Wayward Dink Syndrome
Wayward Dinghy Syndrome
Monday, August 19, 2013
A totally unique to boating experience presents itself on occasion. It is Wayward Dinghy Syndrome or WDS. It is well past sunset and there are those that do not retire with the sun, usually the younger sailors. In a place like Edgertown, there are ample opportunities to stay up late and party. The chances of that happening are inversely proportional to the age of the crew, hence no longer a worry to this crew. For some, the trip to shore to boogie down is not until after sunset but for most it happens just before sunset. Either way, the WDS awaits those that return after dark.
My last look at the topside world happens usually around 2100. At that time of night, one can often hear very small outboard engines rattling in the night anchorage. The boat seldom has running lights for only a white light is required and a flashlight meets that requirement. For rowed boats no light is necessary by law but prudent to prevent some other boat from adding one to the food chain. That said, tonight was no different. I heard a small engine, which seemed to be getting closer. I did not see lights in the direction of the sound. The sound indicated an erratic course, which usually means the crew is looking for their boat after having failed to leave a light on. So, these lost souls are wandering around looking for something familiar. After a few minutes of looking for the lost crew, a mini light started to flash our direction. Scurv was on guard and watched intently. A low toned bubble bark emitted from his face. Ever so slowly, the crew wandered past and into the night. They were still at it twenty minutes later, and then the sound died. Guess they found the mother ship. All is well. No, wait! Another crew is meandering toward us in search of their boat. And so it goes well into the wee hours of the morning.
Of this event, I remember the owner of S/V Anchuca who failed to leave a light aboard when we were anchored in the lee of Mud Island, Texas. The beach picnic ended about 2200 and it was time for all to return to their boats. The winds were blowing us away from shore toward our boats. If one did not find their boats, they would ultimately end up in Rockport, Texas some six miles distant. Dennis and his man powered dink rowed off into the forming fog of the late evening. An hour later after much rowing, he finally found the boat a mere two hundred yards from shore. When his lights came on, we all retired. He was safe.
Falmouth to Martha's Vineyard
08/19/2013, Edgartown, Mass
Falmouth to Martha's Vineyard
August 19, 2013
We spent only an afternoon and night in Falmouth and know little about the place except it was an attractive yet small harbor. I thought we would sail to Nantucket but the guides and the information on Active Captain indicated that it might not be a good choice due to the limited harbor and high traffic. What did we do? We sailed to a harbor even more crowded, Edgartown Harbor on Martha's Vineyard. Fortunately, this is a popular village with a rich history and enough moorings for a huge crowd. We knew about the need for reservations for a mooring. That was not the case this time. Since the mooring field is oriented away from the town, one can have quite a dink ride to town.
There are few slips available in town. They are the most expensive we know in our entire cruise. One marina charges about $10 per foot per night. I am not sure I could sleep after dropping $400 for a night in a slip. The $40 for a mooring is the going rate around here.
Bear and I walked around Edgartown today. The usual tee shirt shops are missing. Shops are upscale and seem to feature art, jewelry and antiques. There are several fine examples of highly varnished classic designed sloops in the harbor. One would expect such. We did not see a single lobster float on the 12-mile sail to this place. That made for a very nice day.
From here, we sail west back into Long Island Sound via Block Island. That will be a long day. It will be good to see some places we missed along the way once we are back in the Sound. Of the five boats we have tracked, three are still in Maine. Two are on roughly our same itinerary. We hope to see the boats in Maine again. Maybe we will see Team Ruff again somewhere.
Plymouth to Falmouth
Plymouth to Falmouth
August 16, 2013- Plymouth to New Bedford
The original idea of sailing to Wood's Hole flew out the window when we learned that Wood's Hole is not a big spot and there are very few moorings and no anchorage there. Since the winds were whipping up past Fresh Breeze on the scale, we kept her nose in the wind and the waves and slogged our way back to New Bedford. At least that harbor was somewhat protected. We needed fuel anyway and WH had zero fuel docks. As we got close, we decided to take a slip and rest some. It gave us an opportunity to learn more about the city and its history. What a history it has! New Bedford was, as mentioned earlier, the whaling capitol of the US. Several city blocks now form a National Park commemorating that and there is (wait for it) a whale of a museum on the subject. I ruined my feet walking over to it. As it also turns out, Herman Melville, author of Moby Dick did not sail out of Nantucket. He lived for a while in and sailed out of NB.
August 18, 2013 - New Bedford to Falmouth
The weather was fair today and wind light most of the day. We want to see Nantucket, which poses two possibilities as to course. We could whip down the bay to Cuttyhunk or sail to Wood's Hole and through the canal into Nantucket Bay and Falmouth on the southern shore of Cape Cod. Cuttyhunk was reported to be completely sold out (no place to dock or anchor over the weekend) so we chose the latter. It was only 12 miles to WH and again right into the wind. We got to the channel past WH and through the Elizabeth Island chain at near slack tide. The IPhone app said we would be opposed by a .9 know current by the time we got there. Wrong! I dropped the last of the dilithium crystals in and could only manage 3.2 knots passing the world's preeminent ocean research harbor. Once past, things eased a bit and we made Falmouth Harbor at 1420. Again, all the moorings were taken and no anchoring in the harbor. Took another slip. We caught up with S/V Rigel that left Solomons Island with us on May 18. We think we will sail to Nantucket tomorrow. Meanwhile, it is raining here for now.
The Plymouth of the Mayflower
August 15, 2013
We left Salem this morning in a perfect weather situation. We sailed past Boston since we have been there before albeit twenty years ago. The idea was to get close to the Cape Cod Canal so that we can ride the tides through and make Woods Hole on Buzzard's Bay tomorrow.
We had a chance to sail today and enjoyed it. It has been some time since we have had the chance to take our time and simply sail. The destination was the harbor where the Mayflower landed a while ago. This is a complicated harbor with extremely shallow, narrow curving channels about two miles into the natural protection. It is no wonder the Mayflower chose this place but I am guessing they ran aground a number of times. We took a mooring in the outer harbor and chose to refrain from going ashore since we have been here before.
More on Salem
More on Salem
August 14, 2013
We took today as a layday in Salem. As is our custom, we took a local trolley tour to get a snapshot of the community. During that one hour tour, we learned a great deal about the history of this place. Salem is not just about the witch trials. In fact, all of the relics of that time have been removed long ago except for the house of the magistrate who presided over the trials. Salem is much more than that to our history. For instance, the first shot "heard around the world" almost took place here were it not for two practical officers. The local militia commander stopped the British commander sent to seize the militia weapons. They had a parley wherein they decided to let the Brit inspect an area in town conspicuously absent weapons and head back to Boston in exchange for which the militia, who outnumbered them two to one, would not fire. Later the boys at Concord and Lexington seized the moment to start the Revolution.
Back to Salem's contribution to America: At one time the customs collected here accounted for roughly one-fifth of the national revenue. Pirates were here before those pirates. Blackbeard left is love behind on Isle of Shoals, New Hampshire (30 miles away) when the British showed up to capture him. They did not do so nor did old Edward Teach return. His lady love died of a broken heart there. Marblehead, just around the point, hosted many a pirate.
Maine to Massachusetts
Kittery to Salem
August 13, 2013
We decided to leave the dock in Kittery and go out the anchorage to await the predicted rain event for today. What actually happened was different. We sailed by the anchorage and on to Salem. That took us due south to Cape Ann thence west to Salem.
This is a way cool place. Perhaps it is not as glitzy as some but as much a part of American maritime history as any other port. This place actually celebrated 400 years of being a seaport. At one time, it was the largest and ranked in the top five for almost 200 years. The witch thing was merely a distraction along the way and most of what we have been told or understand about that era is false. Back to maritime stuff: we are anchored in the harbor where ships have dropped the hook for all those years. Granted, there have been a few changes to the waterfront but the body of water holds the imagination as to how it may have appeared before the big power plant on shore and the zillion or so mooring floats were here. This natural deep harbor protected ships from the rowdy water of the Atlantic. How it must have been so welcomed after two years before the mast. Fish and other sea related goods from this place rounded the horns to exotic places where they were exchanged for spices and goods. Sea Captains made fortunes in the trades, yet the houses on the old waterfront are modest. Many of them are still here. Several are still standing and still occupied that were built in the 18th century. Some were built in the 17th century. Imagine that.
In the near future, we will pass through the Cape Cod Canal and sail back into Long Island Sound. Along the ware are several "must see" places that we might visit. We are now pushed a bit by our desire to "get south" and avoid the cold grips of autumn. We are still undecided where we will leave Why Knot when we come home for the holidays.