Tuesday, October 3, 2017

The End - a Bit More Intimately

Montauk is definitely my little haven. Not only for the sweetest vacations – but experiencing the true life of Montauk – being the seaports, fishermen, fishing vessels, etc.  All this gives this place a vibe that can been felt as you walk around, eat at local restaurants, and learn about the people of Montauk.

This past summer, I stayed in Montauk for vacation, staying at a place I usually do and visiting some eateries that have become favorites. But I am always trying to explore new places to visit or eat at – leaning more towards, “Where do the locals go?”

Two favorite spots are Inlet Seafood Restaurant, owned by six commercial Montauk fishermen, and Westlake Fish House, a spot you might find some local fisherman stopping for breakfast at 5 am before heading out to sea. Also a place to watch as fishing boats dock and unload their catch. Both serving only the freshest fish, and always delivering on the best atmosphere and feel of Montauk.

But, I’ve learned by visiting during the tourist/vacation season, I still haven’t experienced the true “life” of Montauk.  I hope to visit during a slow time, when many restaurants and places to stay will be closed, and the local life will be the true experience in this haven at The End of Long Island.  Perhaps then, I will understand more of the local life of Montauk, something that deep inside of me thinks I would love.

While visiting the Montauk Point Lighthouse, I had the privilege to meet and briefly chat with Henry Osmers. He’s a historian and tour director, and has authored many books regarding the Lighthouse.  I was able to get a signed copy of his book, On Eagle’s Beak, detailing many facets of Montauk – from the settlement of the peninsula and construction of the light station, to the keepers who staffed it, as well as Montauk Light’s long struggle with erosion.

I also visited a favorite bookstore, A Tale of Two Sisters, located in the center of the village.  I’m always looking for a book written by some local authors.

I came across A Spec in the Sea, by John Aldridge and Anthony Sosinski, two Montauk lobster fishermen of the Anna Mary.  Being a story of survival, detailing the rescue of one of the authors after falling overboard in the middle of the night during a routine fishing trip, this immediately captured my eye.  I purchased this book, and just recently finished reading it.

A Spec in the Sea was an amazing survival and rescue story of John Aldridge, but it also gives a look through a window of the world in the life of fishermen.  Written in a way that not only follows John Aldridge’s fight for life, but also portrays the struggles of commercial fishing, the many regulations they have to deal with, dangers while their livelihood depends on heading out to the middle of the ocean, and the “family” that is like non other, in this world of fishing. 

Aldridge (with hose), Sosinski and Mike Migliaccio (in cap) on the Anna Mary. 
Photo Credit: Daniel Shea for The New York Times

John’s rescue was not only handled by the Coast Guard, but also 21 commercial boats volunteered to look for him as well, and set out one by one, keeping constant contact with the Coast Guard and John’s fishing partner and best friend, Anthony.  Searching and surveying the massive area of the ocean, in probable areas John might be, after falling overboard and being carried by the current and swells of the ocean for just under 12 hours, was a feat that was unimaginable.  The “family” of fisherman continued with a passion, searching for one of their own.
Photo Credit: Video Still from The United States Coast Guard

John Aldridge with member of the Coast Guard after his dramatic rescue. 
Photo Credit: John Aldridge and Anthony Sosinski

Reading A Spec in the Sea, I felt I personally met each person in this story. This story will stay with me a very long time, and it only made me love Montauk, the people, and its magic even more!