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Ballard Sailor

New England Part 1

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Our sailing vacation is winding down, we’re on our last trips and are sailing with the schedule of a 2 week vacationer for the first time this year and I am days, almost months and miles behind on the blog. I apologize, but it’s been just too damned fun!


So we left Nantucket early in the morning after our enjoyable “where’s Libra” experience and headed off to Martha’s Vineyard for a change of pace. Everyone had told us that Nantucket was the place, but with our experience there we hoped Martha’s Vineyard would be the place, and it absolutely was. Lake Tashmoo was amazing. We arrived Sunday evening and motored through the narrow shallow entrance with 6’ of water at low tide but the channel was well marked. The crazy part was the amount of boats anchored all over the bay, everywhere! We motored in and found a great anchorage with plenty of swing room near the city dock and watched boat after boat haul anchor and motor out. It must have been the biggest metal lifting event I have ever seen, I half expected the water to drain out of the bay through all the anchor holes. 2 hours after we anchored the bay was empty, we had it to ourselves! It blew all night, and the next day, but Lake Tashmooo has awesome protection so we decided to stay 2 nights and let the Mercy crew know to come here for a great quiet anchorage. Dinner and drinks on Mercy followed by long goodbyes as we were leaving them in the morning. Luckily we left Mercy and found our boat this time right where we had left her. A much better feeling!


The morning dawned grey and we headed over through Woods Hole and up to Quisset Harbor to get ice for the cooler before setting sail for New Bedford across Buzzards Bay. Winds were light and on the nose but we had plenty of time so we sailed along at 3 to 4 knots and I set our fishing line off the transom. Hours passed, so long that I forgot I was fishing and was below while Jennifer sailed. “You got something!” she yelled and up I ran to slowly pull in my hand line while a fish drug and jumped trying to shake the hook. It was a fun reel in and once aboard it was quickly killed and cleaned and set on ice. To me it looked like a trout, maybe an east coast salmon, so I did some research about the salmon. Well it turns out Salmon can’t be caught, pictured or held over the boat - guess we didn’t have a salmon eh, must be a striper.



So we finished our sail into New Bedford, eventually dropping down to the #4 as the afternoon winds piped up and then motored our way through the hurricane barrier and to our mooring in the inner harbor. Us being us, we found the cheapest place to tie up, it had showers, but nothing else - a great place. So basic were the showers that they were built out on a pier over the water and you could look out the drain at the bay’s water below. New Bedford Harbor reminded us of home like no other harbor on the east coast we had seen. Fishing boats way outnumbered pleasure boats and it just had that great feel of Ballard that we so missed. We toured town, showered, visited the parks and took a walk out to the hurricane barrier. They can actually close off the harbor, completely to combat a storm surge produced by a hurricane. WOW! We talked to the Army Corp engineers that were working on it and learned they actually close the gate all the time, basically for anything that might raise the water level above mean high water. Seems once the barrier was put in owners built closer and closer to the water, now even higher high water will flood the place. Funny stuff! We cooked up my fish for dinner, tasty white meat and after further sleuthing we determined it was an American Shad, basically a big herring - no wonder I thought it tasted good.


We left New Bedford with a sad feeling as it reminded us so much of home, but as soon as we turned the corner for the canal and realized the winds had piped up behind us, we set the chute for an epic run up Buzzards Bay - our sadness was quickly forgotten. We sailed all the way to Onset at the entrance to the Cape Cod Canal and found a great anchorage and quickly dinghy’d in to walk the small town. What a funny place. It has the normal expensive houses along the water but just two blocks back from the water we found ourselves in one of the most white trash towns I had ever seen! I watched a guy pull up in his car with what looked like a wife and kids inside, talk with a girl on the street then get out and walk to the corner market. Soon he came out with a small bag and as he got close you could tell it had one roll of toilet paper in it. He handed it to the girl on the street he had been talking out the window to and then drove off. Really! That has to be the funniest drug deal I have ever watched! Walking back to the boat we passed 4, then 5, then 6 patrol cars in the 3 block walk before we headed back out to the boat for the night.


We had a great night’s sleep on the hook and then walked Mac on Wickets Island in the morning. We hadn’t been there for more than 30 minutes, stumbling around in the rain before we headed back to the boat and found 5 ticks on Mac - a new record! We quickly pulled anchor from this funny place and motored out into the canal and turned North with full foulies on as it was still raining hard from the previous nights thunder showers. Half way through the canal we had stripped the layers off to the morning sun and once out in Massachusetts Bay and into the thin fog we were back to shorts and t-shirts. A long day of motoring brought us to Scituate and our mooring in the small harbor at the Scituate Yacht Club - a very crowded harbor. We walked Mac, played ball and then bedded him below so we could have a night on the town at the local pub (which MacIntosh wasn’t too happy about). Dinner and beers and then back to the boat, we leave for Boston in the morning.


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East Coast Cruise for 2012

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