Sunday, December 30, 2012

Beach pictures

Wellfleet Harbor
We had a little snow storm pass through last night that dumped about four inches (10 cm) of snow in our area. After it had passed, it brought lots of chilly northwest winds - meter readings were around 30 mph for Chapin, and 40 mph in Wellfleet Harbor. Air temperatures were just below freezing, but the wind chill was at 15º F (-10º C), so going windsurfing looked like perhaps not the best plan for the day.

Not ready to give up quite yet, we drove down to Barnstable Harbor to check out the conditions. Driving there was beautiful: the rain turning to snow last night had left lots of snow sticking to trees and branches, a veritable winter wonderland. Walking around outside, however, was a different story. After getting blasted by the freezing wind for a few minutes, we decided to cancel windsurfing for the day, and instead just drive around some more. Of course, we had to stop at a couple of beaches to check the conditions. Here's an overview and a few pictures:

First stop was Gray's Beach in Barnstable Harbor, behind Chapin Beach. It has a beautiful board walk:
Gray's Beach
The spot has some speed potential near high tide in N-NW winds.
Corporation Beach, Dennis
Corporation was the next stop. Pretty big waves rolled in that definitely would have kept me on shore, even if it had been warmer. Better waves sailors might have viewed this as fun conditions, but nobody was out. The tide was very high, the parking lot partially flooded.
Robbin's Hill Beach, Brewster
I had wanted to check out Robbin's Hill Beach because it is protected by an outer sand bar. My hope was that this might be a place where it would be easier to get out in nuking conditions. Indeed, the water did a look a lot more inviting, with rolling swells, but no white water on the inside. There were breaking waves visible at the end of the shallow section, maybe half a mile from the launch (at low tide, you can walk out all the way to the outer sand bar). This place almost made me want to go out.
Linnell Landing, Brewster
We has sailed from Linnell once at low tide, so I was curious to see what it looked liked at high tide. Plenty of waves to play with, but onshore winds and a shore break. Gurus would prefer Corporation, kooks like me one of the other spots.
First Encounter Beach, Eastham
This beach is home of the "Hatch Beach" sensor and a favorite of kiters. It's protected by half a mile of sand bars and shallow water, and unsailable near low tide. The wind here was noticably stronger than at the first couple of places we visited (the wind meter showed 10 mph more than for Chapin, but the Chapin sensor may read a few miles low in NW winds). The waves here looked interesting, with a few clean sections to go out, and a few gnarly sections that might have kept even decent wave sailors interested. The wind was side-on, with a starboard tack going out. I plan on revisiting this spot near high tide in a bit less wind.
Duck Harbor Beech, Wellfleet
Duck Harbor Beach is one of the few Cape Cod Bay beaches that can be sailed at low tide, which is why it made it onto our list. Waves here seemed to be similar in size to the waves in Corporation, definitely out of my league. The wind felt strongest here, even stronger than at First Encounter.

Now if we could please have a repeat of today with 5-10 mph less wind, a few more degrees, and preferably no ice on the ground!

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