Aftermath of the Storm, by Daniel Sipes (continued)
Fido Made It
Throughout the night ambulances and fire engines, red lights flashing, would periodically arrive at the casino, stay a few minutes, and then head back into town. Sometimes a sort of rhythm to the wind and seas would develop and it seemed the worst was over. But then everyone in the anchorage would feel a particularly large wave come through (often noted on the VHF with, “That was a big one.”) followed by yet another boat breaking free. Now and again, dinghies literally blew through the anchorage to be demolished against the seawall.
As for my family ashore, around 4 o’clock that morning I texted my wife to let her and the kids know things seemed to be calming down and I was going to try to get some rest. It turned out my daughter was awake when the text came in, saw it, and woke my wife. Tamara immediately called and we chatted for several minutes. Then I put my feet up on the saloon couch and prepared to rest. I left the VHF on so I’d hear about any wayward boats that might be headed in my direction. I could not sleep, though, so I sent out some e-mails and texts instead.
At first light, the wind and seas were greatly diminished and the extent of the destruction was apparent. There were three trawlers on the beach. Few of the townspeople, and no media folks, ever saw the massive King Neptune against the seawall. Well before dawn she’d been reduced to debris, much of it either thrown ashore, left floating in the harbor, or bobbing just below the surface. Most of the wayward dinghies had been smashed to bits too. Almost all of their outboard engines could be seen near the seawall, a foot or two below the surface, lying on the bottom. The mast of the sunken sailboat arose from mooring 103, our previous spot. I guessed that 50 percent of the boats in the harbor had suffered damage.
Sadly, while searching for the harbor patrolman, rescuers found another body. He was 53-year-old Bruce Ryder, a well-known Avalon resident who’d lived on a boat in the harbor for some time. The wreckage of Ocean Ryder II was found not far from King Neptune. Bruce’s dog made it to shore and their usual hangout, the Marlin Club. But Bruce did not.