We got back from our Portuguese Princess Whale Watching cruise around noon. It was still a bit early for lunch so we decided to check out the second part of our PTown Pass... Art's Dune Tour.
Apparently, the Costas family have been leading the Dune Tours since 1946! They have a variety (daily, sunset, clam bakes, group) of tours. We went for the 1 hour ride.
To get on the dunes, one needed a 4-wheel drive vehicle and a permit. To be allowed to drive on some of the more sensitive parts of the dunes, a research or special permit was required. Thus, unless one hikes in, the Dune Tour is the only way to see some of these wonderful sights.
We learned a lot about the dunes and how delicate and special they were. There used to be a lot of old growth back in the 1600s. Much of it was consumed when the settlers used it for fuel to boil sea water to make salt. When the top soil eroded away, the layer of sand was exposed. With nothing to hold it, the sand drifted, and over time, huge dunes formed.
These dunes were not stable and would shift dramatically with the weather. In the early 1970's, a lot of voluteers spent a lot of time planting the dune grass to try to stablize the sand. While the shifts are less dramatic today, the dunes are still a fragile ecosystem that require care. Go and enjoy them, but tread lightly. Better yet...take Art's Dune Tour and see it from their perspective!
RainyDayMagazine will be back for the sunset tour next time... and maybe the clam bake :-)