Newport, RI to Falmouth, MA 2008

Edgartown, Martha’s Vineyard to Falmouth, MA:

We start the engine this morning at 5:30 AM for the short run to Falmouth. Since arriving in Edgartown, we have been keeping a log of the current running through the harbor. None of the published information is correct since the breach occurred at Katama Bay last year. We determined 5:30 AM to be our best shot at slack tide. The tide only goes slack for just a few minutes before turning the other direction. I have fretted over our departure for the last few days after watching it race through the harbor each day at 4-5 knots with standing waves at the entrance. The good thing about leaving this early is that the car ferry to Chappaquiddick will not be running so we won’t have to dodge their crossings. As usual I worry about nothing. The water is calm as we leave the harbor and we have no problems with our departure. Now I can concentrate on worrying about docking in Falmouth! We know our slip assignment at the Falmouth Town Docks. We should arrive around 7:00 AM so I don’t think anyone will be around to help with the lines. It is always disconcerting coming into a strange dock and not knowing how to rig the lines or what to expect. If we have a fixed dock with large high pilings, it is difficult for me to get the lines wrapped around the pilings.

We have an easy crossing across Nantucket Sound. We once again pass East Chop and the Vineyard Haven harbor. We arrive to the Falmouth Harbor entrance at 7:00 AM. We proceed slowly through the breakwater. It is low tide and we cautiously watch our depth gage as the charts indicate six feet at low tide. We work our way down the narrow crowded harbor in search of the town docks. About half way through the harbor, we spot the town docks and start looking for our slip which is #33. We don’t bother haling the dock master on the VHF as we are sure it is too early. We usually back into our slips, but here we decide to go bow first. This way the fixed dock will be on our starboard side which is the side that we have a walk way the entire length of the boat. The dock is a fixed dock with the high wood pilings which I hate. There is no wind and the slips on both sides are empty. This makes for an easy docking. Again, I guess I spent my day worrying about nothing.

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We have a busy week in Falmouth. Jeff grew up in Falmouth and Woods Hole and we have been on a whirlwind tour down memory lane while Jeff has relived his childhood.

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We have visited the home where he grew up, his grammar school, high school, church, little league ball field, along with many other special places.

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Several friends of both Jeff and his family have also stopped by for visits.

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Visiting all of these places we have managed to add about 80 miles to our bike odometers over three days. There is a very nice bike path along an old railroad bed which connects Falmouth to Woods Hole. It is called the Shining Sea Bike Path and parallels the ocean for several miles. It was given this name because Katherine Lee Bates, who wrote America the Beautiful, lived in this area.

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While in Woods Hole we visited the aquarium which is the oldest aquarium in the United States. Woods Hole’s claim to fame is the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution which is one of the world’s most renowned marine research centers. Jeff remembers growing up around the oceanographic docks as a young boy as his dad was an oceanographic scientist at Woods Hole. While in Woods Hole, we stopped in at the Woods Hole Historical Society and meet a very nice lady, Dorothy who was a volunteer there. She later stopped by the boat and invited us to her house on Sunday for a get together with some of their friends. We had a great time meeting some of the local folks. It turned out that Jeff grew up with one of the couples sons. What a small world!

We returned to the boat one day to find a very nice yacht docked next to us. “Litchfield Lady” is a 1958 71 foot Trumpy Fantail.

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What a gorgeous ship. This yacht has been kept in immaculate condition. We enjoy chatting with both the Captain and Chef for the next few days. Litchfield Lady departs the day before we leave. They have a permanent dock for the summer just around the corner in Woods Hole.

While in Falmouth we learn that my cousins from Chattanooga are vacationing at a beach house further out the Cape in Chattem. Steve, Josh, Rosie and Christen make a special 45 mile trip to Falmouth to see us. It is great to see family so far from home. We enjoy spending some time with them and also giving them a tour of Idyll Time, our home away from home. Sebastian is especially happy to have more lap time.

Total Miles Traveled Edgartown, Martha’s Vineyard to Falmouth, MA: 15
Total Miles Traveled Year to Date: 802

Daisy’s Diary #6

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My gosh! The noise these little cannons make at sunset. Why do they do that? It must be a sailing tradition at Yacht Clubs to fire off the noise makers to signal the end of the day, but let me tell you, it terrifies me to the bone. I know, I know- what good is a security officer if loud noises and gun shots scare the bejeeus out of me. Always have, always will! Admiral Mom and Capt. Dad have been using their reciprocity privileges from the Chattanooga Yacht Club to stay at some very nice moorings. Port Washington on Long Island, NY was especially traumatic for me. It was Memorial Day weekend and we had arrived early at the Manhassett Bay Yacht Club (MBYC). We picked up a transient mooring ball and later that evening, Capt. Dad took Sebastian and me into shore to use the facilities. Capt. Dad had just unclipped my leash and the small cannon went off. It scared me so bad that I bolted away towards the harbor. I was so scared that I even swam in the harbor for awhile. On top of that, it started to rain. Sebastian told me that he and Capt. Dad were running the streets of Port Jeff looking for me. It was getting dark and the yacht club launch was only running for one more hour. Capt. Dad knew that he and Sebastian couldn’t report back to Admiral Mom without me so they asked anyone they could find if they had seen me. Just around dark, I was running through the town parking lot, still very scared, and a nice couple started yelling my name. How did they know my name? I slowed down somewhat and around the corner came Sebastian and Capt. Dad. Sebastian said he was so glad he found me and was happy that we could now go back to our boat. Once back aboard, Capt. Dad rubbed me down with a big dry towel and gave me a treat. Admiral Mom said it was good that I had been found otherwise it was going to be a late night for Capt. Dad. Maybe it’s because I was born on July 4th that gun shots scare me so bad but I can’t help it. I just loose control and run away. I just run to get away. I don’t always know where I’m going. I just know I’m out of there. It seems every place we have been lately have these bad cannons. What is wrong with these people? I sure hope they don’t have these cannons in Maine.

Later,

Daisy

Nantucket to Edgartown, Martha’s Vineyard:

We leave the Nantucket Harbor at 8:00 AM with clear skies, no fog, and a light breeze. It should be a good day for crossing back over to Martha’s Vineyard. Just after leaving Nantucket, we spot a Krogen 42 heading our way. It is “Calypso” and they are on their way to Nantucket for a week. We chat for a few minutes on the VHF before going our different directions. The seas remain calm as we travel through the shoal strewn waters. We are cautious to stay within the channel as this area is the graveyard of many shipwrecks. We soon see Edgartown Lighthouse which marks the entrance to Edgartown’s inner harbor. We follow the channel markers as charted trusting our computer as we can not see the entrance until we are within a few hundred feet. It is hidden by a sand spit which we must make an S turn around.

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Once around the lighthouse we make a hard turn to port and a very safe looking inner harbor magically appears. Two small car ferries are passing our bow going to and from Chappaquiddick Island, which is just a few hundred feet across the harbor channel from Edgartown.

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We quickly notice the ferries crabbing at an extreme angle due to the high current flowing into the harbor. We are puzzled by this as we had timed our departure so as to arrive here at slack tide with minimal current. Why is there 3 knot current at this time? Did we miscalculate? After hailing the Harbor Patrol, we are instructed to pick up mooring ball #30. We travel through the harbor to the very end of the mooring field as this mooring ball is the furthest away from the town center. We spot the huge yellow ball and again have an easy time of attaching ourselves to it.

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Within a few minutes the Harbor Patrol comes by in his boat to welcome us to Edgartown. We learn that the reason for the current being so strong is that a storm last year breached the other end of the harbor. There is now a huge opening at the very end of Katama Bay leading directly into the Atlantic Ocean. This has caused a change in the currents in the inner harbor. It is good to know that we did not miscalculate. The current now flows unchecked through the harbor with a rip tide force.

This harbor, just like Nantucket’s, is practically empty. Very few boats are yet cruising this area. It turns cold, rainy, and windy in the afternoon. We made the right decision to leave Nantucket early this morning. This afternoon we watch from the boat as a 75 ft. Marlow yacht repeatedly attempts to pick up a mooring. We saw this boat earlier in the year at Chesapeake City.

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A combination of miscommunications and extreme currents causes them to repeatedly miss their attempts at grabbing the mooring line. The lady on the bow is trying to give hand directions to the captain inside but their communication skills are comical. Another lady is lying down on the deck hanging over the bow with a boat hook trying to reach the mooring line. After about a dozen attempts, Jeff is ready to jump in the dinghy and go help. Just as he is ready to go, the Harbor Patrol goes aboard their boat and has them quickly secured. Jeff later goes over and talks with them. He learns that was their first ever attempt at hooking up to a mooring ball. They became extremely frustrated during the process. Picking up the mooring in these conditions would have been challenging for even the most experienced boater.

We enjoy spending several days touring around the island by bicycle. The bike paths to both Oak Bluffs and Vineyard Haven are great.

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We have never seen so many bicycle touring groups in one place. Bike shops are on practically every corner. We manage to ride about 30 miles each day. It is a good thing because we also found several great eating establishments. The bakery here in Edgartown has the largest apple fritters we have ever seen. They are so large even Jeff has a hard time eating a whole one. There are also great seafood take-aways in both towns. In Oak Bluffs we order a pint each of fried shrimp, scallops, and clams. Only to be fair, we also sample the food at the take-away in Edgartown. It was equally as good. Each evening we go for homemade ice cream at the local ice cream shop in town.

Oak Bluffs has a complete different personality from the other towns on the Vineyard. The architecture style in Oak Bluffs is one of gingerbread houses with a Victorian motif.

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Most of the larger homes make a circle around a huge grassy mall overlooking the ocean. The town has a summer seaside vacation feel to it. The town also has a ferry which comes from the mainland and we see many tourists walking around with suitcase in tow. Here also is the oldest operating carousel in the U.S.

We especially enjoy the harbor from the boat each afternoon. Being at the end of the town anchorage, it is very peaceful and quiet. The homes overlooking the waterway are magnificent.

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Supposedly one of these estates belongs to Walter Cronkite. We look for him sailing by in his sailboat but never see sight of him. While having dinner on the back deck our last evening here, we hear a noise in the sky and look up to see the Goodyear Blimp flying directly overhead.

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Total Miles Traveled Nantucket to Edgartown, Martha’s Vineyard: 25
Total Miles Traveled Year to Date: 787

Vineyard Haven, Martha’s Vineyard to Nantucket:

This morning we exit the Vineyard’s outer harbor at 6:00 AM for our 30 mile run to Nantucket. The winds blew really hard during the night but are rapidly falling off this morning. We follow the car ferry out of the harbor. This harbor is relatively easy to navigate and widens to almost a mile across at the mouth. As long as we stay between the buoys and watch out for the ferries, there are little other hazards. We exit between the two bluffs called East and West Chop into Vineyard Sound. .The seas have a light chop but with our stabilizers we barely notice. With a favorable current of over 3 MPH, we seem to be flying along at 11.5 MPH. We are happy to see that the seas are light today as we have to cross 30 miles of open ocean with shoals all around the area. Today is Friday the 13th so we are a little extra cautious. Nantucket is the Indian word for “Land far at Sea”. We must pass Horseshoe Shoal, Hawes, Norton and Cross Rip shoals, and then Tuckermuck Shoal. We have an easy ocean crossing only seeing several lobster men out checking their traps.

At 9:15 AM we see the red and white bell buoy “NB” which marks the entrance to the Nantucket inner channel.3822 We follow the channel buoys for about 1 ½ miles careful not to stray outside of the channel and into the shoals.

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Although very narrow, the channel is well marked with navigational aids. There are also two range markers on shore which we line up for our entrance into the harbor.

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Luckily, there are no ferries coming or going during our passage and the seas are calm. We soon round the Nantucket Light House and the large mooring field comes into view. We have an easy time securing IT to one of the moorings and the engines are shut down by 9:45 AM. The harbor is only about 1/3 full. Even though this June, we are still off season for this area. In order to get a mooring during July and August one must make reservations in January.

We spend the next few days enjoying this wonderful island. From our mooring, we watch as the ferries constantly come and go each day. There are about four different ferries which make the trip from Woods Hole and Hyannis, MA. The town is very busy with many nice shops, most with very expensive goods. The main street still has the original cobblestone.

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Like Martha’s Vineyard, Nantucket has several paved bicycle paths. We ride our bikes out to the small village of Sconset. All of the homes with their weathered gray cedar shingles are of the classic New England style.

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Many people are out enjoying the nice sandy beach in Sconset. We arrive back at the boat after riding 25 miles only to discover that we are missing our cell phone. While in Sconset, we had stopped to purchase lemonade from some young boys along side the road. The phone must have fallen out of the bicycle pack there. Jeff returns on his bike to search for the phone. He arrives back to the boat after another 15 miles with the phone in hand. We were lucky!

Nantucket was at one time the whaling capital of the world. There is a fantastic whaling museum here.

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We also toured the oldest operating windmill which is still grinding corn today.

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Each evening, we enjoy taking the dogs ashore and meandering through the old neighborhoods admiring all of the historic whaler’s homes.

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The tourists have returned to the mainland on the ferries and the town is very quiet and peaceful. Many of the homes are still vacant as the owners have not yet arrived for the summer. We have enjoyed our stay here and hope to come back in the fall. Nantucket is one of the top ten travel destinations in the world and we can certainly see why.

Total Miles Traveled Vineyard Haven to Nantucket: 30
Total Miles Traveled Year to Date: 762

Tarpaulin Cove to Vineyard Haven, Martha’s Vineyard:

As much as we hate to leave this lovely little cove, we depart at 6:45 AM in order to catch favorable tides and winds into Vineyard Haven which is the chief port on Martha’s Vineyard. The sun is brightly shining in the beautiful cloudless morning sky with a refreshing temperature of only 65 degrees. Today we have a short run across Vineyard Sound to Martha’s Vineyard. The seas are favorable and we have a quick easy trip. As we reach the harbor entrance at 8:00 AM, there is a ferry rapidly approaching from our rear. It is the “Nantucket” bringing both cars and people over to the Vineyard from Woods Hole.

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We slow down and pull off to the port side of the channel to let him pass. We then make our way down the wide channel into Vineyard Haven. The mooring and anchorage area are just outside the inner harbor’s stone breakwater. Most of the moorings are vacant today so we decide to pick one up instead of anchoring. We call the Vineyard Haven Harbor Master on the VHF to inquire about which moorings to use but no one answers. It is only 8:00 AM so I guess it is still too early. We pick up one of the larger blue mooring balls as they look to be the most substantial of the group.

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After putting down the dinghy, we take the dogs to shore with us. The town is very busy with both cars and people going in all different directions. Most of the shops are located on Main Street which is only about 3 blocks long. We find the Black Dog Café and enjoy some of their homemade muffins and coffee. Sebastian wonders why they did not name it “The White Dog Café”.

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After breakfast we find the dock masters office and inquire as to who’s mooring we are on. Unlike most places, these moorings were not marked with a name. He told us that the blue ones belonged to Vineyard Haven Marina and gave us directions. We located the marina and learned that because this was still off season our mooring was half price. This was a nice surprise.

We spent the afternoon touring Martha’s Vineyard by bicycle. The island has several nice paved bike paths. We rode to the quaint fishing village of Menemsha.

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This is the home port of many lobster boats and other fishermen. We have a nice lunch at a local fish market takeout overlooking the cozy harbor. We enjoy lobster rolls, stuffed scallops, and steamed clams while sitting on the docks enjoying the scenery.

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We talk with a local sword fisherman who saw a 14 ft. Great White shark off the beach here just last week. We then continue on the bike path to the little village of West Tisbury. This town is comprised of one general store, a post office, and deli. The countryside is a mixture of grassy fields with many wildflowers growing, old stone walls, and mixed hardwood forest. As we crest the hills, we get some magnificent views of the Atlantic Ocean below. All of the homes are sided with cedar shingles which have weathered to a lovely shade of gray. After biking about 30 miles, we arrive back to the busy town center.

Tomorrow we are off to Nantucket. Our original plan was to stay on Martha’s Vineyard for several days. There is a weather window tomorrow that will allow us to quickly and comfortably transit the 30 miles of open ocean to Nantucket. The forecast for the remainder of the week is not as favorable so we decide to take advantage of the calm seas tomorrow.

Total Miles Traveled Tarpaulin Cove to Vineyard Haven: 14
Total Miles Traveled Year to Date: 732

Newport to Tarpaulin Cove:

We were awakened during the night by gusty winds that had arisen from the passing cold front. By 5:00 AM this morning the seas and winds are once again calm. It looks like we will have a nice day for our travel to the Elizabeth Islands. We quietly pull away from the marina at 6:00 AM. as all the other boaters on the dock are still snuggled in their berths. The East Passage of Narragansett Bay is almost deserted today; quite different than when we arrived Saturday afternoon with all the sailboats crossing back and forth.

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As we enter Rhode Island Sound, we feel as if we are riding a galloping thoroughbred as we go up and over the large ocean swells coming into the bay. Once past the entrance the ocean calms down and we again have smooth seas. We cross Buzzards Bay and enter Vineyard Sound. IT lazily rocks back and forth from the two foot ocean swells. We seem to have the vast ocean to ourselves today as there is not another boat in sight. Through the haze we soon spot Cuttyhunk off in the distance. This is the western most island of the Elizabeth Islands chain. The Elizabeth Islands are a chain of 16 islands extending for about 14 miles from the southwestern end of Cape Cod. These islands separate Buzzards Bay from Vineyard Sound. Most of these islands are privately owned by the Forbes Family. The second island which we pass to our port is Nashawena. This island appears to be uninhabited. The high bluffs and rolling pasture land reminds us of the coast of Ireland with the bright green vegetation and old stone walls.

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Quicks Hole separates Nashawena Island and Pasque Island. This deep navigational channel is one of several passageways to Buzzards Bay. Through all of these holes, you must time your trip to avoid the strong tidal currents.

We continue east to the Island of Naushon. .Our destination for today is Tarpaulin Cove tucked into the eastern side of the island on Vineyard Sound. This is a popular anchorage for vessels traveling to Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket. Naushon, being seven miles long, is the largest of the Elizabeth Islands and has been a Forbes family retreat for more than a century and a half. There is a population of 30 people on the island. We soon spot the lighthouse marking the entrance to Tarpaulin Cove.

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By 10:30 AM we are securely anchored. We have the entire cove to ourselves. There are no other boats moored. We anchor just off a classic seaside farm house with its various outbuildings and old stone walls. The house sits just a few hundred yards from the beach.

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This home appears to be empty. Visitors are allowed on the beach but not any further ashore. This is perhaps one of the most ideal anchorage spots that we have been to. We enjoy this special place by putting the kayaks in the water and exploring the tranquil cove. Jeff later tries his luck at fishing. He caught two striped bass about 12” long but decided to let them live another day. In the evening we are joined by a fellow looper aboard “Decoy” a Grand Banks trawler.

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Total Miles Traveled Newport to Tarpaulin Cove; 41
Total Miles Traveled Year to Date: 718

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