Monday, August 18, 2008

August 18, 2008 Wellfleet's Cicada Killers

I'm sitting here at the computer, it's 2:08pm on a Monday. The weather today is typical August in heat, but not in humidity and we're enjoying a nice south wind. Mike is away in Geneva NY for the week. He left early Sunday morning and we're expecting him to return either Friday or Saturday this week. The puppies are barking like crazy right now, Marley just fed them, so they're awake and practicing their barks before tiring out and taking a nap. Things here have been crazy busy, but I'll take it over being bored.
Friday I woke up at 6am, after working 5pm to midnight the night before, to go for a 3.5 miles run, then showered and quietly left my sleeping family to take my college placement exam at 8:30am. The drive to 4C's took 18 minutes. Directions were flawless and I soon found myself seated at a computer terminal. I took the test in 1 hour and 9 minutes. I aced the English comp, grammar and arithmetic portions of the test. Algebra was a little lower. I was then ushered to an advisor who helped me decide which course to start with, we chose sociology and she encouraged me to study up on my algebra a little bit and retake that portion on the test in hopes of pulling my score up 12 or so points so I wouldn't have to take a remedial algebra. If passed I can then move directly into Chemistry in the spring. I was sent next to the registration office and finally to the business office. It was 11am before I arrived home a happy new college student. We spent the rest of the afternoon hanging out on the beach, before another eventful evening at D & D.

Saturday morning promised to be very busy. Em had to be to work at 9am. The Goulds and Pam and London had beach cleanup at 9am as well. An early morning e-mail from Gerry said he wanted to go out to Wellfleet to check out a cicada killer Lek and asked if I'd join him. Mike had to pick up a box truck for his trip at 3pm, Em needed to be picked up from work at 4pm and I had to be to be to work for 5pm. And if that wasn't enough, our annual PPA adult social was Saturday night as well, and I was on the committee. Thankfully, after a call to Gerry telling him how bad the traffic was he decided he'd save his Wellfleet trip for Sunday. Mike, Dan and I arrived at the beach with Pam, London and Justin to find it already done. We have a mystery beach clearnerupper. Em finished work early and was home by 3pm with plenty of time to rest before she needed to set up for the party. And Mike's box truck was ready and waiting when we pulled up at 3. Our hectic day wasn't so hectic after all.I went to work, but heard that the party went great. Black and white was a hit, and there was plenty of good food to go around.

I woke at 7:15 Sunday morning in a panic because as of midnight Saturday, I still didn't know what our Wellfleet plans were. I ran to the computer to find a note from Gerry saying he was running late...awesome I thought, I'll have more time....until I read further and realized that running late to Gerry meant he was going to be here at 8am! I kissed Mike good bye and wished him a safe trip, ran down to start some laundry, made the bed, woke Dan up, and packed up a few things within minutes of Gerry pulling up. It was a bright beautiful morning and with nothing to do for the entire day I was thrilled to be making this trip. The only pitfall was that Dan would have to come with us. Even so, we were checking out a cicada killer Lek in a parking lot. Dan would be fine. And he was mostly. We arrived there a little after 10am. We got out of the Hummer, and started walking around. Gerry quickly found a pile of sand with a finger sized hole and stated this was exactly what we were looking for, but this one seemed old with no new sand. So we looked around some more and nearly tripped over a whole grouping of them right in parking lot itself. Seems they had made use of the cracks in the pavement. Gerry wes pleased to see newly excavated sand, so we hung around and waited. Sure enough with in a few minutes a female cicada killer arrived and flew into a hole. Gerry suggested that we plug the holes with sticks so that if a female arrived with a cicada she would drop it because she couldn't get into her hole. We filled all the visible holes and waited again. A few minutes later, a female arrived carrying a cicada. She dropped it just as Gerry said she would and Gerry picked it up and laid the Canicularis in his hand, hoping that the female Cicada Killer would take it from him. She never did, but I got some great video of her buzzing around and even eventually she did take it down her burrow. Gerry had asked if I'd like to keep the Canicularis and I said no, thinking if we got one, we'll get more. Gerry has a way of making things look easy. We hung around for another half hour waiting for the Cicada killers to bring in more Cicada's and nothing. Wished I'd kept that canicularis! Dan was getting restless and Gerry suggested a hike.
Here are a couple of youtube videos of the Cicada/Cicada killer we saw.

We followed a path that emptied into a marsh, and this little bay created by Great Island. We took a right and followed the water around. Great Island is a peninsula with a small sliver of land connecting it to the mainland. It's mostly just a glorified sand bar at high tide probably no more then a couple thousand feet wide. We followed the path but it was slow going, the air warm and I could tell Dan was quickly tiring after about 1/2 mile of high speed walking. We decided to pass Gerry's net off to him when we realized we'd never keep up, and go exlore the ocean on the other side of the dunes. Gerry left us the Hummer keys and quickly disappeared onto Great Island. Dan and I had a great time exploring this little traveled beach and found a couple of bouys to start our collection. One was fully intact blue and yellow, the other small green and white. We made our way back down the beach parralle to the way we'd come and eventually made our way back to the Hummer. I had the presence of mind when packing to include Dan's bathing suit, and I wore mine, so we changed then headed back down to the marsh. Dan and I played in the water a while and observed the fiddler crabs, and small fish swimming around. Elias called and we chatted for a bit. Unfortunately I didn't charge my phone before heading to Wellfleet and mid converstation my phone died. It'd probably been over 2 hours since we'd last seen Gerry, and with no phone I was mildly concerned. I had the Hummer keys however and knew that my fears were unfounded. It's amazing how much carrying a live cell phone adds to your sense of security. Amazingly enough, Gerry appeared only minutes later, and we started our trip home. Elias had armed with enough ammunition to keep our ride home intereting. Gerry and Elias go to great lengths to annoy one another, and Elias thinks it's hysterical when he gets someone else to do his dirty work. Gerry never falls for it, and Elias and I are always disappointed not to get more of a reaction out of him.

Dan and I arrived home a little after 4pm. The Leone's were in the grove so I went and sat. Dan immediately ran off to play with his friends. We said goodbye to Gerry, and then hung out chatting in the grove for a while. As 6pm approached, Mike Leone went home. Laurie and I decided that since low tide was at 6:30 that we'd take the kids down to the tide pool to poke around for a while then get dinner at Seafood Sams. We hadn't really dressed for the tide pools, but it was nice to be by the ocean anyway. Em and Dan did a little exploring before we all got hungry and decided it was time for dinner. Seafood Sams was packed. So we decided we'd call in our order for takeout. One problem, my phone was dead, Emily's went dead just as we were dialing, and Laurie didn't bring hers. So we started looking for pay phones, giggling at how stupid this was all getting. After trying 2 broken pay phones we decided to give up and just stand in line. It moved quickly, and by 8pm we were sitting at the canal enjoying our meals. It was a great day on Cape Cod, nearly perfect in fact.

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