Storms washed out the barrier that connected North Beach cottages to the mainland, creating an island expected to disappear because ocean patterns are not re-depositing sand to heal the barrier beach.
To the north, the white manes of breakers were visible, a brisk northeast wind driving them through the new inlet and deep into Pleasant Bay.
After the fury of the April 2007 storm that opened that breach, Second Village cottage owners clung to the words of experts who predicted the break would heal.
At first, it was a tenuous breach in the barrier beach that served as a lifeline to the two dozen North Beach camps divided into two "villages." At low tide, you could walk across the channel that severed the clutch of 11 cottages, known as Second Village, from North Beach.
Long's family even floated their pickup truck over on a barge anticipating that the land connection along the seven-mile barrier beach back to Orleans would be opened again for summer.
Instead, the gulf between their homes and the cottages of First Village yawned wider with each passing day as the channel held, deepened, and the Atlantic Ocean and Pleasant Bay collaborated in scouring out a permanent, impassible inlet. It was now dubbed North Beach Island. Second Village inhabitants watched the shoreline to the north recede, and, one by one, the cottages of First Village were taken by the sea, until there was just one of the original dozen left.
"It's the million dollar view you wouldn't give a nickel for," quipped Bill Hammett, the owner of the last camp left on North Beach.
Read the rest of Doug Fraser's story in the Cape Cod Times.
Several galleries with lots of good photos, starting with this one.