The Other Cape

No Not Robin’s , not even Batman’s. It’s not a style of home. I’m referring to the less famous cousin of Cape Cod, Cape Ann.

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What makes a “Cape” anyway? In geography, a cape is a headland or promontory of large size extending into a body of water, usually the sea. A cape usually represents a marked change in trend of the coastline. Their proximity to the coastline makes them prone to natural forms of erosion, mainly tidal actions. This results in capes having a relatively short geologic lifespan. Capes can be formed by glaciers, volcanoes, and changes in sea level. Erosion plays a large role in each of these methods of formation.

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Cape Cod’s coastline is constantly changing and eroding when winter storms come through. A great example is Monomoy Island In Chatham. Not so long ago it wasn’t an island, it was a peninsula. A “wicked” Nor’easter came through a couple of years ago and washed away part of the barrier and now it’s an island.

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But today we’re talking about Cape Ann, the north shore “cape”, the neglected cousin.


On that bright blue day a couple of weeks ago I took a water tour around the cape. I was feeling really nostalgic as Cape Ann was home to  most of the dives I made in Massachusetts while I was certified. Cathedral Rocks and Folly Cove being my favorites.

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Looking at the dive map above I am amazed at the number of beach locations now. I didn’t know of all those places back in the 70’s. Back then getting access to the water was never easy. Many of the entries were blocked by private land.

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But back to the harbor cruise. We boarded at the town landing in Gloucester and headed across the harbor. In spite of a slight haze we could see the skyline of Boston all the way from here!

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As we motored through the harbor we passed all types of fishing boats from the classic lobster boat to the various trawlers. The captain explained each type of fishing as we passed .

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We got a glimpse of the Turret of Hammond Castle on our left and the Annisquam river Bridge which is where we’d be returning.

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We passed motels and million dollar homes hugging the rugged coast.

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We slowed down as we passed the mouth of Folly Cove.

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I could see the restaurant where we always had lunch after diving.

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We hardly realized when we left the ocean behind and entered the estuary that is Annisquam River.

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As we got further into the river we had buildings on both sides. The properties to our left were very rustic with no electric or other utilities.  To our right were more gorgeous homes.

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A Spanish style home was reported to have sold for over 2 million dollars yet the captain said the interior was totally trashed and would have to be rebuilt! Location, location, location!

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We passed under an old railroad bridge and then waited for the draw bridge on the next bridge.

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There were cute little house boats but unless you are “grandfathered” you can’t put one in anymore. 🙁

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Someone thought the lovely scenery wasn’t enough and painted some rocks to look like a frog family. I guess a little whimsy never hurts.

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Following the shoreline of the inner harbor we passed the Gloucester Fisherman then spotted a young man trying to master the round pole.

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Every spring this pole is greased and contestants dress up in costumes and lingerie and try to make it to the end before they fall off. This fellow better not bother to try when they grease it. He had enough trouble because it’s round!

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Approaching the dock at the end of our tour we spotted a little harbor seal. Unlike the seals of Chatham this little guy was not going to hang around for a photo shoot.

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All in all a perfect way to spend a late summer day.

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