Greetings from Boston! It’s crazy to think how far we have come up the east coast of the US – starting in April from Florida to arriving here in Boston in July. And we have one more state to go yet: Maine!
We left Port Jefferson, NY, last Friday, July 5, and made our way up Long Island Sound to Fisher Island, about two miles south of Mystic, CT. The wind was from the south so we anchored in a great little cove on the north side of the island. We fought currents going up the Sound, and I stand amazed at how much water is moving and then switches around and goes the other way, That’s a lot of water moving around every twelve hours or so!
The weather was a bit foggy as we arrived at Fisher Island, which was great for us as it was so much cooler. But on Saturday, July 6, we awoke to a very, very foggy morning. The fog cleared at times, but it always came back throughout the day and most of the time we could not see more than a few boat lengths around us. We were very grateful we had radar as we could see many boats around us and steer clear of them.
Interestingly, even though we had fog for the vast majority of the day we also had wind, at least for the latter half of the morning. It was only a 12 – 13 knot wind, but was helpful in our boat speed as we gained almost a knot of speed from it. We didn’t feel comfortable not having the motor going with all the fog so we motor sailed. Unfortunately shortly after noon the wind shifted from the south to southwest so was directly from behind and decreased to only 6 – 7 knots so we rolled the headsail in as it was no longer effective.
That evening we put the anchor down in the outer harbor of Hadley Harbor on the eastern end of the Elizabeth Islands. There are free mooring balls in the inner harbor of Hadley Harbor supplied by the Forbes Family, but they were all taken. Apparently the Forbes Family also supplies a harbormaster to help with the balls and incoming boats. Very nice of them! We will come back this way as we head south so maybe we will be able to get one then.
On Sunday, July 7, we headed to Falmouth, MA, to pick up our daughter, Kristi, who lives in Boston and was going to accompany us to the island of Martha’s Vineyard. The trip to Falmouth was only five miles from where we were, but we had to go through a treacherous cut called the Woods Hole Passage. It is a cut that is only about a half mile long, but the current rips through there at 4 knots or more so sailboats really have to time it right as there are rocks on either side of the passageway – not good! To go through that Sunday we couldn’t enter the cut until after 11:00 am when the current would then be going west to east – the direction we were headed. We wanted to pick Kristi up at 2:00 pm, and since it was only five miles we pulled up our anchor at 12:40 pm and headed the 0.8 miles to the cut. We had watched another sailboat go through the cut ahead of us and turn sideways as the currents hit it, so we were quite anxious. Thankfully it ended up being quite non-melodramatic and we passed through it without issue, and never once turned sideways. I did have to have a steady hand on the wheel as the currents tried to swing the boat, but it really went well. We even hit a boat speed of 10.6 knots so it was a very fast current. One we reached the open water to head to Falmouth we realized we were way too early to meet her so we rolled the sails out and cut the motor and sailed. Very nice!
We arranged to pick Kristi up at McDougall’s Fuel Dock in Falmouth as we wanted to fuel up, pump out the head tanks, and top off our water tanks anyway. We had not seen her since her stay with us five months ago in the Bahamas so we were excited to see her again! Another power boat had just pulled into the fuel dock as we arrived so we circled in the channel for about half an hour (the power boat took on over 300 gallons – just over $1000 in fuel!) but finally pulled in to greet and hug her!
We left the fuel dock and headed south to Martha’s Vineyard Island, a distance of only about six and a half miles and arrived at Vineyard Haven Harbor town dock where they were gracious enough to let us tie up to the side of their dock rather than stay on a mooring ball. It was the same price as a mooring ball but much more convenient in getting ashore. There was no electricity on the dock, but that was fine with us. They did have water available so I even got to wash the boat off at one point!
We stayed two nights at Martha’s and had a wonderful time. The town dock was located in a very cute, quaint town called Tisbury and the first night we were there we were treated to the local community band playing their music in the gazebo just up the hill. Reminded us of the community band that plays in Pentwater, MI, on Thursday nights. On Monday, July 8, we had a great time going out for coffee in a local eatery, walking about and doing Happy Hour at the Black Dog Tavern in town. That evening we enjoyed being a part of their Tisbury Street Fair, which absolutely took over the town and streets. How fun!
Early the next morning, Tuesday, July 9, we left the dock to bring Kristi back to her car at Falmouth and then head back through the Woods Hole cut. We had to leave that early to get through the cut going east to west this time. The current was to change direction at 9:50 am so we knew we were plenty early in going through it at 8:30 am already, but that also left us in a good position to go through the Cape Cod Canal with a favorable current. We did great going through the cut (top speed of 10.6 knots again!) and then entered Buzzard’s Bay and headed north east to the Cape Cod Canal.
The Cape Cod Canal is about 7 nautical miles long and if you time it right you have a great trip through it. If not, then it’s a long, tough slog. We couldn’t enter the canal until after 9:45 am so our timing was great as we arrived at the entrance at 10:35 am. It was a gorgeous canal with pretty bridges and a delightful walking/biking path on both sides for most of its distance. The current was definitely very brisk in our favor and our top speed ended up being an all-time high of 10.8 knots as we approached the Sagamore Bridge. We were flying! We entered the Atlantic Ocean at the end of the canal (it only took us 45 minutes to go through) and because it was such a bright, sunny day we were greeted with a huge expanse of beautiful ocean and glimmering waters. As we turned north we followed the coastline and were amazed at the beauty around us. We also were very soon in a field of hundreds of lobster pot buoys, but they were all very colorfully painted and very easy to see so it was actually fun to wind our way in between them.
That afternoon we put our anchor down in Warren’s Cove just off Plymouth, MA. The Mayflower is based in Plymouth but we found out it is still being restored and is not there so we didn’t go ashore – it also would have been a five mile dinghy ride to get ashore! It took us two tries to get the anchor to hold but once we got it set we were good. It is interesting to see the difference in holding in the various places we have anchored. As we head north we are seeing more rocky bottoms so have to hunt a bit to find a good holding.
Wednesday, July 10, we pulled up anchor at 8 am and headed to Boston! How amazing was that?! I know we have been to a lot of places, but it was always part of our dream to take our boat to Boston, and we were almost there. It was another clear day and once again the lobster pot buoys were so beautiful to see. It certainly made a difference that the sky was sunny, the sea was totally flat with only 1 – 3 knots of wind from the east because if it would have been rainy with 20 knots of wind and choppy seas I’m sure there would have been very little beautiful about the day!
Our plan was to anchor off Castle Island and Fort Independence just at the entrance to the Boston Harbor channel. But before we put our anchor down we took the opportunity to motor up the Boston Harbor channel right up to downtown and just be in awe that we had arrived. It was very humbling and amazing to be on our boat going up and then returning down the channel. God is good!
We are now anchored just off Castle Island and the South Boston Yacht Club has been super kind and helpful in allowing us to use their dinghy dock to go ashore. Thank you, South Boston Yacht Club!! The anchorage is very loud at times as we are right on the flight path of Logan Int’l Airport, depending on wind direction, but it is a great place to anchor. The wind has picked up today and is supposed to storm tonight, so it’s a little bumpy, but it’s good holding and we feel secure.
Today we spent a lot of time walking around Boston and were able to visit Kristi and see where she works! She works at an HR company called Clear Company and is located on the 49th floor of the John Hancock Building. It was so cool to be there and to meet some of the amazing people she works with. From their windows we could actually see our boat at Castle Park way off in the distance.
We will be staying here until Sunday where we will be going back up the Boston Harbor channel to the downtown area where we have reserved a mooring ball at the Boston Waterboat Marina. It is going to be so cool to stay there for three nights and be so close to the downtown Boston area. We are really looking forward to it! It will also allow us to have a couple of times where Kristi’s friends and colleagues can come and visit us on the boat. We’ll let you know how that all goes next week!