Here’s a montage of the Gammon Point Lighthouse on the isolated tip of Great Island in West Yarmouth. Originally constructed in 1816 but deactivated in 1858, it was converted into a bird-watching observation tower by Charles B. Cory in the late 19th century. The private property it sits on is owned by descendants of Malcolm Chace and has not been lit as an aid to navigation for over 150 years.
Truth about Christopher Columbus Story – Italian Heritage Appreciation Day
Christopher Columbus was a cunning and bold Italian explorer and a master navigator of his time. He was born in 1451 in the Republic of Genoa, part of what is now Italy and went to sea as a teen to sail the Mediterranean in grand trading voyages.
His reckless ambition to explore nature and brave the ocean was only topped by his quest for gold. He almost died on his first sail into the Atlantic by cannon, musket and sword, fighting a losing battle to French pirates. Only to jump from a burning ship and survive a long nights’ swim in rough seas to the Portuguese shore.
He found love in Portugal, married and had a child. Tragically he lost his wife and struggled to raise his son on a life of the high seas. He promised to never marry again. Within a few years he was lucky in love and found another special lady whose love brought him another son.
Together, they voyaged on wooden ships in long expeditions to Africa for years. As his seamanship skills improved, Columbus learned of the Atlantic currents flowing east and west from the pirate infested Canary Islands and became enticed by the lure of Asian riches.
Spices and gold flowed from trade with Asia, but the Muslim hordes made trade routes through the Middle East a savage obstacle. Columbus knew the only solution was to go around by sea, to forge a new path.
So he studied ancient maps and learned from the tales of men about the best route to navigate west across the treacherous Atlantic. He was denounced by scholars and ridiculed by many. But he pushed forward against the haters.
Columbus devised a fleet of three majestic ships in a grand voyage west and in his early 40’s, pitched the idea to leaders of the known world, such a lavish tale that it gaining privileged audience to the King of Portugal and the ruling families of fashionable Genoa and golden Venezia.
Undeterred by their short-sighted rejection, Columbus eventually won the support of the Spanish Queen and King of Aragon who were locked in battle to push the Muslim invaders back across the straights of Gibraltar. Their funding helped build his fleet and prepare for his adventure to the other side of the world.
And in 1492, Columbus sailed the ocean blue, the Atlantic Ocean. The expedition left from Spain on a clear morning on the Santa Maria, with the Pinta and the Niña ships alongside. They carried the hope of millions as they set off to find a new route to India and the riches of the Asian islands.
After 36 arduous days at sea, Columbus and several crewmen set foot on an island in what is now the present-day Bahamas. As per the terms of his Spanish contract, he claimed the island for Spain.
Columbus and his crew successfully opened trade with the local inhabitants, exchanging glass beads, cotton balls, parrots, spear tips and gold jewelry.
When his ships and crew were replenished, he continued the expedition, landing in the islands of Cuba and Hispaniola (now Haiti) and formed trade arrangements with the leaders of the indigenous people there as well. For a time, many people prospered.
His expedition was eventually thwarted when his crown vessel, the Santa Maria, was wrecked by the reefs during a storm. But Columbus was perseverant and turned the misfortune into the wooden foundations of a new settlement, naming it Christmas Town.
Thinking his expedition complete, 39 of his crew stayed behind to settle the new town as Columbus set sail back for Spain to give a glowing report. He was warmly received by the royal court…
In 1493, Columbus took to the seas on his second expedition and explored more islands in the Caribbean Ocean. Upon return visit to Hispaniola, Columbus and his crew discovered that their Christmas Town settlement had been destroyed. All the sailors were brutally massacred.
As punishment for the murder of his crew, Columbus conscripted the locals to rebuild what they had violently destroyed and forced them to explore the island for gold as restitution for their aggression.
Before returning to Spain, Columbus left his brothers Bartholomew and Diego to govern the rebuilt settlement. But it wasn’t until his third voyage that Columbus reached the mainland, exploring the Orinoco River in present-day Venezuela.
Unfortunately, the constant attacks by the locals spurred chaos and disorder, and a lack of morale had undermined the brother’s control over Christmas Town. When news of the discontent at not finding riches reached the crown, Spain sent a militia to arrest Columbus and stripped him of his authority over the settlement. He returned to Spain in chains, a broken man, his titles stripped and his finances plundered.
But Columbus would not be deterred; he rose up and convinced King Ferdinand to fund one more glorious voyage to the new world with the promise of abundant riches.
He traveled along the coast of Central America in 1502, but was unable to find a route to the Indian Ocean. Another storm wrecked his ships and stranded the surviving sailors on Cuba; Columbus beating death once again.
At this point, the locals were no longer welcoming to their former trade partners and provided no assistance to his struggling crew. As his men slowly starved, Columbus devised an ingenious prank to fool the ignorant indigenous people.
As a wise and educated man, Columbus consulted an almanac and knowing the timing of the next eclipse, claimed that as punishment for the wanton death of his crew Columbus would take away the moon with his magic.
On February 29, 1504, a lunar eclipse greatly alarmed the natives at this show of power. Fearful of more magic, they re-established trade with the Spaniards – Columbus saving his crew, once again.
This would be Columbus’ last voyage. A rescue party finally arrived and they all returned to Spain in late November of 1504. In the two remaining years of his life, Columbus struggled to recover his lost titles and fortune.
He was partially successful in those endeavors and eventually died from complications of arthritis following an infection in May 1506. He was 55.
Columbus has been credited for opening up the Americas to European immigration – he has also been blamed for the economic and health failures of the native peoples of the islands he explored.
Ultimately, after all of his amazing accomplishments in his short lifetime, Columbus was unable to find a new route to Asia and the riches it promised.
Yet his expeditions set in motion the widespread transfer of people, plants, animals and cultures that enriched many nations and improved the lives of countless populations.
It also brought the ravage of viruses and disease, which afflicted many; An unfortunate reality that has occurred throughout the expansion and migration of humanity and continues today.
Because of Columbus, the European horse gave power and freedom to the indigenous people of the Americas which allowed them to shift from a nomadic to a more sustainable hunting lifestyle.
Wheat from the Old World became a main food source for many people, with trade in African coffee and Asian sugar becoming major cash crops for Latin American countries to grow into massive civilized nations.
Potatoes, tomatoes and corn likewise became staples for Europeans and helped thwart starvation and nourished their populations to grow.
While the overwhelming benefits of Columbus’ journeys naturally went to the Europeans, his benefactors, his accomplishments were a boon for the rest of the world.
Many civilizations were changed and lost during this period of human expansion and exploration, but it was the ambition and tenacity of the man that made him a legend in his day. It is the legacy of his spirit to continually rise and push forward into the unknown that inspires many still today.
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Orleans Fireworks over Rock Harbor
Watch the full fireworks celebration. The traditional Independence Day Fireworks began at dusk on July 1st, 2022 on Skaket Beach off Rock Harbor in Orleans, Massachusetts.
The team from Shuriken Productions set up a few cameras and sent up their drones to capture the fireworks spectacular at the request of the Brewster Republican Town Committee.
The fireworks are sponsored by and completely paid for by private funds donated to The Friends of the Fourth of July. Donations are appreciated to help fund expenses of the show.
Please make contributions to The Friends of the 4th of July, P.O. Box 242, East Orleans, MA 02643.
Drone flight over Wings Island Wetland – Brewster MA
Wing’s Island in Brewster, Cape Cod is a step back to the upland areas of the 1920s. Many animals, including most of the fish and shellfish eaten in New England, spawn, grow and forage in this coastal wetland habitat in Brewster, MA. In one year, ten tons of plant material can grow in a single acre of salt marsh. Decaying grasses and other composting organic matter release vital nutrients which nourish new plant growth and feed the marsh animals. This intricate food web is linked to the sea through the tides. Incoming tides flood the marsh with water, distributing sediments and nutrient resources throughout. Outgoing tides also flush nutrients into nearby tidal flats and coastal waters, nourishing more plants and animals. Salt marshes, like Wing Island, are one of the most productive habitats in the world.
Return to frozen Long Pond – Drone Footage Cape Cod
Did you see this?
“The ice was so vocal that I had to spend more time capturing the scene as the sun set over the frozen Cahoon Landing. On Cape Cod, lakes are called kettle ponds from their ice age creation, and Long Pond in Brewster is one of the largest. This short fly over with the Mavic Air 2 drone, a masterpiece of technology, easily meets my professional aerial photography needs. – Steve Shuriken“
Paine’s Creek Herring Run Mating Dance – Brewster.MA.Life
Did you get to see the Herring run this season? Here’s a quick video following the annual Spring Herring run up Paine’s Creek in Brewster, Cape Cod.
Also known as Alewives and Bluebacks, river Herring have been migrating from the ocean to fresh water ponds and streams in Springtime for centuries. Native people as well as European settlers depended on them as a food staple.
Today it is illegal to harvest river Herring in the Paine’s Creek estuary and across Massachusetts.
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Grays Beach Boardwalk – Yarmouth Cape Cod MA
On the North shore of Yarmouth is a large marshland. Over the marshland is a long boardwalk that leads out from the pristine Gray’s Beach.
Heavily damaged in a January 2018 ‘Bomb Cyclone’, sheets of sea ice from Cape Cod Bay tore through the boardwalk. Some sections, like the main viewing platform were carried miles away.
Originally built in 1929, this heirloom boardwalk has achieved local iconic status. Over 961 people have bought planks to commemorate loved ones. Each plank donation helped with the restoration and has become a lasting tribute to honor their memories.
More than 10,000 people take the stroll to the viewing platform each season. Both locals and Washashore’s alike visit to find a quiet beach to relax with the family and capture the colors of the sunset to mark a day well lived.
And what a picturesque sunset it can be…
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The ponds of Brewster MA
The ponds of Brewster, MA, provide an important habitat for aquatic life and are a great natural resource for our community. Yet, the scenic beauty and recreational benefits often mask the problems growing beneath the surface.
Only five of Brewster’s Ponds are now considered to be of high quality when compared to Cape Cod Commission pond guidelines.
A vast majority of Brewster’s ponds suffer some level of impairment including lack of clarity, nutrient loading and low dissolved oxygen which limits survival in the aquatic habitat.
Cape Cod’s Ponds serve as a looking glass into the future of our drinking water and Cape Cod’s aquifer provides 100% of our drinking water.
Recharged entirely by precipitation, the groundwater is extremely susceptible to contamination from various land uses and activities. Brewster and most of Cape Cod’s drinking water quality is generally very good.
But, over the past fifteen years, there has been a trend toward some degradation. Nitrate levels in public drinking water supplies are rising. The correlation between human development and aquifer degradation is evident.
According to the Brewster Freshwater Ponds Final Report, a review of total nitrogen to total phosphorus ratios shows that all Brewster ponds are “phosphorus limited,” which means that management of phosphorus will be THE KEY for determining water quality in these ponds. It also means that reductions in phosphorus will have to be a part of any remediation plans.
Interested in local efforts to save Cape Cod’s Ponds, contact The Brewster Ponds Coalition. Together we can keep Brewster’s ponds healthy, safe and beautiful.
Nobska Lighthouse – Falmouth Cape Cod MA
Since 1928, Nobska Light has provided a familiar beacon for ‘all who do go down to the sea in ships’. 87 feet above sea level, Nobska’s flash every six seconds is visible 17 miles out to sea. This 28,000 candlepower light used a 1000-watt lamp magnified by a Fourth Order Fresnel lens. the red section visible on the east side of the lantern house warns ships away from Hedge Fence and L’Hommedieu Shoals south of the Cape.
The present tower is 42 feet high and was constructed in 1876. It was built to replace the original “Nobsque” light, a stone cottage with a light tower on top which had stood since 1828. The present tower is made of a cast iron shell lined with brick. It was built in Chelsea, Massachusetts and transported to Cape Cod in four sections.
The front half of the current “keepers house” was also built in 1876. Originally painted dark maroon-brown, it had a covered walkway to the tower attached in 1899 and a second “assistant keepers house” added in 1907. Over the years, windows, doors, porches and walkways have come and gone and the color has been changed to the classic Coast Guard white with red roof.
Nobska Light became part of the Coast Guard in 1939, when the U.S. Light House Service merged with the Coast guard. Despite this change, the keepers of the light remained civilians until Mr. Hindley retired in 1973 when active duty Coast Guard keepers took up the duty.
In 1985, Nobska Light was automated. The two keepers houses were joined and became the quarters for Commander Coast Guard Group Woods Hole and his family. The Woods Hole Group serves the mainland and islands from Plymouth, Massachusetts to the Rhode Island/Connecticut state line.
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Flight around Highland Lighthouse – Truro MA Life
Highland Light is an active lighthouse on the Cape Cod National Seashore. Located in North Truro, it was erected in 1857. The current tower replaced two earlier towers and was the first lighthouse and fog signal on Cape Cod, established by edict from George Washington.
During the Summer of 1996 the lighthouse was painstakingly moved on rails back hundreds of yards to save it from falling into the sea as the shoreline had eroded significantly since it was first built. A stone platform sits where the lighthouse once was.
Known to mariners as Cape Cod Light, in 1865 the famous Cape Cod writer, Thoreau, wrote that it was one of the first lighthouses that travelers from Europe would see as they entered Massachusetts harbor. It was turned into a tourist attraction in 2014 and guided tours are available to the general public during Summer.
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