Sunday, September 02, 2007

Point Judith to Hadley Harbor

On the eastern end of the Cape Cod Canal is a small marina, marked on the chart as a harbor of refuge, in Sandwich MA, called appropriately enough, 'The Sandwich Marina'. This little hole is all there is for protection from the Cape Cod Sound - which, I'm told, can be very nasty indeed.

It's not very big, but right nearby is a great seafood store and a pretty good seafood restaurant. They're called 'Sam's Seafood Store' and 'Joe's Seafood Restaurant'.

"But, " you may think to yourself, "how did you get there? When last we heard you were at Point Judith!"

Ah, that is the story you are about to be told.

After I arrived in Point Judith, I set about kyacking about the place. In my travels, I met a lobsterman and while he pulled traps we talked of this and that. He has about 120 traps in the harbor of refuge and works them manually. This day, however, his traps were empty because someone else had emptied them! I would have been pissed off, but he seemed merely miffed. Said it wasn't the first time and probably wouldn't be the last. He also told me there was going to be a lunar eclipse the next morning around 5:10.

About 9:30pm Cassiopeia sailed in and tied up to me. We had a drink under a beautiful moon to celebrate the vacation, and then went to bed. I awoke at 4:30 and thought, "I'll just get a bit more sleep - then see the eclipse." And so I did - get more sleep, not waking until 7:00. Ah well, it is vacation after all.

We left on the tide for Cuttyhunk that morning and with the wind too light to sail, we motored on over. There are two entrances, one on the west opening to Buzzards Bay, and one on the east opening onto the Vineyard Sound. If you have a choice, take the Buzzards Bay one - the eastern passage is very short, but very narrow and I'm told, tricky.

We anchored in the inside harbor that evening (Tuesday) where it wasn't at all crowded. We took the dinghy out to the east side of the island and Cory and I went swimming and snorkeling. It was beautiful! Spectacular. While we're swimming about, we saw some large fish we couldn't identify.

As I'm swimming about, a fisherman in a kyack paddles by - realize we're out in a surf zone probably a half mile off shore. I struck up a conversation with him and asked what kind of fish they were, and found they were black (or ocean) bass and tautog. The thing about this little adventure is the appearance out of nowhere of the fisherman with the answer to the question weighing most heavily on your mind. Talk about synchronicity.

Laura and Cory had caught a bluefish on the way out and which we had that for dinner. And a ratatouille Laura made with their home-grown vegetables. Maybe it was the long day, the fresh sea air, or the food was just really good, but we were totally satisfied.

On Wednesday morning, Laura and Cory went fishing and I kyacked into town. I figured I'd have a walk around the island and see what I could see. Cuttyhunk is a little jewel of an island with a little market, and one hill. There's also a Bed and Breakfast on the mid-east side of the island. Since there's only 5 roads that all meet near the dock, it's very hard to get lost. There are a few tourist like shops, but generally, not too much.

What is interesting is that there are no cars on the island; the main method of transportation is ATV and gas powered golf carts or 4 wheeler carts. It's very cool. On the southwest side of the island is a clam/oyster farm. They supply the seafood place on the dock.

I got some stuff at the market and headed back to the boat. Laura and Cory came back shortly thereafter. After a quick lunch and the most interesting discussion of the construction of sandwiches (Laura's a kind of 'fling-it-together' sandwich maker, and Cory isn't), we all headed off to see if we could spear some of the fish we saw Tuesday.

Well, no luck. On the way back Cory decided to look for clams. I don't know why. But we found them near the anchorage! We found a bunch! So we had steamed clams before dinner! They were great - so sweet. You can't believe the difference between just harvested clams and store or restaurant bought.

Anyway, Cory had installed a flat-screen TV and digital antenna so we watched the news and had a bunch of wine to drink. Also, Port and Chocolate.

It turns out that the bed and breakfast on Cuttyhunk is called "The Fisherman's Club" and nothing would do but that we go have breakfast there before heading off to Hadley Harbor. The walk is about a mile from the dinghy dock. It has a huge yard with a volley ball net and spectacular views of Martha's Vineyard, the Vineyard sound and a small island called 'No Man's Land' - apparently a practice target island for many years. The breakfast was delicious and the staff comely.

It is a beautiful B&B that really was a fisherman's club.

Waddling back to the boats, we readied for our exodus and left. After getting back to Buzzards Bay, I decided there was some wind, dammit, so I'm going to sail. At this point the autopilot was sort of working. It was only working on certain headings and I happened to be on one of them. So up went all the sails and Cassiopeia in the form of Cory was kind enough to take a bunch of pictures. (See nice one on left....)

There wasn't a bunch of wind but it was very nice to sail. Although Pelican motors very well, it sails better. It's taken some getting used to - it isn't like my previous boats; the best I can do is compare it to driving. My former boats, Inertia and Wind Hawk were like sports cars. Their handling was quick and precise. In the case of Wind Hawk, you could almost say 'twitchy'. Pelican handles like a Cadillac. It will go where you want it to but it will do it in it's own time. It's a very different feeling for me, but I'm getting used to it.

After a couple of hours, the wind died and the current turned foul so using the iron genny we proceeded to Hadley Harbor - it's about a mile south of Woods Hole and it is surrounded by lovely little islands. There are free moorings there on a first-come first-serve basis.

We were lucky enough to get moorings.

Next time: Hadley Harbor and Death in the Muck

It's still sailing season, so I'll see you on the water!