The big news on the waterfront is Gov. Baker’s extending phase two to July 6, which keeps most passenger-carrying vessels, including our whale watch boats, tied to the dock for yet another week. This is a significant blow to those waterfront businesses that operate in a short season even without the constraints of a pandemic year.
We have had a significant influx of lion’s mane jellyfish in our waters, and some of the biggest ones I have ever seen around here were observed out by Herring Cove. These jellyfish are named for their long tentacles. Their bodies can grow up to six feet in diameter, and their tentacles can extend as much as 100 feet, making them one of the longest animals on the planet. Typically, we see much smaller ones here, but lately, I have seen some pushing three feet in diameter.
They can sting. Most stings cause temporary pain and localized redness. In normal circumstances, their stings are not known to be fatal. Vinegar can be used to deactivate the nematocysts that cause the pain, and medical attention is recommended after a sting. So, not only do Cape swimmers have to be aware of white sharks but now stinging jellyfish as well.
A shark buoy has now been placed in Provincetown Harbor just inside Long Point. This is in addition to the usual ones placed at Race Point, Herring Cove, and the Pamet. I believe when the data come in on the harbor buoy after this season is over, people are not going to be comfortable with the results. I have seen white sharks in our harbor many times through the years and I am confident the data from this buoy will confirm that. We currently have a lot of seals at Long Point and all the way out to Race Point. If anything, I am seeing a few more than I typically see in the bayside seal hot spots.
Fishing, which has been up and down, has improved considerably. Striped bass are still entrenched in Billingsgate Shoals, but most of the fish down there are undersized shorts. The stripers seem to move into new areas on the strong tides of the new and full moons, and this week’s new moon tides seemed to move more bass into our area.
Bass fishing was good at Race Point on Saturday, with the keeper-to-short ratio better than it has been all season. The stretch of water along Beach Point in North Truro has been disappointing to date. There are tremendous amounts of both pogies (menhaden) and mackerel in our harbor all the way to the Pamet River, which we are hoping will be found by striped bass soon.
Bluefish are beginning to show up and have been caught around Wood End and at Race Point. These have been the smaller three- to four-pounders. Flounder fishing remains good off the Pamet in 40 to 50 feet of water among the pot lines.
Whales have remained mostly absent along our bay beaches and backside ocean beaches, with the exception of one rather large finback whale hanging around Race Point feeding on all the herring, sand eels, and mackerel in the deep waters. And for you bird watchers, a few people have also reported seeing rare and endangered Atlantic puffins at Race Point.