Saturday, April 22, 2017

The Battle Of Marshfield

As we approach April 19th, it is easy to view the American Revolution as a US vs. England thing... even if most of the Americans still thought of themselves as English (Paul Revere never shouted "The British are coming!" during his ride, entirely because of this phenomena. Paul actually was shouting the less poetic "The regulars are out!") when the fighting started.

The US/England thing is easy to understand now, a few hundred years after the fact. What is less-known is that there existed considerable static between towns during the pre-revolt period.

The basic cause of this discord was the issue that would launch the Revolution. Some people thought that the colonies should break free from the crown, while others thought that we should remain in the kingdom.

As that famous American we know as Mel Gibson once said, "an elected legislature can trample your rights just as easily as a king can."

Others disagreed with Mel, and there was thick tension in the air throughout the 1760s and 1770s. If you voiced the wrong political opinion at the wrong tavern, you might be chased from the town by a mob.

... and maybe hung from this tree.

Here are a few examples of what would happen to you if you failed to say "Screw The Crown" quickly enough in pre-war New England. Its a lot of reading, but it should prove entertaining.

- "At Taunton also, about 40 Miles from Boston, the Mob attacked the House of Daniel Leonard, Esqr.,3 one of his Majesty’s Justices of the Peace; & a Barrister at Law. They fired Bullets into the House & obliged him to fly from it to save his Life."

- "Peter Oliver Esqr., a Justice of the Peace at Middleborough, was obliged by the Mob to sign an Obligation not to execute his Office under the new Acts. At the same Place, a Mr. Silas Wood... was dragged by a Mob of 2 or 300 Men about a Mile to a River in Order to drown him, but, one of his Children hanging around him with Cries & Tears, he was induced to recant, though, even then, very reluctantly."

- "The Mob at Concord, about 20 Miles from Boston, abused a Deputy Sheriff of Middlesex, they making him pass through a Lane of them, sometimes walking backwards & sometimes forward, Cap in Hand, & they beating him."

- "All the Plymouth Protestors against Riots, as also all the military Officers, were compelled by a Mob of 2000 Men collected from that County & the County of Barnstable to recant & resign their military Commissions. Although the Justices of the Peace were then sitting in the Town of Plymouth, yet the Mob ransacked the House of a Mr. Foster, a Justice of the Court of Common Pleas, a Man of 70 Years of Age, which obliged him to fly into the Woods to secrete himself, where he was lost for some Time and was very near to the losing of his Life."

- "A Jesse Dunbar, of Halifax in the County of Plymouth, (was) ordered it into a Cart, & then put ... into the Belly of the (slaughtered) Ox and carted him 4 Miles, with a Mob around him, when they made him pay a Dollar after taking three other Cattle & a Horse from him. They then delivered him to another Mob, who carted him 4 Miles further & forced another Dollar from him. The second Mob delivered him to a third Mob, who abused him by throwing Dirt at him, as also throwing the Offals [innards] in his Face & endeavoring to cover him with it, to the endangering his Life, & after other Abuses, & carrying him 4 Miles further, made him pay another Sum of Money. They urged the Councilor’s Lady, at whose House they stopped, to take the Ox; but she being a Lady of a firm Mind refused; upon which they tipped the Cart up & the Ox down into the Highway, & left it to take Care of it self. And in the Month of February following, this same Dunbar was selling Provisions at Plymouth when the Mob seized him, tied him to his Horse’s Tail, & in that Manner drove him through Dirt & mire out of the Town."

- "In November 1774, David Dunbar of Halifax aforesaid, being an Ensign in the Militia, a Mob headed by some of the Select Men of the Town, demand[ed] his Colors [flags] of him. He refused, saying, that if his commanding Officer demanded them he should obey, otherwise he would not part with them: upon which they broke into his House by Force & dragged him out. They had prepared a sharp Rail to set him upon;12 & in resisting them they seized him (by his private parts) & fixed him upon the Rail, & was held on it by his Legs & Arms, & tossed up with Violence & greatly bruised so that he did not recover for some Time. They beat him, & after abusing him about two Hours he was obliged, in Order to save his Life, to give up his Colors."

- "A Parish Clerk was taken out of his Bed in a Cold Night & beat against his Hearth by Men who held him by his Arms & Legs. He was then laid across his Horse without his Clothes & drove to a considerable Distance in that naked Condition. His Nephew Dr. Abner Beebe, a Physician, complained of the bad Usage of his Uncle & spoke very freely in Favor of [the royal] Government, for which he was assaulted by a Mob, stripped naked, & hot Pitch was poured upon him, which blistered his Skin. He was then carried to an Hog Sty & rubbed over with Hog’s Dung. They threw the Hog’s Dung in his Face & rammed some of it down his Throat;"

- In Freetown, they used to paint Loyalists yellow, as "the Mob found that paint is cheaper than Tar and Feathers."

- "Patriots from Duxbury did kidnap Marshfield Loyalists Paul White, Dr. Stockbridge and Elisha Ford, and carted them to the "Liberty Pole" in Duxbury. There they were "forced to sign recantations" of their Tory sentiments, likely in response to mob violence."

By 1768, the crown deemed it necessary to send 4000 troops to pacify Boston, which was also getting ugly. Other than the potential for a Lexington-style suburban incursion by British troops, the countryside was (mostly) left on her own.

You know how it went from there. In 1770, the redcoats fired on the colonists, in what is known as the Boston Massacre. In 1773, the Boston Tea Party went down. In 1775, on April 19th, warfare broke out at Lexington/Concord.

As you can still see in modern occupational wars like Iraq or Afghanistan, the occupiers tend to stick to the cities. You have airports and docks to move supplies in, and cities usually sit astride rivers and highways that other trade flows through. The countryside tends to belong to the rebels.

This was the case in Massachusetts. Remember, the Revolution didn't start until the redcoats marched far enough out into the countryside to find farmers crazy enough to pick a fight with the world's best light infantry. While they may not use exactly those terms, every schoolkid in America can tell you the basics of Lexington/Concord.

What they can't tell you about (unless they read this column, of course) is the Battle of Marshfield. There's a good reason for this... there was no Battle Of Marshfield.

The non-battleground from this non-battle.

However, history is often drawn by tricks of fate, coincidence, miscalculations and itchy trigger fingers. An itchy trigger finger set off the Boston Massacre, started the Revolution, and was still happening when the National Guard went hippy-hunting at Kent State almost 200 years after the redcoats landed in Boston Harbor. If Marshfield in 1775 had been visited by ol' Mr. Finger, our history lessons would have been very different.

While an apt high school kid could tell you that Boston was occupied by the redcoats before the Revolution, they might not know that Marshfield also bore this status. Marsh Vegas, as it was then not known as, was a Loyalist hotbed. People in Vegas had no problem at all with the crown, at least the ones with the money and influence. They preferred change through diplomacy over revolt.

Even noting the fact that Marshfield patriots in 1773 had their own Marshfield Tea Party (on Tea Rock Hill), Marshfield was the most Loyalist town in New England.

This put them at odds with the neighboring towns. Duxbury and Plymouth were hotbeds of Patriot activity, and you saw with the Dunbar brothers how Halifax handled Loyalists. Not wishing to be mashed in Hog Dung, the loyalists in Marshfield sent a letter to General Gage, who was in charge of Boston. They demanded protection, and Gage complied, sending 100 men and 300 muskets on two schooners (the Dianna and the Britannia) down to Marsh Vegas in 1775. They were under the command of future Parliament member Captain Nesbit Balfour.

These redcoats disembarked at the mouth of the North River and marched 6 miles to the Nathaniel Ray Thomas estate. He was only the second most famous occupant, which is why you know it today as the Daniel Webster House. It looked a bit like a smaller version of the mansion from Django Unchained.

The redcoats set up their barracks on the grounds of the estate, and proceeded to piss off the locals. They would go to taverns or private homes in Duxbury and Plymouth. They behaved well enough, but they would have been hated in Duxbury even if they walked across water to get there. There is at least one story of a mob chasing a British officer into a Plymouth store, and not letting him out until he surrendered (and they broke) his sword.

Naturally, the entertainment in Boston served to get the locals' moxie up. Duxbury had already hosted Stamp Act protests, burned a dozen Englishmen in effigy and kidnapped loyalists for Liberty Pole parties. The presence of 100 redcoats a town over was, as they liked to say then, intolerable.

You didn't see a lot of South Shore people at Lexington. Paul Revere went west, not south. By the time that word of Lexington/Concord got to Duxbury, they would not have had time to get up to Boston for the battle. We did send some men up to Lexington/Concord, but most of the South Shore got off no shots at the redcoats fleeing Concord.

They didn't need to march up into the Metro West area to get at the regulars... they had 100 of them right there on the South Shore, sleeping on the lawn of a Marshfield mansion.

The South Shore towns had militia, and they had been training for this moment. They dropped everything on April 19th and gathered at what is now known as the John Alden House in Duxbury, under the command of  Colonel Theophilus Cotton.

No one knows what went on in the John Alden house that night, nor on the day of the 20th, when a council of war was held. What we do know is that Cotton, of Plymouth, failed to attack. He may have hoped that the British would leave on their own, or he may have feared a rabble-vs-regulars fight, or he may have been waiting for more people.

He got more people quickly enough. Companies arrived from Rochester, Middleboro,  Carver and Plympton to join the Duxbury, Plymouth and Kingston patriots. Fishermen from various local harbors, always fixin' for a fight, threw themselves into the mix. Colonel Cotton soon had five hundred men, five times the number of the British that they wished to oust from Marshfield. Other estimates give him 1000 men.

They marched to within a mile of the British regiment, not without some argument.  The cautious Cotton still refused to attack. A company from Kingston (led by Capt. Peleg Wadsworth), perhaps seeking to atone for their now-unfortunate town name, advanced without orders to within firing range of the British camp. Ish was about to get hectic.

However, there were no British to kill. The British garrison, who would have surrendered if fired upon, had instead run like a scalded dog.

The schooner Hope, along with two smaller sloops (the sloops had been "prest" into service, and were two of the first AmRev prizes taken by the Brisih Navy) arrived at the mouth of the Cut River in Green Harbor. They gathered up the soldiers and whatever Loyalists they could find and fled for Boston. The citizens of Marshfield alerted the British to the arrival of the ships by firing guns from Signal Hill. These were the only shots fired in the Battle Of Marshfield.

Then, the ass-kicking began. The South Shore is interesting, if not unique, in that our violence goes down after the troops leave.

Escape route...

Marshfield had 1200 people at the time, and only a few of them could get on those ships. Everyone else was left to fend for themselves, as the British Army and Navy were busy up in Boston.

Marshfield, a Tory town without the necessary Tory army to keep it safe, exploded in an orgy of assaults, tar-n-featherings, jailings, property confiscation, business boycotts and exile. Whoever could afford a boat ride to Nova Scotia fled. Everyone else stayed, and suffered abuse for it.

"Our fate now decreed, and we are left to mourn out our days in wretchedness. No other resources but to submit to the tyranny of exulting enemies or settle a new country," said Sarah Winslow of Marshfield not too long after the British surrender at Yorktown. Her father said, "I was the butt of the licentious, and had received every species of insult and abuse, which the utmost rancour and malice."

Those who did get away weren't always welcomed back. A ship from Nova Scotia, loaded with returning Marshfield Tories, was refused permission to disembark in the Neponset River by the town of Milton. The Tories eventually were let off at the North River, where they were promptly arrested.

Marshfield, much like someone tied to the Liberty Pole or being made to run a Gauntlet, finally caved in. Three months after the British Army was chased from Brant Rock, a town meeting resulted in Marshfield agreeing to support the Revolution. They sent their men off to fight, just like other towns.

Marshfield, for a long time, had more subdued celebrations of July 4th than neighboring towns did. Some years, they didn't celebrate the holiday at all. This sort of got played out in the 1950s and especially 1970s, as the demographics of the town were wildly altered by urban immigration. The incoming Bostonians loved July 4th, and by the time of my childhood, the Vegas coastline represented as hard as anyone.

Duxbury and the surrounding towns contributed mightily to the cause. Taking the 300 British muskets they found at the Thomas estate, they marched to Boston and joined up with George Washington. Duxbury men were involved in fortifying Dorchester Heights, which forced the British out of Boston. Unlike just about everyone involved in the Siege of Boston, the Duxbury men had already seen the British Navy flee before them once by the time the Limey Poofters sailed away from Boston.

Duxbury men served with George Washington at Valley Forge, and fought with him at Germantown and Monmouth. Washington was known to favor the fishermen of coastal Massachusetts as rowers. Duxbury men also manned a fort built out on the Gurnet. It saw no action in the Revolution, but they got to let off a few shots during the War of 1812.

It is interesting to ponder how the Brits would have reacted if Capt. Wadsworth had decided to charge the overmatched regulars. We know how the immediate battle would have worked, as Captain Balfour told us himself. The Brits would have surrendered with the first Rebel shot.

There's a difference between 100 soldiers and the entire Royal Navy, however. As we saw during the Battle of Wareham in 1812. the British would sail a squadron into town and burn every ship in the harbor for piracy. How wold they react after the loss of a whole garrison, especially if the battle which lost them turned into a massacre? Probably not well.

Duxbury did not embrace shipbuilding until after the Revolution, but they did need their harbor, and had nothing beyond a crude fort to keep the British from sailing in to set the whole town ablaze. Duxbury was a backwater, perhaps not meriting an invasion, but Plymouth was a high-profile revenge target.

Taking Plymouth would effectively cut off Cape Cod and the South Shore from contributing to the war effort, and would have the Brits very well positioned for a march on Rhode Island. The South Shore would have almost certainly got some Grey's Raid kind of action.. Never drink Earl Grey Tea, it's associated with the son of the Grey's Raid captain who attacked Fairhaven, New Bedford and Martha's Vineyard.

The Battle of Marshfield may have indeed proved to be a Phyrric Phirryc Pyrrhic costly victory, and the whole war effort may have been jeopardized by the desire of some Plymouth County farmers to seize a contested Marsh Vegas front yard.

However, all of that never happened. Colonel Cotton, viewed by many as a wussy, was actually a fine leader. He went all Sun-Tzu on the English, not moving to attack until victory was assured. He cleared out one of the two English-occupied towns in Massachusetts, and he did so without wasting an ounce of gunpowder.

Colonel Cotton is actually twice-famous, as he led a group of patriots in 1774 who tried to move Plymouth Rock to a better viewing area. He split the Rock while doing so, and you can still see the split today. That's a story or another day.

So, as you do something 'Murica today to commemorate the Patriot actions in Boston, Lexington and Concord, lay back and twist one in honor of the 500 South Shore bad-asses who chased the British away.

Even the house is crooked... or the photographer.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Aaron Hernandez Commits Suicide

Multiple sources are reporting that former New England Patriots start Aaron Hernandez took his own life in prison this morning.

He was found hanging from a bedsheet at 3 AM by a guard.

He was doing life and beyond for one murder, although he won an acquittal on some other bodies he caused,

We'll be back with an update.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Aggressive Turkeys Rampaging Across Massachusetts

You may or may not have noticed the Turkey Aggression going on around you.

Turkeys are not a creature that you should fear, and that headline up there is more me not knowing what else to write than an attempt to start a Mercury Theater-style panic. A turkey can injure you, make no mistake, but we'll get to that later in the article.

In the Spring a young man's fancy lightly turns to thoughts of love, and half or so of the turkeys are male. Love is in the air if you're a turkey, as it is mating season. I'd like to meet the person who scientifically named the turkey's mating season "the Gobbling."

Gobbling starts in mid-March, the peak runs mid-April through May, and broods start appearing in June. Turkeys get a bit aggressive during mating season, and can also be touchy when the Bay Bays are around.

Take that, tie it into our headline, and you'll see where we're headed today.

I know that broods aren't supposed to appear until June, but this guy started early and had his Bay-Bay payoff before Tax Day... unless those are hens, at which point I apologize to the turkeys in question.

Turkeys are native to America, and the nation of Turkey has no native, primordial population of them. Turkey/country lent her name to Turkey/bird via the European poultry trade with the Ottoman Empire. Opinions vary on the specifics (colonists may have mistaken American turkeys for Turkish guineafowl, which was imported all over the Mediterranean from Constantinople/Istanbul), but that's the basic etymology.

Massachusetts was crawling with turkeys by the time the Pilgrims arrived, and the Native Americans were eating them by 1100 AD or so. European explorers introduced the turkey to England in 1550.

As the Other White Meat expanded across Massachusetts, they cut down the forests and used the leftovers for farmland. Turkeys, being both a forest-dwelling bird and a tasty bird, did not fare well following the arrival of Mr. White and his family. Turkeys did not survive the 19th Century in Massachusetts, with the last native one being killed (on Mount Tom of all places, wokka wokka wokka) in the 1850s.

Farmland began to revert to forest in Massachusetts during the Industrial Revolution, as farm goods were imported into the state by the new railroads. This presented an opportunity for turkeys to return, although resettlement efforts in the first 70 years of the 20th Century failed in Massachusetts. Part of the problem is that these efforts involved farm-bred, Butterball style turkeys, and they fared poorly upon their release in the wild.

1972 saw the importation of wild turkeys from New York, and these 37 birds (and overflow from neighboring states) prospered into the 15,000 or so thought to exist in Massachusetts today. They were fully situated in SE Massachusetts by the time of a 1996 study.

Remember, kids... you can run down and have one of them, or you can walk down and have EACH one of them.

This talk of turkey resettlement means little to you if you stay out of the forest, at least for most of the year. However, just like humans, turkeys get a bit sloppy during their mating season. This leads them out into your neighborhood, and potentially into your lives.

First of all, they are promiscuous. They are not monogamous... when business is concluded, Tom Turkey is raisin' up off the cot. Toms may mate with every hen in the area. Hens will mate several times a season, and egg incubation takes a bit less than a month.

Early batches of eggs only have a bout a 40% survival rate, primarily due to weather and egg/hen predation.  25-50% of hatchlings survive, with foxes, hawks and chilling spring rains offing the other offspring. Like many rural families, they have large families in hopes of having offspring succeed them.

This is why Tom Turkey is so busy about gettin' busy, folks. He has offspring odds to offset. Pimpin' ain't easy, as the rappers say.

This means that from March through May, the party is on in Turkeytown. Much like high school kids, they care little if business takes them into your yard. This leads to increased human-turkey interaction.

Turkeys got a bit cocky around Easter, as they aren't a major menu item for this holiday. He wouldn't be Doin' The Butt at my photographers in November, I can tell you that.

Turkeys live by a code known as the Pecking Order. Turkeys assign everyone in their lives a role in their pecking order, and this role usually involves attempts to assert dominance. Humans fit into this pecking order, and the turkey assigns a sex to a human based on his/her perception of the human's behavior. A "male" human may be challenged (or deferred to) by a tom and followed by a hen.

Being followed by hens is flattering in a way, but being challenged by a Tom is a bad thing. Turkeys can give out a painful peck, and one turkey attack victim described it leaping into the air and doing a dropkick-style move with the talons.

An adult human should be able to beat down even the angriest turkey, but it won't be a pretty fight and you're probably going to come out of it with some scars. A child or an old person may be less equipped to fight a large turkey.

Don't be afraid to stomp an aggressive turkey. It ends the immediate threat, and it teaches the other turkeys who the dominant primordial beast is. Turkeys are dumb enough to attack their own reflections (they are not thought to be self-aware), and one good smackdown is worth a hundred good arguments with that crowd. The sooner they learn it, the sooner they will regard humans as the turkey-sandwich-eating dominant species.

This might save them from a scenario where they would have to be "removed" from a neighborhood. They don't do trap-n-release with nuisance turkeys. Trapping methods used by hunters in the forest don't work on Elm Street in Suburbia, USA. Suburban turkeys who become a nuisance get the ol' Smith & Wesson haircut.

It takes a village of people beating down turkeys to make a positive change. Everyone has to do it, and they have to be consistent. If you get the neighborhood bully to go beat down the baddest bird, the turkeys will learn to fear just the bully, rather than humans in general. If the next human they see looks like a sucker, the turkey aggression begins anew. If they are chased from neighborhoods, it lowers the risk of human/turkey interaction.

Two of my own photographers have suffered turkey attacks this April.

Jessica shot the bottom picture in the article when a flock of turkeys marched right through urban traffic and attacked her car. She informs me that it was very Hitchcockian, but they turkey fled in a minute when she pulled out some Stove Top.

In the picture just above, a turkey attacks the home of Cranberry County Magazine photographer Justin Thyme- who, in spite of her name, is actually a pretty girl. One can understand the turkey's motivation.

Unfortunately for this turkey, Justin has two Rottweilers named Fury and Wrath, they roam the yard from time to time, and they enjoy fresh poultry.

Nature is a cruel mistress, and one man's mommy might be another man's sandwich meat. Ideally, we'd each have our own realm to roam. However, as we noted earlier, the nation of Turkey is full of people...

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Get Your Baby Chickens In Wareham

"Which came first, the chicken or the egg? I ate the chicken, and then I ate his leg."

We rolled deep into the TSC last week, to check the chicks. While "tractor store" wouldn't be the very last place I would look to buy chickens at (there is a strong farming connotation), it also isn't what you open the phone book to when you're looking for one. I'm not sure if getting your chickens at TSC is the same as getting pizza from a gas station, so I won't weigh in either way.

I don't farm much (I can't even grow weed), but it seems that the tractor would be the sworn enemy of little hard-to-see-from-the-tractor creatures who scurry around in the barnyard, such as the chicken.

TSC is in the Cranberry Plaza in Wareham, just off the fabulous Cranberry Highway. If you ain't there... you're somewhere else.

Cute little suckers, aren't they? I don't know enough about chickens to A) recommend raising some or B) tell you horror stories to keep you from doing so. I read "The Egg And I" once, that's about it. I'm not even sure what baby chickens are called, although I'm thinking "chicks."

I do know that, if you buy the wrong one- and the definition of "wrong" may be as simple and wide ranging as "male"- it'll be doing the old cock-a-doodle-doo for you every damn day at whatever hour the sun rises until you one day go outside and strangle it with your bare hands.

Life's too short for that sh*t, Hoss... even if you get free eggs.

They grow the dark meat chickens in their own little chicken ghetto, it seems...

Hey nowwwwwwwwwwww... I usually have to pull out the credit card for this kind of action.

99 cents is a damned cheap price for something that will grow up to either produce eggs or fill a dinner plate. I'm not sure how McNuggets are made, but it sure seems to me that these little fellows are about the same size and shape.

They are only selling chicks until a week after Easter, so be sure to hustle down and get clucked.

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Fireball Explosion Above Kingston/Plymouth/Duxbury Area

This isn't the Plymouth Meteor, but it was close as we had to a picture of it.

Kingston is a quiet town, but- if the dice rolled a little differently- it could have been a Tunguska style disaster zone.

Chris Gloninger of NECN has reported that a meteor entered the Earth's atmosphere above the Kingston/Plymouth area. There was a fireball visible, and an explosion was audible. There were some social media complaints about an explosion at around 10 PM, although CCM is unaware of any pictures or video existing of it.

Reports of it came to me from Plymouth, Kingston, Plympton, Duxbury and- in one case involving a fisherman I know- Cape Cod Bay. People heard it as far away as Rockland. I have no idea of the path or where it exploded, although "just offshore' is my official wild guess. We are hearing reports that the explosion shook houses slightly.

Meteors enter the atmosphere all of the time. Several thousand enter our atmosphere every day. Many are the size of pebbles, but the friction entering the atmosphere causes great heat and a cool fireball effect. It may have been moving at 25,000 mph when it got over Kingston.

A 20 meter superbolide meteor made world news when it exploded over Russia and injured thousands in the 2013 Chelyabinsk meteor impact. A kilometer-sized impact flattened 2000 square km of Russian wilderness in the 1908 Tunguska event. Last night's explosion was nothing near that.

I have no official confirmation, I am asking the NWS about it as I write this. There are no reports of damage and definitely no reports of any impact zone. This meteor may have been no bigger than a schnauzer, a far cry from the sort of Texas sized asteroid that we'd have to send Bruce Willis up to deal with.

We'll be back with an update if the need arises.

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.

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Flooded Cranberry Highway Impassable In Spots

Route 6/28 through Wareham, aka The Cranberry Highway, is impassable for all but the highest-profile of vehicles.

Drenching rains are pouring down on the 'Ham, and the area in front of the old 99 is an urban river.

This is the second time this week that the Cran has been too flooded to drive through. Any good rain does it these days.

Note that this is a major evacuation route for Buzzards Bay and Wareham, especially Onset, in the event of a hurricane. You'll want to get ghost early if your evacuation plans include East Wareham,

We'll be back if an update is necessary.

Click the "East Wareham" link at the bottom of the article for the map location of the flooded road.