Good Harbor Beach storm damage erosion unearths a massive glacial outcropping

The 2018 winter storms exposed an expansive and blindingly obvious glacial outcropping by the footbridge side of Good Harbor Beach near the piping plover enclosure. In 2017 the feature was something more than a rock and I don’t mean scale. After two severe thunderstorms on July 8, 2017, one chick remained and the family acted strange. One of the parent plovers perched atop that rock for my entire shift, seemingly in mourning. The rock was a sheltering spot and helpful monitor landmark which it still is this year. This summer the rock revealed itself like a tip of an iceberg, and made Good Harbor Beach resemble a bit of Wingaersheek.

Here are a few Before (2017) and After (2018) comparisons. The photographs illustrate how much dry sand disappeared and how the beach was basically scrubbed of any scrub.


Special rock piping plover enclosure Good Harbor Beach Good Morning Gloucester_20170709_065929 ©c ryanSpecial rock piping plover enclosure Good Harbor Beach Gloucester Mass_©c ryan_20180617_063939

Good Harbor Beach piping plover enclosure ©c ryan_20170630_074839Good Harbor Beach sand erosion_piping plover enclosure_ Gloucester MA_ 20180616_071107 © c ryan

Good Harbor Beach looking across piping plover enclosure dune ©c ryan_20170627_063852 Good Harbor Beach looking across piping plover enclosure dune and beach erosion_20180613_053827 ©c ryan

Glacial rock unearthed after winter storms Good Harbor Beach Gloucester MA looks like Wingaersheek beach_20180617_064006 © c ryan

lonely little scrub

lonely little scrub_20180618_060541© c ryan.jpg

Long Beach status: sand creeps back, no stairs, more damage at seawall and walkway

Photo journal documenting rapid damage and repairs post trio of winter storms as of May 2018.

sunrise_ May 2018_flawed and beautiful Long Beach seawall promenade Gloucester Rockport Ma  ©c ryan.jpg


is creeping back, truly. (view looking across to Gloucester side) 

sand creeping back Long Beach Mass after winter storms May 16 2018 ©c ryan.jpg

(sand migrating back- view looking to Rockport– see 2017 post about  Long Beach annual shifting sands )

Sand migrates back center of Long Beach MA - even with winter storm erosion- 20180516- ©c Ryan.jpg

beach erosion was significant

Damage continues

Spring tides slam the Long Beach seawall.

photo: A tree tossed up like a toothpick atop the rip rap helps to illustrate the ocean’s twice daily whollops.

tree tossed up like toothpick_May 16 2018 Long Beach Mass-strong high tides twice daily ©c ryan.jpg

vulnerable spots clearly visible to the naked eye (I marked up two with red lines)

weak spots Long Beach seawall damage May 18 2018 _©c ryan.jpg


When the seawall opened up and heavy concrete sections balanced like hanging chads or individual playing cards, I was not surprised. The massive promenade had shown signs of strain.  Small fissures and tiny holes were noticeable before the winter storms accelerated its decline. Water finds a way in at high tides. The manmade wall is noticeably shifting and rumbling at a greater pace. Holes, cracks and breaks along the seawall expand, and new ones erupt. I can’t help conjuring up comparisons to Yellowstone’s boiling and unpredictable surface.  I imagine stakeholders are mapping details of their immediate landscape. Though beaten down, the promenade is walkable and sturdy. Tiny holes do expand rather alarmingly.

example –

and another (filled)- the cone eventually dropped beneath the path


more photos (before-afters, repairs, boulder pyres, stairs or lack thereof, and nuisance popples) and videos of  seawall ramparts giant boulder shuffle

Continue reading “Long Beach status: sand creeps back, no stairs, more damage at seawall and walkway”


Dave writes, “Saw this Dovekie at low tide Saturday. The gulls were picking it up and dropping it to the side. I chased them away – temporarily and shooed it back into the water.”

Dovekies are easily blown ashore during severe winter storms.  They don’t walk very well on land. If you find a Dovekie on the beach, and it does not appear to be injured, gently pick it up and bring it to the water. And do as Dave did, shoo away interested gulls.

Thank you so much Dave for sharing your photo and for helping the Dovekie back in the water!

Read more about Dovekies here:


first look Solar Eclipse 2017 #CapeAnn

20170821_135020 (1)
viewers react first look August 21 #SolarEclipse2017 #CapeAnn, MA, 1:50PM. Exciting despite location outside of total solar eclipse path

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DIY eclipse viewers and glasses

sun catcher GIF

Love when this happens to ocean spray! Saturday looks like we’re going to have some sea swells. We’re spared today’s “high surf advisory” accorded to Cape Cod and Maine from Hurricane Gert.


sun rise surf spray sun catcher

minutes before the sunspray


74 Long Beach front row cottages in less than a minute

IMG_20170410_145522 (1).jpg


The view from the boardwalk on a spring day – can you spot the two new homes?


Long Beach cottages from the boardwalk 1 of 3

animation 1 of 3 (first 24 homes, just past the old hotel)


Long Beach cottages from the boardwalk 2 of 3

animation 2 of 3 ( Laughing Water and next 25 homes )


Long Beach cottages from the boardwalk animation 3 of 3

animation 3 of 3 (next 24 homes)



Due to the recent severe weather, as of today, Wednesday, June 12, 2013, the City of Gloucester Board of Health has posted a sign at Plum Cove Beach notifying residents that regularly scheduled testing discovered that bacteria counts were found to be beyond the states bathing beach limits.

Residents are advised that they swim at their own risk. 

The next scheduled test results will be available in the afternoon of Friday, June 14, 2013.  City of Gloucester Health Department will continue to closely monitor the situation. 

For more information and updates, please visit the city website at

For more information, please contact:
Gloucester Public Health Department
Max Schenk, Manager of Environmental Health Services

Pavillion Beach In Front of Proposed Marriott Site

Here is the Pavillion Beach, totally underutilized compared to Good Harbor and Wingersheek Beach. The white building to the left in the photo is the site for the proposed Marriott Hotel.