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Cape Cod Cape Cod Icecapade

Back in 1933-34 the Cape experienced a winter it has not yet forgotten. It was so cold that saltwater ice formed early, first in the various creeks, then in the harbors of Wellfleet and Provincetown, and extending itself finally included even the water in Cape Cod Bay.

There the mass was extensive and unyielding. It built up ice floes along the Brewster coastline especially. Some CCC boys stationed there decided one Sunday afternoon to venture out on the ice and were soon on their way toward open water.

At this moment, the wind decided to shift, and blew from the east. The ice began to creak and groan and make dreadful, ominous sounds, and to the horror of the boys,- it suddenly split from the shore and a wide space of black open water soon appeared between the shore and the floe. Driven by the wind and the tide the great ice field started seaward, carrying the alarmed adventurers with it.

Their predicament was soon realized ashore, and frenzied attempts were made by local fishermen to reach them, but floating masses of ice blocked rescue. Daylight was dying, the wind began to freshen. Word was sent to the Civil Air Patrol, the Coast Guard learned of the situation, and from the station at Provincetown the cutter, Harriet Lane, a 125-foot craft, set out to the rescue. Meanwhile a plane dropped food, cigarettes and other supplies to the boys.

Hours later, when black night had fallen, the Lane took off the last of the young men. They were asked:
“What kind of food did the plane drop you?”
“Oh, canned soups, and canned cigarettes.”
“That so? How’d you heat the stuff up, out there on the ice?”
“We never got that far,” replied the spokesman for the boys, “You see, they forgot to drop us a can opener!”
—Based on an account by Town Father, Pamet

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Posted by Cape Cod - (website) on 03/06/06
Categories: BrewsterHistoryWeather
Keywords: cape cod bay, weather, history


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