Mt. Rainier and Lenticular Clouds - Dec. 2008 copyright: JMM

November 8, 2013

Scorton Creek & E. Sandwich Beach, Part 1

It's funny but despite the close proximity to my house of Scorton Creek & East Sandwich Beach, I rarely ever went there.  Sandy Neck was closer and dad had the cottage on Spring Hill (if you walk east from Spring Hill, you end up at E. Sandwich Beach).  And when I was older, most of my friends lived downtown so we went to Town Neck.  As an adult, I could never figure out where the parking was because the beach is dotted with cottages so I guess I assumed there really wasn't a public part...that it was semi-private like Spring Hill was.  I was afraid to park in someone's driveway or blocking the narrow dirt road so I just didn't attempt to visit it.

My dad used to be a member of the local Lion's Club and at the end of the summer, they'd host a big party that the wives and kids could attend.  One of the members owned rental cottages on E. Sandwich Beach and there was room to spread out so he hosted it for a few years in a row in the mid/late 70s, and that is just about the sum total of times I've been there.  There weren't many kids my age...most of the kids of the members were too young for me to play with, so I was on my own to explore as long as I checked in from time to time.  This one year, I walked down to the mouth of Scorton Creek where it dumps into the bay.  It was magic...truly.  I was all alone to play in the sand and rocks, daydream and beachcomb, or carefully dip my feet in the water at the edge (all town kids were taught very young what areas to never, ever swim in and that was one of them).  I thought of those times a lot over the years and always wanted to go back there to take pics.  

Recently, I discovered where the public parking is so I finally went.  I first parked at the far eastern end, at Scorton Creek.

So excited to head around the corner!  At last!  I hadn't set foot in that area since early September of 1977.

It was as I remembered it with that long jetty breakwater on the other side, but the side I was on has been built up a lot over the years with sand and rocks, so much so that the jetties I played on as a kid were so buried that they look like nothing now.  The water was a lot closer to those jetties back then too.  I've seen a marked change in all the breakwaters on that side of the Cape.  They once took a little skill to climb over.  Now, they are almost sand level.  The people that have lived here all along have hardly noticed the change but to me, having been gone for over 20 years, it's pretty shocking to see how buried they've gotten.  It would be prohibitively expensive to try and dig them out, or add new jetties.  This means that the Bay side of the Cape is eroding at an alarming rate as each storm gets worse than the last, and there are no more effective breakwaters to keep the waves from destroying the beaches & dunes.

But I digress.  I once had a very vivid beachcombing dream that was set here at the end of Scorton Creek.  It all came rushing back.

Looking across to the private beaches at Carleton Shores.  

It was high tide and that bar was still visible.  That was also new since the last time I was here.  I assume that this bar was created from all the rocks and sand that are being swept off the beaches.


See how buried by sand?  There are rocks under these.  This used to be the top layer.  I didn't walk down too far because of the cottages and privacy issue.  There was no glass.

Back to the creek.

The undertow here is really bad and the currents run swift.  That's why no one is allowed to swim here, although people have of course.  If you are a strong swimmer you can get across at low tide w/o getting swept too far out.  In the summer people float down from the salt marshes behind it but they stop close to the parking lot before things pick up.  If you float to far, you'll end up in Cape Cod Bay.

Looking back at the marshes.


  1. Awesome photos as usual JoJo. I just love that you got to return to a place you haven't seen since the 70's... and to find it changed, yes. But better a few natural changes than seeing it all developed / crowded with people. So nice to see wildlife still flourishes. That last photo is so pretty; you captured the sparkling water perfectly!

  2. Looking at this last photo feels magical, the way I feel when looking up at a blanket of stars. I'm struck by the similarities between the vast ocean and the night sky.
    I'm glad you can spend so much time at beaches, JoJo. I can't imagine a more soothing place, and you capture it perfectly.


  3. Hi JoJo,

    Your photos and accompanying words, a double delight. I find myself immersed in the sparkly waters. Thanks for the virtual walkabout.

    Enjoy your Sunday.

    Gary :)

  4. Anonymous11:29 PM

    Wow.. The water is so sparkling clear.. I would be there every chance I got.. So, so beautiful JoJo. Thank you so much for sharing.

  5. Look how clear that water is! You could almost believe we are not completely polluting the whole world at an alarming rate...