Monday, August 27, 2012

My Summer Vacation

It's not quite back-to-school time and in any case, I'm not going back to school and neither are my adult children. But Laura, Bear and I did have a great nine day cruise on LIQUIDITY. The air was light the entire week but the mostly sunny weather balanced that quite nicely.

Day 1, Boston to Scituate - I pondered going north or south this year, waiting to see the weather window before deciding. South it was and off we went. This was our best sailing day, with a nice 10 ktot SW breeze. LIQUIDITY always feels at home in Scituate, more specifically on a Satuit Boat Club mooring ($35) as it's our usual stop heading either to Provincetown or to the Cape Cod Canal.

Day 2, Scituate to Red Brook Harbor - The weather forecast was "unsettled," with showers and thunderstorms predicted and we thought about taking a weather day. But figuring that I've been wet before and with the weather radar showing rain but nothing heavy, off we went. Yes it rained a bit but we managed to sail half the time and I didn't actually get very wet, so good decision on that front. Through the Cape Cod Canal, we put into Onset for fuel (actually to give Bear a break on a long sailing day) and then continued to Red Brook Harbor. The anchorage at Bassets Island was quiet for a Saturday night, given the weather. Bear had a blast running the beach and we all got a good swim in before settling in for the evening.

Day 3, Red Brook Harbor to Cuttyhunk - We got an early start to insure we'd get an inside mooring ($45) at Cuttyhunk.We sailed some, motored mostly and arrived at Cuttyhunk with lots of moorings to spare. We walked a bit, got sandwiches at the Island Market, visited the Cuttyhunk library, then rowed to the beach along the entrance channel to give Bear a good run and another swim. Speaking of the Cuttyhunk library, it's a delightful place. It being Cuttyhunk, the library still has its card catalog housed in oak. Cruising sailors can't take out books of course (unless you're staying for a bit) but there's a nice rack of paperback books that are graciously there for the taking. After Bear's swim we rowed back to the town dock and ordered lobster on the fish pier. Order at about 1400 and pick up your steamed lobster at 1745. Lobster dinner in the cockpit is one of the joys of Cuttyhunk.

Day 4, Cuttyhunk to Menemsha - First task was to call the Menemsha Harbormaster and reserve a mooring for the night. We left Cuttyhunk late morning to catch the current through Quicks Hole, then motored (another light air day) across Vineyard sound. We entered Menemsha against a strong ebb current, crawling at about 1 knot until we reached the basin. The two moorings in the basin at Menemsha are shared so be prepared with fenders and dock lines. We rafted port side to, keeping the starboard side deck and gate available for Bear, who's not quite mastered the transom mounted swim ladder. Shrimp and scallops from Larsen's, cooked on board, for dinner.

Day 5, Lying in Menemsha - Although it's a short row across the channel, we opted for the bike ferry rather than time slack tide going and coming. Around Menembsha Pond, Menemsha to Gay Head is a seven mile hike (i.e., fourteen round trip) but crossing the channel cuts that to less than four each way. We had a nice walk with Bear (try the deep fried hot dog at Gay Head and thanks to the tour bus driver for the fries he got but really didn't want), with a stop at Lobsterville beach on the way back. Sunsets in Menemsha are spectacular, by the way! This photo was taken from our mooring inside Menemsha basin.

Day 6, Menemsha to Lake Tashmoo - Lake Tashmoo's not listed as a stop in the cruising guide and I wasn't sure about the depth at the entrance and in the channel. The charts don't help much, either. I asked around (a lot) and everyone with local knowledge said go for it; just heed the markers. We left Menemsha at slack tide and rode the current nicely through Vineyard Sound. The entrance to Lake Tashmoo is nearly invisible until you get there but the approach is free of hazards. Based on my fathomer's readings, there's at least six feet at MLW. We anchored on the west side of the lake, straight across from the town dock.The dinghy dock is crowded but there seems to always be room for just one more. From the town dock to Vineyard Haven is an easy walk, less than a mile. Note that it's a very dark walk at night, without street lights. Bring a flashlight.

Day 7, Lying at Lake Tashmoo - Yes, it's that nice. Stay the extra day.

Day 8, Lake Tashmoo to Red Brook Harbor - 0800 departure to catch slack tide at Woods Hole. It was dead low tide but (to repeat) we had sufficient water under the keel and the channel is well marked and easy to follow. Light air, but we sailed and were making 3.5 knots until lighter air forced us to motor. (We weren't moving fast enough to offset the current in Vineyard Sound.) We hit Woods Hole at about the right time and had an easy passage through. With light but sufficient air on the other side and having gotten an early start, sailing to Red Brook, even beating, was a nice break from motoring. Inside Red Brook Harbor, we stopped at Parker's Boat Yard, taking on less than four gallons of diesel and more importantly topping off the water tank. Bear got a break while I filled up. We spent another great night at Bassets Island, where even the five powerboat raftup was fairly quiet.

Day 9, Red Brook Harbor to Scituate - You guesses it, light air once again. We left the anchorage at about 0830 to catch the current change in the Canal, just after 10. We were a long time on the motor (on this leg and overall this week!) so when a light easterly came up in the afternoon, the quiet was worth the slow pace. We made steady progress until the wind totally died in the late afternoon, motored into Scituate and were moored by about 1800. Bear was a trooper, on the boat without a break for about 10 hours. Good to know he has that kind of staying power.

Day 10, Scituate to Boston - Light air but with no rush we sailed most of it, much on a broad reach and some of it wing and wing. Always good to get home, on the one hand. Day 11 will be a much needed cleanup day.

Happy to answer questions and share what little bits of local knowledge I might have accumulated.

Fair winds.