Showing posts with label provincetown. Show all posts
Showing posts with label provincetown. Show all posts

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Right Whales Moving Into Cape Cod Bay

Massachusetts has rites of Spring, just like Iowa, Arkansas and Colorado do. Some of our rites involve whales coming for a visit at a certain time of year, just like they don't in Iowa.

North Atlantic Right Whales are entering our waters as we speak. They come in after plankton, using some primordial algorithm to know when the water temperature is just right to chow down on the microscopic organisms.

Right Whales are as rare as it gets, and are especially rare for both large whales and marine mammals in particular. There are only 500 left in the world. At the moment, 71 of those have been recorded as being in Cape Cod Bay as of Wednesday.

A mother and her calf were spotted in the Cape Cod Canal Tuesday, and another mom/baby were seen in Cape Cod Bay about halfway between Provincetown and Marshfield. Experts expect many more in the upcoming weeks.

 The whales cruise the surface, filtering tons of plankton into their tummies. They often work very close to shore, and are visible to beachwalkers. Set up on a cliff (Manomet, Cedarville, Scituate, Saquish) if you can, height always helps when spotting. It involves more "getting lucky" than me getting laid, but even a bad day staring at the ocean is better than most good days.

It goes without saying that you shouldn't hassle these whales. They are very rare. Boats are required by law to keep a few hundred yards between them and any righty. A collision between a whale and a boat could take an endangered species off of the charts.

It's also good sense for the mariner. Look at how things ended for Captain Ahab, Quint, Joshua, Samuel L. Jackson... you don't want to mess with anything that can fit you in their mouth.

Sunday, September 4, 2016

Tropical Storm Warning For Cape Cod, South Coast; MEMA Situational Awareness Statement

(Editor's Note... we'll be on the road all week to get you some storm pictures. For now, we'll turn it over to MEMA)

DATE: September 4, 2016
TIME: 9:00 AM
SUBJECT: Tropical Storm Hermine
No significant changes were made to the forecast overnight and Hermine remains a post-tropical storm with little change in strength expected today. At 5 AM the post-tropical storm was located about 305 miles south-southeast of the eastern tip of Long Island with maximum sustained winds of 65 mph moving to the east-northeast at 12 mph and a minimum central pressure of 998 mb. The National Weather Service continues to expect a glancing blow to the south coast, Cape Cod and the Islands mainly tonight into Monday morning. The primary concern continues to be 40-50 mph wind gusts on the south coast, Cape Cod and Islands resulting in some downed trees and scattered power outages tonight into Monday afternoon. Hermine is expected to slow down and turn northward later today. Southeastern Massachusetts, to include the south coast, Cape Cod, and Islands remains in the Cone of Error for this storm.
Forecast and Impacts:
The post-tropical cyclone is expected to turn toward the northeast and north with a decrease in forward speed expected later today, followed by a slow northward to northwestward motion through Monday. On the forecast track, the center of Hermine will meander slowly offshore of the mid-Atlantic coast for the next couple of days. While little change in strength is expected today, Hermine is forecast to intensify to Hurricane Force tonight and on Monday.
Hermine continues to have a large wind field with Tropical Storm force winds extending outward up to 205 miles from the center. The wind threat from Hermine is expected to come in two pulses, with the strongest tonight into Monday afternoon. The other (less certainty at this time) will be on Tuesday as the storm pulls away. Isolated downed tree limbs are possible across eastern Massachusetts with 25-35 mph wind gusts tonight into Monday with scattered tree and powerline damage possible along the south coast area. Despite the winds not being too extreme, drought exhausted trees could fall more easily. Expect a long duration of high surf, dangerous rip currents, beach erosion and wind gusts to Tropical Storm force on the southern waters and south coast and Islands. Mariners should expect a period of strong winds and rain beginning on Sunday afternoon and lasting through Monday with wind gusts to 45 knots and seas of 15-20 feet across southern waters. There is a low risk for minor coastal flooding, and riverine flooding is not expected to pose a significant threat due to ongoing drought conditions across much of the Commonwealth.

National Weather Service has provided the following most likely scenario at this time:
· 30-50 mph wind gusts with the strongest winds focused along the immediate South Coast and the Cape and Islands.
· Up to 1 to 2 inches of rain, focused mainly across Cape Cod and the Islands
· Rough surf and dangerous rip currents
· Minor beach erosion
· Marine impacts with wind gusts to 45 knots, and seas 15 – 20 feet over southern waters
National Weather Service has provided the following reasonable worst case scenario at this time (if Hermine takes a more northerly track than forecast by Monday into Tuesday):
· 40-50 mph wind gusts farther inland to the RI/CT border, with more gusts to 50 mph.
· 2 to 3 inches of rain on Cape Cod and the Islands
· Minor coastal flooding
· Moderate beach erosion
· Marine impacts, with wind gusts to 55 knots, and seas 20-25 feet over southern waters
Watches and Warnings:
· Tropical Storm Warning is in effect for the outer waters from Provincetown, MA to Montauk, NY. Strongest winds will be tonight with gusts of 50 knots possible. Seas will build rapidly today and may reach at least 20 feet south of the Islands by tonight.
· A Tropical Storm Watch remains in effect from Watch Hill, RI to Sagamore Beach, MA to include Narragansett and Buzzards Bay and Nantucket and Vineyard Sounds. Tropical storm force winds associated with Hermine will likely develop this evening and tonight and persist into Monday morning. The strongest winds will occur tonight with gusts 40-45 knots, especially over open waters. Seas will rapidly build today and may reach 10-15 feet tonight.
· A Gale Warning is in effect from 11 PM tonight to 8 AM Monday for Cape Cod Bay, coastal waters east of Ipswich Bay and the Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary with northeast winds 20-30 knots gusting to 35 knots and seas 7-12 feet.

What we do not know at this time:
· Exactly how far north the edge of the Tropical Storm force winds will reach before Hermine loops back to the Southwest
· How strong Hermine will be when it passes Southeast of New England and what exactly that means for the second pulse on Tuesday.
· What accumulated erosion effects may occur from what looks to be a long duration period of storm surge and high waves.
Rainfall Forecast through Thursday AM
Current NWS Headlines – Watches, Warnings and Advisories
Based on National Weather Service and National Hurricane Center forecasts regarding Tropical Storm Hermine, the Captain of the Port, Southeastern New England, has set Port Condition WHISKEY. While ports in Southeastern New England remain open to all commercial traffic, the following preparatory measure is effective immediately:
Owners, operators or agents of all self-propelled oceangoing vessels over 500 gross tonnage and all barges and their supporting tugs must report their intention to depart or remain in port to Sector Southeastern New England within 24 hours.
The Coast Guard will continue to monitor Tropical Storm Hermine and, if necessary, may implement preventative measures to ensure the safety of mariners, vessels, and waterfront facilities. Possible preventative measures include, but are not limited to, terminating lightering or transfer operations, rescinding permits for marine events, and directing vessel arrivals/departures to/from port.
The NWS has issues a Small Craft Advisory for 6 AM Sunday to 8 PM Monday for Massachusetts and Ipswich Bay.
Ferry Services Update (as of 0800):
Steamship Authority – Anticipates the cancellation of Nantucket ferry runs sometime this afternoon, as the wind picks up. They anticipate that the Vineyard Route may also be impacted before the end of scheduled trips. All ferries are operating as scheduled at this time.
Hy-Line Cruises – Service to Martha’s Vineyard has been suspended for today and Tomorrow, as well as inter-island service from Martha’s Vineyard to Nantucket. Hyannis to Nantucket is still operating, however it is weather dependent.
Island Queen Falmouth - Canceled all trips Sunday and Monday, Trip by Trip Basis Tuesday, and Wednesday.
Seastreak New Bedford- Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket trips, Canceled Sunday through Tuesday, or when the Hurricane barrier in New Bedford reopens. Could be later than Tuesday depending in the impact of the storm.
Seastreak NY – New York To Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket, Canceled for Monday (anticipates running Sunday) Operates Friday’s and Sunday’s and Labor Day.
Rhode Island Fast Ferry- Quonset Point to Martha’s Vineyard canceled all Ferries Sunday through Tuesday
New Bedford Hurricane Barrier is anticipating closing Sunday and anticipates reopening on Tuesday, Possible sooner or later depending on the track of the storm.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Most Liquor Licenses Per Town

One of the common local myths circulating around any town in Massachusetts comes to life every time someone says "No town in Massachusetts has more liquor stores than (insert his town here)." I have heard the term ascribed to Provincetown, Worcester, Amherst, Winthrop, Scituate, Clinton, Bridgewater, Marshfield and a dozen other towns. The easier to swallow version of this myth is the same quote, but on a per-person basis.

Opinions vary wildly, and this is probably one of those articles where I'll get told to eff off in the comments section. I'm good with that. I will say that there are different lists with different criteria.

Boston generally wins Drunkest City In America. That title is shouldered by a heavily Irish population base, an unmatched pile of college kids, a nice flow of business travel, long suffering Red Sox fans, a solid nightlife industry and did I mention the Irish?

Roadsnacks, in an influential 2015 study using much of the same criteria as me (but using other factors like Package Stores, Divorce Rates and Twitter references), came up with a Top Ten of:

West Yarmouth
West Bridgewater

WCVB, using a self-reporting technique of "Has More Than Five Drinks Per Session" and going by counties, had:

Hampshire County
Nantucket County
Sufflok County
Plymouth County
Barnstable County
Dukes County
Bristol County
Essex County
Franklin County
Middlesex County
Norfolk County
Worcester County
Berkshire County
Hampden County

They had Hampshire standing alone, Nantucket and Suffolk taking Place and Show, a glut with the same ranking (on that list, it runs from Barnstable to Norfolk Counties with each holding the same score) and the non-UMass western regions being a bit drier.

There are dry towns in the state where no Licka gets sold. Those towns remind me of the Civil War story of the Irish soldier slipping off the march into a dry-town inn and asking the innkeeper for "a glass of water, with a wee bit of the Creature added, unbeknownst to you or myself."
I was going to try to find out Liquor Stores Per Town, but that seemed like too much work. There exists no easily-Googled database. I'd have to Google up which towns have how many liquor stores, then divide or something by how many people live in each town. A good method, granted, but very work-intensive for a sunny Saturday morning in May. There would also be a large Margin Of Error.

What I shall instead do is use this map of 2011 liquor licenses per town from the Boston Business Journal. Old numbers, obsolete, but providing insight. I can then cross-reference my numbers with the population figures of the town in question, and... Voila! We have a new stat, one which I will name once I think of something catchy.

(Editor's Note: Or he can save 12 hours of math by just using this chart)

This map is just for places you can drink IN. Take-out drinking from packie stores isn't accounted for on this list.

I may as well make a few guesses here before I start looking at the numbers, thus becoming like more enlightened than you. Once I have had a look, I'm disqualified from guessing. You'll catch up to my enlightenment once you read the article, but by that time, I'll be looking up some other new ish, and the cycle will begin anew.

I'm thinking that "the Irish Riviera" will miss out on her rightful title, mostly because "Cape Cod" is a touristy place and will have her numbers padded by people on vacation. I have no doubt that New Beige and Fall-down River carry the "South Coast" on their backs, but if places like Acushnet and Mattapoisett represent hard, the region may be able to take down a contender.

Anyhow, here are the towns from our region and their ranking on the list. The criteria is residets-per-liquor license. If I had package store numbers, these rankings might be radically different.

Rank.... Town.... Residents... Licenses... Residents per License

1 PROVINCETOWN 3,390 62 55

Provincetown takes the title. At least one publication that I saw summed it up as well as I can... "Tourist haven in the summer... desolate, isolated winters."

"55 residents per license" means that, if every single man, woman, child and baby in Provincetown went out for a drink to a local bar, each bar would only have 55 people in it... less, once you factor out bar employees who live in Provincetown,

By contrast.... if a similar event happened in Duxbury, there would be 1444 people in each bar. If it happened in Boxford (ranked #318 and last in the state), there would be 8600 people in each bar.

3 WELLFLEET 2,748 26 106
5 OAK BLUFFS 3,731 29 129
6 EDGARTOWN 3,920 30 131
9 NANTUCKET 10,531 73 144
10 AQUINNAH 354 2 177
14 TRURO 2,134 10 213
16 ORLEANS 6,315 27 234
21 CHATHAM 6,726 26 259

The Cape represents hard, although runner-up towns like Great Barrington could complain about tourists and summer people swelling the numbers. If you assume that summer people double the population of Chatham, and that there are also a disproportionate amount of hotels filling up with families, you might have to triple or even quadruple the licenses-per-town rankings. All of a sudden, these supposedly hard-drinking Cape towns start tumbling to 150th in the state.

Provincetown is immune to that. Tripling their RPL only moves them to 3rd in the state.

Monroe- ranked second in the state, just above Wellfleet- has 1 license in a town with 96 residents. By contrast, the Mayberry hometown (may have been  County, or both town and county) of Andy Griffith fame had 5600 residents... in 1968.

27 DENNIS      15,473 53 292
34 TISBURY  3,805 11 346
40 BARNSTABLE 46,738 112 417
42 YARMOUTH 24,010 56 429
43 FALMOUTH 33,247 76 437
44 SEEKONK 13,593 31 438
46 HARWICH 12,387 28 442

The pattern continues through the Top 50.

Let's pause right here to tip our glasses to the western part of the state. While I'm only showing EMass towns, rest assured that about 90% of the towns that I'm leaving out are in the Berkshires.

"Mountain man/mountain man/drinks like a fish/and he hits like a ram."

Both of the islands assert themselves mightily. Island people are sort of kin to mountain people. Both are a bit strange. It's a different sort of strangeness, but it shares a common intensity. They're both about equally lost in a city.

54 FOXBOROUGH 16,298 34 479
58 EASTHAM 5,445 11 495
59 BREWSTER 10,023 20 501
60 HULL 11,067 22 503
64 WEST BRIDGEWATER 6,679 13 514
67 PLYMOUTH 55,188 103 536
68 MATTAPOISETT 6,447 12 537
71 COHASSET 7,182 13 552
74 FAIRHAVEN 16,124 29 556
75 WAREHAM 21,154 38 557

Rankings 50-75 have a few trends jumping out at me.

1) The South Coast is beginning to assert herself. Props to Seekonk for sliding into the top 50. Mattapoisett, Fairhaven and Wareham also step up to the bar by the time that #75 is called.

2) The South Shore and especially the Irish Riviera took awhile to show themselves. Scituate is nowhere to be seen.

3) I wonder if (and how much) Foxboro's numbers are pushed up by the Patriots being in town. I don't get out to Foxy Bro as much as I used to, and am not sure what sort of effect 8 home games (and X playoff games any year) has on the town's drinking establishments. They say that businesses on Cape Cod are made/broken by 8-12 weekends a year. I wonder how much 8-12 weekend days a year is worth in Hooch Sold?

78 BOURNE 19,023 33 576
80 BOSTON 599,351 1,033 580
82 KINGSTON 12,339 21 588
87 NEW BEDFORD 91,849 150 612

Cape Cod is starting to fade out... not because we don't drink hard enough, but because we've exhausted most of our towns earlier in the rankings.

Bourne does drink harder than Boston, something I'm a bit shocked to see. If Boston had better beaches, they might be able fight their way up the list a bit.

Note that many of Boston's Irish fled Boston in the 1970s, driving up the numbers in the otherwise sleepy Irish Riviera.

New Beddy closes out our presence in the top 100. 30% of the top 100 are towns in our coverage area.

108 MASHPEE 14,261 21 679
109 RAYNHAM 13,641 20 682
111 OTIS 1,394 2 697
112 HINGHAM 22,394 32 700
119 AVON 4,303 6 717

Hey! That town of Otis is in Western Mass, and it's not the rotary in Bourne.

My people in Raynham tell me there is great happiness that they conquered all but one Bridgewater.

In Massachusetts, the Avon lady is a bartender.

We forgot SWANSEA, they're 128th

131 MARION 5,217 7 745
132 SANDWICH 20,255 27 750
140 ABINGTON 16,365 21 779
141 BRAINTREE 34,422 44 782
145 QUINCY 91,622 116 790
158 FALL RIVER 90,905 111 819
160 MANSFIELD 22,993 28 821
162 WALPOLE 23,086 28 825
172 WRENTHAM 11,116 13 855
177 ACUSHNET 10,443 12 870
179 NORTON 19,222 22 874
183 ROCKLAND 17,780 20 889
184 DARTMOUTH 31,241 35 893
186 STOUGHTON 26,951 30 898
190 MARSHFIELD 24,576 27 910
192 EAST BRIDGEWATER 13,879 15 925
193 PEMBROKE 18,595 20 930
195 NORWELL 10,271 11 934
198 SCITUATE 17,881 19 941
199 WESTPORT 15,136 16 946

Fall River is pretty much right in the middle of the rankings. New Bedford and Fall River, which I thought would carry the South Coast, ranked a modest 87 and 158 respectively. Seekonk (44), Mattapoisett (60 something) and the Wareham/Fairhaven team (74 and 75) all represented harder.

At least 10% of the liquor licenses in Wareham are held by places that only serve breakfast. (Your Hometown Here) may have more or less, I just wanted to float that stat out there.

Sandwich finishes off the Cape.

Fall River trails Quincy, which is the same size but more Irish-heavy. The Squantum neighborhood of Quincy is about as Irish as it gets.

If a bar gets their license revoked in Scituate, this thought-she'd-be-ranked-higher Irish Riviera superheavyweight would fall out of the Top 200. She'd rank below hard-living Oakham (pop. 953, 2 licenses) in the state
205 REHOBOTH 11,484 12 957
206 SOMERSET 18,268 19 961
209 TAUNTON 55,783 57 979
219 NORTH ATTLEBORO 27,907 27 1,034
223 MIDDLEBORO 21,245 20 1,062
224 WEYMOUTH 53,272 50 1,065
225 HANOVER 13,966 13 1,074
230 HALIFAX 7,700 7 1,100
233 HANSON 9,956 9 1,106
234 BRIDGEWATER 25,514 23 1,109
243 EASTON 22,969 20 1,148
247 ATTLEBORO 43,113 37 1,165
248 LAKEVILLE 10,587 9 1,176
249 HOLBROOK 10,663 9 1,185
250 WHITMAN 14,385 12 1,199

You'd think a town known as "Hangover" would be higher than 225, but No.

If Taunton gets a casino, they could jump up a lot of spots. Considering Boston is 80, a jump into the Top 10 may be a lot to ask for.

Bridgewater, which has the University, is the lowest-ranked Bridgewater. East and West pub much harder.

252 FRANKLIN 31,381 25 1,255
253 BROCKTON 93,092 74 1,258
259 LYNN 87,122 67 1,300
270 DUXBURY 14,444 10 1,444
272 FREETOWN 8,935 6 1,489
300 BERKLEY 6,433 3 2,144
304 CARVER    11,547     5 2,309
311 DIGHTON  6,748 2 3,374
315 ROCHESTER 5,218 1 5,218

The infamous "City of Sin" ranks an effete 259.

If the Gurnet Inn was still open, sleepy Duxbury would be ahead of Brockton and Lynn.

Rochester and Dighton hold down the South Coast, and Lakeville is the more "Let's go out" of the Freetown-Lakeville conglomerate.

Duxbury and Sandwich ranked similarly, something our staff predicted. Both towns are sort of the Rich People Conscience of either Cape Cod or the South Shore (I'm told by our Fairhaven editor that Dartmouth fills a similar role on the South Coast). Granted, Sandwich is about twice as pubby as Duxbury, but the Cape is sort of off the scale due to summer tourism.

Shame on you, Rochester!

Here's a quick region-by-region tally:

Martha's Vineyard


New Bedford
Fall River


North Attleboro


West Bridgewater
East Bridgewater



Necessary research....

Saturday, April 9, 2016

April Storm Tide, Final Snow Of Season?

Fans of the stormy weather will enjoy this weekend's entertainment, if they are situated well enough and don't mind staying up all night.

A storm will slide south of New England tonight, and her northern fringe may give the South Coast and Cape Cod a bit of snow. An inch would be the high end figure, and the snow would be more notable for being a strong candidate for the last snow of the year.

April snow isn't that crazy. We've had a blizzard on April Fool's Day, I saw nearly two feet in Worcester on April 28th once, and the Boston record is May 10th.

However, April snow falls at a time when we are tired of winter and looking forward to spring. The last thing a New Englander who doesn't write about weather for a living wants in April is snow.

Again, this storm will mostly precipitate on the fishes, with only the Cape and the extreme South Coast getting any Siberian Marching Powder. Nantucket and the Outer Cape look like the best bet to get enough to make a snowball with.

The South Shore may get left out of the snowfall, but they'll have a shot at some coastal flooding overnight. The storm will produce heavy winds (gusts well over tropical storm force), and they will be coming N/NE at the time of high tide.

Those tides will be very high. Seriously, look:

Duxbury Beach, 1:43 AM, 12.2 feet

Scituate Harbor, 1:52 AM, 11.5 feet

Brant Rock, 1:56 AM, 11.7 feet

Hull Bay, 1:55 AM, 12.2 feet

Manomet Point, 1:40 AM, 12.2 feet

Scusset Beach, 1:44 M, 12.2 feet

Sandwich Town Beach, 1:43 AM, 12.2 feet

Cold Storage Beach (Dennis), 1:46 AM, 12.2 feet

Provincetown, 1:56 AM, 11.8 feet

The storm won't be on us long enough or hard enough (some winds will be more N than the more feared NE) to really tear up the coastline, but splashover tides are bad news in low-lying coastal neighborhoods. When I lived on Duxbury Beach, we used to run the sump pumps 24 hours in a row for a few days during the April high tides, and that was without a storm piling up water onto the shore.

 A 12.2 foot high tide means that, if you stood stock still with your toes at the edge of the water exactly at low tide, you'd be under 12.2 feet of water in the same spot at high tide. The average tide is about 8 or 9 feet, and this waning new moon tide of 12.2 is trouble.

The winds will make a 1-2 foot storm surge on top of all that moon tide stuff, and the worst of it will be along a Hull-to-Bourne-to Orleans run. Let's guess at a Scituate-to-Duxbury epicenter.

Again, never clean up coastal yards until late April at the earliest, Landlubber.

If you live on the coast and are up at that hour, feel free to send us a pic at our Facebook page, we'll maybe do an article Sunday morning if I get out at that wicked time of the night.

We'll also be getting what is presently believed to be the last freezing weather in SE Massachusetts.

This little cold snap has been the result of a polar vortex sending Canada air down to us. As that vortex breaks down, we start getting Oregon air... which doesn't sound that great until you recall the Santa stuff we've been getting every time it snows in April.

From what I see on the Accuweather month-long forecast for Buzzards Bay, there will be no more days where the temperature falls below freezing. When that skim coating of snow on your lawn melts, winter will be over by every conceivable measure.

Look a this way... Opening Day at Fenway is Monday. The Boston Marathon is a week after that. Memorial Day is six weeks after that. Summer is about 3 weeks after that.

You can handle this.

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Where Exactly Do Our Sharks Hang Out?

The coast of Massachusetts has been home to a burgeoning Great White Shark population for a number of years. If you're just finding this out now, I apologize for being the bearer of bad news.

Anyone who even wades into the ocean should want to know how many finned nightmares are swimming around offshore. People who love sharks or who just have a general interest in how nature moves along may also ponder the question now and then.

Are you alive right now because thousands of sharks off of every beach ignored you? Is seeing a shark akin to winning the Powerball while being struck by lightning as you read the Qur'an? Is the answer in the middle somewhere?

While it's impossible to tell how many sharks we have overall with our present technology, you can use certain tricks to get an idea of at least Relative Activity between beaches.

Dr. Gregory Skomal is in this column as much as I am, but he does very important work. He's that guy who you see on the Discovery channel, jabbing harpoons into sharks. He's not hunting, though, just putting tags on them. He has various sorts of tags for Great White Sharks. Some can be tracked from space as the shark moves around. Others pop off the shark, float to the surface, and are gathered by fishermen/returned to scientists for data collection.

The harder Dr. Skomal works, the larger the data pool gets. The payoff favors the scientists at first, but it soon grows large enough that we regular people can almost score it like baseball standings or the presidential primaries.

I can do it right now. Chatham wins the Outer Cape in a rout. Wellfleet and Truro have a nailbiter going on the Bayside Cape, with the winner being dependent on how you score the game. Plymouth has a slight lead over Duxbury for the South Shore championship, while Martha's Vineyard owns a run from Buzzards Bay through Vineyard Sound.

They have a fun way of scoring these totals. One of those tags they use on sharks can be read by various receivers that are floating around various spots off of the Massachusetts coast. Over time, they can get a good idea of which sharks go where. They don't get all of the sharks, but they do gain valuable insight.

They (and we) use two numbers. One of them = "How many tagged sharks does a particular beach see every year? The other one is "How many total readings of tagged sharks does each beach get?" You end up with "We had X amount of visits by Y amount of sharks."

I'm going to try to make my own graphic for this, as it could be problematic if I steal the one from the Cape Cod Times. However, I can give you the numbers I have right now:

Boston: 22 appearances by 1 Great White Shark

Cape Ann: 26 appearances by 3 sharks

Massachusetts Bay: 7/1

Scituate: 37/3

Duxbury: 74/2

Plymouth: 104/4

Buzzards Bay (body of water): 3/1

Vineyard Sound: 18:2 (You'd think that Amity would own this contest, but No)

Provincetown: 902/8

Truro: 4748/20

Wellfleet: 6564/5

Orleans: 4367/23

Chatham: 14,124/28

Here are the locations of 11 of the 13 buoys, locations based on me rough-guessing by town:

A Few Things To Know (Or To Try To Find Out):

- I do not know if the sharks on the South Shore or in Boston are ones that were tagged off of Cape Cod. I'll try to get Dr. Skomal on the phone before I publish (never overestimate the pull with important people that this column has), but for now I'd say they were all tagged off of Cape Cod. I'm not aware of Dr. Skomal operating on the South Shore.

- I don't know if 2 of the 4 sharks off of Plymouth are 2 of the 2 sharks off of Duxbury. It is fun to ascribe people scenarios to fish, a la "the two sharks who make it up to Duxbury have a second home" or "two of the four Plymouth sharks are Jewish, and, well, Duxbury Beach is sort of like a sandy little country club" and so forth.

- If the Boston/Scituate/Duxbury/Mass Bay sharks are all the same ones, it implies both a low number (one shark is bad news, don't get me wrong, but if only 4 sharks round the tip of Provincetown and  get to the South Shore, I'm fairly safe when compared to 2 dozen or more making 14,000 appearances off of Chatham) and more of a wide range per shark.

- I have rather extensive archives via my time with different publications on Cape Cod, and have no intention of digging up the maps (I already have to make a phone call, c'mon!), but I'm thinking that, once you imagine these 4 sharks working western Cape Cod Bay, it looks a lot like the route taken by the tagged seals who are released off of Scusset Beach now and then.

- Places where I'd like to see Receiver Buoys that don't have them now... Sandwich, Marshfield, Hull, Hyannis, Dennis, Falmouth and Nantucket.

- I don't know how many RBs are in Buzzards Bay, or where in Buzzards Bay they may be. A good spread running from Wareham to New Bedford to Westport would be proper-like. Our last fatal shark attack was off of  Mattapoisett, in the 1930s.

- I don't know how much receiver buoys and transmitter tags cost, but it might behoove towns with large beach-tourist populations to spend the paper, follow Dr. Skomal's lead, hire some fishermen and try to tag any shark that comes across a sort of mid-Cape-Cod-Bay version of the Rubicon.

- If there are people who watch fishermen catch wicked tunas on TV, it's safe to say that I could sell my Taggin' Porkers show. I'd just need a few colorful fishermen (which, at last count, was all of them) and a bit of grease money to get the process moving.

- I'm not sure how long a shark has to hang around a buoy for it to count as an Appearance. Chatham has 14,000 appearances, but maybe half could be the same 3 or 4 sharks hanging around the edge of the range of the same buoy.

- At least one South Shore town should build a 70 story Quint statue right on the water facing the sea, to scare away any sharks who have seen Jaws (Jaws is viewed as a tragedy in both the human and shark worlds). "The Colossus Of Quint." I'd put it right where the trailer park is in Brant Rock.

- It'd be cool if one really bad-ass shark worked the whole coastline, sort of like how boxers or wrestlers used to barnstorm back in the proverbial Day.

- I still think that, once the sharks eat someone, lifeguarding will shift from beach chairs to boats with fish-finders, sirens, and cell phones. I'd also bet on drones getting in the mix somehow. The Hasselhoff/Pam Anderson/Beach Patrol style of lifeguard may be as much of a relic as a redcoat British soldier with a musket.

- Someone should invent a 50 foot, 50 knot-swimmin' killer whale Orca robot and have it patrol the South Shore. While killing sharks is frowned upon and most likely is illegal, if my robot did up one GWS in front of his buddies, they might all go to the Outer Banks or somewhere.

- If Donald Trump were a Duxbury selectman instead of the GOP front-runner, there would be a 5% chance that we'd at least study the possibility of running an underwater wall from the tip of Provincetown to, say, the tip of Hull. I doubt that the Mexicans would pay for it, but the short-fingered vulgarian would think of something.

Monday, October 5, 2015

Cheapest And Most Expensive Gas: Cape Cod Editon

Barry failed to pass the Bush Line for all-time highest gas prices, although Dubya saw lower gas prices under his reign than Obama did. Granted, they came either before 9/11 or after the economy was collapsing... Either way, a confident President Obama was happy to pose in local colors for our photographers in front of a Russian petroleum outlet during one of his recent state visits to Wareham.

We admit to spamming a lot of useless stuff over those Internets at times. You most likely won't be changed permanently by our coverage of 2 foot waves lapping up against Chapin Beach, or our visit to a Plympton pumpkin patch. I won't say we're 100% useless, because we might amuse you, but we're not really utilitarian.

Today, we plan on bein' Mighty Useful to you. We're going to go town-by-town and list the cheapest and most expensive gas prices you can find there. We're using the Massachusetts Gas Prices website for or numbers, and it's like Monday morning or something. These will be the prices reported to that site over the last 36 hours.

There may be some variation to the prices, as the price some station in Chatham is charging tourists on Saturday might not be what he's trying to run by the locals on Monday. We're just doing what we can for you, people.

Here we go:

Best = $2.42, Cumberland Farms, Shank Painter Rd
Worst = $2.45, Gulf, Bradford St.

Best = $2.35, Wave, State Highway
Worst = $2.39, Mobil, State Highway

Best = $2.33, Speedway (South Orleans Rd) and Cumberland Farms (Rte 6A)
No higher prices reported

Best = $2.27, Mobil, Whip O Will Lne
Worst = $2.35, Speedway, Main St

Best = $2.13, Mobil, Theophilis Smith Rd
Worst = $2.45, Shell, East-West Dennis Rd

Best = $2.19, Speedway, Iyannough Road
Worst = $2.29, Shell, Station Ave

$2.37, Main St, Mobil

Best = multiple at $2.19, on 28 and 132
Worst = $2.39, Mobil, Iyannough Rd

Best = $2.21, Stop & Shop, Falmouth Rd
Worst = $2.27, Shell, Nathan Ellis Highway

Best = $2.21, Cumberland Farms(2), Mobil, Sav-On, Johnny's Tune And Lube
Worst = $2.25, Mobil, Palmer Ave

Best = $2.27, Speedway, Forestdale Road
Worst = $2.39, Gulf, Route 6A

Bourne (Cape)
Best = $2.19, Gulf, Bourne Rotary
Worst = $2.29, CITGO, Sandwich Road

Bourne (Mainland)
Best = $2.12 (cash), Mobil full-serve
Worst = $2.29, Shell, Canal Road

Martha's Vineyard has the 3rd (CITGO) and 4th (Shell) worst gas prices listed on the site, $3.19 at both spots on Vineyard Haven. The worst in the state is $3.49, at a Newburyport Mobil. The cheapest gas listed was $1.93 at both Speedway and Prestige in Brockton.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Truro Hurricane Primer: Inundation And Evacuation

Hurricane season is upon us, and we are nearing the peak of it.

Now, we're in Massachusetts, and we haven't been hit dead-on by a hurricane since the 1990s. That means that we don't get them often, and it means that we are long overdue.

They aren't a frequent enough event that you should walk around wringing your hands or anything. However, there are certain things that a wise person might do which can actually eliminate a lot of the hand-wringing.

Ironically, the first step to a peaceful mind is to view some Disaster Porn!

We have two maps for you to look at, and they are specific to your town. One is for Inundation, and the other is for Evacuation. They pertain to a direct-hit hurricane hitting your town at mean high tide.

"Inundation" means "covered in water," although you can call it a Deathflood or a Sea Plague if that gets your people motivated. It refers to which areas in town will be covered with seawater (important distinction, these maps do NOT project freshwater flooding) if you play host to a hurricane. 

The map for Inundation (the top one) is color-coded, with light green, dark green, yellow and red. Those colors equate to which areas will get wet in what kind of storm, i.e. Category 1, 2, 3 and 4. Where you see colors changing on the map, that's where the experts think it will require a greater storm to flood that area in seawater.

The map for Evacuation (right) is less complicated. If you look at the Inundation map for a moment and then look at the Evacuation map, the logic will eventually make sense. The red areas of the map essentially say "Those People Have To Leave," and the yellow areas say "You Have To Leave, Too."

See how you compare to your neighboring towns with the complete list of Inundation maps and Evacuation maps.

Remember, storm surge is not the only threat from a hurricane. Things like falling branches, freshwater flooding, lightning, flying debris, slick roads, tornadoes, downed power lines, looters and a thousand other variables can mess you up plenty when the barometer drops heavy.

Truro is very exposed to the sea, but also has a few advantages that limit the damage of hurricanes somewhat. Most people in Truro live on the bay side of town, rather than the open ocean part. Truro's east-facing beaches have an impressive wall of dunes that swat down ocean waves like they were goaltending.

Truro is also well-positioned in that hurricanes that hit them will be somewhat blunted by contact with the South Coast or the more western/southern parts of Cape Cod. Cape Cod Bay is colder than the Gulf Stream Atlantic or even Buzzards Bay, and cold water is the deathblow for a hurricane.

This doesn't mean that you should schedule 18 holes or anything. Truro will be a very dangerous place to be in a hurricane. Pamet Harbor becomes the Pamet Marsh and then becomes the Pamet River and flows into Pamet Hollow. All of them will be a fine way for ocean water to move ashore.

Pamet Harbor is going to be the first place that the water starts coming ashore, and some other parts of town (including the beaches east of East Harbor) will also flood during minimal hurricanes. The land east of East Harbor around Pilgrim Lake would also be a threat to flood, although it require a next level-type of storm. Corn Hill Beach and Fisher Beach could go submarine if the storm is bad enough.

Truro is in the mix as far as worrying about hurricanes goes, and any resident (or even visitor) should have an idea of where they score on these maps. 

Hey, we'll throw in the Provincetown map, because we're good like that!
"Truro" is one of the very few words that people with Boston accents pronounce both Rs in...