Seals, Sun and Sand

Here I am back from my two week escapade in Truro, Cape Cod. Although I have been going to Truro nearly every year for about twenty years, it never ceases to amaze and relax me, and each year I discover something new and exciting. Cape Cod has such a rich and diverse environment from plants to animals. One of my favorite things to do is take my bike on a ride or my legs on a walk through the trails that weave through dunes, marshes and woods with the earthy pitch-pine fragrance. On my trip this time, I came upon the Wellfleet Audubon Society. We first entered into the wonderfully constructed “green” audubon center (noticing the huge array of solar panels on the side of the building) and were given trail maps and welcomed to browse their wildlife displays. We hiked Goose Pond Trail which took us through woods, marsh and down to the bay. We happened to walk it during low tide so as we walked out on the boardwalk towards the bay, and tiny holes in the sandy grasses could be seen along the way. I bent down for a closer inspection, and much to my surprise, there were thousands of tiny crabs that scurried into their holes with the slightest movement or wave of the hand. We found out later that they were fiddler crabs (named for their one large claw which they move around) and also saw the tiny pellets of sand that they produce near their holes.

Goose Pond Trail
Goose Pond Trail

Besides hiking I, of course, visited the beach. The National Seashore along the Cape is exquisite. There were two new adventures to me this year in my beach visits. First, I rode my bike to the beach and not only saved gas and money for parking, but enjoyed some exercise as well as the surrounding landscape. I can’t speak for my boyfriend who graciously volunteered to carry our backpack of beach supplies, the small lunch cooler, as well as two umbrellas which he strategically hooked onto the pack (don’t ask how they stayed or how he managed to ride through the hilly-landscape with all that weight…incredible!).

The second new adventure, and one of the best, was viewing the harbor seals resting on the beach. From our spot, we could see a black mass of creatures moving. As we walked closer we realized they were seals–probably close to three hundred basking in the sun on the sandbar and feeding in the water. We didn’t get too close so that we wouldn’t disturb them in their home, but we were close enough to hear their meloncholy calls (almost like mooing) and their interaction. Below is one of the pictures. I can’t describe how wonderful it was to see these magnificent mammals in their natural habitats.


Seal Friends
Seal Friends

 Lastly, the whales; the beautiful humpback’s that seem to show-off and dance for us out on the whale-watch boat. They came up very close, so close I could see their bumpy mouths and shiny bodies.

Saying Hello
Saying Hello

Although I’m happy to be back to my hometown, I miss the Cape already and the calmness it brings. How easy it is to forget troublesome thoughts when you’re surrounded by ocean…

If you’re planning on visiting the seashore before summer’s end, be sure to bring along one of OWL’s beachcomber and seashell guides, like A Guide to Field Identification: Seashells of North America (594 ABB). Impress your friends, spouse or significant other with your shell knowledge “It’s not just a shell, that’s a dekay’s dwarf tellin!”

Even if you’ve never seen a whale, some of you may be familiar with their song–often heard on relaxation CD’s. No doubt, their song, or way of communicating, is unique, beautiful and complex and is still being studied. If you want to explore it and listen in on some whale music, pick up Thousand Mile Song: Whale Music in a Sea of Sound by David Rothenberg (599.515 ROT). It includes a CD too!

If you’ve never been to the Cape, or you have, you’ll enjoy Cape Cod and the Offshore Islands by Walter Teller (974.4 T). It reminds me a lot of Thoreu’s Cape Cod (which is also a must read), with its description of towns along the Cape and its thoughtful meandering.

If you’re heading to the beach or somewhere for R&R, check out Cape Cod Stories (FIC CAP) a collection of short stories based on or about Cape Cod written by famous authors like Sylvia Plath and Edgar Allan Poe.

The Outermost House by Henry Beston (917.44 BES)  is a must read for Cape lovers. Beston spends some time alone in a small house on the beach’s in Eastham, Cape Cod and describes his time there vividly. “Sun and moon rise here from the sea, the arched sky has an ocean vastness, the clouds are now of ocean, now of earth…” (5).

Want to learn more about seals and other ocean mammals? Explore Mammals of the Oceans by Richard Mark Martin or Mammals of the American North by Andrian Forsyth which has a section on seals/whales.

With the last weeks of August approaching, you might consider checking out OWL’s State Park Pass which you can use to visit Hammonasset beaches or any state park in CT.

Can’t get to the ocean this year? That’s okay, slip our Sounds of Nature sampler CD into your player, close your eyes and hear the oceans tide caressing the shore.

Journey's End
Journey's End

 Sarai is the Publicity Coordinator/Library Assistant and is currently humming the song “Roadsinger…”

2 thoughts on “Seals, Sun and Sand

  1. Wonderful blog Sarai!!! Cape Cod is one of my favorite places too. That’s so cool that you got to see both the whales and the seals. I guess you went at just the right time!!! Thanks for sharing…

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