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Vol 49 | Num 6 | Jun 5, 2024

Offshore Report Ocean City Report Delaware Report Ship to Shore Snarky Lines The Galley Virginia Report Issue Photos
Snarky Lines

Article by Capt. Mark Sampson

The Donkey Farm (part 2)

This is a continuation of last week's in-depth and very technical discussion of the controversial wind farm (aka “the Donkey Farm") that some people want to build off our [email protected].

In their efforts to cultivate support for the farm from fishermen, the wind donkeys have rightfully pointed out that each turbine island will act as an artificial reef and therefore be a good place to catch a fish or two. I'm just surprised that they've failed to mention the even better selling point for the farm that over time the footprints of the reefs created under each wind turbine might dramatically increase in size and relief on their own. In fact, given enough time the reefs could expand so much that the gaps between the 125 individual rubble piles could blend into one gigantic reef of such proportions that it rivals the size of Australia's Great Barrier Reef! Yeah, the way I see it, every time a fishing boat or huge merchant ship hits a turbine and sinks, the reef will get that much bigger and bigger and bigger until it's all just one big mass of stones, fiberglass, twisted metal, turbine blades, and sea bass!
Like any fishery, it will probably take a little while for recreational anglers to figure out the best techniques to effectively fish the donkey farms. Anchor, drift or troll? What are the best baits or lures to use and which turbines are producing the best results. Fishing the turbines will be different from fishing over other types of reefs. Right now if your boat were to actually “hit” an artificial reef then something has gone terribly wrong and you’re either in a life raft or wishing you had one. Fishing next to a turbine you could goof up and accidentally bump the structure and if you’re lucky come away with only minor damage, but there will be other hazards to contend with:

“Hey John, you got a copy? It's me Frank in the blue boat fishing the turbine to your south. How’s it going for you over there”?

“Not too bad, we've been here an hour, caught a few sea bass and have only been hit by two herring gulls and a pelican”.

"Okay, that's good to hear. We didn't have any problem with birds at all until a bunch of little bait fish popped up on the surface and the terns started working over them. Now it's raining birds so hard that I can't leave the cabin long enough to push us off the dead whale that drifted under our bow!"

Despite the huge division between the "donkeys" and...well… "rational thinking people" I do see some creative options for compromise that might work for both sides of the debate. For instance, about the donkey farms being an eyesore to beach goers - there's a very simple solution, just block the view of people on the beach so they can't see the turbines. This should be a relatively easy fix and can be done with resources already on hand by simply having the banner planes and parasailers fly much lower to the water, effectively providing a curtain between those on the beach and the beautiful ocean beyond the breakers. The town could also contract more floating billboards to cruise up and down the beach because nothing diverts one's attention from the natural view than ten thousand flashing lights advertising smorgasbords and happy-hour specials! And by all means, bring back the Frontier Town stagecoach! I'm pretty sure that most folks from Pennsyltucky who are relaxing on the beach are not going to pay much attention to 125, tall, white chessmen waving their arms 20-miles offshore when just beyond the breakers they can watch a horse pulling a stagecoach that's propped up on a deck boat being driven by a big bearded guy trolling a fishing line!

Another way our town leaders could divert people’s attention from the donkey farm is to go ahead and approve the request made by the “we want the right to go topless on the beach women” to have the freedom to expose themselves and I guarantee at least half the people on the beach will be much more focused on what "is" visible on the beach than anything that might be seen offshore.

Maybe our Mayor should consider working out a deal with the donkeys that they can build the turbines really close to shore providing that, on the super hot days when there’s not much wind blowing anyway, they would point the things west, reverse the engines, and let them run as big fans that would provide a pleasantly cool breeze for everyone on the beach.

And if an air-conditioned beach wasn't enough to bring more vacationers to Ocean City, why couldn't they build apartments inside the turbine towers? How cool would it be to have a VRBO rental that's not just "at" the ocean but that's actually "on" the ocean! Imagine enjoying the beautiful sunrises and sunsets while sitting out on your private deck watching the stars, counting the birds that fall from the sky or the dead dolphins as they drift past. Of course there would be the ever present risk of a giant container ship running into you, you'd want to be very careful not to stick your head too far out of any window on the side that faces the spinning blades and you probably wouldn't want to do any swimming around your øceanic cøndø due to the abundance of sharks attracted to all the dead and dying marine life - besides all that it might be a really fun stay.

Finally, after all the painstaking research I put into this important news story, I've come to the conclusion that the primary reason for this whole wind turbine project has nothing to do with providing electricity back to the beach so that Thrasher's can fry their fries and Fisher's can pop their popcorn, it's all about EVs. I’m thinking that with all the effort so many of the donkeys have put forth to get everyone to drive electric cars, scooters, bikes, skateboards, and everything else that moves, it’s only a matter of time before they’ll pass some kind of law that requires us to drive around in electric boats as well. Look at all the electric motors on the bows of boats these days and it's clear that the conversation has already started, but before they can pass such a law they'll need to show that they already have marine charging stations ready to charge the fleet.

Imagine that, you could tie-off to a turbine, plug in and sit back for 8-10 hours, maybe catch a couple sea bass, dodge a few falling birds, and get enough charge to make it almost half way home. The "Donkey Farm", what a wonderful idea! §

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