March 20 - 1950: 103-year-old Cape Codder dies

1999: Four dozen dolphins come ashore on Lower Cape--three survive. 2007: Pilgrim Nuclear shut down by leak. 2007: Therese Murray about to become first woman Senate president
This map printed in 1716 shows two places where the Cape was severed then: A is the Blackfish Creek area in South Wellfleet and B is at the Eastham-Orleans rotary area once known as "Jeremiah's Gutter" which linked Cape Cod Bay at Rock Harbor to Orleans T

1999: Flurry of dolphin strandings in Wellfleet for last three days

Four dozen beach, only three survive

By this day in 1999, nearly four dozen white-sided dolphins had beached themselves in Wellfleet during a flurry of strandings that began two days earlier.

Experts from the New England Aquarium and volunteers with the Cape Cod Stranding Network were able to save only three of the dolphins.

These dolphins were tagged and released back into the ocean.

Twenty-four of the dolphins were found dead and the remaining 20 were euthanized, according to the Associated Press.

"Such strandings are not uncommon on Cape Cod, but their causes remain a mystery," the AP reported. "Once beached, the deep-water animals do not usually survive."

Two possible theories for strandings - they often occur during a new moon coinciding with unusually high tides, or that marine mammals are confused by the unusual geography thrusting Cape Cod toward the open ocean.

Why scientists think it happens

Blackfish Creek in South Wellfleet, the area where most standings occur, was once a channel from the bay to the ocean. Two centuries ago there was another channel at the Eastham-Orleans rotary area once known as "Jeremiah's Gutter" which linked Cape Cod Bay at Rock Harbor to Orleans Town Cove. See the old map on the left above.

Some scientists believe that the larger orders of sea creature have that imprinted in their genetic memory which leads them to make these fatal errors today.

(Above photo of white-sided dolphins, photo credit, NOAA Fisheries Service)

2007: Pilgrim nuclear plant shut down while leak repaired

Second similar incident in a year

On this day in 2007 operators of Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station shut down the plant over the weekend while workers fixed a water leak in the nuclear reactor casing.  The plant was expected to be fully operational again on Tuesday, Pilgrim spokesman David Tarantino told the Cape Cod Times.

The shutdown occurred about 5 p.m. Saturday after workers discovered a leak in the drywell, the steel casing that surrounds the nuclear reactor. The drywell is designed to capture radioactive steam leaking from the reactor if an accident occurs.

2007: Therese Murray solidifying bid to be next Senate president

The first women to hold the title represents the Upper Cape and Plymouth

On this day in 2007 Sen. Therese Murray, D-Plymouth, appeared to be solidifying support Monday to become the next president of the Massachusetts Senate, succeeding Senate President Robert Travaglini, who could leave for the private sector by mid-week.  While no official announcement had been made, Travaglini was expected by a growing number of senators to announce he was stepping down within days.

Murray, whose district extends from Plymouth to Cape Cod would be the first woman to lead the House or Senate in Massachusetts history. She would have to be elected president by a majority of her 33 Democratic colleagues in the Senate (and she was).

1950: Cape Cod woman dies at 103

Maria J. Costa leaves 63 children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren and great-great-grandchildren

There was something to be said for Cape Cod air some 60+ years ago according to this UP story... welcomes thoughtful comments and the varied opinions of our readers. We are in no way obligated to post or allow comments that our moderators deem inappropriate. We reserve the right to delete comments we perceive as profane, vulgar, threatening, offensive, racially-biased, homophobic, slanderous, hateful or just plain rude. Commenters may not attack or insult other commenters, readers or writers. Commenters who persist in posting inappropriate comments will be banned from commenting on