30 Years of Shoreline Changes in Chatham

30-years-of-Chatham-Shoreline-Changes,-Cape-Cod,-Ma
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Few places are as geologically dynamic as Cape Cod.  The sands beneath our feet are always shifting, driven by water and wind.  Cape Cod is a product of glacial deposition so it is geologically transient.  In the summer it can be easy to forget the transitory nature of Cape Cod, but storms of the winter reveal this characteristic the waves turn yellow because they are heavily laden with sand. Sand eroded from Cape Cod’s eastern ocean side beaches and bars is driven by currents following the arm of the Cape to the north to Provincetown’s Race Point and to the south to Chatham and Monomoy. This results in some of the most dynamic systems on Earth, particularly in Chatham. Chatham’s barrier beach follows a cyclical pattern that repeats about every 150 years as sand migrates from the north to the south towards Monomoy Island (which sometimes is an island and sometimes is not). Inlets open and close, islands are formed, move, and are subsumed.  The constant change makes Chatham’s waters difficult to navigate as channels move, shift, and disappear entirely. For thirty years NASA’s Landsats have been watching these changes occur and they are fascinating.

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Map of Chatham in 1942

“I waited on deck and watched the death-throes of the suffocating sands under the relentless onset of the sea. The last strongholds were battered, stormed, and overwhelmed; the tumult of sounds sank and steadied, and the sea swept victoriously over the whole expanse.”

-Erskine Childers, The Riddle of the Sands

 

Source:

http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/Features/WorldOfChange/cape_cod.php

Icebergs of Cape Cod

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As everyone here knows, Wellfleet Harbor has been icebound for most the winter, but with the warmer weather of the last few weeks the ice has broken up and that means icebergs! Technically they are actually ice flows but we have to say that Wellfleet harbor was pretty glacial this winter. There was even an intrepid soul out on a paddleboard taking advantage of the open water! The best locations to see the icebergs in person were Mayo Beach or Chequessett Neck in Wellfleet, or Rock Harbor in Eastham & Orleans, or Provincetown Harbor. [Updated 3/24/15] It is now officially spring but the ice is still in here. Due to the wind pushing the ice to the south and the slightly warmer temperatures Wellfleet Harbor itself is now almost totally ice free. There are still very large chunks of ice in South Wellfleet, Lt. Island, Wellfleet Bay Audubon, Old Wharf are the best locations to see the ice as of now, we recommend Lt. Island Rd or the Audubon as they are the most accessible locations. To see the most recent pictures of the ice click here.

 

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Ice & Water, Chequessett Neck, Wellfleet.

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Some of the icebergs are about 5 feet high. Here a man approaches one of the chunks of ice to give it some perspective on its size. Chequessett Neck, Wellfleet.

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Chequessett Neck Iceberg spectators, Wellfleet.

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There is a shelf of ice lining the shore in front of the Chequessett Golf Course and Yacht Club.  The shelf is about three to four feet high. If anyone goes there please make sure you pick a safe location to cross over it as a large portion is crumbling and can give way.

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Chequessett Neck Iceberg, Wellfleet.

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Chequessett Neck Iceberg, Wellfleet.

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Chequessett Neck Ice-field, Wellfleet.

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Chequessett Neck Icebergs, Wellfleet.

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Chequessett Neck Icebergs panorama, Wellfleet.

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Many of the icebergs have furrowed trails behind them as they have been moved around by the water. Similar ice flows in the past have damaged shellfish beds as it can sweep the beds clean. Chequessett  Neck, Wellfleet.

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Iceberg Trails, Chequessett Neck, Wellfleet.

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In some locations mist is rising from the ice because of the temperature difference between the air and the, Herring River, Wellfleet.

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Herring River Ice Panorama. Notice that some of the ice is ringed by yellow brown, that is sand that the ice has scraped from the shoreline and moved.  This is more noticeable in the ice at Herring River because of how wind conditions drove the ice past Great Island and Chequessett Neck’s sandy points and was penned in by the dike.

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Indian Neck does not have the icebergs like those that line the beaches on the other side of the harbor instead the ice at Indian neck is mostly a smooth ice sheet close to the shore, and pack ice further out. Wellfleet Breakwater.

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Panorama of Indian Neck’s Ice breaking up, looking out at Great Island. Wellfleet.

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Wellfleet Harbor ice breaking up.

Spring Ice Flows in South Wellfleet

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Ice flows are very powerful, here one of Wellfleet’s large channel markers, sits just off of Indian Neck. This was taken at about mid-tide and it is already resting on the bottom.

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Ice & Skiffs, Wellfleet, Spring, 2015

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Ice flow panorama, Old Wharf, Wellfleet, Spring, 2015

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Ice Apex, Wellfleet, Spring, 2015

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Ice, Logy Bay, Wellfleet, Spring, 2015

 

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Shoreline Ice, Wellfleet, Spring, 2015

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Ice & Cloudy Sky, Wellfleet, Spring, 2015.

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A Suv drives along ice lined Lt. Island Rd, Wellfleet, Spring, 2015. The town of Wellfleet has to use front end loaders to clear this section of Lt. Island Rd after particularly high tides.

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Iceberg icicles! Wellfleet, Spring, 2015.

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The Furies Cleaning Service have expanded our cleaning service area!

Furies Cleaning Service Area Cape Cod Town Signs
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The Furies Cleaning Service & Linen Rentals is excited to announce that we have expanded our cleaning service area on Cape Cod. We now offer cleaning services in Brewster, Chatham, and Harwich in addition to our pre-existing service area of Provincetown to Orleans. So if you know someone who would be interested in our services on Lower Cape Cod, let them know about us! Click here for more information on our cleaning services.

 

Furies Cleaning and Linen Rentals Cape Cod Service Area Map

Blizzard of 1978 at Coast Guard Beach, Cape Cod

Blizzard of 1978, Storm Surge, Coast Gaurd Beach, Eastham, Cape Cod, MA
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We surely don’t have to tell anyone how the weather has been here on Cape Cod this winter.  Those who remember are comparing our recent weather systems to the Blizzard of 1978.   Many Massachusetts residents’ most prominent recollection of that infamous storm usually involve being stranded somewhere away from home, either at The Boston Gardens for the 29th annual Beanpot, on the highways in a vehicle, or, luckily, in a random hotel making new friends.  After the storm passed, there was a driving ban everywhere in Massachusetts except on Cape Cod.  Certainly that does not mean Cape Cod was spared.  The wide eye of the storm passed directly over Wellfleet.  It was an amazing weather anomaly.   The water in Wellfleet Harbor was perfectly calm, and as the tide came in the water flooded over the pier and over Commercial St.  There was not a breath of wind and the temperatures remained balmy.  The eye of the storm spanned from Truro to South Eastham as it slowly passed.  While fishermen tending their boats in Provincetown struggled to stay on the pier (as opposed to being blown off) and the majestic trees that were in front of the Orleans Courthouse toppled like dominoes due the wind, a crowd of spectators gathered at Coast Guard Beach in Eastham to witness nature’s show of power.

The Coast Guard Beach that we all know and love was very different prior to the Blizzard of 1978 and a very dramatic example of how quickly changes to Cape Cod’s shoreline can occur.  Prior to the storm there was a parking area situated on the Eastham side of Nauset Spit with a bathhouse on the side of the parking lot toward the ocean.  Between the bathhouse and ocean was  forty to fifty feet of low barrier coastal dunes.  This parking lot was also used for ORV access to the Eastham side of Nauset Spit. In addition, Nauset Spit had beachside camps (cottages), including naturalist Henry Beston’s Outermost House the subject of his book with the same title.  The Blizzard of 1978 changed all of this overnight.  On an interesting side note ORVs were banned from Eastham’s beaches in 1978.

Coast Guard Beach Aerial, Eastham, Cape Cod, MA 1977

Aerial Coast Guard Beach’s lower parking lot & bathhouse prior to 1978.
Cape Cod National Seashore’s Photos 

Old bathhouse pavilion at Coast Guard Beach, Eastham, Ma

This is the old bathhouse at Coast Guard Beach in Eastham. The former Coast Guard Lifesaving Station can be seen on the hill in the background.
Cape Cod National Seashore’s Photos 

Blizzard of 1978, North Eastern USA, Satellite, Feb 6

Blizzard of 1978, North Eastern USA, Satellite, February 6th 1978.
NOAA 

Blizzard of 1978, North Eastern USA, Satellite

Blizzard of 1978, North Eastern USA, Satellite, February 7th 1978.
NOAA 

On February 6th, 1978 the storm hit the beaches of Cape Cod with its full fury.  The powerful wind pushed a storm surge ahead of it and the combination of the storm surge and high tides obliterated the low barrier dunes and swept across the parking lot, knocking the bath house pavilion off its foundation.

Blizzard of 1978, Storm Surge, Coast Guard Beach, Eastham, Cape Cod, MA

Waves crash into the old bathhouse at Coast Guard Beach during the Blizzard of 1978
Cape Cod National Seashore’s Photos

Blizzard of 1978 Flooding Coast Guard Beach Parking Lot, Eastham, Cape Cod, MA

A VW bug sits in the flooded parking lot at Coast Guard Beach
Cape Cod National Seashore’s Photos

A VW bug sits in Coast Guard beach’s flooded lot.  This car had been overtaken by the incoming tide.  Some people tell stories of standing on the hill above, watching this car surf in and out on the waves.  Oral traditions indicated that the owners changed the sparkplugs after the storm and drove it away!

Blizzard of 1978 Coast Gaurd Beach, onlookers, Eastham, Cape Cod

Onlookers look out over the parking lot.
Cape Cod National Seashore’s Photos

Blizzard of 1978, Destroyed Parking Area & Pavilion, Eastham, Cape Cod, MA

The bath house pavilion sits off its foundation on what is now the beach. Behind it a couple of the camps are visible.
Cape Cod National Seashore’s Photos

Blizzard of 1978, Coast Guard Beach Overwash, Eastham, Cape Cod

This photo shows the remains of the parking lot. Some camps are left standing. Notice the over-wash of sand that was carried into Nauset Marsh, and one of the camps sits in the marsh, according to the National Seashore this camp belong to Conrad Nobili.  The Outermost house was deposited much further back and is out of frame to the right.
Cape Cod National Seashore’s Photos

Blizzard of '78, Burning the Coast Guard Beach Pavilion, Eastham, Cape Cod, Fire

The bath house pavilion was burned to prevent it from becoming a navigational hazard.
Cape Cod National Seashore’s Photos

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Coast Guard Beach, Eastham side of Nauset Spit present day, brrr.
-Sarah Curley-

The Furies is Cape & Islands Level 2 Green Verified

Cape Cod & Islands Level 2 Green Verification
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Here at The Furies Cleaning Service & Linen Rentals we have always kept the Cape Cod environment in mind and have long sought to minimize our environmental impact. We are proud to say that The Furies Cleaning Service and Linen Rentals is now one of only eight businesses on the entire Cape to be Level 2 Green Verified! We have long strived to minimize our environmental footprint by aggressively recycling, reuse, conservation, and by reducing the number of chemicals necessary to clean your home. In that regard, we are happy to announce that that we have just switched to an entirely chemical free cleaning system that will keep your house just as clean without the use of chemicals. Believe us, we were skeptical at first but after extensive field testing it has out-performed all of our expectations and we are extremely confident that we can maintain or improve upon our high standards. We will be providing you with additional information on this cleaning system soon.