We Have Your Pelicans

Categories Sailing Log

It’s been a while since I’ve done a “random assortment of nonsense” post, so here you go. Snippets from one day on Barnegat Bay:


"We Have Your Pelicans," written as a ransom note

New Jersey apparently has your pelicans. The cover photo of this boat log is of three pelicans in flight, somewhere just north of Barnegat Inlet flying toward the sedge islands. It’s not the greatest photo, because we were not prepared to see pelicans, but they flew right in front of the boat and I’m fairly positive that I identified them correctly. I would have given it even odds that pelicans even existed here, but I guess they do. According to an article in the Cape May County Herald, they started showing up around 1990 and we’re near the northern edge of their range.

Seeing them reminded me that several of my friends in high school used to go around saying “WE HAVE YOUR PELICANS” in a crazy, exasperated voice. I’m not sure that I even knew what it meant at the time, but some digging turned up this fantastic episode of Inside Edition from ~1992. The timing and vocal acrobatics indicate that this may be the source. I found it difficult to track this down (that exact phrase is not present in this video) so I have decided to give this concept a little search engine love and hopefully connect other people who may be suffering from broken “we have your pelicans” memories with this gem:

And yes, that’s apparently a young Bill O’Reilly. I had no recollection of him being on Inside Edition, but it tracks.

The Schooner Nina

What are you doing, Schooner Nina? If this is the Schooner Nina, as I hypothesized earlier this season, it’s 45ft LOD. I saw it a couple miles away, pointed it out to my crew, and said aloud, “That’s a cool boat, but we’ll never catch up to her.” And then after some leisurely sailing in that general direction, we easily overtook her. Events like these make me want to bring back the Wall of Shame from my 22 days.

The Schooner Nina


I always look at the sky when I’m sailing. I’ve tried to get several other people to read Bernard Moitissier’s The Long Way, and I don’t think I have any converts. It’s probably extremely boring for anyone who hasn’t spent time trying to decipher what the sky is trying to tell them, as he does go on at length about sail changes to accommodate weather that he’s predicting a day or two in advance based on nothing but the clouds, but I want to get on that frequency.

There were almost no clouds that day, but there was a consistent haze that appeared to be hovering over the land. It was warm, and the dew point ranged from 69° to 74°F, so I guess that’s fairly humid, although there was a breeze of about 10kts out of the south and southeast so it didn’t feel miserable. I don’t even know for sure if the haze was actually over the land or if it was just far off the distance, but it was almost as if the land itself, or its moisture-wicking plant life, was kicking up a short, localized line of vapor. Or I’m in some version of The Truman Show and the edge of the bubble is dirty.

Either way, I don’t know how to interpret it, but I found it interesting.

A haze hovering over Island Beach

Strange Vessels

I took the tiller and mentally gave myself the “set a course to intercept” order when I noticed the odd ship in the distance. Ever since I saw some kind of weird floating factory, I’ve been concerned with sailing into a Pink Floyd album cover, and a barge on stilts certainly seemed like it was within the bailiwick of Hipgnosis.

Odd Barge on Stilts in the Distance

It only made less sense as we approached.

Odd Barge on Stilts at a Medium Distance

I requested my binoculars, and could see that it was, in fact, a barge on stilts, standing quietly next to a boat with “SURVEY” written on its hull in large letters. I’d never seen anything like this, and despite the implicit invitation to keep a healthy distance, I got closer.

Odd Barge on Stilts at Close Range

I had no idea what whey were, especially the barge on stilts. When I got home, I checked the USGC Notice to Mariners, and they were mentioned, but with little detail:

****NJ – SEA GIRT TO LITTLE EGG INLET – OCEAN SIDE OF BARNEGAT BAY - SURVEY ACTIVITIES****  Ocean Wind Survey Vessels HENRY HUDSON and VISION will be conducting survey activities on the ocean side of Barnegat Bay

“Ocean Wind” gave me a clue though, and I did what any normal person would do, and asked a sea captain. I happen to know someone who’s been working closely with wind energy and its impact on commercial fishing, and he was able to confirm that this is related to the wind farm that the Danish energy company Ørsted is planning off the coast of New Jersey. While the turbines will be 15 miles off of Atlantic City, they still need to get the electricity that they generate to land, and they’re researching a few options for that. One of them is to run a cable under Barnegat Bay to the decommissioned Oyster Creek Nuclear Generating Station, since there’s already a connection to the electrical grid there. These boats, R/V Henry Hudson and L/B Vision, are conducting surveys to assess the suitability of putting the cable there.

I also had to look up what the prefix “L/B” means, and apparently there is a whole class of vessels called liftboats that can raise themselves on stilts. (R/V is for “Research Vessel, and Fortuitous would be an S/V for “Sailing Vessel.”) The weird floating factory that I saw in 2016 may have also been a liftboat. I was glad that I wasn’t simply having a fever dream, although now I do want to see a flotilla of liftboats re-enact Salvador Dalí’s The Temptation of St. Anthony.

Salvador Dalí's The Temptation of St. Anthony

No pelicans (or plastic flamingos) were harmed in the making of this boat log.

"Prepare to fend off the bridge abutment."

4 thoughts on “We Have Your Pelicans

  1. Enjoyable read, as always. I appreciate your various references to, um, obscure factoids!

    1. Rimas has pretty much gone quiet. As far as I know, he’s back in Hawaii and just waiting for someone to get off their ass and buy him a yacht.

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