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Lewes, Delaware
Jim's Towing Service
January 10, 1997     Cape Gazette
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January 10, 1997
 

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60 - CAPE GAZETTE, Friday, January 10 - January 16, 1997 Cap!. Tom's ashes scattered in waters at Cape Henlopen Captain Elmer L. Thomas, much better known as Captain Tom, was buried at sea on Satur- day. In a ceremony that combined two of his great passions, flying and the sea, his ashes were spread across Delaware Bay. Capt. Tom died Dec. 27 of heart failure at the ripe old age of 81. He always seemed much younger. A big, strapping man of many pas- sions, he was a founder of the Delaware Captains Association and a well-known figure along Delaware's waterfront, A stickler for "getting it right," his charter captain's course al- lowed many a would-be captain to set a course and prepare for the tough Coast Guard exam. The ex- am is needed to become a captain. Many of those who attended the services and funeral last weekend owe their captain's license to Capt. Tom and his course. Pairs of Coast Guard auxiliary members flanked either end of his coffin at Friday night's viewing. They stood in full uniform, ap- proaching the coffin and stiffly saluting before taking their posts. On Saturday, 48 friends, family, students and captains boarded the Pappy's Lady to say goodbye. They rode through near mirror calm seas to the Harbor of Refuge Light off Lewes Beach. The captain positioned the boat between the tip of Cape Henlopen and the refuge light. It's one of the most beautiful spots on the Delaware coast and porpoises of- ten play there in the early evening as the summer sun sets. OUTDOORS Mike Short The sun came out before 2 p.m., just in time for the service. There where the ocean meets Delaware Bay, where currents swirl and dolphins play, Captain Tom was laid to rest. Friend AI Chorman piloted the airplane that carried his ashes. The two were close and Tom often flew with Chorman. The plane banked low over the lighthouse and breakwater, flash- ing its lights before turning back toward the ship. Chorman slowed and dropped low as he released Captain Tom's ashes to flutter slowly seaward. On board, two wreaths were placed in memory of Captain Tom. They were placed to drift oceanward, the red carnations, vivid green leaves and pastel chrysanthemums floating on a nearly waveless sea. A single carnation separated and drifted alongside the wreaths as Chorman made a last, final pass TIDES m [,.m--7 Indian River Date Inlet i0ii9 [ 3:30 1/12 i1:161 4:18 1/13 Rehoboth Beach 9138 13:27 10:351 4:15 Roosevelt Inlet 101331 4a8 11:281 5:18 1/14 1/15 1/16 1/17 3:28 19:02 1 2:4718:59 I 3:54 1i0:03 Oak Orchard - 16:59 12:511 7:47 1:48 18:37 2:44 19:31 4:39 1i1:32 5:3S 112:24 and waggled his wings in good- bye. Eagle survey results The mid-winter Delaware eagle survey on Jan. 2 and 3 found 15 mature bald eagles in Delaware. That's about the standard for the mid-winter count, although the numbers can vary considerably. Last year's count found only four birds, but it was done in frigid, blizzard-like conditions that probably forced eagles to more hospitable climes. The two years previous to 1995 found 11 and 17 birds. Eagles are slowly rebounding in Delaware, although they continue to face problems and their recov- ery has been slow. This count is a good way to keep track of Delaware's resident birds, according to Lisa Gelvin- Innvaer, the Delaware Depart- ment of Natural Resources and Environmental Control' s (DNREC's) director of non game and endangered species. Commercial striper take debated The commercial take of striped bass in Delaware could be in- creased next season. On Friday, Jan. 10, the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission will con- sider increasing what is now a very small commercial harvest. The increase is expected to meet with opposition from recre- ational fishing interests. Striped bass fishing has been quite good, but charter captain Jerry Blakeslee urged caution and said that not enough is known about the fish and its relatively recent recovery. He also questioned whether enough notice of the meeting was given and said that a fall commer- cial season could set up a conflict between recreational and com- mercial fishermen if they are fish- ing the same areas. That is be- cause the fish are concentrated in relatively small areas and netting and hook and line fishing just do not co-exist well. Blakeslee hopes to mobilize recreational fishermen to attend Friday's session. The current commercial quota is considered almost unimportant and the state fisheries division is on record as supporting an increase for Delaware fishermen. The current quota is approxi- mately 90,000 pounds and it could possibly double. The meeting is open to the pub- lic and will be held in the DNREC Auditorium in Dover at 7:30 p.m. on Jan. 10. Mako my day A slide show will be given b" Tim O'Connor concerning the plight of our Atlantic coastal shark populations along with an update on the current regulatory processes impacting them. This public event is sponsored by the Sierra Club which welcomes your attendance on Jan. 15 at 7 p.m. at the Carmine Environmental Cen- ter at Camp Arrowhead (off Route 24). For more information, call 644-0627. Rehoboth continues a holiday tradition Christmas bird count By Michael Short The still, calm morning was perfect weather for birding and Saturday's (Jan. 4) warm temper- atures made the annual Rehoboth Beach Christmas count a pleasure. It has not always been so. Bob Lego recalls waking up to do the Christmas count when it was two degrees. That is cold enough to freeze the lubricant in a birder's binoculars. Lego was one of about 32 people who gathered to conduct Saturday's count. The Delmarva Ornithological Society conducted the count, one of three Christmas counts in Sus- sex last weekend. The count is conducted over a 15-mile radius which includes Rehoboth Beach, Indian River Inlet and the sur- rounding area. Birders spend the night at Camp Arrowhead, enjoy a home-cooked dinner and then spend the day, of- ten in bitter weather, counting birds. It is camaraderie, competi- tion and fun which keeps them coming back. "This was [always] a social aspect of Christmas," said Jim White, one of Lego's com- panions. Delaware, according to Lego, White and birding companion Mike Lennon, is a fine place for birding. "It is definitely one of the most overlooked," said White. Cape May is known as a birding hot spot, which attracts thousands of bird lovers. But Delaware has been slower to find the spotlight. Delaware has its share of rare birds and birders on Saturday, Jan. 4 hoped to find a Ross's Gull, a rare gull known for its pinkish coloration, which has been spied at Indian River Inlet. The dove-like bird was nowhere to be seen early on Saturday, al- though a kestrel, or small falcon, was seen perched at the inlet. The trio found hundreds of birds and dozens of species, including tri- colored herons, American bitterns and redhead ducks. Among the rarest birds ever found in Delaware, the bird which White said put Delaware on the map, was a whiskered tern. It was the first time the European species was spied in North Ameri- ca, though not this year. The count begins early, before light, when birders seek out owls. By early morning, the trio was to be found at the Rusty Rudder, watching loons and great blue herons as the sun rose high above the calm bay waters. Then on to Silver Lake and its hundreds of canvasbacks in search of the simi- larly colored redhead. White, who led Saturday's nip, explained that Delaware's unspoiled lands and location which attracts both north- ern and southern birds helps make it an ideal spot for birding. On a good day in the spring, over 200 species of birds can be seen, at least theoretically. On the Saturday count, birders would have been happy with half that number. The count was one of Mike Short photo The Rehoboth Beach bird count was held on Jan. 4. From (1.r) are Bob Lego, Jim White and Mike Lennon scan- ning Indian River Inlet. seven holiday counts conducted by the Delmarva Ornithological Society. The Delmarva Ornithological Society will review the counts on Jan. 15 to consider the birds counted. Birding is actually quite com- petitive and the cellular phone car- ried by White is to alert other bird- ers in case of a truly rare find, like a Ross's Gull. SPORTS FANS! YOU DIDN'T KNOW Brought to you by' Kelly Raez It seems hard to believe, but the National Football League champi- onship game one year was played on a field that was only 80 yards long instead of 100 - and despite such a short field, there was hardly any scor- ing! The title game of 1932 was scheduled for Chicago, but a blizzard came, and officials moved the game inside to an arena where the longest they could make the field was 80 yards. The Bears won 9-0, with oddly enough, only one touchdown and one safety scored on that short field. One of the most amazing college football teams of all time was the Army team which featured Heisman Trophy winners Doc Blanchard and Glenn Davis. The three years they played together, from 1944 through 1946, Army never lost a game and outscored their opponents 1,179 to 161. When was the first time a football game was ever on television? First football telecast in history was on Spet. 30, 1939. 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