Ship’s Log–August 30th

PicShells PicShells

Today was the first pretty good weather we’ve had all week, which was a refreshing break from the dank clouds, fog, and drizzle. Thing 1, The Hub, and I even managed a morning run, heading out along the Cape Cod Rail Trail and local roads for just over 3.5 miles shortly after breakfast. This path, which runs near my parents’ house here, makes going for a run such an easy pleasure. I wish more communities had recreational paths like this.

My sister joined us on the Cape by lunch, and we decided to take the kids to a Bay side beach for the afternoon low tide. The tide here goes out pretty far, revealing at least 1/4 mile of mud flats filled with crabs, small fish, and seashells to explore. It felt amazing to sit in the sun after so many days without it.

We ended the day with a big family dinner at Karoo, chowing down on Sanette’s wonderful South African fare. After the dinner, we headed over to  Nauset Light Beach to see if we could spot any seals. The population of seals has been steadily increasing on the Cape since the Marine Mammal Protection Act outlawed seal hunting in the early 1970’s. Prior to that, the numbers of grey seals in the waters off Cape Cod had dropped to almost nothing, in large part due to bounties on seals in both Massachusetts and Maine. For the last decade or so, we might be able to spot one or two seals from Nauset Light, but the seal population has reached some sort of tipping point now where a sighting is just about guaranteed. Tonight a fairly large crowd had gathered to watch about a dozen swimming around in the surf just a few yards from the shoreline.

The thing with seals is that as cute as they are, seeing those numbers so close to shore makes me much less inclined to let the kids swim on the ocean side of the Cape. For one thing, a seal bite is a very serious thing. Their mouths contain flesh-eating bacteria, so if you ever see a seal on the beach, don’t approach it. Seal bites are not common, though, so the risk of one of my precious Things getting bitten while playing in the surf on their boogie boards is almost zero. The other problem with the seals, however, is that they are part of a food chain that draws a larger predator in towards Cape Cod…these doe-eyed sweeties are Great White Shark food. As the seal population has increased, so have the numbers of sharks seen in these waters, sometimes only 30′ from the shoreline. There was a shark attack up here last summer, when a Great White mistook a swimmer for a seal and took a bite out of him.

So if I’m going to be totally honest here, my trips out to Nauset Light to spot seals are now really trips out to see if I can spot one of our planet’s more feared predators. I know that they are there, and it is only a matter of time before I get to see one from the safety of the cliff overlook.

Breakfast from Cottage Street Bakery:

  • Cranberry almond poppy seed muffin
  • Coffee with sugar

Morning Snack:

  • 1/2 banana
  • 2 crackers with hummus
  • Coffee with sugar


  • Orange vanilla seltzer
  • Sandwich from JoMama’s: Breaded vegan chicken, lettuce, tomato, a vegan sun-dried tomato mayo on 7-grain bread
  • Cape Cod Potato chips

Afternoon Snack:

  • Dark chocolate with raisins and walnuts
  • Piece of licorice
  • Coffee with sugar and soy milk

Dinner @ Karoo:

  • Pap and chakalaka (African grits with vegetable stew)
  • Regular and sweet potato fries (the table had shared two baskets)
  • A nibble of Thing 2’s falafel
  • Pint of Murphy’s stout

Late Night:

  • Crackers and hummus
  • Small bite of fudge
  • Samuel Adams Octoberfest

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