Sunday, May 26, 2013

Cape Henlopen Does A Good Job Protecting The Bay

I was at the Delaware Beaches last weekend to enjoy (well, try to since it rained Saturday) the weather.  With Sunday's fog and low clouds, it was pleasant enough to take a stroll over to Cape Henlopen and take a stroll along the bay and then also on the Atlantic side of the Cape.

Winds last Sunday were generally easterly around 15 mph.  Nothing too fierce.  The Cape did a great job buffering the lower end of Delaware Bay from a few feet of waves crashing in.  The picture of a calm beach on the Delaware Bay side was quickly replaced by a slightly feistier ocean side once we traversed over to the Atlantic.

Cell phone cameras don't always do a great job of capturing the spirit of the thing -- but they are effective in showing an ocean that's a bit more agitated than the bay to its immediate west.

The Cape's story is interesting -- its size and shape as a cape has changed over the years thanks to forces of ocean and beach over time, with the Cape extending northwards about a mile over the past 150 years according to geographers at the University of Delaware.  This has taken place while the beach has retreated inland about 800 feet over that same timeframe, turning the cape from a broad but not long geographic feature into a much more pronounced, but more narrow, feature at the southern end of Delaware Bay. A lighthouse that used to provide a beacon along the coastline is now no more, surrendering to the ocean's push inland.

The Atlantic and its churning over the past several months, going back to Sandy in October and including the March storm that brought a rather significant pounding, has lead Rehoboth to undergo beach replenishment work along their beach (see below) to add a couple of feet of sand along a coastline that took a bit of a pounding last fall and winter.  The Jersey Shore has been doing the same in a number of locations as well.