they have sharp teeth and will bite you.
Here is Old Barney as seen from the ocean side of the channel.
Folks taking a break on the bay side of Island Beach State Park.
A perch and nest for the Osprey which you can see all along the barrier islands and coastal wetlands of the New Jersey shore. We stopped nearby for lunch and watched one catch a fish.
After that we headed out to cruise along the bay and Rich had me take the helm. A bit scary at first as we were in shallow water and I've never handled a boat before. He was quite patient with me as every two minutes I was asking him what to do and where do I go. Eventually I got somewhat of a feel for it although it was a bit harder than I imagined.
We headed south to go visit friends of theirs and Rich wisely took over to dock the boat.
All good things must come to an end so we headed back in for the day. Here we are pulling back into the boat launch. Only one fish to our credit, chilled, salt sprayed, and wind burned but a good time was had by all. We met again later that night for dinner and trivia games. My knowledge of history, literature, film, and politics is always a welcome addition to the team.
They're good folks and becoming good friends. I'm happy that I met them as it's been extremely difficult for me to form attachments since I've come home. That's not the fault of people I meet, It's mine and I do feel bad when people think I'm being standoffish or rude.
We met my first night out on the streets after returning from Iraq. The only open stool at the bar was right next to them and I was just wanting real food. A steak, potato, and scotch on the rocks. Didn't even bother to change out of uniform, just drove straight from Ft. Dix to the Lighthouse Tavern. I remember clearly how friendly and welcoming they were and will never forget it. They've been quite patient, kind, caring, and generous to me and it means more than mere words can say.