Copyright 2005 Tom Dirsa
The Provincetown breakwater is a unique opportunity for tourist to walk to the tip of Cape Cod. Today it looks like a walkway to adventure. It was not always that way. In the 1950’s the granite walkway had large gaps where fish entered, trying to escape the dangers of the bay.
As I step onto the breakwater, I take a deep breath of air filled with the salt from the sea. The craggy granite rocks form a pathway to the sea. In the distance, the breakwater meets the golden sands of the Cape’s tip. Wind filled sailboats and fishing draggers scurry back and forth from the deep blue of the ocean to the shelter of the turquoise bay. Meanwhile two majestic white lighthouses stand guard to the entrance of the bay.
The sky is blue with wisps of clouds and shrieking seagulls hover just above me.
The air and the sounds of the gulls remind me of a time when my friends and I would spend an afternoon at the breakwater hunting sand sharks; a time when the massive granite rocks had gaps and allowed the sea to enter the nearby salt marshes.
At high tide silvery herring and baby blues would find the openings and swim into the salt marshes only to become trapped as the tide recedes. Sleek grey sand sharks follow the younger fish, moving into the swirling cloud of fish, and begin feeding.
I stand at the edge of the breakwater, as the water laps at my feet; I magically become a harpooner of old. Instead of hunting whales, I hunt sand sharks! As the sharks follow the flashing schools of fish, I aim just behind their dorsal fin and let fly! The shark thrashes about, flinging salt water before I am able to flip him onto the rocks. The salt water is refreshing on my tanned face, but stings my eyes. Squadrons of squawking sea gulls descend to feed. The hunters have become meals for sea birds and their fledglings.