Saturday, April 12, 2014

K is for Katama

Katama is a beach on the south shore of Martha's Vineyard. I've always preferred the southern coast of the island because it is open ocean and I love the sounds of the surf.

I've also always liked the name Katama, which comes from the language of the Wampanoags, the native tribe on the island. But when putting together this post I learned that it means "crab-fishing place." I hate crab and I had hoped that the word had a slightly more exotic or pleasant meaning. Still, Katama has a much nicer ring to it than crab-fishing place.

The area has been a popular summer resort since the late 1800s, when it was the end of the line for the Martha's Vineyard Railroad, which ran the along the eastern shore of the island between Oak Bluffs and Katama.

In addition, Katama was part of the American national defense efforts during WWII. Artillery shells and rockets were fired out into the ocean from the beach, which was also as a bombing practice area for military squadrons. More than forty years after the war, live bombs from the war were unearthed by waves pounding on the receding beach. Katama was closed for more than a year while the military removed all remaining shells.

My A-Z of Martha's Vineyard theme is inspired by my book, The Ghosts of Aquinnah, which is set on the island. Click here for all the info on the book.


  1. Your Challenge reminds me what a good time I had living on the East Coast (until one more winter got to me and I packed up and drove to San Diego...where I stayed for two glorious decades).

    I look forward to more of your great stories...I always do.

  2. Hopefully they found all the bombs.
    You don't like crabs? I like crab, just not cracking the stupid things open.

  3. Katama sounds like a wonderful place. I love the sea, probably because I was born in a hospital right on the beachfront in Durban, South Africa. There's just something about it. On crab - I love fresh crab but not the processed stuff... :)

  4. Katama... a nice ring to the name...

  5. You don't like crab?? Fresh is so good, and one of my uncles in Florida used to have a shrimp boat/crab boat when I was a kid.

    Interesting series, Julie. And also that bit of history about the shells washing ashore. The detritus of war.

  6. Live munitions--whoa! Kind of scary, and something you wouldn't expect to dig up in such a pretty place. :)

  7. I love the sound of that word, too. It's even better to the ear than crab. Maybe we should start calling those crustaceans, Katamas. Glad you don't like eating them. I'll take your share. :-)

  8. I love Crab with melted butter-yummy! Thank goodness no one found those bombs the bad way. I didn't know they used that area for testing

  9. You hate crab?! I think you're the first I've ever heard of to hate crab. I hate fish, but I love shrimp, crab, and lobster ... mmmm, lobster!! I'd write more, but I made myself hungry...

  10. I love crab, but I agree that crab catching place is not such a romantic name. The beach is beautiful :-) There is a steady trickle of old ordinance found on our southern coast- still a bit scary though! Would love to visit Martha's Vineyard one day.
    Lisa at Wishbone Soup Cures Everything

  11. @Inger, yeah, winter in New England definitely isn't appealing. I visited San Diego once and loved it so much, I've always wanted to go back.

    @Alex, I'm not a big seafood fan at all, always wish I was though on the island because people enjoy it so much.

    @Fe, I love the sea too. I think for me it's because I never got to see it much living in the Midwest.

    @Michelle, doesn't it have a nice ring?

    @Laura, :)

    @DG, LOL, I know I'm weird but I hate it.

    @EG, I know, it was very weird.

    @Lee, I would gladly give my share away LOL.

    @Birgit, I know, it's scary to think what could have happened with the bombs.

    @Lexa, LOL, I actually hate lobster too. I know I'm weird :D

  12. I like fish but not too into other seafood. I like the sound of Katama much better than crab. It sounds a little like Japanese.

    Hope they found all the shells!

  13. Pretty cool pic of the beach. Can't wait until the spring.

    A-Z Challenge at Father Nature's Corner

  14. Katama is a pretty name, and you're right . . . I hoped it would have a more beautiful meaning. I often wonder why certain places are named the way they are, because many meanings don't seem to match the place, but I guess the meaning of Katama fits.

    I like crab, but I don't enjoy cracking them open.

  15. Yes, Katama DOES sound much better than crab-fishing place! I've only been there once, on a crazy windy day, but it was just beautiful. I'm with you on the open ocean part :)

  16. Oh wow! A to Z on one place. Sounds fascinating. I love sea food too and the picture looks lovely.

  17. It looks idyllic. Are you allowed to build sand castles?

  18. "I hate crab and I had hoped that the word had a slightly more exotic or pleasant meaning" -- that cracked me up. Looks like a serene shoreline.

  19. Gives the idea of hunting for "shells" a whole new meaning. Yikes!

    Madeline @ The Shellshank Redemption
    Minion, Capt. Alex's Ninja Minion Army
    The 2014 Blogging from A-Z Challenge

  20. Wow over a year removing the shells...I wonder how many they might have missed. It looks beautiful!

  21. BOMBS on the beach,... how scary.

    It surprises me that the Vineyard would be involved in the war.

  22. @km, I know, me too!

    @GB, agreed. :)

    @Chrys, yeah, the meaning of the word kind of ruins it LOL.

    @Liz, it almost seems like every day there is crazy windy LOL.

    @prem, thanks!

    @Gorilla, definitely!

    @Milo, it is most of the time. I love the sound of the waves.

    @Madeline, it does, doesn't it? I hadn't thought of that!

    @SK, I know, it's scary to think about.

    @Michael, it's weird, isn't it? I was surprised too.

  23. Hi Julie. From my reading I have a fascination for Martha's Vineyard and Nantucket. Such great novels are set there! I enjoyed this little history. Don't like crab! Seriously!

  24. Good to know all the shells have been removed! Good on the military for that. :P

    I love the beach, particularly on a wintery day.

  25. That's scary about the shells.

    The name of this beach sounds like it's somewhere outside the U.S.

  26. @Denise, glad you enjoyed it, thanks!

    @Trisha, I've never been to the beach in the winter but I'd love to someday.

    @Medeia, it does, doesn't it? I just love the name.

  27. Lobsterville looks so peaceful, and a beautiful place. Love seagulls, though I never get to see them as I'd like to. Great L post, Julie! :)

  28. It's good that the waves set off those shells and not people. that's horrible.

  29. Stunning Julie .. just lovely photo and like you the sound of surf - is so wonderful .. cheers Hilary

  30. @Cecilia, I wish I got to see them more often. Thanks!

    @Nana, isn't it? So scary.

    @Hilary, there's nothing like it. So relaxing to listen to. :)


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