Paul Snyder’s Inshore Journal: October 2022

Last Day of Summer at Healing Beach

I dislocated my right shoulder a few days before the Summer solstice. It seems appropriate to finish this column a day before the Autumnal equinox. The anterior dislocation caused two of my four rotator cuff muscles to be torn. The supraspinatus muscle attaches to the head of the humerus. The humerus is the long bone that runs from the elbow to shoulder. The dislocation tore the supraspinatus off the humeral head. The infraspinatus is another rotator cuff muscle that had a partial thickness tear. The main function of the infraspinatus is to externally rotate the shoulder and support it. When you’re my age and have an anterior shoulder dislocation it results in the “terrible triad.” Anterior dislocation, torn rotator cuff(s) and axillary nerve damage. No wonder it felt like my arm was being torn off my body. Everything went in slow motion during the injury and I expected to see my arm laying on the ground next to me. The dislocation caused axillary nerve palsy. I couldn’t raise my arm or move it forward or backwards. I went to Fort Pond Bay every morning after realizing I could move my injured arm forward, backwards and upwards while floating under water. I found a surgeon up island who had me interlock my fingers and raise the bad arm almost completely over my head while laying on my back. I did this religiously before my surgery. The surgeon said it would help bring the rotators back so he could grab them during surgery and anchor them to the humeral head. As I write this with my right hand in my ultra sling III, I’m feeling optimistic.

On top of finding a top surgeon at what he described as “the best hospital on Long island”, Montauk’s marine life decided to help out too. Since surgery I’ve cleared my mind by visiting a south side beach east of Montauk’s largest Resort and Spa. I’m blessed to have witnessed mammals and fish feeding on acres of bait.

On September 20th, I watched spinner sharks soaring out of the water while making multiple spins. After many jumps and spins I started walking east. Along my right side was a large field of bait a few hundred feet out in the water. Suddenly, a decent sized tuna broke the surface. First came it’s head followed by its sickle tail. Not long after the tuna busted, a yellow center console with twin engines came from the west heading east. The boat was too far south to be where the tuna busted. I started pointing towards the action. Miraculously, he slowed his boat and moved inshore. He didn’t disturb the feeding because he stopped short and glided in. He must’ve hooked something because he stayed. I watched him walking around his boat in circles until I finally left the beach.

Today I returned for the last visit before sending in my October Journal. I only saw a pod of dolphin far off the beach on the last day of Summer.

During a visit six days ago, I called a Captain I’ve fished with over the years. He was 300 feet east of a large amount of bait in front of where I was standing. I told him about all the bait a little inside of where he was. He said he didn’t want to go in there because he was hooking too many sharks. To the west of us was the local shark observation boat with its cage in the water. I’ve watched the water off this stretch of beach hold multiple species of fish since May when only commercial draggers were fishing it. I’ve seen whales, dolphin and fish busting throughout the season. On July 4th It uplifted me through a painful stretch. I marveled at whales and dolphin feeding. I felt like they’d come to visit me from offshore waters. It’s been a spectacular season of life close to shore. I’m thankful some of the marine life I’ve watched from sport fishing boats decided to spend some of the season a few hundred feet from my healing zone.