Jumbled Jetty

We tend to think of the jetties at Compo Beach as strong, permanent, unyielding.

You know — rock solid.

The other day, alert “06880” reader Scott Smith took a walk by the cannon jetty — the one separating the main beach from South Beach. For more than 20 years, he’s admired those huge rectangular slabs of schist.

This time, he was surprised to see the rocks jumbled. “Humpty Dumpty-style,” he says.

One view of the jumbled rocks …

He wonders if that’s normal this time of year — the type of thing Kowalsky puts back together every spring — or if something else is happening.

… and another. (Photos/Scott Smith)

He checked with Google Maps, for an aerial view. To his surprise, the jumbled jetty has been there for a while:

(Photo courtesy Google Maps)

All of which got Scott wondering: What would happen if the jetty wasn’t there? Sure, the marina channel would fill in much more quickly — but wouldn’t there be much more sand on South Beach?

If you know what’s going on with the jetty, click “Comments” below. Inquiring minds want to know.

11 responses to “Jumbled Jetty

  1. They are might big rocks to be jumbled. The power of water as we continue to see here and everywhere.

  2. Scott rocks

  3. Super storm Sandy aftermath

  4. Michael Calise

    been that way for a few years

  5. I went down to Compo right after Sandy and that is the first I noticed it being so bad. Correct me if I am wrong.

  6. I believe the initial formations on the jetties were put in place after the hurricane of ’55 which really changed the topography of our coastline. These are meant to trap sand and keep it from shifting (as much as possible).

  7. Sally Campbell Palmer

    Lack of maintenance?

  8. Shoreline currents, termed littoral drift, are moving continually, and carry sand and sediment. If their flow is interrupted, such as by a jetty, they slow and the reduced velocity allows the load to drop (deposit) there. This is why sand builds up on the lee side of a jetty.
    As for the changes to the boulders on the jetty, storm waves, especially those that might overtop it, do smash with disruptive energy, shifting and changing individual boulders.

  9. I had never heard that referred to as the “cannon jetty”. You know that’s Cedar Point, right? And that side of it has been jumbled since I can remember, going back at least to 1955. Probably the event that prompted the building was not 1955 (Connie and Diane) which were major inland floods, but Carol in ’54. Which came ashore at Westport. I remember army ducks evacuating Saugatuck Shores and neighbors Else and Carol picking up our mall by canoe at the corner of Harbor Rd and Minard Dr. But I digress.

  10. Global warming has enabled the Menehune to migrate from Hawaii to Westport.

  11. I have noticed in the past 8 years, that compared to my childhood 35 years ago, the jetty has been significantly more haggard than I remember, when it was more or less a contiguous smooth surface. I attributed it to years of hurricanes, erosion, etc. wasn’t sure when man would step in again to assemble it.