About two years ago Skip Bettencourt and I were looking out over the Katama opening from atop the bluff near the Wacks’ house. Norton Point had grown eastward rapidly to within several hundred yards of the Chappaquiddick shore. At that moment the flow of water through the opening was barely discernible. Regardless of what I knew of the well-documented timetable that previous openings had followed, I could easily picture this one choked off by sand very soon and in the very location that it then occupied. Even though this opening had only existed for half the number of years historically required for a complete breach to closing cycle and it was still half a mile short of the usual reattachment point, it just didn’t seem possible that it could last much longer. The water on the Atlantic side was very shallow. There was no obvious channel. The breakers made a continuous uninterrupted arc from Norton Point to the Chappy shore. Add in the unprecedented shoaling on the Katama Bay side and you could see how maybe this time would be different.
I turned to Skip and announced my prediction that this breach would close very soon. He shook his head and repeated what we had heard so often — that a closing was still years away. For some reason, my brain told my mouth to say, “I’ll bet you a hundred bucks that it closes in a couple of months.” This was surprising to me because I’m not the betting sort. But even after I said it, I felt pretty certain that I was right. I lost that bet, because as you know, the opening still exists.
During the past month the great volume and constant movement of sand has been particularly impressive. Norton Point leapt eastward at least two hundred feet during that time. Half of the sandy island, which created the two separate channels, has washed away as the main opening migrates towards Muskeget Channel. On Tuesday during my weekly Wasque erosion check I ran into Skip and Nancy. I half jokingly repeated my challenge from two years ago. Skip replied that he wouldn’t make that bet because he agreed with me this time. At the rate that things are changing, once again you get the impression that the opening could close in a couple of months. It sure doesn’t look like it will take years anyway. It’s also surprising how quickly Norton Point gains elevation as it grows horizontally.
We always talk about storms when conversing about the erosion at Wasque. The wind direction, duration and speed seem to be major factors determining whether Norton Point advances or retreats. According to an email, which Skip received from “Climate Impact, Co, Inc.,” there is a potential for a major storm roughly mid-March. This is according to computer models that predict very low pressure on the Maine coast sometime between the 14th and 18th. The dynamics that may produce this storm include tropical energy being carried by the jet stream north toward Canada. This tropical mass could really wind up upon reaching the Atlantic just off of New England with hurricane force wind gusts. It sounds pretty exciting! Keep an eye on the weather.
Good news from Slipaway Farm. Lily Walter reports that all of the CSA memberships have been subscribed. Even though the fields at the farm are frozen and blanketed with snow, life springs forth in the greenhouse. Leeks, onions, brussels sprouts and snapdragons were started this week. Here’s how you can get eggs from Slipaway; weather permitting, every Friday and Saturday Lily puts dozens of eggs in the cooler at the end of the driveway. They are a mere $5 per dozen and there’s a jar in the cooler to put the money in. Please save your cartons.
Speaking of snapdragons — I have heard from my sources that we guys did only a fair job on St. Valentine’s Day in wowing the ladies with flowers. The thing is, fellas, we know so little about how to make a woman smile that when we do discover something that brings a sparkle to her eyes, we should go all out. There are several flower events coming up soon including but not limited to Easter, May Day and Mother’s Day. Daffodil Day is on Monday, March 17. Sponsored by the all-volunteer Martha’s Vineyard Cancer Support Group (MVCSG), fresh bunches of daffodils will be on sale at Cronig’s, Edgartown Stop & Shop and the Martha’s Vineyard Hospital for $10 a bouquet. I heard that they have 900 bunches on the way. All of the money raised goes directly to benefit Island cancer patients and their families. If you would like to pre-order, call Diane at 508-693-7115 or AnneMarie at 508-627-7958. The MVCSG website was created and is maintained by Alex’s Place teen programs at the YMCA. Buying flowers to help your neighbors? How can you go wrong? Let’s clear the shelves and send these volunteers home early!
Reminds me of a joke. A guy and his wife are at a marriage enrichment workshop. The facilitator says, “Folks, it’s very important to know what makes your spouse happy. For example, you husbands should know which flower is your wife’s favorite.” One of the guys, thinking that he will be awarded husband of the year, leans over to his wife and whispers, “Gold Medal All-Purpose-Enriched, right?”
So ladies, you can help us out by jotting down the name of your favorite flower or better yet, how about cutting out a picture and sticking it in our wallet next to the twenty dollar bills. When Sally and I find ourselves in front of a flower display, we play a guessing game. Going from bunch to bunch, I try to guess whether she likes it or not. I’m only correct about one quarter of the time, but I’m improving.