Sunday, March 19, 2017

Winter Storm Stella - Before & After

Day Before the Storm - March 13, 2017

The ocean was remarkably calm the day before. There was barely any wave action especially the farther away form the jetty you got. In and around the jetty, wave heights could be measured in inches. The picture below shows just how clam things were.

Barely a ripple 

"Ice Necklace" - These are small pieces of ice that washed ashore.

Day After the Storm - March 15, 2017

The storm was offshore and still kicking up some good wave action.

A wall of water over the top

It also liberated some stairs ...

One small step to ...?

Wind blown sand will make beach access a bit challenging this summer.

1:40 minute video of the day before & day after

Sunday, March 12, 2017

South Jetty Damage (as of Februayr 28, 2017)

The repairs to the South Jetty have had unintended consequences. The repairs have disrupted the natural flow of currents causing extensive erosion on both the ocean side and Merrimack River side. These photos were taken on February 28, 2017. They show the Merrimack River shoreline just before it meets the south jetty and the ocean. A major nor'easter is forecasted for March 14 which may cause major additional erosion.

The south jetty is just visible in upper left. Water is Merrimack River.

A wooden pole from the former Coast Guard station has tumbled down the embankment. The tall white post at the top was setup to monitor the erosion problem, The short, dark, rusted post in the foreground is an old iron fence post.

This photo gives you some sense for the height of the embankment being eroded.

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Seals at Bass Rocks

A popular photo opportunity is the seals resting on the rocks at low tide near Butler's Toothpick at Salisbury Beach State Reservation.It looks very relaxing.

Monday, February 20, 2017

Ice on the Jetty?

Recently while walking the beach I glanced up and saw what looked like ice covering the top of the north jetty. The photo below shows what I initially saw.

I zoomed in with the camera to get a close up photo of what I thought was ice and got a bit of surprise. The "Ice" was moving and flying up into the air. The gulls had decided to congregate on the tip of the jetty.

Monday, February 13, 2017

Another Major Snow Storm (February 12-13, 2017)

February 13, 2017

I was intrigued by the "coastal flood warning" posted for parts of eastern Massachusetts at the end of the latest major snow storm. It hinted at the possibility of strong wave action at the jetties. I arrived for high tide the best tide for dramatic waves. I wasn't disappointed. Immediately along the beach the winds were blowing fiercely, the snow at moments was making everything white, and the waves were crashing over the jetty. I was careful to keep a safe and respectable distance. This is where a long zoom lens comes in handy.

These two photos were taken only about a minute apart from each other. It shows how quickly conditions can change. The second photo has a white hue to it due to wind blown snow. When photographing in these conditions it critical to have your camera on a tripod to buffet against the winds.

With a bit of luck you can catch a wave crashing and shooting spray high into the air.

Here is video of the waves crashing over the North Jetty. 

The best part about visiting in the winter is there are plenty of empty seats to view the show.

The wind blown snow reduced visibility at moments.

While the storm raging on the ocean side, things were remarkable calm on the opposite side of the dunes. Along the road horned larks and snow buntings searched for seeds among the exposed stalks of grass.

Horned Lark

Snow Bunting

February 14, 2017 (Day After)

At the end of storm on February 13 we had a northwest breeze which was keeping the waves from getting as high as they could. The day after the storm, the winds shifted to the northeast and improved the wave action. Some of the waves were as much as ten feet higher than the jetty itself.

And a few fun photos ...

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

January 2017 Nor'Easter Hits the Jetties

January 22 to 24 2017 saw a nor'easter storm hit the New England bring rain, sleet, snow, and high winds. The Merrimack River Coast Guard station moved its cutters to the Cape Ann station for the duration of the storm and issued warnings advising boats to avoid the mouth of the Merrimack River during the storm and advising storm watchers to stay off the jetties and beaches. I heeded the warnings. I managed to get "day before" and "day after" photos and video footage. It is not as dramatic as during the storm itself but gives you a sense for the power of the ocean.

The storm hit at astronomical low tide cycle which minimize coastal damage. Even at that the waves were breaking over the jetty at high tide on the day after. The winds had shifted on the day after and spray from the waves was being blown in the opposite direction of the waves. It creates a neat effect and great photo opportunity.

I was cautious and filmed the action on the day after from the parking lot at Salisbury Beach State Reservation and boardwalk observation platform at the top of the dunes.


The storm system was pushing and dark gray clouds made for foreboding feeling. These photos were taken at low tide. The waves were not particularly high but they were coming in very closely spaced creating a lot of white caps at they crested.



Waves crashing over the north jetty. The gulls  were feasting on the fish being brought to the surface by the rough surf. You can see gulls feeding in the video on both side of the north jetty.

Waves crashing near the south jetty on Plum Island. The white mist is from the wind blowing the spray backwards out to sea.

Wave action in the Merrimack River.

Three photos from the top of the observation platform at the end of boardwalk.

"Double Wave" Two waves very close to each other cresting at the same time.

4 Minute Video

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Happy New Year 2017 from the North Jetty

I thought I would start the New Year off with a visit to the North Jetty. A number of other people had the same idea. A group of dedicated bird watchers had their scopes setup on the beach pointed towards the cove formed by the jetty. One group of brave individuals had a photo opt of themselves on the beach in their summer swimwear. They put some heavier clothing back on real quick. The dog walkers were strolling and their furry friends looking for a pat on the head or treat.

Wishing you a Happy and Safe New Year

Bird Watchers on the Beach

Sand build up along the jetty

Some wave action between the spur jetty and the beach. The land breeze was blowing the waves back.

Wind blowing the spray in the opposite direction of the wave.