…almost getting lynched by the postmistress!
The day started perfectly – we weighed anchor in beautiful Onset Bay at 7:35 am and headed over to the Point Independence Yacht Club, where the very helpful and friendly dockmaster Glen helped us fill up with water, diesel and dinghy fuel as well as pump out. As we motored away sipping our freshly pressed coffee in the early morning sunshine, we contemplated how lucky we are to be doing this, and living this life.
We had a calm crossing of Buzzards Bay, contrary to its reputation for making even the sturdiest of stomachs (i.e. not ours) queasy, and enjoyed seeing the picturesque lighthouse in the channel.
It was almost lunchtime when I negotiated the narrowest channel I have ever helmed though – the approach channel into Cuttyhunk Pond. Cuttyhunk is the furthest of the aptly named Elizabeth Islands, which branch out from Cape Cod into Buzzards Bay. The channel was narrower and longer than that into Small Harbour in the Bras d’Or lakes…..and as there was a power cat coming in the opposite direction, a little nail-biting. But once in and anchored, we could enjoy the spectacular setting of a natural protected harbour and a beautiful unspoilt island.
We met a neighbouring cruiser, Rick who came by in his dinghy to ask about our wind generator. He was familiar with the island, having been here several times, and gave us the low-down on what to see and do. We took the dinghy in and set out to hike to the look-out point on a hill in the town of Gosnold. Cuttyhunk is one of those rare places where time stands still ….almost. The one room schoolhouse still exists, but there are only two students, a brother and sister, where once there were 25. That was when the regional coastguard station was still on the island (pre-1964), so Wyatt told us. We met the spry octogenarian on our walk – he had been coming to the island since 1929 when he way 5.
We made our big mistake at the post-office. Like the rest of the town it was charmingly unpretentious… a good-sized stars-and-stripes flew outside next to a small sign announcing its federal authority. It was empty but open with a little sign on the door that the postmistress would be back in a minute. Steve had popped in to post a letter and beckoned to me to come and take a photo of the quaint inside which was a throw-back from the last century – a basket to receive mail and old-fashioned post boxes for the local residents. I took the photo just as the irate post-mistress appeared. She started shouting at me immediately – telling me that I had committed a federal offense by taking the photo. She ignored our apologies and continued her tirade, commanding me to delete the photo because I had not asked her permission (how dare I?) and yelling at us as we retreated up the path with our tails between our legs. Neither our apologies nor our claim to be simple tourists seemed to calm her vehemence at our brazen crime! Needless to say I did not delete the criminal photo.
We followed Rick’s instructions to the top of the hill from whence we had an amazing view of the Elizabeth Islands, Buzzards Bay, our anchorage, and Martha’s Vineyard. We also met lovely group of 6 competent women who were sailing on a Nonsuch and knew a lot about the islands.
We took a group photo of them, and they took ours! We continued our ramble over the island, meeting an elderly resident who was just hiking back from her daily swim in the sea, and the charming Wyatt who recapped the island’s history as we walked together along the shore.
Before we returned to the dinghy we stopped at the “Raw Bar” on the wharf to buy some of their wonderful clam chowder, and at the fresh fish store next door to buy some fresh scrod for dinner. The mobile Raw Bar – on a boat – later came by all the moored and anchored boats in the harbour selling oysters, clams and chowder.
We got back to the boat, gobbled the delicious chowder, and invited Rick and co over for drinks. He came over with his partner Ken and mother Dorie, who had just arrived from Connecticut. We clicked immediately with these wonderful people. If I age half as gracefully as Dorie, I’ll be happy – I thought she was 60 at most and still find it very hard to believe that she is 80! Ken and Rick brought over plates of hors d’oeuvres and we had a great evening, enjoying the beautiful setting and good company as the sun went down, creating yet another kodak moment.
We only saw the shaggy Highland cows on the beach (and in the ocean) on the next island through binoculars, so I have no photos to prove that cows will cool themselves off in the ocean on a hot day. But we saw the evidence on photos taken by the cruising comrades we met in Cuttyhunk. Apart from the vicious post-mistress who almost had me hung, drawn and quartered for a photo, we had an (almost) perfect day!
View our photo journal for Cuttyhunk.
Yesterday was another wonderful day. We made a happy mistake, and fell in love with little Onset, MA. We only stopped there because we had forgotten to order our CMAP chartplotter chips in advance and were running out of coverage area on our Furuno chartplotter. We needed to have our CMAP chips delivered somewhere, and Onset was convenient. What a fortunate lay-over!
We were anchored in a lovely bay between islands – and the pretty town of Onset boasts pristine sand beaches and lovely Victorian homes. We went into the yacht club and were able to do laundry and take showers. We walked into town to wifi from the local pizzeria (surprisingly good lunch at great value), did a little reprovisioning, and enjoyed the walk along the unspoilt waterfront. Apart from the fact that most of the town is closed Monday-Wednesday as it is now “post-season”, it is a charming place.
Glen, a new dockmaster at Point Independence Yacht Club was very friendly and helpful. He called to tell us that UPS had delivered our package, so we picked it up on the way back to the boat. We cooked dinner on the boat again, and watched as the sun set over the quiet anchorage. We were able to fill up with diesel, dingy gas and water, and also pump out our holding tank (free) at Point Independence Yacht Club the next day before leaving for Cuttyhunk.
View our photo journal for Onset, MA.
Day 95: September 12;
Distance travelled today 27 NM;
Current Position: 41° 25.59 N; 70° 55.42 W;
Weighed anchor in Onset at 07:30;
Anchored in Cuttyhunk Pond at 12:20;
Weather: Sunny and clear, 23° C; Wind: NW 5 kn. Seas: calm.
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