The Weekapaug Bridge: A Bridge Over Two Worlds
Standing on the Weekapaug Bridge in Weekapaug, RI, you are offered a window into two very different worlds depending on how you look at it – literally! The Weekapaug Bridge carries traffic from the mainland to this peninsula of which the small village of Weekapaug is a part. Under the bridge flows the Weekapaug Breachway connecting Winnapaug Pond and the Atlantic Ocean.
Standing on the bridge and looking south, you can see the 300-yard stretch of gap below and the ocean beyond. The water is deep and sinister as it flows hard to meet the sea. The algae at the bottom of the channel and attached to the rocks are taut as the current forces them to join the flow into the ocean. Several bright orange buoys line both sides of the gap. They are tied with strong rope to the lobster pots below. Lobster fishermen in small skiffs do daily checks, raising their pots in hopes of a bountiful catch. Fishing and pleasure boats move up and down the gap, slowing down when they see the ‘No Wake Zone’ sign posted on the bridge. Further down, the fishermen of the break line up on the rocks, narrow lines with the tide. Bait buckets filled with squid and eels are ready. Here’s the rugged view from the bridge: deep water, lobster pots, fishing lines, and people looking for elusive marine life.
A 180 degree turn and five quick steps across the street put one looking over the other side of the bridge and into a completely different world. The harshness stops and the serenity begins. The water from the break is calm and appears to be flowing gently downward. The channel is wider here and there are rock-studded shoals on which seabirds bask while they wait for an unsuspecting minnow or crab to swim past. The shoals are absolutely crystal clear and only go up to the waist. Tourists can be seen wading in the shallow waters in search of seashells or simply to appreciate the nature below. A kayak in these calm waters will remain stationary, giving the kayaker a few precious, peaceful minutes of looking out the side for crabs, seahorses, starfish, and the occasional striped bass.
Further up the gap is a small marina with maybe 15 piers. Beyond that, there are quaint cabins that line each side of the canal. Each cabin has a green grass backyard that leads to the dock itself that is usually adorned with buoys, life jackets, and styrofoam life jackets. Others have lobster pots that are now more decorative than practical. A pleasure boat or jet skis will be parked at each pier. This peaceful and idyllic scene continues for another quarter mile down the canal, at which point the gap bends and joins Winnapaug Pond.