Sunday (9/5) – Fairhaven, MA
We were up early and left Constitution Marina just before 7:30 am as we had a long day planned. Although it was overcast skies, the wind was fairly light and we were hoping it would stay that way so we could go a long distance today. Our ultimate goal was to reach Stonington, Connecticut, but that was quite aggressive and we would be happy to even get to Newport, RI if that was as far as we could make it.
We headed out of Boston Harbor, leaving this ever-growing skyline behind and made our way through the south channel to the Bay of Massachusetts. This route took us around several rock islands and not far from the Boston light. It was a little bumpy on the Bay, but very tolerable at this point. We had bailouts planned for the entire route, including at Situate, a place we have wanted to stay, but not on Labor Day weekend. It was only 1 hour out of Boston and we were comfortable enough to continue with our journey.
We ran somewhat along the shoreline, but only because we had to stop for fuel. Around 9:30 we pulled into Green Harbor near the town of Marshfield and pulled into Taylor Marine to fill up our tank with diesel. This is the cheapest fuel in all of Massachusetts and they go through about a 1000 gallons a week supporting the local fishing fleet and other cruising boats. One of the Taylor family members assisted us with the fuel up and shared the history of this multi-generation marina and fuel stop. He also told us how the area was used in many movie shoots including “The Finest Hours” – a terrific movie about a daring Coast Guard rescue off of Cape Cod during a blizzard in 1952.
After our fuel stop we headed back out to the Bay, and soon afterwards we passed Plymouth Lighthouse and the town of Plymouth.
Just 20+ miles later we approached the Cape Cod Canal. It is easy for us to know where it is as just inside of the canal is the large power plant that is visible for miles offshore.
We entered the canal and although we had tried to time it so we would have the current in our favor all the way to the western end, it didn’t work out that way. It was neither slack nor outflowing, but more like conflicting currents that moved our boat around a bit. We had to cruise at a slow speed because of our large wake (the canal has a speed limit too), which made fighting the cross currents a bit more challenging than if we could have powered through it. But Captain Mark handled it well and we cruised along under all the bridges and past the Massachusetts Maritime Academy.
And as we headed south, so did the water conditions. We went from a bit bumpy due to conflicting currents (expected) to full blown unexpected rough seas in no time. We were now on Buzzards Bay but still within the breakwater, and the conflicting currents against the west wind bounced against the breakwater and really stirred things up. Add to that the boats that passed us throwing huge wakes, and we were looking at 4 foot waves with whitecaps and chop coming at us from all sides. Mark had to slow the boat down and Denise had to sit in her helm chair to keep from falling. We decided we would not stay on Buzzards Bay, and immediately considered our bailout options, knowing wherever we ended up would be a two-night stay due to impending weather.
Of immediate consideration was Marion, where we stayed in 2017. It is not a well-protected harbor but it was only 2 miles away. Mark suggested we at least press on to the New Bedford-Fairhaven area, but it meant 8 more miles in the sloppy waters. Denise agreed and thankfully, the new course put us into a somewhat more comfortable ride so we could speed up the boat to 20 kts again. However, it was still a miserable 8 miles until we could turn into the channel and be protected by the land to our south.
In the meantime we had called Brian (“Pennywise”) the TowBoatUS operator and our friend at the ARSBC who told us when we left in July that we would always have a slip when we wanted one. He put us in touch with PJ, the dockmaster there, who confirmed they had a spot for us on their guest dock.
By the time we got to the breakwater, we had been in communication with Jean, who was at the dock to meet us, along with her husband Marsby and another of our friends (Anthony) to help us with the tie up. They gave us a great “welcome back” greeting, set us up with key fob for entry into the clubhouse, and Wi-Fi pass code.
It was just before 1:00 pm and although we had already gone 77 miles, we were disappointed we did not get further. However, this is part of the adventure, and in 2 days we would continue our journey further south, hopefully getting past the Narragansett Bay. For now, we will wait out the coming bad weather and enjoy our time with our old friends at ARSBC.
Once we settled the boat, we were now hungry for lunch, but today we felt like we deserved a bit of a celebration with our usual fare.
Brian came by to say hello once he got home from his (TowBoatUS) tow, and advised us that Penny was out of town for the long weekend; sadly we will miss her. We chatted for a while and once again he offered his generous hospitality. Mark requested information about a diver who could put the zinc on our shaft as the one in Boston was unable to do so before we left. Brian said he did, but the guy had a commitment for tomorrow and since we would be leaving the next day it wasn’t going to work out. This will have to wait until we are in a location for more than a day or two.
All afternoon it was very windy and it remained overcast, eventually the rain came but it was just drizzle and not the heavy rain that was expected. We spent the rest of the day hunkered down: Mark had some catchup emails to work on and Denise worked on a blog posting. We chose to eat dinner on the boat, in part because we had learned that nothing is open in the area on a Sunday.
Monday (9/6) – Labor Day, – Fairhaven, MA
We woke up this morning and it was still overcast, although it was forecasted to clear up. Because it was still windy and the boat was bouncing a lot, we chose to go up to the clubhouse to do some work. Yes, it was a holiday, but we had work to do and wanted to take advantage of the WIFI which was much stronger at the clubhouse then on the dock.
The clubhouse was quiet and comfortable, we had the whole place to ourselves, and we were able to get a lot of things accomplished. We left only for lunch, then returned back afterwards for a good bit of the afternoon, enabling us to even get a blog posting done. It was really weird how the ARSBC was so quiet now compared to how it was when we were here over the July 4th holiday.
Since the weather cleared up during the afternoon and it was nice and sunny, we decided to grill out for dinner. Mark cooked us steaks on the club grill while Denise roasted some potatoes and made a salad. We then confirmed our plans for departure tomorrow and settled in for the night. Mark had his nose in a Tom Clancy novel (there was actually one he had not yet read) while Denise organized and cataloged pictures until we went to bed.