The Provincetown waterfront season certainly has gotten off to a less than auspicious start.
We had a classic winter-like nor’easter for the holiday weekend. This one was in no hurry to leave, either. It hung around for three days with 30-to-40-mph northeast and east winds, a cold rain that was horizontal at times, and frigid temperatures more like you see in late November.
Consequently, the waterfront, which would typically be alive with energy, was a dead zone. Whale watch trips were canceled for the entire weekend, along with charter and party fishing excursions. Provincetown Marina was very quiet, as boaters coming in as overnight guests and day trippers canceled their reservations.
This was an awful start to the season, especially as all these businesses are coming off a weak 2020 season due to the pandemic. We also had a boat in the East End get flipped over by large, wind-driven waves. On Sunday morning’s low tide, the TowBoat U.S. crew were out there with divers, trying to get it flipped back upright, and it looked like a successful undertaking.
I can’t say enough good things about the dedication and skills Noah Santos and Malcolm Hunter of TowBoat U.S. display in situations such as this. We are very lucky to have them right here in town when things go from bad to worse in our harbor. If you are a boat owner, having a TowBoat U.S. policy is a good idea.
As I have said before, our harbor, beautiful as it is, is really not a safe refuge unless you’re inside the breakwater and in between the east- and west-facing wave attenuators. Beyond that, there is a lot of unblocked deep water, which can create large, wind-driven waves very quickly. This can be dangerous if you are on a mooring or anchor outside of the inner harbor.
The value of the wave attenuators that the town installed on the east end of the inner harbor was clearly evident in this past storm. All the commercial boats sat safely and comfortably during the worst of the blow. I know, because I was on one of them, and what a difference it has made.
Not much to report on the fishing front, as no one could really get out most of the week. Small bass were still around, and Long Point to Wood End was the most productive area last week before the blow. We still have no big keeper-size bass here yet. They are officially late in arriving.
Just to our south in Nantucket Sound, bluefishing remains much better than it’s been in quite a few years. There was a reliable report of medium-size bluefish being caught in Wellfleet Harbor last week. Horseshoe crabs are here in our harbor for their annual spring mating ritual and can be seen in the clear, shallow water along the West End and East End beaches. We’re also starting to see some lions-mane red jellyfish here and there in the harbor. We just need some summer weather, so we can finally get out and enjoy all that our waterfront has to offer.