Day 100 - Provincetown, MA
09 July 2012 | On mooring at Provincetown, MA
Mon 9 Jul 2012
On mooring at Provincetown, MA
[photo: view of the dunes from the visitor center]
The evening was comfortably cool; in fact, Diane grabbed for extra covers at some point. The day dawned beautiful, clear and dry, and we were looking forward to a nice day of activities. We started by doing all our morning boat chores, then getting dressed and packed up for the launch to take us to shore. At least for our $55 per night on this mooring ball, we get the services of a large launch to take us back and forth at no extra charge.
Once ashore, we paid for 2 nights and got some great info on biking by the young woman at the desk; she also recommended a nice restaurant serving many specialty beers downtown. The bike ride took us to the northern tip of the cape along some park roads, and then through miles of winding and undulating paved trails through the beautiful sand dunes. Most of the time you could not see the water, but the dunes alone were very scenic. We did not know there was that much varied vegetation. It was just over 8 miles by the time we got back to the dock.
We are still very glad to have the bikes we do, but the one-speed design left us walking up several of the longer, steeper hills. It was a good cardio workout and eventually we arrived at the visitor's center at what appeared to be the highest elevation around. You could see for over 25 miles to the E end of the Cape Cod canal where there is a tall smokestack from a power plant.
The path we chose back to town was the road, and as we suspected, it did not undulate like the dunes and was more or less downhill all the way. When we got to Bradford and then Commercial Street, we were a bit shocked at the activity and abundance of storefronts. We had both forgotten just how quaint and interesting the Provincetown experience was. Anyone having visited here knows that the people you see along the street are the most interesting of all. It is definitely a place for those living alternative lifestyles.
With the bikes locked up, we strolled W along Commercial until we got to the Chamber of Commerce where we learned about the trolley. We waited for the 1130 trolley but it didn't arrive, so we called and were told they were only running on the hour now. OK, we waited until 1210 and called again and the woman who manages/owns it was not happy to learn that her trolley driver had still not shown up. We decided to forget it for today and walked much further W looking for the Nor'easter beer garden restaurant. Of course, we enjoyed the sights and sounds along the way, but eventually we stopped to ask directions, only to discover we had missed it.
Taking the other side of the street back, we found it and had a delicious lunch of fish tacos, home cut fries, and chowder. We split the meal and cup of chowder and had three ales between us. It was plenty and we enjoyed it.
The liquor store was on the way back to the bikes so we got two bottles and then rode to the Stop n' Shop which turned out not to be too far, but up a long hill. Then we discovered a liquor store right there that would have saved us the trouble of carrying the load up the hill, but that's the way it goes sometimes. Diane reprovisioned and got some stuff for a picnic supper on the beach. We will launch the dinghy and go the 1.5 miles to the very tip of the cape, called Long Point.
One very notable item is the number of bicycles in town. In just a few hours we saw hundreds of bikes riding just as fast as (or faster than) the vehicular traffic (5 mph on average) on Commercial Street. No one seemed to get too worked up about whether you are on the sidewalk, road, or even going against traffic. At the supermarket, there were 3 huge bikes racks and perhaps 3 dozen bikes there with people shopping. Surely these are not all homeless people or those with recent DUI convictions; they just use eco-friendly transportation and get some good exercise doing it.
Back at Diva Di, Diane stowed the provisions and we relaxed for a bit until it was time to stow the bicycles and lower the dinghy to go to Long Point beach. It started out fine, but when we got to the beach, Duane got out in waist deep water which did not feel all that cold. I walked the dinghy in toward the surf line 20 feet away to let Diane out. Little did we know that the fast ferry had just left the dock and had started its high speed run back to Boston. The first we knew of it was the crashing sound of its wake, amplified by coming into shallow water very rapidly, hitting the shore 50 feet to our left. Next thing we knew, there were 3 foot breaking waves slamming me in the back and tossing the dinghy up even higher, with Diane in it. Worse, she was holding both of our drinks but she did not let much spill.
We endured 4-5 more of these waves, during which at least 30 gallons of water sloshed into the dinghy and soaked most of our beach gear, plus Diane. Because we decided to go to the beach in mid-afternoon, we had chosen not to bring our picnic supper; that proved to be a fortunate decision. Diane finally disembarked and trundled inland 20 feet while I anchored the dinghy in 3 feet of water to help guard against another assault such as this. Pulling the dinghy onto the beach would only expose it to other wakes and flood it again.
This was not how Diane wanted to enjoy the beach, soaking wet with (to her) cold water and all our gear soaked as well. I elected to sip my beverage in chest deep water hanging onto the dinghy and enjoying the gorgeous weather and scenery. I asked several other people what temperature they thought the water was, and got some ridiculous answers, so my best guess is 70F. About 40 minutes later, we agreed that we would try again tomorrow (yes, we are staying yet another day) and hope for a better time.
We had our "picnic" supper aboard Diva Di: seafood salad, sushi, and avocado slices. The early evening was delightful, in fact, cool with the waning sun and NE breeze off the Atlantic. The only thing making this less than ideal was the wakes from the occasional large boat in the harbor.
We are very excited to be visiting with our good friends from home (Punta Gorda, FL), Bruce and Anne, in Gloucester starting Fri. Staying here an extra day will not change that plan as we will simply adjust what we do between here and there. No weather issues appear to be of concern this week.