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Cape Cod Beachcombers & Beachcombing

It’s always lots of pleasure to stroll the beach, keeping an eye to seaward for yachts, steamers, fishing boats, and other craft “alow or aloft.” And some visitors and residents add to this pleasure a more or less careful watch along the sandy edges of the sea for whatever the sea may have cast up there worth salvaging.

What might such a thing be? Well, it might range from a cask lost off a cargo carrier to a valuable ring lost by someone on the beach and only now uncovered to view by a friendly tide. Or it might be.. perchance, a lost coin; or a brooch, or even a watch. It might even be a piece of ambergris, which would buy you a nice summer home on Cape Cod.

Some nearby residents are satisfied to find a good sized piece of timber, or an abundance of other driftwood, which, when the cold winds blow and summer visitors are no more to be seen, will burn with a bright and cheering flame in their fireplaces.

Scavenging for what may be found alongshore is called beachcombing. To the ambitious summer visitors, it is of even more interest than to permanent residents. Any summer morning at daybreak may find some of them walking along the beach. They keep to the loose, dry sands, where the day and evening before, many persons may have been sitting. It is easy to delve into the loose sand and quickly sift it by means of a wire deep fry basket with a handle.

Some of the wood gatherers are not so much interested in driftwood as a fuel, for they live afar. Their eyes are keen with an artistic discernment. They seek driftwood of small size, preferably from some scrubby, gnarled and twisted beach tree long ago demolished and uprooted and despoiled by a storm. In such, these imaginative beachcombers fancy they see animals or fantastic formations. And they seize upon their finds as upon true treasures.

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Cape Cod
Posted by Cape Cod - (website) on 03/02/06
Categories: BeachesGeneralNature
Keywords: general, beachcombing, driftwood, beaches, nature


Which beaches on the Cape would you recommend for some of the best seashell collecting?

Posted by Shoshona from USA on 04/05/11 at 05:09 PM | #

As an out-of-towner, I don’t consider myself an expert but have visited Cape Cod since childhood and have stayed all over (and collected sea shells all over) the Cape.  The best beachcombing I have found is on calm inlets and on Bay side beaches with very gradual shorelines and calmer water.  The wide open National Seashore beaches are absolutely stunning but are almost bereft of shells (steep shoreline and rough waves).  Best finds so far:  on Lewis Bay near Hyannis (very calm shallow water) and towns such as Dennis, Barnstable and Orleans at low tide (towns near the inside of the “elbow” where the tide goes out a long way and leaves lots of sandbars/tidal pools to check out).  On less calm beaches, it pays to look around piers and protected spots.  Good luck!

Posted by Lisa from East Aurora, NY on 06/24/11 at 02:54 PM | #

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