Readers may have seen the tragic story about frozen and cold-stunned sea turtles found on Cape Cod beaches over Thanksgiving week. The gale force winds and record breaking freezing temperatures trapped and killed over 200 sea turtles. I wanted to learn why this was happening and what to do if we find a cold-stunned or frozen turtle on a Cape Ann beach.
Sea turtles are tropical and ectothermic. They do not nest north of the Carolinas however, the juveniles of the species of sea turtles that are seen in Massachusetts are carried north by the Gulf Stream during the summer months. The turtles are mostly feeding on crabs, jellyfish, and algae in northern waters. At the onset of winter, juveniles return to warmer waters.
The five species of turtles that may be seen in Massachusetts are Kemp’s Ridley, Leatherback, Loggerhead, Green Turtle, and Hawksbill. But some of the juveniles don’t return quickly enough, and as the water temperature in Cape Cod Bay decreases, the turtles may become disoriented by the hook-shape of the Cape. When the temperature reaches fifty degrees, the turtles become immobilized, or cold-stunned, and are too frozen to eat or to swim. When they are too cold to swim, the turtles are tossed about by wind, waves, and currents. When the wind blows from the north or from the west, the sea turtles may be washed ashore and then stranded by the receding tide.
WHAT TO DO IF YOU FIND A COLD-STUNNED SEA TURTLE
POSTED FROM MASS AUDUBON
It is very important to recover these stranded turtles as quickly as possible. Do not assume a turtle is dead—turtles that appear lifeless are often still alive. If you come across a stranded sea turtle on the beach, please follow these simple steps:
- Move the turtle above the high tide line. Never grab or hold the turtle by the head or flippers.
- Cover it with dry seaweed or wrack.
- Mark it with an obvious piece of debris—buoys, driftwood, or branches.
- Call the Wellfleet Bay Wildlife Sanctuary hotline at 508-349-2615 x6104. [Editor’s note: Northeast Marine Mammal and Sea Turtle Stranding and Entanglement Hotline: 866-755-NOAA (866-755-6622)]
Sea turtles are federally protected under the Endangered Species Act; as such, it is illegal to harass sea turtles or transport them without a permit.
All photos courtesy wiki commons media and World Wildlife
Read More Here
CAPE COD TIMES
November 15, 2018
By Beth Treffeisen
CHATHAM — The last surviving member of the Coast Guard crew aboard the motor lifeboat 36500 during the historic 1952 rescue of 32 seamen off the stricken oil tanker Pendleton rescue has died.
Andrew Fitzgerald — known as a funny, brave and reluctant hero — was 86.
“It was a dark and stormy night,” Fitzgerald would say at the start of the story about the harrowing night of Feb. 18. 1952, which forever changed his life.
As a nor’easter raged off the shores of Cape Cod, two large tankers split in half, propelling the then 20-year-old Coast Guard engineer and three other Coast Guardsmen into history on their 36-foot boat.
Facing 60-foot high seas, the four men boarded the 36500, led by coxswain Bernard Webber, and headed out into the storm to find the sinking tanker Pendleton, where 33 men waited anxiously for help.
As the crew of the 36500 navigated through the Chatham sandbar, which is tricky enough on a good day, they lost their compass, said Peter Kennedy, who worked on the major restoration of the boat.
Fitzgerald was in the front of the boat when it hit some swells and knocked him all the way back toward the rear, he said.
Then, the engine stalled and Fitzgerald had to go down below and re-prime it, said Kennedy. Fitzgerald was burned by the hot plugs as he restarted the engine, Kennedy said.
“He had quite a history,” said Kennedy. “He was thrown out of the boat and got back into the boat to restart the engine in 30- to 40-foot seas.”
The crew of the Coast Guard rescue boat 365000 after rescuing 32 crewmen from the tanker Pendleton off the coast of Chatham in 1952. From left are Bernie Webber, Andrew Fitzgerald, Richard Livesey, and Ervin Maske. Coast Guard Photo
The three-master SS Montclair from Nova Scotia “a cargo vessel and suspected rum runner” came ashore in pieces in 1927. There were 2 survivors. Thank you Janet Crary for sharing news and photos from your hike on Nauset Beach!
“Walked 2 miles south of Nauset Beach in Orleans Saturday to see the 1927 wreck of 3 masted Schooner Montclair. Story and earlier images reported Capecodtimes.com and Boston Globe*.” – Janet
*Back in 2010 a fifty foot cluster of remains appeared near Chatham and articles mentioned the Montclair 1927 wreck the likely contender.
A year ago and nearby, the 1939 Lutzen shipwreck was unearthed by shifting sands after Fall storms.
“So many ships have piled up on the hidden sand bars off the coast between Chatham and Provincetown that those fifty miles of sea have been called an “ocean graveyard.” Indeed, between Truro and Wellfleet alone, there have been more than 1,000 wrecks.”– National Park Service
Heartbreaking to see, the usually majestic Northern Gannet is struggling to survive.
This beautiful Northern Gannet appears to have the same neurological symptoms of the mysterious disease that has caused over one hundred Gannets to wash ashore on Cape Cod beaches. Veterinarians are sending samples of the dead and dying birds to the USDA to see if federal experts can find the cause. A harmful algae bloom (often referred to as Red Tide) is suspect.
The Gannet tried and tried to take flight, but to no avail, wobbling instead and repeatedly tipping over.
The first dying Northern Gannet seen on a Cape Ann beach was shared by Ann Rittenburg. On July 12th, she discovered the bird struggling at Good Harbor Beach. Dianne Corliss, Gloucester’s Animal Control Officer, rescued the seabird. Dianne tried to help, but the Gannet was eventually put to sleep. She warns that the bills of Northern Gannets are extremely powerful. If you come across a Gannet on the beach, do not go near it as they are known to go for the eyes and necks of people.
What makes the deaths even more troubling is that Northern Gannets are winter migrants through our area, and most months are spent at sea. During the summer season they are typically at their North American breeding grounds, which are six well-established colonies, three in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, Quebec, and three in the North Atlantic, off the coast of Newfoundland.
My husband Tom and I saw these magnificent seabirds from the shores of Provincetown last spring. They were feeding along with the Right Whales. The Northern Gannets soared high above the whales and then plunged straight down with a powerful ferocity. It was dramatic and gorgeous to see. I hope the same illness or Red Tide that is killing the Gannets will not affect whales.
A female two- to three-month-old rare North Atlantic Right Whale calf was found dead in Cape Cod Bay on Thursday. She was one of only four calves born this year to a species in sharp decline. Researchers and whale lovers are especially distressed that the calf was a female, as they are the future of the population.
The calf was found north of Barnstable and was towed to Sesuit Harbor. Cause of death is unknown and a necropsy is planned.
As you may or may not have been following, there have been a record number of Right Whales currently making their home in the waters off Cape Cod, not because there are more whales, but because of the wealth of zooplankton. Each spring, Right Whales return to Cape Cod to feed on tiny crustaceans such as krill. Right Whales are the rarest of all large whale species, with only approximately 500 known world wide. They are endangered for several reasons. Right Whales never fully recovered from being heavily hunted during the whaling era. They have a high blubber content, which makes them float when killed, and produce a high yield of whale oil. Secondly, because they feed slowly by skimming at the photic zone of the ocean, at the upper surface of the water, they are vulnerable to ship strikes and to becoming entangled in fishing gear.
The best place too see Right Whales at this time of year is from Cape Cod beaches, according to Charles “Stormy” Mayo, director of the Right Whale Ecology Program at the Center for Coastal Studies. They may be as close as 150 feet from the shore, which is closer than can be seen from research boats.
Photo courtesy CapeCod.com
GMG FOB Dave Moore shares the following from National Geographic. The recent article (March 10) is very interesting and relevant: “How Many Right Whales Do We Miss.”
On Cape Cod, that is. The south side of the Cape was about as stick-like as is Cape Ann, but the crocuses were coming up everywhere on the north side, with the yellow of a few daffodils peeking through, too. All along the marshes that border Rt. 6A, ospreys were constructing nests. From far across the marsh, I even caught a glimpse of a hawk fishing!
Osprey and Osprey Nests
Last week after presenting my Pollinator Garden program in Orleans and visiting the Nauset lighthouses, the next stopover was to my grandparent’s beach in Dennis, or I should say, the beach where my family summered as our grandparents are no longer living. It was close to sunset and I had the overwhelming wish to watch the sun go down from the same place where we perched atop the bluff and had watched the sunset thousands of times as children. It was more than a little dismaying upon arriving to see my Grandmother’s glorious seaside garden gone, replaced by grass, but even more so, to see that the great stairwell and wild rose-lined path to the beach, once enjoyed by all the neighbors, had been privatized. Despite all that and feeling very melancholy, I had a lovely walk along the shore, watched the spectacular sunset from the cliff’s edge, and came upon a gorgeous mixed flock of shore birds. They stayed awhile resting and feeding in the surf at the high tide line and none-too-shy, allowed for both filming and photographing in the fading rosy light.
You can read an excerpt about my Grandmother’s Cape Cod garden in my book Oh Garden of Fresh Possibilities in the chapter titled “My Grandmother’s Garden.”
See More Photos Here Continue reading “PLOVERS AND SANDERLINGS!”
Nauset Light, moved from its previous precarious perch above eroding bluffs, is today beautifully maintained by the Nauset Light Preservation Society, a group of dedicated locals who are committed to preserving and interpreting its important story for visitors.
From the Nauset Light Preservation Society website: The Coast Guard owned Nauset Light and had no plans for saving it. Modern instrumentation has diminished the need for lighthouses. However, the lighthouse is still used by the fishing fleets and small recreational boaters who navigate close to the shore. Nauset Light is an important part of Eastham’s cultural and maritime history, and is the most well-known and photographed lighthouse on Cape Cod.
A group of citizens in Eastham formed the Nauset Light Preservation Society, a non-profit volunteer organization whose original mission was to rescue the lighthouse. This was accomplished in November 1996. Read More Here.
Yup. That’s right. The other cape … On August 17, we’re presenting Peter Yarrow, of Peter Paul & Mary, at the Old Whaling Church in Edgartown, MA on Martha’s Vineyard (which you get to via that other cape south of Boston). Now you know how much we love Gloucester and Cape Ann, but we just couldn’t pass up this opportunity to work with the most legendary, multi-platinum, multi-Grammy winning folk-singer alive today. So we’re venturing down to the other cape in a couple of weeks and figure that if anybody else from Cape Ann wants to go, we’ll put you on our special “Cape Ann” guest list. Just leave a comment (with your name) on this post saying that you WILL BE GOING TO THE OTHER CAPE and we’ll put you on the guest list.
How many of you remember this?
Excerpt from Oh Garden of Fresh Possibilities! ~ Notes from a Gloucester Garden, Chapter 22 ~ “My Grandmother’s Garden.”
In the early 1960s my grandparents purchased (for the amazing sum of seven hundred dollars!) a picturesque half-acre lot with private beach rights on Cape Cod. Their dream was to build a cottage on the tall bluff overlooking the bay. Coincidentally, my grandmother continued to build their home in successive seven hundred dollar increments. Seven hundred dollars paid for digging the cellar, the next for pouring the cement for the foundation, and seven hundred dollars paid to frame the house. My grandfather finished the remaining work, and they were still building the cottage when we began to spend our summers there. He always had a hammer in one hand and a fistful of nails in the other, and I was thrilled to follow him about holding the nails.
My grandparents worked hard and created wonderful homes they generously shared. While still a young mother and throughout her life, my grandmother taught ceramics at the pottery studio our grandfather built for her. Working together, whatever they touched became transformed into something beautiful. Their homes had an enchanting and joyful atmosphere, or perhaps it just seems that way, recalled from a childhood of fond memories. When I was making plans to attend art school in Boston, my grandmother shared with me her portfolio from Parsons School of Design. I had come to spend the weekend to help her close down the house for the winter. There, in her garage, tucked in an old cupboard, she carefully pulled out a well-worn, though neatly arranged, portfolio filled with her watercolors and sketches. Imagine, keeping her portfolio safe all those years, possibly with the hope of communicating some part of her earlier self to one of her grandchildren.
Eventually, their gray-shingled summer dream cottage was made inviting by a screened porch, blue painted shutters, and a white picket fence. A dooryard flower garden was planted in front, and around back a vegetable and flower garden were sited atop the cliff overlooking the bay. A narrow, sandy path bordered with deliciously fragrant wild beach roses led from the garden to the steep stairs descending to the beach. A weathered picket fence and rickety salvaged gate connected to a wooden archway enclosed the flower garden. By mid-summer the entryway to the garden was embowered with a cloud of sky blue morning glories. Situated in a haphazard manner outside the gated garden were wind- and weatherworn 1920s bamboo armchairs and matching comfy chaise lounge. On some days we would play imaginary children’s games there in her garden overlooking the sea, and on other days we would draw and paint, make clay things from clay foraged from the bluff, and catch fat, helpless toads. I helped my grandmother plant hollyhocks and marguerites and marigolds. The colors, so vividly clear and fresh; flowers growing by the sea appear even more beautiful, perhaps from the ambient light reflected off the water.
Weather permitting, we usually served dinner on the porch. All the porch furniture was painted my grandmother’s signature blue. We ate at a long table with a pretty white-on-white embroidered cloth and round crystal rose bowl full of whatever flowers we had collected that day. We would have family feasts in the fading rosy light, memorable dinners of freshly boiled lobsters and mountains of steamed clams, buttery and sweet corn-on-the-cob, freshly picked vegetables and fruit, and ice cream.
Blissfully lying in bed early in the morning, I recall hearing the soft cries of the Mourning Doves and the cheery calls of the Bobwhites, mingled with the inviting sound of the surf. From my bedroom window I could look out across the garden to the bay and see the ships and sailboats coming and going in the sharply sparkling sea. The transcendent harmonies of the surrounding undulating sea-rhythms and shifting light, the blend of flower fragrances, and birdsongs created the desire to in turn provide similar experiences for our children.
Some years later and newly married, my husband and I were visiting my grandmother at her Cape house. We sat with her in the living room listening to her usual captivating tales, and told her our plans for our new life together. My husband later remarked to me how beautiful she looked. Mimi was wearing a summer shift in a lovely shade of French blue, seated in a chair slipcovered in a blue floral print, with the shimmering azure sea framed by the window behind her, her china blue eyes gazing serenely back at us.
My Garden—like the Beach—
Denotes there be—a Sea—
Such as These—the Pearls
She fetches—such as Me
Continuing my vacation… Visiting a friend on Cape Cod!
The prettiest house on this beach, in my opinion, is this one:
There’s nothing like the feeling of the waves tickling your toes!
A perfect beach day!
Cape Cod is a lovely place to visit! But I’m still glad I live on “the other cape”… When I get back to Gloucester I am going to have to do a beach walk and get some nice photos!