Sunday, September 14, 2014

exploring to the south: Monomoy

When I was a teenager, Monomoy, the spur that runs south from Chatham, about halfway to Nantucket, got breached by a winter storm in 1978. I never really explored down there as the currents and waves made it...problematic.
Some years later ('87), Nauset Beach got cut (lighthouse cut). Then again in 2007 it got cut again (north cut).....and then another cut formed in 2013 (south cut). Geologic time runs very very fast here where the land is made of sand and the ocean's power works upon it.
Well! Combine all this with the speedy Hobie Getaway my cousin Andrew bought and this complex of bays and shoals is my well as being my clam, littleneck, and razor clam. A couple weeks ago I sailed out the north cut, along the coast, and into the south cut and anchored at Outermost Harbor, a great staging area for southern adventures. Last week, my energy levels bolstered to "manic" by a cup of coffee, I hopped aboard the Hobie and set out, running on a strong NE wind, past the south cut and into the appendix bay south of the 1978 cut, then back up and through that cut and south along Monomoy, hearing the loud surf across the narrow barrier beach. I ran over endless shoals and past innumerable "wilderness: keep out" signs until I reached the fat end of Monomoy and ocean swells started to show up, then turned tail and headed into the wind. The Cape looked like a dark line on the horizon and doesn't even show in this picture. That bit at the right is Monomoy, not the Cape... and the stuff at the left is low clouds.

I had chosen this day because the wind came over Monomoy so that I had nearly no waves to fight on my way back. Sticking close to shore, main sheet free in my hand in case of gusts, sail not-quite luffing, I made my way back to the '78 cut, scouted for littlenecks a bit, then headed home, glad I had chosen a day of high tide to easily cross the shoals.
The next day I invited Heather and Melinda out and retraced my steps until, slowed by lower wind and threatened by clouds and a few drops of rain, we headed back only partway south of the '78 cut. By the time we got through the cut, the sun broke through and we decided to stop a while in my new clamming spot and enjoy the beach, where we could see waves shooting spray high in the air. Of course, I dug clams and got a couple gallons, tossing back at least that volume of baby horseshoe crabs and undersized clams. Drifts of the shed shells littered the beach. (Note: those are shed shells, not dead crabs). What a day!

I sure do love sharing adventures! Now I just need to deal with all these clams.. Anyone?

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