The same rip currents that have caused more than 3,000 shipwrecks since they began recording them in 1626 (and that now attract surfers) convinced the captain of the Mayflower to proceed from Coast Guard Beach in Eastham to safer waters in Provincetown Harbor in 1620, before moving on to the famous landing in Plymouth.
For a dramatic reminder of how tiny you are, cast your imagination into the power of the swirling waters ?and the infinity that suggests the curvature of the earth in the horizon line.
Seals tend to hang out on the southern end, snacking on eels that thrive there. Walk out onto Nauset Spit and you’ll feel as though you’re balancing on the edge of the earth. Writer Henry Beston wrote his famous book, The Outermost House here, during a year of living in a cottage that has since been swallowed by the sea.
In summer a shuttle bus ferries visitors from a parking lot that fills by 10 AM; it’s a mile from the beach and it’s no use trying to drop off passengers at the beach before parking: the seashore banned it to control traffic and protect resources.