Walking the Stone Dike, Provincetown, Cape Cod, MA
When I was at the top of the Pilgrim Monument, it didn’t look all that far to the end of the dike. It wasn’t TOO far when looking back through a 300mm lens and cropped but …
… but, by the time that I had walked out to the end of the dike, I realized that the distance was rather much farther than I had at first calculated :-).
The dike itself is constructed of a long line of rather large rock and although it is easy to step from rock to rock if you are paying attention, life can quickly become a bit more exciting and dangerous if you are trying to walk and look through a camera lens at the same time.
The tide was still going out when I started my walk but had begun to reverse by the time that I was back on solid sand at the other end of the dike.
There were plenty of seagulls and a few shorebirds looking for their next meal along the mud flats and some colorful Eider Ducks were swimming around int he shallow waters. Most gave me a wide berth as I stepped from rock to rock but a few were kind enough to wait until I focused and clicked before leaving the area.
I was rather amazed at how little time this male Eider Duck actually had its head out of the water. Most of the time it was skimming along the surface with its beak and part of its head submerged. The Common Eider duck (Somateria mollissima) is the largest North American duck. It is a sea duck which nests in the north and then migrates to the more temperate sand bars and coastal waters around Cape Cod where it can find copious quantities of the shellfish and other marine critters that it eats.
Although the sign said that the shellfish area was CLOSED, that certainly didn’t stop the gulls from doing a bit of harvesting. Almost every one of the large rocks had broken shells scattered about as testament to the hard work of the many gulls. To get the clams to open, the gulls pick them up in their beaks and fly thirty or forty feet above the rocks and then let go like “bombs away”. At a few points, I expected to be hit by clams falling from the sky above me, since a number of times, the free-falling shellfish landed on the rocks only a few meters from where I was standing!
Despite the falling clams and the cracks between the rocks, I managed to get to the other end of the dike without being injured. It was a nice walk and the weather was perfect. Some other time I will have to return to enjoy the second part of the walk which is over sand dunes out to a couple of different lighthouses.
As the tide waters began to stream back in and surround the dike, I began the long tramp back to where my car was parked. With each step, the sun moved closer to the horizon and I hoped that I would make it back to land in time to move to another beach location where the setting sun would fall off the edge of the earth.
I made it!
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