Tag Archives: Cape Cod Canal

Déjà vu Boston!

Onset to Boston

Thursday (7/8) – Boston, MA

We had a weather window today to get up to Boston before the winds picked up, and trying to take advantage of the current through the Cape Cod Canal.  We left around 7:30 am and headed out onto Buzzards Bay. It was a little windy compared to yesterday, and Denise was very nervous about the conditions we would face once on the other side of the canal. The seas were forecasted at 1’ – 3’ and a northeast wind.  Every other time we have come through this way we have had near perfect weather and her anxiety for this passage was high.  Although our cruise north should only take about 2.5 to 3 hours, it can seem like an eternity when conditions bring on seasickness, or rough seas.

As expected, cruising the Cape Cod Canal was uneventful, even with the swirls of swift currents wanting to take our boat in different directions.  But with many pictures already of this area, Denise was light on the camera and only took a few shots of some uniquely spotted items along the way.

We exited the Canal and headed out onto the Cape Cod Bay on a course that would take us near the channel entrance to Plymouth, one of several bail-out locations we had identified should things get too rough.  It was quite bumpy and uncomfortable, but not so rough we couldn’t handle it.  There were periodic swells that came from the northeast, and about every 6th or 7th would be a 2-4 footer.  But the seas were a bit confused from the shifting wind direction of the prior days and in between the swells there would be a bump or two.  As we rounded the point around Plymouth Channel and the Plymouth Bay, things stayed about the same and we felt that if it didn’t get any worse we would press on with Situate as our next potential stopping point.  One thing we had going for us was that there was little true wind, so there were no whitecaps or tops of waves rolling into us.  Had this been the case it would have been miserable.

We entered the Massachusetts Bay and our course shifted slightly more northwest, making it slightly more comfortable. It also helped that what little wind we did have up until now had calmed down even more.  By the time we reached Situate we only had 10 more miles to go before turning into the south channel for Boston Harbor, and we knew we could make it all the way into Constitution Marina on the Charles River.  But it was still too rough to try and take any kind of decent pictures.

As we entered the south channel, the small barrier islands created a swirl of currents and chop and we were back to bumpy waters.  But they were short-lived and before long we were in the main shipping channel into Boston Harbor.  Captain Mark negotiated us around an anchored ship and dodged several sailing schools who were taking advantage of the wind to teach their students.  And of course under the landing planes at Logan Airport.

Most unnerving during this time we also heard on the VHF a call to the USCG for a pleasure craft taking on water, who was located just south of where we had just passed by.  The USCG launched two vessels to assist, along with a TowBoatUS vessel. As we entered downtown Boston area, the solo-captain radioed that he was able to get his bilge pumps to keep up with the inflow of water and eventually got a tow into Boston Harbor. Our hearts went out that boat owner and we kept thinking how lucky we are that there are two of us to work together should something like this ever happen to us. And then we arrived at Constitution Marina.

Our slip assignment was on one of the inner side-tie slips by the pool and marina office, requiring a tight right, then another right, then a left turn to get to it.  Captain Mark did an awesome job of navigating the tight turns and docking our Island Office without touching the boats in front and behind us.  Denise worked to secure the boat with the help of the dockmaster (Sebastien) who remembered us and welcomed us back.  And then as she turned to see the boat behind ours (stern to stern), and read the name she couldn’t believe it.  The boat “Travail” was there, as it had been behind us in 2017 when we first came to this marina. You can read about that story from our blog here.  The owner Bob was not on the boat, but was expected back to take it home to NH in a few days.  We were excited that we might be able to see him again after all this time.

“Travail”

Once the boat was settled, we ate lunch and mapped out our plan for the stay.  We had work to do, a blog to update and plans to make. But more importantly, we had to check on the weather.  The forecast called for rain to begin in the evening and Tropical Storm Elsa to hit the area on Friday. This meant we would be here for 2 nights at least. We spent the afternoon doing work for clients, and began planning our next destinations once we leave.  We had already decided we would not be stopping in Gloucester, even though we received a partial refund from on our cancellation.

Meanwhile, the threatening rain had not yet showed up and we decided to walk to the North End for dinner. We were going to go to Regina’s Pizza, but a local suggested we got to Ernesto’s instead and we agreed to try something new.  Denise was disappointed that the usual walk over the locks for the Charles River was closed to pedestrian traffic, so no “playing” of the “Charlestown Bells” along the route.  Instead we were forced back up on the North Washington Street Bridge, which was undergoing a major construction and rebuilding project.  Once at Ernesto’s we discovered a small pizzeria with limited seating, but award plaques on the wall with great reviews.  We thought the pizza was good, but the atmosphere at Regina’s is so much better and decided we prefer the pizza there too.

On the way back to the boat, we had to walk past Bova’s the bakery that is open 24 hours a day. Naturally, we had to stop and get a box of various Italian cookies; our favorite thing they sell. And as we made our way back across the North Washington Street Bridge it started to lightly sprinkle, but didn’t last long.

At Bova’s Bakery

That night we began watching the second season of “Lupin” on Netflix; a great robbery crime-drama that has English dubbed over French, but is very well done. We were so happy to finally have a good Wi-Fi system and that we could again stream a show in the evening without burning up our hotspot hours.

Friday (7/9) – Boston, MA

We woke up to the constant pitter-patter of rain and looked out on a gloomy looking day. It had started to rain during the night and continued throughout the morning, and the wind picked up, although neither were quite as strong as forecasted.  Meanwhile, the area around Cape Cod was getting pummeled by Elsa and we were so glad we were no longer there.  Again, we made the right call! 

Off and on throughout the day it was so foggy you could barely see the buildings downtown across the Charles River, let alone the tops of the taller ones.  We spent the entire day holed up on the boat, working and getting the last blog update done and pictures downloaded and cataloged.  We also spoke to family and friends, many who were concerned for our well-being (thank you!).  Additionally, the every-direction-changing wind pushed water into places that funneled into the boat.  We knew there were leaks, we just have not been able to find out where they originate. So far all we can do is use towels and catch basins to collect the water. It is a rare occurrence, but irritating nonetheless.

In the afternoon, the rains finally stopped and we had a chance to connect with Bob (“Travail”) who arrived on his boat mid-morning during the rain. We chatted for a while and made plans to get together for drinks and dinner, which we did.  Again we walked over to the North End, only this time we went to an Italian restaurant he knew of called “Limoncello”.  It was located right near Paul Revere’s house and was delicious, and yes, Mark got his usual (chicken parmigiana) and during dinner, the sun finally came out.

Afterwards we went to “Caffe Vittoria” for a cappuccino (Denise) and spumoni (Bob), as per Bob’s tradition introduced to us in 2017.  During the time together, we got caught up on each other’s lives and Bob suggested places in Maine, but most of them we had already been to, or are planning on going to this trip.

We ended the evening watching more of season 2 of the “Lupin” series and deciding that we would spend Saturday night in Boston as well.  This would allow us to be able to attend church here on Saturday evening, and allow for us to go all the way to Portland or the surrounding area on Sunday morning as the weather looked to be favorable for that.

Saturday (7/10) – Boston, MA

This morning Denise was so happy!  She was heading out for a run along her now-familiar route along the Charles River when she met up with another woman also heading out for a run.  “Nancy” did not know the area and so Denise took her down the Charles River to MIT. During the run she learned they were on a sailboat in the marina and also heading to Maine. They talked about all things running and places to go in Maine and learned a little bit about each other. Denise was elated to finally have someone to run with!

After the run, showers and breakfast, we both got down to doing some boat chores.  We had a chance to meet some of the other transients in nearby boats, including Lon and Pat (“End Game”) from Ponte Vedra, FL.  They were on a Fleming 55, hull #200 and we discussed all things boating.  They were planning to do the Down East Loop and because of Canada not reopening, they too are now headed directly to Maine. We hope to see them in the future.

“End Game”

In the afternoon we walked the quarter mile up to St. Mary’s Catholic Church for 4:00 pm mass.  It is a beautiful church and the closeness to this church is another reason we love Constitution Marina.  From there we walked another quarter mile to Whole Foods to pick up a few things for our trip.  This is our last true provisioning before Maine and we wanted to make sure we had enough fruits and veggies for a week.

We returned to the boat and talked briefly to Bob (“Travail”) and Lon & Pat (“End Game”), as we all were heading out in the morning to our respective destinations.  We then ate dinner on the boat and finished watching season 2 of “Lupin”.  Then we went to be early as we planned for an early departure (6:30 am) so we could be at Harbor Fuels when they opened at 7:00 to top off our fuel tank.  Off we will be to Maine, finally!

Old friend reunion in Onset!

Fairhaven to Onset

Monday (7/5) – Onset, MA

It was time to move on from Fairhaven, and we had a good weather day to do just that.  We would have loved to stay longer as these people were so great to us, but Maine is our goal and it was time to say good bye.  As we readied the boat to leave and eventually pull away, Pat, Anthony, Brian and Penny were there for hugs, handshakes and the wave goodbye.  The people on “C” dock were also out and about and gave us a warm send off as well.

Anthony waving goodbye

We exited the New Bedford Harbor and headed out past the hurricane wall to a nice day on Buzzards Bay. Our destination was the Village of Onset, near Cape Cod. Onset is on the mainland side and is the last harbor area before entering the Cape Cod Canal and transiting to the Cape Cod Bay.  The purpose of stopping here was to connect with Douglas, one of Mark’s long-time friends from Miami and groomsman in our wedding. His still-living parents have a summer home in Onset and many of the family members were going to be there.  When we found out he would be there as well, we knew we had to coordinate a stopover to see everyone.

The travel time to Onset was only 90 minutes and with it being a holiday, there were quite a few boats on the water.  We easily entered the channel for the Onset Harbor and made our way to Point Independent Yacht Club (PIYC) where we had a reservation.  We secured the boat, checked in with the dockmaster and attempted to make contact with Douglas.  We were a day earlier than expected so we were not surprised that it wasn’t until later that day that we actually connected; he had spent the day on the beach that surrounds this pretty harbor.

During the afternoon, the winds really picked up and the boat, which was side-tied on the outer dock was really rocking. Just to get off the boat, we walked the docks of the yacht club, meeting several of the members who were incredibly inviting and friendly to us. We talked with them for a while and they gave us suggestions of places to go and things to see. On their suggestion, we walked into the Village of Onset and went to Glen Cove Inn & Restaurant for dinner. To get there we had to cross a small bridge over the East River that leads to Broad Cove. Then in the next block stood this beautiful inn and restaurant, where we had a terrific meal. We returned back to PIYC and ended the day with a terrific sunset.

Glen Cove Hotel & Restaurant
Overlooking Broad Cove
Sunset over Onset Harbor

Tuesday, (7/6) – Onset, MA

In the morning we were able to make contact with Douglas and he invited us to come over to the house. So we walked the few blocks from the yacht club to where it was located, just one lot from the Onset Beach.  We visited with the family members there, including his mom & dad, cousin, two sons, nephews, etc.   We also had a chance to meet Sissy, who has been with Douglas for the last 10 years, but whom we had never met.  We sat around talking for a long while, getting caught up on each other’s lives and hearing about what is going on in Miami Shores, where the parents still live. It had been years since we had been able to see each other, despite several attempts when we were in the Miami area.

Sissy and Douglas wanted to see our boat, so we walked back to PIYC to give them the grand tour and snap a few pictures.

Sissy had afternoon plans with her son, daughter-in-law and grandchild, who were also visiting, but Douglas wanted to go to lunch with us. So the three of us walked into the Village of Onset for a late lunch at a place called Quahog Republic. Along the way Douglas would share stories of his adventures as a kid coming to this place, and how much fun it is to see his own sons (4 of them) participate in the same adventures.  We had a great time laughing and talking, and the food was good too. But the company and a nice cold beer was the perfect recipe for a perfect day

Douglas & Mark at Quahog Republic
Quahog Republic

After lunch we went back to the house for more visiting and meeting Sissy’s son, daughter-in-law and grand-daughter.  We also learned more about this house that has been in the family since the 1950’s originally owned by Douglas’s grandfather, and now owned by his dad. Over the years, the house has been a summer gathering spot for Douglas, his siblings, and now his own kids and their cousins. It is filled with lots of traditions and history, and we learned about many of them as well as the surrounding area.

Douglas’ family home

Later in the afternoon, Douglas was kind enough to let us use his car for a quick trip to the grocery store.  Afterwards, Mark dropped Denise and the groceries at the boat, then he went back to the house for more visiting with Douglas and his family.  He stayed longer than expected, but Denise relished the “alone” time and Mark had fun with his old friend from “the hood”.  Mark returned before dinner, but since we had a late lunch we were not hungry and ended up with a light snack later in the evening instead.

We took some pictures around Onset and of the PIYC :

Onset Beach
Home in Onset with butterfly bench

Throughout the day we had been watching the weather back home and the tracking of Hurricane/Tropical Storm Elsa.  Our concern was for our home, which was not in the direct path, but we know from Hurricane Charley (2004) that things can change.  We also were watching the forecasted path for the storm and wondering when we should leave for Gloucester, MA, our next stop and where we had already made reservations for a mooring ball in the harbor. We decided to wait until the morning weather forecast to make a final decision.

Wednesday (7/7) – Onset, MA

Based on input from the locals we met in the yacht club on Monday, Denise went for a nice, but hilly run in the Onset area.  First she ran to and through a golf club community, and then through the Village of Onset and was able to capture a few sites in pictures.

In the morning, we looked at the weather and made the decision to wait one more day to leave. The weather looked good for Thursday, but we would leave early in the morning in order to catch the tide through the Cape Cod Canal.  We also had chores to do, so we immediately set out to get these done, including changing the boat’s transmission oil (Mark) and doing 2 loads of laundry (Denise) at the yacht club. We also talked with family who now reported that Elsa had a nominal impact on Central Florida, but was headed for the Carolina’s and up the eastern seaboard over the weekend.

After lunch Mark had several conference calls, and Denise went to the Village of Onset Post Office to mail a few things, arriving while they were still closed for the lunch hour.  Not wanting to waste time, she went window shopping through some of the stores in the Village until they reopened.  Once the errand was complete, she returned to the boat, passing by the town wharf that was now very crowded as the sunny day and now warmer temperatures brought many to Onset Beach.

In the afternoon, Douglas’ brother David came by with his wife Laura to see our boat.  We had last seen David in 2004 when we visited Onset by car on our way to Cape Cod.  We had a chance to talk for a while, but would not see them again as they were leaving in the morning to go back to their home in West Virginia.

Also during the afternoon a Tropical Storm Watch had been issued for the Cape Cod area and we did not like the weather forecast for Gloucester. The potential impact of Elsa had us concerned that we would be spinning on a mooring ball for 4 nights and through a tropical storm in a very large and open harbor.  We evaluated the option of staying in Onset, but we would be exposed here a bit too.  Then Denise suggested we consider going into Boston instead; we knew we would be protected at the Constitution Marina where we have stayed several times.  Mark called and confirmed they did had space and would be able to accommodate us.  He also called Gloucester harbormaster to cancel our mooring reservation, and was directed to cancel the reservation through DOCKWA, where we had made the original reservation.  We feared we would not get a refund, but agreed to deal with that later. We now had a protected area that we could ride out the storm safely.  We would still leave early in the morning and head now to Boston instead of Gloucester (10 miles shorter in distance).

Meanwhile, during the day we made plans to go to dinner with Douglas and Sissy.  In the evening we walked over to the house, and had pre-dinner drinks and more conversation with all the family.  Then Douglas drove us on to Cape Cod and the town of Catumet to eat at The Chart Room.  This is a very popular place and it was packed when we arrived, even on a weeknight. We knew in advance it would be a long wait for dinner and we were ok with that as this was a great opportunity to spend more time together before we leave in the morning.  The restaurant overlooks a marina, so we walked around the grounds, and took some pictures before our table was ready.  We had a terrific meal and a great time, staying later than we normally would.  Afterwards Douglas and Sissy dropped us at the yacht club and we said good-bye, promising to connect again soon.  We now have our eyes set on a Miami Boat Show weekend as a possible get together in February 2022, and David may even come down too.

The Chart Room Signage
At the Chart Room

It had been a great few days with these fine people and we look forward to another opportunity to get together again. PIYC is a terrific club and we really enjoyed the beauty and hospitality of the place. We just may have to stop here again on our way home.