I was photographing the coast at the Gloucester edge of Long Beach. That in sync duo caught my eye.
As with Manchester Singing and other North Shore beaches, the white or “dry” sand of Long Beach sings a musical sound as you scuff ahead. Lately though it’s whistling a shorter tune because there’s an astonishing loss of the dry grains.
Over the last 10 years, so much sand has been washed away from Long Beach most every high tide hits the seawall. Boogie boarders need to truncate their wave rides else risk landing on the rip-rap. It’s become a competitive sport to lay claim to some beach chair and towel real estate if you want a dry seat. On the plus side, low tide is great for beach soccer and tennis, long walks and runs. Bocce ball has replaced can jam and spikeball as the beach games of summer 2017.
Seasoned locals recall having to ‘trudge a mile’ across dry sand before hitting wet sand and water. In my research I’ve seen historic visuals that support their claims.
Historic photos and contemporary images –from 10 years ago– show a stretch of white sand like this one looking out from the Gloucester side of Long Beach to the Rockport side.
photocard showing the pedestrian walkway prior to the concrete boardwalk. Historic prints from ©Fredrik D. Bodin (1950-2015) show the damage after storm, 1931. See his GMG post and rodeo (ca. 1950)
After the Storm, Long Beach, 1931 Alice M. Curtis/©Fredrik D. Bodin (1950-2015) “Printed from the original 5×7 inch film negative in my darkroom. Image #88657-134 (Long Beach looking toward Rockport)”
This next vintage postcard flips the view: facing the Gloucester side of Long Beach –looking back to glacial rocks we can match out today, a tide line that shows wet and dry sands, and the monumental Edgecliffe Hotel which welcomed thousands of summer visitors thanks to a hopping casino. The white sand evident in front of the Edgecliffe bath houses (what is now Cape Ann Motor Inn) has plummeted since a 2012 February storm and vanished it seems, perhaps temporarily, perhaps not. It’s most evident where several feet of sand was cleaved off from the approach to the boardwalk.
I find the annual sand migration on Long Beach a fascinating natural mystery. It’s dramatic every year. Here are photos from this last year: fall (late Sept 2016), winter (December- sand covers rip-rap), spring (April -after winter storms with alarming loss), and summer (today)
SPRING April rip-rap uncovered, exposed. Climbing to the boardwalk is an exciting challenge for two boys I know (when the sand is filled in like the December photo it’s a short drop)
SUMMER July 14 sand is coming back though all boulders are not entirely submerged
Storms (namely February) strip the silky soft top sand away and expose the boulders strengthening the seawall. It’s easy to feel alarmed that the beach is disappearing. By summer, the sand fills back, though not always in the same spot or same quantity. Some rip-rap expanses remain exposed. Most is re-buried beneath feet of returning sand. New summer landmarks are revealed. One year it was a ribbon of nuisance pebbles the entire length of beach. The past two years we’ve loved “the August Shelf”. (Will it come again?)
This year there’s a wishbone river.
In case you missed the Gloucester Daily Times article “Rockport Looks to Fix Long Beach Sea Wall” by Mary Markos, I’ve added the link here. They hope to finish by 2025. I look forward to learning more and reading about it. If extra sand is brought back will high tide continue to hit the seawall? (In the past it could hit the wall or blast over in storms, but dry sand remained lining the wall.) Will the new wall occupy the same general footprint? Will it be higher? Thicker?
Yesterday’s captivating visibility at noon.
Never fails to amaze me how that can happen so quickly!
CAPE ANN SUP is renting paddle boards at Cape Ann Motor Inn Long Beach and Beauport Hotel Pavilion Beach. It’s a great day to try it out, but be warned. We did that last year and bought a couple of kypads because of Dominic!
We’re looking forward to the First Annual Cape Ann SUPAHBOWL on site at Beauport Hotel.
From a great distance roughly same spot at the Gloucester end of Long Beach, various days and times July 2017.
Looks great! The green and yellow is gone, replaced by a cohesive festive summer look, red and white stripes matched up with the blue and white.
Plus they’re heralding good news: SurfSide Subs and pizza & Ice Cream is the 2017 Rotary GHS Gloucester Interact Club‘s 10th Annual Pizza Taste Off (held at Cruiseport) winner – 3x!
1st place best overall
1st place best sauce
1st place best crust
Look for pizza specials on Wednesdays
The view from the boardwalk on a spring day – can you spot the two new homes?
animation 1 of 3 (first 24 homes, just past the old hotel)
animation 2 of 3 ( Laughing Water and next 25 homes )
animation 3 of 3 (next 24 homes)
Long Beach panoramic (click picture to enlarge) view at low tide, April 2017. The barrier rip rap is mightily exposed. At other times the large boulders are buried beneath deep sand.
This spring awakening is calm. Most of the homes remain prepped for winter.
The view from the beach at low tide (ocean at my back) in two parts.
Beautiful radical variations till the clouds rolled by (roughly 6:05-6:18 AM) before I met with clients in Boston and Beverly. There were some snowflakes but when I returned to Gloucester at 1pm, the roads were dry and an even pale sky.
Ides of March and this time of day nearly a rainbow in every spray
While the snow came later than expected, a full-blown winter storm was definitely in the air. We took a little tour of Rockport from Old Garden Beach, to Bearskin Neck, to Long Beach, and down Eden Road just before the storm blew in. As we were driving home, the snow began to come down fast and furious.
The Rotary Club of Gloucester hosts the 7th annual regional fundraiser to eradicate polio. Brave and generous dippers will park at Good Harbor, shuttle past Uncle Tony (Precision Roofing Services of New England) to Cape Ann Motor Inn and Long Beach waters. Hundreds of supporters will be on hand to watch as many fearless participants dive in for a purpose– including more than 20 Gloucester High School Interact club members and the new Cape Ann Chamber of Commerce President, Sarah Young, Director of Development for Schooner Adventure. It’s a colorful crazy sight and an inspiring cause. To donate and learn more visit the Rotary Club of Gloucester: Freezin’ for a Reason: The Rotary Club of Gloucester Hosts a Polar Plunge to Make Polio History
Donations are tripled by the Gates Foundation.
The next stop of the Agnes Martin retrospective will be the Guggenheim Museum, NYC, opening this week Oct 7- January 11, 2017. It’s the same show that was organized by and exhibited at Tate Modern, and just coming from Los Angeles- LACMA.
The beginnings of a rainbow appeared in the sky above Cape Hedge and Long Beach early this morning. Nothing spectacular, but it was pretty while it lasted, until the next batch of thunderstorms began to roll in. Thanking Mother Nature for the much needed rain!
Everyone is staying far away from the seal and it blends in with the sand from a distance.
This morning there were scores of busy shore birds. (And more bounding dogs off leash.)
During the last days of summer, the sands at Long Beach shift to form a ledge that we affectionately call the ‘August shelf’. The slant is a challenge walking or running and a ramp or jumping platform if the tide is right. Children engage in all manner of parapet building and collapsing. The ocean remains warm and the waves can seem bigger. These marks –annual gifts from nature– gently nudge us to fall. This year, as a result of tropical storm Hermine, there is a bonus shelf of seaweed brought in by majestic tumultuous waves. Don’t miss a fantastic chance to inspect species common to Gloucester, Cape Ann and the East Coast. Seagulls and clothing pop against a uniform blanket of red. From a distance, the deep color of the seaweed seems the natural inspiration for the architectural details of Cape Ann Motor Inn.
Look closely as there are so many species intertwined and clumped together teeming with texture and color! Be inspired to create: the Cape Ann Museum includes volumes of pressed seaweeds and mosses. Learn more: Isabel Natti did the algae plant drawings for The Sea is All About Us, a pioneer book on local marine life and shores by Sara Fraser Robbins and Clarice Yentsch. Visit Maritime Gloucester to learn about life at the shore. Garden: a friend collects some seaweed for her beds. Eat: I haven’t tried making my own seaweed salad but I have eyed Irish moss pudding recipes. Pudding anyone?
Irish Moss pudding: 1 cup (dead, rinsed, cleaned, possibly soaked) moss with a quart of milk in a double boiler for 15 – 30 minutes, strain out the moss. Add sugar to taste, and optional flavoring (citrus, coffee, vanilla, green tea, whatever you like). Pour into mold and refrigerate or blend a health drink. The consistency is thicker relative to time.