Sunday, September 24, 2017

September, 2017 - Reflections on the Summer Season

I gave away 4 of these baskets of peaches this summer from the little tree that could.
As promised, there's more shark news to report.  It's been a very active summer for sharks on Cape Cod.  Purple flags waved prominently at many beaches to warn swimmers.  More sharks are getting tagged and monitored every week.  Shark vs. seal events close to shore, which is a genteel way of reporting that a seal became a meal, earned a spot on national news twice in a week.  And, a Barnstable County Commissioner proposed a "solution to our shark problem" that was promptly squelched by a local 12 year old girl named Lucy Swain.  If the name sounds slightly familiar to you, it's because she's the daughter of Sarah Swain, who received a mention in the May blog.  Sarah organizes the annual Cape Cod Women's Music Festival that she hosts to fund Cape Wellness Collaborative, which she founded to help cancer patients on Cape Cod.  The Commissioner's proposal was to place baited drum lines off the popular beaches with hooks to catch the great whites so they could then shoot them to ensure beach safety.  Lucy, who has since been interviewed by a Boston news channel about her advocacy for sharks, became interested in them when she joined The Gills Club through the Atlantic White Shark Conservancy, an education initiative dedicated to connecting girls with female scientists from around the world to inspire shark and ocean conservation.  I couldn't say it any better than Lucy already did:

Dear Mr. Beaty,
I am a twelve year old ocean advocate and I felt the need to share some information with you when I heard about your shark mitigation proposal. By killing the Great White Sharks you are destroying the ocean ecosystem around the Cape. The sharks balance the ecosystem. When you kill them off you knock the ecosystem off of balance. Sharks are the predator of seals, not people, and when we kill the sharks the seals overpopulate. The seals would then eat all the fish. This would then cause the fish population to plummet. The fishing industry on the Cape would then die and we would lose a big portion of our economy. Everything that depended on the fish for food would die too because it would be extremely hard for them to find food. Also without the fish there would be many algae blooms. The whole local ocean ecosystem would be ruined, all because people are not educated enough about sharks and the ocean.
Here are a few statistics to get you thinking:
* 1996, buckets and pails injured almost 11,000 Americans. Sharks injured 13.
* The U.S. has an average of just 19 shark attacks every year and one shark attack fatality every year. In coastal U.S. states more than 37 people die of lightning strikes.
* You are more likely to be bitten by a New Yorker on the New York subway than by a shark.
* Falling coconuts have killed more people than sharks.
* For every human killed by a shark, humans kill approximately 2,000,000 sharks, destroying the ocean ecosystem.
In fact, thanks to the Great Whites, our ocean ecosystem is improving. Brian Skerry, the famous National Geographic ocean photographer, who travels the world recently said that he was amazed to see our ocean ecosystem improving, thanks to the presence of sharks. We are extremely lucky to have sharks living in our waters and killing them would be the worst thing to do.
Lucy Swain, future marine biologist

As opposition to the proposal grew, the plan was put on hold "pending issuance of alternative proposals".  Way to go, Lucy!  Your fellow Cape Codders couldn't be prouder of the Swain women.  
Lucy's TV Interview:   [with 10 second station lead-in]

Eastham Windmill Weekend
September is Eastham Windmill Weekend time.  As usual, Ron & I take a shift selling raffles, which fund the next year's event.  Ron works the crowd and sends them over to me to buy as many tickets as I can persuade them to take chances on for the 95 locally donated prizes.  So far, we haven't won any of those prizes, but it's always a fun afternoon listening to music, chatting and watching the parade. 

Our official STAFF T-shirts are holding up pretty well after several years.
It's also one of the few times of year one can actually see the inside of what a windmill looks like.  Eastham's is the oldest one on Cape Cod and that's as good a reason for a celebration as we need.
A carpenter's playground
The latter part of the month seemed like it was spent in a fog, literally.  After a full week of wet, gray skies which made it seem like one timeless day, punctuated by dark naps, I'm looking forward to some of that crisp, sunny weather that the Autumn Equinox promises.  Meanwhile we're on guard for the parade of hurricanes slamming through the south islands, and threatening to march up the coast.  We said, "NO WAY, JOSE...", but though he was far offshore, our beaches still took a big erosion hit from the relentless, swirling outer bands.  Maria seems to be a chip off of Jose's block as it zigs and zags its way towards us, or not.  The gardens are at least the beneficiaries of some good soakings, and our guests have made the most of their wet and breezy days.  And, at least, It's been a good incentive to put away seasonal yard items that we don't want lost to the winds.       
Coast Guard Beach in Eastham
September brought a returning couple here for the 5th time, who always make sure that they grab their favorite post-Labor Day week for next year before they leave.  We also hosted a new guest who did not want a 60th birthday party so much that she left town to avoid it.  We welcomed back an avid birding couple who seemed totally unconcerned about birding in a hurricane.  They usually know what birds have recently been spotted on the Cape migratory route before we do.  A couple from Seattle is using us as home base while visiting family.  And, a couple from Pennsylvania celebrated their 10th anniversary here with a long weekend.  It's wonderful being surrounded by so many happy goings-on.  
Another art project left by a B&B guest

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