Friday, July 15, 2022

Life On A Sandbar

What I have learned about living on a sandbar.

  1. Because in reality Cape Cod is nothing but a sandbar that sticks 60 miles into the Atlantic Ocean.
  2. When you are sixty miles out into the ocean your weather is not that of the mainland. If it is 90 on the mainland and the water temperature is around 70 it is going to much cooler on the Cape.
  3. If is humid on the mainland it is going to even more humid on the Cape because of the cooler temperature.
  4. Sandbars change with every tide and the Cape is not an exception. My cottage is a hundred feet closer to the ocean than when I bought it in 2019.
  5. There is no real topsoil on the tip of the Cape… it is sand, i.e. that is why I call it a sandbar.
  6. Puddles don’t last long on a sandbar. When I first had work done at the cottage I told the landscaper that I wanted a swale to keep the runoff away from the foundation he looked at the other contractor. I knew that I said something funny but I didn’t know what. After living through a hurricane that dumped 5 inches of rain on the Cape I noticed that the puddles were gone in an hour.
  7. You live on a great big bubble of fresh water floating on salt water called an aquifer. During a drought (like we are now having) the bubble shrinks and brackish creeps in around the edges. 
  8. And we get to reason why I wrote this. When you plant shrubs you need a lot of organic material (like peat moss) around the plants otherwise the water just sinks into the ground too quickly.
  9. When you water the shrubs what you are doing is pumping it out of the ground and it immediately sinks back down to the aquifer.
  10. Um... that leads us to flushing the toilet. Guess where that water goes? Yup you guessed it right back into the aquifer... yuck. So you really need to watch what you flush down the toilet.


USGS Publications on the Water Resources of Cape Cod and Southeastern Massachusetts

Groundwater is the sole source of drinking water and a major source of freshwater for domestic, industrial, and agricultural uses on Cape Cod, Massachusetts. Groundwater discharged from aquifers also supports freshwater pond and stream ecosystems and coastal wetlands. Six hydraulically distinct groundwater-flow systems (lenses) have been delineated on Cape Cod. Of the approximately 450 million gallons per day of water that enters these lenses as recharge from precipitation, about 69 percent discharges directly to the coast, about 24 percent discharges to streams, and almost 7 percent is withdrawn by public-supply wells. In most areas, groundwater in the sand and gravel aquifers is shallow and susceptible to contamination from anthropogenic sources and saltwater intrusion. Continued land development and population growth on Cape Cod have created concerns that potable water will become less available and that the quantity and quality of water flowing to natural discharge areas such as ponds, streams, and coastal waters will continue to decline.

Overpumping from large-capacity municipal wells, such as those in the Pamet flow lens, can result in lateral encroachment and upconing of saltwater (modified from Strahler, 1972).

The people on the sandbar.

The year rounders have mixed feelings about the summer people, I am kind of like in limbo since I am up there six or seven months a year. I am there before the summer places open up and there after they close and I am not one of the vacationers who are only there for a week or two. I see the restaurant owners usually once a week so they know me as a regular. I have a restaurant I usually bring guest to and the owner knows my name and family helps out in the business.

Because of the shortage in housing the summer help that the businesses depend upon can’t find a place to stay for the H-2B visas workers and adding housing for them falls under “Not In My Backyard” and many of the summer workers came from Russia now workers from Jamaica, South America, and Asia are filling the gap.

However, the character of the Cape is changing there is big $$$Money$$$ now coming in and they want McMansions coming in, taking an old Cape Cod style cottage tearing it down and building a monster on the small lot. A lot of towns are starting to put limits on how you can change the property, many are grandfathered in and it is crazy what the do with these small cottages!

The beaches on a sandbar.

They can be divided in to three types A. Ocean side, B. Bay, or C. Ponds and are subdivided into, 1) Private, 2) Town beaches, or 3) Cape Cod National Seashore and they each have their own characteristics. The ocean side beaches have great wave, cold ocean water, have cliffs down to the water, have wall to wall people, and seals… which bring sharks. The bay side no waves, warmer water, no cliffs, no people, and no sharks. Ponds forget it! Why come to the Cape to go to a fresh water pond? All the beaches charge for parking and a new trend is private busses carrying beach goers from shopping mall parking lots. Now the towns and the CCNS are reassessing their polices of not charging walk-ins. The busses are dropping off hundreds and hundreds of people each day over crowding the facilities. The towns and the CCNS figured out the size of the bathrooms based on the size of the parking lot. There are a lot of overflowing septic systems and filled porta-potties.

What I have learned about traffic on a sandbar.

Take a bus. No, seriously take a bus. During the summer the bus runs up and down Route 6 every half hour and it is a dollar for me and two for everyone else (Seniors and disabled are a dollar and everyone else it is two dollars) and parking in P’town on MacMillian Pier is $3,50 an hour and the other lots are $2.50 an hour.

Driving on the Cape is Doctor Jekyll and Mr. Hyde from Memorial Day to Labor Day it is insane! From Labor Day to Memorial Day it is Mr. Hyde just a normal drive in the park. But… come Memorial Day forget it… take the bus!

Driving in P’town is not for the faint of heart, the center of town is wall to wall pedestrians and if you must drive down Commercial Street it helps to have a co-pilot. Them pedestrians come at you from all direction and the bicycles and electric scooters don’t follow the rules of the road, the P’town police gave up on enforcing the traffic rules for them. A few years ago the town council said that they were going to enforce the traffic laws for the bikes and scooters and the town’s folk wanted to know if that was an April Fools joke.

Driving on Route 6… plan on making only right turns on to Rt. 6 in the summer. SOP is to take a right onto Rt. 6 and make a left turn on to a side road and make a u-turn. Then make a right turn back on Rt. 6.

Rotaries. You got a death wish? Well actually you don’t get killed in a rotary because you are not going fast enough. The Bourne South Rotary averages an accident about once a day and they even have a cop stationed there if you do get in to an accident (Really handy when you do, I speak form experience.). There is a way on the Cape without going through rotaries but I’m not telling!

The Orleans rotary isn’t bad when it is only one lane but sometimes people try to make it two lanes that is when it gets crazy and they don’t call that section “Suicide 6” for nothing.

Rt. 6 have signs all down it saying “Evacuation Route” and I have to chuckle every time I see a sign. During a normal summer weekday there is about a twenty minute backup to the bridges on weekends that can double or triple and I can just see it in a real emergency you will have to plan days in advance to get off the Cape.

Finally remember the water problems?

Well it is only getting worst with drought and the increase in population.

‘We are losing the Cape we have always loved’: Soaring home prices on Cape Cod put the pinch on longtime renters

No comments:

Post a Comment