Geography

I find that it would be helpful to me – and perhaps others – if I am able to talk clearly about where I am on the island and in some cases, exactly where a photo was taken.

However, none of the local maps I own give any place names for different sections of the island, so I’ve created my own using a Google satellite photo. (Of course, if you have local knowledge of some place names, please let me know. Roger Reez tells me the area near East point – where the word “Gooseberry” appears – was known as Green Hill.)

Click image for larger version.

Click image for larger version.

What exploration of the interior I have done was done decades ago and the brush has gotten much thicker since then. Some maps I have show small ponds at several location. I’ve never actually seen any except the one I have labelled “Duck Pond” because that’s where in the past I sometimes saw ducks. Now the pampas grass has closed in on that area and I have not tried to reach the pond in recent years, but I assume it still exists.

The southern end of the island has a nice little quiet beach that is lagoon-like on a very small scale, but quite rocky. I can remember taking the kids swimming there on one occasion, but it’s a long walk – about a mile – where the beach is either too sandy for easy walking (loose sand, not firm) or too rocky. In fact, that’s a good general description of Gooseberry. The walking is difficult in some places because of loose sand, difficult in others because of many, fist-sized rocks that tend to twist ankles, and difficult in still others because of the thick brush.

This large rock is off East Point and is frequent occupied by a number of Cormorants, as seen here, In th eidstance are the Elizabeth Islands. (Click image for larger view.).

This large rock is off East Point and is frequently occupied by a number of Cormorants, as seen here, In the distance are the Elizabeth Islands. (Click image for larger view.).

Because of this – and time constraints – most of our walks take place in two locations – either the central dirt road out to the towers, or the Northeast Beach out to East Point and a bit beyond. The parking lot gives good access to the Northwest Beach and that’s the place where many of the ocean photographs are taken. I do hope to explore other areas, though.

Looking north from near the towers the central road rises some to what I believe is the island high point.

Looking north from near the towers the central road rises some to what I believe is the island high point.

The island has a few hills – a “hill” being an area between more than 10, but less than 20 feet high. 😉 The first is encountered on the central road as you leave the parking lot and its peak is about level with West Point. The road then dips a little before rising again as you approach an area roughly parallel to East Point. East Point itself has a tiny high segment, and the area between East Point and the Towers is also “high” land which was – or is – known as “Green Hill.” South of the towers it’s pretty flat and the geodetic survey map indicates a few small areas of marsh or pond before you get to the beach.

If you go straight south onthe road pass the towers, instead of turning off, you will be on a sandy path that goes to the beach. Here bren, Eliza and Higgins are taking that path back from the beach, heading north. Notice pampas grass to the left where old maps indicate some ponds ormarsh - but I have yet to explore this area.  (Click image for larger version.)

If you go straight south on the road past the Towers (instead of turning off) you will be on a sandy path that goes to the beach. Here Bren, Eliza and Higgins are taking that path back from the beach, heading north. Notice pampas grass to the left where old maps indicate some ponds or marsh - but I have yet to explore this area. (Click image for larger version.)

The water immediately around the island is generally shallow and speckled with large rocks. In most places you have to go off shore 1,000 feet or so before encountering water that is 25-feet deep or deeper – at least that’s what the geodetic survey map indicates.

Sport fishing boat off south beach which is around the corner to the right.

Sport fishing boat off south beach which is around the corner to the right.

Low tide at South Beach - looking southeast towards Cuttyhunk. (Click image for larger view.)

Low tide at South Beach - looking southeast towards Cuttyhunk. (Click image for larger view.)

From the middle of South beach, looking due north up the sandy path that soon splits to right and left. There's an unpenatrable, if small, wilderness of brush and ponds and tall grasses between the beach and the artillery towers. Click image for larger view.

From the middle of South beach, looking due north up the sandy path that soon splits to right and left. There's an unpenatrable, if small, wilderness of brush and ponds and tall grasses between the beach and the artillery towers. Click image for larger view.

For a much more indepth look at the geological history of Gooseberry I highly recommend the following PowerPoint show produced by Annie Cloutier.

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One Response to Geography

  1. Annie Cloutier says:

    Hello Greg Stone
    Enjoyed your images of my favorite island. Hope you find time to see my Master Gen Sci UMD power point on slideshare.com under “the Geomorphology of Gooseberry Island”.
    The photo of the life saving station is very nice and could make a greeting card.
    Best,
    Annie Cloutier

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