Saturday, September 1, 2007

A Walk At Cape Henlopen

The staff at Cape Henlopen State Park re-opened the Point at the Cape this morning. I knew I had to head out for a wander when it re-opened, so I was rolling through the fee booth just at 8:00 a.m.

Christina was with me; she's been my frequent beach-combing partner. Christina likes to gather shells and pebbles and I like to gather photographs.

The Point of Cape Henlopen juts out from Delaware into the Delaware Bay and towards distant Cape May, in New Jersey. The Park staff closes the Point each summer to allow the rare Piping Plover a peaceful place to mate and nest and fledge out a new generation. Once the birds move on, the beach is re-opened to wanderers and to "mobile surf fishermen" who drive out on the beach in their trucks and vans to fish from their tailgates.

We weren't able to make the full trip around the point. A part of the Bay side of the point remains closed for a few remaining nesting pairs and to allow a rare plant a chance to grow a bit more. That, in effect, doubled our walk.

I found myself adding pictures to my "Distant Ships" collection. There were two ships coming in towards the Bay from the south. And another headed outbound past the lighthouse. The Pilot Boat was headed out to meet them, making its way through rough seas.

There were also several headboats (group-charter fishing boats for which anglers pay "by the head") and two sailings of the Cape May/Lewes Ferry.

The beach was somewhat empty when we started out. There were just a few truck-born anglers on the beach and a handful of other beach-combers. Things got more crowded by the time we returned to the Point parking lot, after two hours walking.

We found seashells and plenty of pebbles. Some of the shells were worth collecting, including a nice partial conch. We found driftwood and beach grass and some wildlife (both alive and dead).

Christina spotted a tiny, nearly translucent Ghost Crab skittering away from us in a panic. I took his picture when he paused; you can see his little stalk-eye staring up at me.

It was a nice walk. I got a good photo collection out of it. With the rest of the Point due to reopen on October 1, I plan to head out again a few times this fall.

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