Palazola’s Sporting Goods Store being transformed into the Brass Monkey see Gloucester Daily Times story.
A true story, the following is a modern day fanciful beast encounter. I have been reluctant to write about this adventure for fear it would draw sight-seers to regions of Cape Ann off the beaten path, as happened with the white pelican sighting. Now that the mystery of its identity may perhaps be solved, I think it safe.
One morning at daybreak as I was unloading my gear at Brace Cove, I paused to scan the edges and then the whole of Niles Pond. I do this often when out filming and photographing at our local ponds and marshes, looking for swans and other wild birds that may be seeking shelter along these idyllic shores. In the middle of the pond was a float of ice with a great many seagulls just beginning to awaken with the rising sun. Nothing unusual about that. What caught my attention was a very large brown shape there on the ice amongst the gulls. Harumph! I said to no one but myself, what a view spoiler and how utterly trashy that a large brown paper lawn and leaf bag should blow out to the middle of the pond and become stuck there. And then the brown shape slithered into the pond. I not only saw it, but heard the very distinct sound of a creature sliding expertly into water. I tried in vain to catch another glimpse and spent the remainder of the morning half spooked and half kicking myself for not more hurriedly making the effort to film and photograph the “garbage bag.” If only I’d known it was alive!
Shortly after the creature encounter, I read about the Ten Pound Island sea monster sightings and concluded, that yes, a mysterious sea creature could easily swim around Eastern Point Lighthouse, haul up at Brace Cove, cross the causeway, and have himself a swim at Niles Pond, if he were so inclined.
I thought about this beast encounter for weeks and at one point, somewhat embarrassedly, asked my husband to come with me to photograph a moonlit evening at Niles Pond as I wasn’t sure I wanted to come face to face with such a great creature at night. By myself. Being the good sport that he is, he came, if just to prove that it was perfectly safe to photograph in the moonlight.
As mentioned, I’ve been hesitant to write this until very recently when at Henry’s Pond, on a rainy and chilly early spring morning I spied for only a few moments what appeared to be a very mini version of the Niles Pond creature. It was swimming at top speed with a long sinuous streamlined shape beneath the surface of the water and only a bit of its head visible above the water. I took a blurry snapshot and raced home to search books and internet for any clues. The creature was too big to be a muskrat and its tail too slender to be a beaver. I am almost certain that what I saw at Henry’s was a North American River Otter. Two weeks passed when while filming Mr. Swan, again on an overcast morning at Henry’s, the little creature energetically appeared near the marshy shore on the opposite side of the pond, looked all around, dove, re-emerged, again looked all about, and then disappeared. This time I was able to capture a few seconds of video of this inquisitive little otter.
What I have learned about North American River Otters is that they can grow very large, up to five and half feet and weigh thirty pounds. There is the Great River Otter of South America, which can grow over six feet, but the creature I saw at Niles was about four and half to five feet long.
Well there you go, a modern day fanciful beast encounter. After seeing my beast, I think it quite easy to understand how sea monster stories from days gone by could so easily capture people’s imaginations.
Please write if you think you have seen a River Otter in your neighborhood. Thank you!
Look toward the marsh in the first clip, with Mr. Swan in the foreground. You can see the bobbing head of the otter in the background. I was hoping to see the otter again and try to capture better footage but it has been several weeks and no further sightings.
Besides my job, Thursday was a very busy day, did a Podcast with GMG at Cape Ann TV, went to the volunteer expo at Cruiseport which was outstanding, and then stopped into the Cape Ann Photography Club’s meeting at the Magnolia Library. Great attendance and always nice to meet other photographers.
So, we left Rockport in the wee hours of the morning, waited for some friends at the “Fast Freddy’s” parking lot in Beverly and hit the road. By 5:30 or so we were skirting New York, by 2:30 we were stopping for a quick lunch in southern Virginia, and by 6:45…with only 5 1/2 hours to go to Orlando, but no hotel room available until our check-in time later on today, we decided to call it quits in St. George, South Carolina.
With time to kill, we even did the obligatory drive-by South of the Border long enough to use the restrooms and take one quick photo to prove later to the children that “yes” they’ve been there.
We checked in to a perfectly average Comfort Something-or-other and walked next door to Skynaards Bar and Grill…”where people come to meet and eat.” The kids ran off some steam in the corn hole pit (yes, that’s right…judge if you must) and we ordered some “we’ve-been-on-the-road-forever-and-we-could eat-our-own-arms” type of grub.
With no WiFi and just my iPhone to fire off a blog post, I was more than happy to shoot for sleep at 9:45. The boys were still fighting the Sandman trying to watch hockey highlights as I wrapped up.
Just as I finished and went to go make sure that everything was charging, the door was locked, and the boys weren’t going to fall off the edge of their bed, Finn muttered, “today has been really long.”
Gloucester Sweeps Landmark 4/14
Gloucester beat Landmark yesterday in straight races 4 to 0. This is the first official race of the season and we’re off to a great start!
After vacation, SailGHS will return to three races in a row, Monday through Wednesday.
Monday, scrimmage vs. Wayland at home
Tuesday, scrimmage vs. Manchester at MSA
Wednesday, race against Beverly at Jubilee Yacht Club in Beverly
Enjoy your vacation! but keep your mind in the game.
Guy Fiero, Coach, SailGHS
P.S. Don’t forget that the free SailGHS Boot Camp will begin Friday, April 22nd at the Gloucester MAC at 2:30 PM – What a great way to celebrate earth!
-The Boys in the Boat…The Rest of the Story
-April 22nd, 7pm at Gordon College in Wenham (inside the Ken Olsen Science Center)
-Jim Pocock will talk about his memories of his great uncle, George Pocock, and his influence on the sport of rowing.
-More info and RSVP http://www.gordon.edu/theboysintheboattalk
Join Cape Ann Animal Aid supporters for a fun craft night, making custom hand-painted wooden signs, at the Azorean Restaurant on Sunday, April 17th at 5:30pm. Tickets are $45 per person and include complimentary appetizers; cash bar available.
Get your tickets online at www.tinyurl.com/pridestride. This event is a fundraiser for the Animal Aid’s Gloucester Pride Stride Team, raising money for the Veterinary Care Fund for shelter animals.
Multi-Family Yard Sale Fundraiser to benefit Cape Ann Animal Aid’s Board of Directors’ Pride Stride Team. The team is raising funds for the Veterinary Care Fund.
Sale being held indoors at Cape Ann Auction, located at 82 Main St., Gloucester, MA from 9am-3pm on Saturday, April 16th. Everything must go! Stop by and support this great cause!
Fun Vacation Week Event!
Botanical Garden Illustrated Tour April 26:
Autism Panel Discussion April 28:
More Cape Ann Health, Fitness and Wellness News-
Join us as we unveil our newly renovated studio – community welcome.
The new studio features:
• Hardwood Floors
• State-of-the-Art Sound System
• More Floor Space
• New Equipment
• The Best Instructors on the North Shore
Be our guest all week and enjoy all MAC has to offer!
View our group fitness schedule with over 85 class per week http://ow.ly/4mJjRP!