Tuesday, March 20, 2018

March Nor'Easter Storm Damage

It is March 20, the "Spring" Equinox and the coast is preparing for its fourth nor'easter storm of March. I thought I would share some photos of the storm damage from the first two storms. The storm eroded the dunes and pushed a lot of sand up against the north jetty between the spur jetty and the parking lot. In places the sand is almost to the top of the jetty. The concrete seawall near the benches and parking lot #1 on the reservation is almost completely buried under sand. The jetty itself seems to have weathered the storms in good shape. There was no obvious damage except for a couple of displaced stones at the tip. The same can't be said for the spur jetty, it took a pounding. Many stones from the top and beach side of the spur jetty were displaced and toppled down.

The storm threw large amounts of seaweed, clams, mussels, crabs, and sadly trash onto the beach. The sea gulls had a feast on all the dead marine life. People have been busy over the past two weeks collecting shells and other treasures from the beach. It appears that about every lobster trap which was in the water came ashore with the storms.

The north jetty held up well to the storms

At the tip of the jetty there appear to be only two displaced stones sitting on top

The dunes sustained a lot of erosion damage 

The metal beach access stairs were badly undermined by the dune erosion 

One of the concrete footings is exposed

Displaced stones on the beach side of the spur jetty

 Another view showing the spur jetty damage


This boulder was tipped up by the wave action

A tangle of ropes and lobster traps

Dead clams and mussels by the thousands were thrown up on the beach

 and crabs which the sea gulls were feasting on

Parts of several large blue lobsters washed up as well



Tuesday, March 6, 2018

March Nor'easter 2018

A powerful low pressure system brought a Nor'easter storm to New England Friday March 2. It coincided with astronomical high tides. The storm generated high winds, 25 foot waves and a 3+ foot storm surge resulting in coastal flooding of low lying areas, dune erosion, and other damage. It was too dangerous to do any documenting during the storm. These photos are from Saturday and Sunday during subsequent high tides.

Video from Sunday March 4.

Brown's Seafood Restaurant in Seabrook was flooded on Saturday. The debris is right on the edge of Route 286.

No customer today for this Route 286 business.

 At Seabrook beach the water was flowing into the access path on top of the dunes. the beach was completely under water.

Not a good day for picnic with the waves level with the height of this bench.

This shows how vulnerable some areas are. (Click to enlarge photo)

North Jetty as viewed from the north end of Plum Island. huge waves were breaking before even reaching the largely submerge jetty.

 Navigation tower at the end of the North Jetty.

Spur jetty in foreground, north jetty just barely visible in the middle, and south jetty in background. (Click on photo to enlarge)

 Extensive erosion at Salisbury Beach State Reservation

Bench with two 5 gallons buckets of cement to hold it in place uprooted by high tide.

 Water splashing over seawall along campground area.

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Winter Visitors to the Beach

I was walking towards to the spur jetty on Sunday February 4 when I spotted some movement on the sand near the rocks. It took a  moment to realize a seal had come ashore to rest. Its sandy colored fur made it blend in exceptionally well. I kept a respectful distance took a few photos with a long zoom lens. About an hour later the seal was disturbed by an off leash dog the owner couldn't control, the seal made an escape to the ocean.

Can you spot the seal?

The seal was very alert and on the lookout for danger

These small wading birds (Sanderlings) can be spotted feeding along Salisbury Beach with some frequency. With patience you can slowly work your way close enough for photographs.  Although they move very quickly, so, using your camera's "sports" setting is recommended.

There was a heavy overcast that day so the photos are on the grayish side.

Of course the Snowy Owls have been making an appearance at Salisbury Beach State Reservation this winter.

With any wildlife photography, it is important to make sure you don't disturb the bird or animal by keeping your distance. If the bird looks upset, bothered, or uncomfortable with your presence than you are too close.


Friday, November 3, 2017

Coast Guard Training at the Mouth of the Merrimac River in High Seas

September 21, 2017 - I had gone out to see the rough seas kicked up by one this fall's hurricanes moved offshore. I was near the jetty and spotted one of the Coast Guard boats heading towards the mouth of the Merrimac on what turned out to a training exercise.Here are a couple of still shots taken from the video I did. Video is at the bottom.


Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Plum Island Lighthouse

The Friends of Newburyport Lighthouse open the lighthouse up for tours on a number of Sunday afternoons during the summer. (Check the local newspaper for open house announcements). The tours are free. There is free parking. Donations are welcomed. It offers some nice views of the mouth of the Merrimack River, Plum Island, and Newburyport Harbor.

The current 45 foot tall round lighthouse was built in 1898. The first pair of lighthouses on northern end of Island were built 1787. A detailed history can be found at Newburyport Harbor (Plum Island) Lighthouse.

Looking down the circular staircase inside the lighthouse

Detailed look at the lighthouse's wall construction. note how the boards are set an angle. It provides additional strength to the structure to withstand the ocean's gales.

North Jetty and Salisbury Beach State Reservation with many beach goers on this warm day.

Some fishermen on the North Jetty

Busy boat traffic in the river

View of the South Jetty

Ominous storm clouds gather along the river


 Storm clouds reflected in glass windows of the lighthouse

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Gray Seal Pup on Beach

The stormy weather the first week of June forced a fourth month old gray seal pup to come ashore on the beach to wait out the rough seas. The day after the storm the seal was still on the beach. Strong rip currents made it too difficult to return to the open ocean waters. A wildlife monitor was on hand to answer questions and keep people a safe distance from the seal. While I was there the seal spent most of its time sleeping.


Track left by the seal crawling up the beach

Waiting out the rough seas

Taking a snooze

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Schooners Alabama & Adventure

The Custom House Maritime Museum arranged to have two New England based schooners dock at Newburyport for the Memorial Day weekend.They were scheduled to arrive the Wednesday before the weekend on the morning hightide which was around 11am. I arrived around 10:20am at the north end of Plum Island to find the Alabama passing between the jetties. I got a few a few photos before it headed into the harbor. I wasn't the only one confused over the schedule. A number of other spectator arrived at the mouth of the Merrimack River anticipating a 11am arrival. (In the future, event organizers might want to distinguish between arrival time at the mouth and arrival at the dock). The Alabama was followed about 10 minutes later by the Adventure.

Video showing the two schooners traveling up the Merrimack River past local landmarks like Butler's Toothpick, the jetties, Salisbury Beach State Reservation, to downtown Newburyport.

The Alabama hails from Vineyard Haven (Martha's vineyard). She was original built 1926 as a pilot boat to be used in mobile, Alabama. today she is used for day sail programs and a sailing school. For more information: theblackdogtallships.com

The Alabama passing by Salisbury Beach State Reservation.

Alabama heading up the Merrimack River towards Newburyport

The Adventure is a 122 foot long schooner built in Essex, MA in 1926. She was originally built for the New England fishing industry. Currently based out of Gloucester, MA she is used for education purposes. For further information schooner-adventure.org/ 

The Adventure on the ocean side of the south jetty on Plum Island.

Entering the channel between the jetties.

Passing by the North Jetty.

 Arriving at the docks in downtown Newburyport.