Sand in Time – A Beach Perspective

June 30th, 2012:

It’s summer. That time of the year when you can go to the beach in New England and enjoy a warm summer day. Going to the beach is usually a very relaxing experience that leaves you with fond memories. Sometimes it can be truly special. I like to visit Crane Beach in Ipswich Ma. If you are not familiar with it, it is one of the largest beaches on the North Shore. It is really long and is great for long walks at the water’s edge. Most beaches have sand but Crane beach seems to have more than usual. All this sand and the currents in the area create an ever changing landscape between the dunes and the water. Every time the tide comes in and leaves it moves the sands in to new positions. This coupled with storms make every visit to the beach a little different. There are sandbars, pools and rivers that form and move around the beach. The beach is constantly changing.

I went to Crane beach one mid August day with some friends. As usual shortly after we got there we went for a long walk down the beach. We quickly noticed a very large sand bar just off the beach which many people were walking along. It looked like fun so we waded through some thigh deep water to the bar and went walking for maybe a quarter of a mile along the bar before we decided to turn back. The tide was coming in so as we were walking back the water was starting to cover over the bar. We looked for the area we originally waded across. Seeing how the bar was completely under water now we ended up having to swim across the area we originally waded through. Aside from a few of the group who did not want to swim in the cool water no one was harmed. After getting back to the beach again we had a good laugh at our lack of awareness of the rising tide while we walked back to our beach chairs and did not think much more about it.

Later in the day when the tide was going out a small group of us decided to go for another long walk down toward the long sand bar. What we found was something we did not expect. The sand bar was just peeking out of the water and it created a river of water between it and the beach. The sand bar was very steep and the river was almost six feet deep in some places. That meant you could run on the sand bar and jump into the moving river and float with it. The best part was because the water was incredibly warm because it had absorbed all the heat from the sand when the tide had come in. We spent about an hour swimming in this area and floating down this river while the tide was going out. It eventually became very shallow but was still incredibly warm. Eventually it was time to leave the beach. As we left we talked about coming back on the weekend to play in the river again.

I did go back on the weekend to check out the warm water river. I looked at the tide charts to see when hide tide would be. It was later in the day but it was still possible to time it right. After arriving at the beach and after waiting for the proper time I set out down the beach to where the river was suppose to be. What I found was the river was only about 3 feet deep. A lot had changed in a few days. It was still warm but it was just not the same as before. It occurred to me then how special the previous visit had been. How a bunch of things had come together at a moment in time to create something that was really unique and a joy to experience. It also reminds you that you really need to live in the moment everyday because you never know when something special can happen.

I still visit Crane beach every year looking for a unique sand formation to swim in but have not seen one like that since.

Phil Bussone, Partner GTI Inc.

Posted in: Summer Fun, Travel