The Barnstable Great Marsh earns its name from being the largest salt marsh ecosystem on Cape Cod. It is located in the heart of Cape Cod on the north side encompassing over 3800 acres of critical salt marsh habitat, which is made possible by the six mile long barrier beach known as Sandy Neck. This tour is about three hours in duration and takes you on a journey into the tidal creeks only accessible by small boat. We will not be constantly paddling; there will be about 30 minutes of exploration time out of the boat in an inlet or tidal flat to search for one of the many species that make this place their home. A whole new world opens up before as you immerse yourself in this special ecosystem that is teeming with life. Expect to see a wide variety of shore birds, song birds and raptors as we paddle along. The signature raptor on the marsh is the Osprey (Pandion haliaetus), which we are sure to see soaring high in the sky searching for small fish to prey on. Get a close look at a local shellfishing operation and see firsthand where the delicious shellfish of Cape Cod comes from. As far as mammals go there is a chance to catch a sight of the always excitable otter!
The Nauset Marsh is truly a unique and extraordinary place to paddle. I frequently recommend this tour to my fellow Cape Codders who have not ventured out there as a must do adventure. Located in Eastham on the outer Cape this marsh ebbs and flows with the incoming and outgoing waters from the Atlantic Ocean. The water is pristine from the active filter feeders (oysters, clams, and mussels) that make this place their home. This tour is about three hours in duration and takes you on a journey to the outer beach where gray seals are visible feeding on the small fish that come in with the tide. We will not be constantly paddling; there will be about 30 minutes of exploration time on the outer beach to watch the seals, swim and simply enjoy the beauty of this majestic place. Expect to see huge flocks of common terns as we paddle toward the outer beach and a host of other species such as sandpipers, willets, cormorants, gulls, yellowlegs, green heron, great blue heron and more on the tidal flats and marsh edges. Simply put, you cannot go wrong signing up for this tour!
The Scorton Creek kayak tour is the perfect choice for beginner paddlers and families alike as tidal flow helps us along creating that “lazy river” feel. The tour begins at the launch south of the Scorton Creek Bridge and from there we head east toward Barnstable. The first stop is at an active osprey nest where I will talk about the natural history of this amazing raptor as you sit in the kayak. We’ll continue deeper into this remarkable salt marsh ecosystem encountering the common marsh inhabitants along the way such as: willet, whimbrel, ducks, gulls, swallows, red-winged black bird and heron to name a few. As the tide turns so do we heading back toward the launch site and past it to explore the creek north of the bridge. Here the close proximity of woodlands provides a great opportunity to see the charismatic kingfisher at work along the creek’s edge. A second stop at a small beach provides an opportunity to get out of the kayak and stretch your back and legs as I get ready to educate you about local shellfish with my sample box. The tour concludes as we head back south under the bridge shifting our awareness from water to shore to air to experience more of this ecosystem’s rich biodiversity before leaving.