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1 - 5 : Terraforming : Cape Island

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Jetty Jockey

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Today's entry will feature Cape Island, From colonial times until the mid 20th century, the term "Cape Island " referred to the southernmost

of the chain of barrier islands that extend nearly one hundred miles along the New Jersey coastline. During that time the island consisted

of the land between Cape Island Creek ( lower center of the map, running south from Schellenger's Landing) and Sewell Point (western shore of Cape May Inlet). After the Cape May Canal was completed in 1942, the term "Cape Island" was used for all the land south of the Cape May Canal.

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First stop is the Cape May tile. Cape Island Creek flows into Cape May Harbor west of the city. Much of the southern end of the creek had been filled in over the years, creating a land connection to West Cape May . The street grid between Pittsburgh Avenue and Madison Avenue was used to guage scale. I found that my initial placement of the ocean shoreline ( south) was incorrect, and I wound up with an extra two blocks south of Beach Drive. That had been corrected, although further beach trimming west of Madison Avenue may be needed as I do the street grid for the old city.

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North and east of Cape May is Cape May Inlet. Cape May Inlet provides access from Cape May Harbor and the Intercoastal Waterway

to the Atlantic Ocean, South of the harbor is Sewell Point. Over the years , Sewell Point has been the site of a failed amusement park

and a naval base. It is currently a Coast Guard base and the home of the U S Coast Guard Training Center.

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Moving westward, we come to Schellenger's Landing,.. You may remember this area from the teaser pics in the first chapter. The Cape May Canal heads off westward from the harbor. It is part of the Intercoastal Waterway and provides a sheltered water route to Delaware Bay. The Route 109 bridge is the main point of entry onto Cape Island. A bit north of the bridge is Exit 0 , the southern terminus of the Garden State Parkway.

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Continuing west, we come to the Cape May Canal. It was constructed in 1941 as a wartime emergency measure to give coastal shipping

a protected route to Delaware Bay, avoiding the dangerous shoals south of Cape May Point. It also gave patrol craft based at Cape May Harbor a quicker route to the mouth of the Bay, to better combat the U- Boats preying on shipping heading to sea from ports upriver. The canal has only 2 other crossings besides the Route 109 bridge : A 55 foot high fixed bridge at Seashore Road and a swinging rail drawbridge east of it .

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South of the canal and west of Cape May is the West Cape May tile. South of Sunset Boulevard is a bird sanctuary and Cape May Cove. At one time this was the site of the town of South Cape May. Battered by a series of coastal storms in the early 20th century, South Cape May was finally wiped off the map by the Great Atlantic Hurricane of 1944. The ocean swallowed most of the town, and the marshes reclaimed the rest. Scuba divers have said that you can still see the remains of the town's trolley tracks, now submerged under several feet of ocean..

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The town of Cape May can be seen in the distance, The large structure is a WW II fortification that once housed a battery of 6" and 8"

naval guns. Built in 1942 some 900 feet inland from the water's edge, it shows how much of the south beach has been lost to the ocean.

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South of the western end of the Cape May Canal is Higbee's Beach. A line of dune cliffs, some reaching a height of 30 feet or more ,

extend southward from the canal and seperate the beach from the woodlands and Pond Creek marshes behind them. Davey's

Pond (lower left corner) lies behind the dune line. Further east in the middle of the marshes is Sassafras Island. The western

portion of this tile is a Wildlife Management Area . In recent years, it has gained notoriety as Cape May County's unofficial nude

beach, despite local authorities' best efforts to prevent it.

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Our final stop on this quick look at Cape Island is Cape May Point. To the north is Pond Creek . In the center is Lake Lily, Southeast of that is Lighthouse Pond. This city had suffered greatly over the years as poor planning and beach management threatened to drive Cape May Point to the same fate as South Cape May. In recent years, steps have been taken to reverse the damage done over previous years, The dune line, a natural shield against the ocean's fury has been rebuilt. A massive beach replenishment project, coupled with the creation of an artificial reef just offshore has shown promising signs of repairing the damage done by years of erosion.

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Well , that's it for this installment. I hope you've enjoyed your look at Cape Island. As always, questions, comments and criticisms are welcome. Your feedback is important to me !

Replies ( yup, moved them back )

Reikhardt : Since the area is a popular tourist area, there are literally thousands of public domain pics posted . With a little effort, I can usually find what I'm looking for. I'm still trying to refine my digital photography skills , but holding a camera steady in a 30mph wind while atop some bridge isn't as easy as one might think . Hopefully I'll get some nicer weather and get some more practice in.

The Duke : You'll definitely see more. even though I may take a bit more time between updates. I hope the wait was worth it

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ImVhOzzi : yeah, you could be right. The sailing ship is left over from my last journal, and is about 5 years old. May be time to break out a new one :)

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