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Rough Day to be a Skaket Clam

January 12, 2010

April 17, 2009

Two giant earth movers looked like sea monsters in the eerie post-sunset light at Skaket and the lights in Ptown can be dimly seen in the distance. At the bottom of this page the scene is illuminated by my car headlights.

A recent post-sunset trip to Skaket Beach on Cape Cod Bay provided plenty of excitement for tots and all.

Two big earthmovers were scraping up the flats on the Brewster side and piling the mud and sand in huge humps, from which they would grab loads and head up to the bathing beach, depositing it all in massive piles staggered across the whole public space. We snapped a few picks for fun, and the baby loved seeing the big machines with their bright lights moving around on the flats.

When they finally came up the beach and into the parking lot, it provided a close-up look at the enormous tires. Their exodus from the area looked like something out of Brazil.

The whole place smelled like low tide, and I had to wonder if it would continue to smell like that through the summer, maybe after a rain. Then my thoughts turned to the denizens of Cape Cod Bay, and I thought, “Tough day to be a clam.”

Returning in the daylight we found even taller piles of flats mud to climb on. It had turned to sand, the water draining out to rejoin the tiny waves at the shoreline.

What fascinated me was how little animal matter there was in these huge piles. Given their 8 foot height, 10 foot width and 20 foot length, you would think these big berms would hold plentiful shells, crabs, worms, razor clams, a steamer or two, some quahogs – alive or not, whole or in parts.

I didn’t see much of anything. I did wonder about clam seed, or baby bivalves, but I didn’t notice any small clams. I did, in fact, find a nice live quahog, and I threw it back into the sea. But where were his friends? Did they disappear inside the mounds to hide?

Respite wouldn’t last long for any clam seeking sanctuary at Skaket. A couple days later the whole thing was smoothed over, replenishing the bathing beach for hordes of paying tourists and grateful residents.

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