20 August 2014

Running Aground, John Kerry, and a Trip to Nantucket Hospital

After a leisurely Monday morning moored in Stage Harbor Chatham, we ventured to the nearby Town Dock to explore and chat with the harbormaster. Interestingly, they have an unassuming Upwelling Facility that raises thousands, perhaps millions, of quahogs and scallops from larval stages for about a year. Then the small clams are moved to the shallow tidal waters under protective netting for another one to two - Quahogs are fully mature as of about four years old. We did not have cameras with us but here are links to photos and information: 
Upwelling Technique for Raising Quahogs and Scallops

Nursery and Growout Methods for Aquacultured Shellfish

Running Aground.....  It's a Matter of When, not If ......
It is commonly understood by sailors that running aground is inevitable at some point.  However, we have enjoyed, with slight smugness, being able to say that "We have never run aground..." always careful to add "...yet".  Well, we must now say "We ran aground when...." <cringe> (Actually, it's "Linda ran aground when...")

We decided to move to the [free] moorings on the NE side of Harding Beach for easy dinghy access for beach exploration and to spend another night in Chatham. There are large swaths of shallows (good for clamming, see above) and one should follow the channel markers over the chart and GPS as the markers will be moved frequently to accommodate for shoaling and shifting depths. As we pulled along Harding Beach we examined which of the few moorings to pick up and took note of the small area to maneuver.  Linda did a pass by and got herself disoriented momentarily whilst focusing on wind, current, moorings, etc... and unknowingly moved slowly towards the edge of the channel - right next to a small green marker btw <cringe again>. Linda frantically called out "the depth!" when seeing it at <5' then we experienced a soft stopping of Argon.  We have a 6' draft thus the depth sounder, being several feet in front of the keep, gave us a predictable two second warning as our keel wedged firmly in to the sand. We had about 13kts of wind across our beam with a mild current in the opposite direction.  It was almost low tide - only about a 3' tide swing down here.

Some of you know that Bob has a love-hate relationship with our dinghy, Chin Chin. Well, Chin Chin is now forever in Bob's favor; no more grumbling and swearing about all the inconvenient aspects of towing a dinghy, fumbling with the gasoline, and the unpredictability of the outboard. Chin Chin saved the day on Monday.
Bob and our hero, Chin Chin
After a quick "Oh, shit, we #@^*% ran aground!" Bob jumped in to Chin Chin to try to pull the 22,000 lb Argon backwards off our soft landing and away from the large swath of shallow clamming waters ahead.  With the modest 3.5 hp Mercury fully revved up, Linda applying gentle reverse throttle, and generous bow thrust to port, Argon soon began to slowly twist bow in to wind (to avoid more shallows) and inched backwards off the mud.  Phew!  Then Bob and Chin Chin motored to the mooring whilst Linda maintained astern propulsion backing partway out of the narrow inlet to let her heart rate come down (and to get re-oriented as to where the forbidden depths were) before re-approaching the mooring carefully as Bob and Chin Chin await to attach to the bow.

Safely moored NE side of Harding Beach Chatham
Exploring Secluded Beaches
At this point, we focused on avoiding excitement and achieving boredom.  Did not get bored, but certainly found peace and tranquility exploring Harding Beach and part of Morris Island.

Linda plans to become a bird lady in her later years.  Until then, we can't tell you what kind of fowl these are but they were plentiful and graceful.

Linda posing on the thin strip of dunes between Harding Beach and Morris Island

Argon is the blue hull sailboat in the background. Linda mucks around clamming shallows.

Bob with his trusty dinghy, Chin Chin

After dinner on the boat (Cesar salad and mushroom ravioli) we settled in to watch a spectacular sunset over the marshes and Stage Harbor Lighthouse and examined the wind, currents and tide to plan what we would do tomorrow.
And we reach the end of Day 3 of our LASVA :-)
Onward to Nantucket
Up and off our mooring at 0600 Tuesday for a leisurely beam/downwind sail south in light winds - presumed destination is Nantucket.
Sunrise as we leave Chatham and Stage Harbor 0600
Enjoying coffee on a comfortable beam reach in 10kts
Nantucket bound

Entering Nantucket Harbor, known for being a port of call for high end yacths.  That is his dinghy being pulled behind!
US Lightship Nantucket is currently undergoing restorations and is usually docked at Boston Harbor Shipyard on the Logan side of Boston Harbor, but she was back in Nantucket this week.  Read more at Lightship Nantucket.

Back side of the Range Markers at the US Coast Guard Station.  Range Markers are extremely helpful to mariners entering harbors with currents to ensure one stays on course.
Just a few of the luxury liners one can ogle in Nantucket Harbor
John Kerry and Isabel
We decided to top off our fuel and give the deck a good hose down before seeking out an anchorage spot in Nantucket Harbor. The dock hand casually mentioned that John Kerry was just pulling up behind us. Of course we tried to act nonchalant and continued with our fueling and deck swathing chores. As Linda pulled the hose back to the dock (all sweaty and grimy) she found herself standing right next to the Secretary of State as he stood their with his yellow Labrador waiting for the rest of his party depart from his 76 foot Friendship (gorgeous, very high end yacht made in Newport).   Linda lamely just coiled her hose at Mr. Kerry's feet trying to think of something intelligent to say. Uncle Ken would be so very disappointed in the missed opportunity. Bob in the meantime fumbled for the camera but we missed any good shots.
Our peak at Secretary of State John Kerry.  Uncle Ken would be disappointed in Linda.... she was too shy to speak to the esteemed Secretary as she coiled a hose at his feet (there is a joke in there somewhere).  Post Note after consulting with Uncle Ken and in case SoS Kerry reads our blog someday....  I wish I had said "Don't let the RepubliCants rattle you, many of us know that both you and your boss are doing just fine!."

John Kerry's sailing yacht, Isabel, next to Argon at the fuel dock
Anchoring = Free 
We have been anchoring more this year as we want to become proficient in various holdings and comfortable in a range of conditions.  In addition, anchoring is usually free whilst moorings (and dock space for sure) come with a fee normally.  We were able to find a good anchoring spot at the far side of the mooring field in Nantucket Harbor.  A dock slip would have been well over $200 a night and a mooring would have been $70 a night.  And, with our trusty Chin Chin, we can make the ~1nm trip to shore without much difficulty.

The Ocean Does not Hurt Here
We have noticed that the water temperatures are splendid around the Cape this time of year.  Linda's declared threshold this season for swimming has been 68 degrees minimum of which we have never reached around our Boston stomping grounds (except for the thick marina waters at Constitution in which swimming is not permitted nor safe).  But in PTown, Chatham, Nantucket and most places in between we have noticed our water temperature instrument usually measures an inviting 68-74 degrees.  We ventured out to explore the vast harbor on Chin Chin with our feet dragging in the comfortable waters. 
One of our several stops during our dinghy exploration along Coatue Points

Bob swims in the warm waters and brisk current off Argon after our dinghy exploration trip
Venturing to Town
Despite loving our anchorage, we ventured in to town for the evening enjoying the quaint cobblestone streets - the cobblestones are actually the ballasts from old whaling ships.  We enjoyed a drink at Met on Main and dinner at a great Latin restaurant Corazon del Mar.

Cycling to Nantucket Cottage Hospital
Despite our bikes at home being largely ignored these days, we do still love cycling and exploring new places.  Thus Wednesday's schedule entailed a leisurely morning on the boat followed by renting bikes in town to explore more of Nantucket.  However, Bob had an increasingly painful and worrisome infection on his big toe and we were concerned about it getting out of control in the days ahead when we expect to be in more remote anchorages.  Thus our first stop with our bicycles was the Nantucket Cottage Hospital. 
Bob gets his toe lanced and a prescription of antibiotics to stave a staph infection
While Bob is at the clinic, Linda does laundry at a nearby laundromat.

Even the laundromats are kind of quaint in Nantucket

We continued to bike around the island admiring the many small and large grey shingled homes with colorful flowers and made our way to the the south shore after having lunch at The Sea Grille which is out and away from town (near the hospital / laundromat / pharmacy that were our main attractions this morning).  We weave our way to the lighthouse at the entrance to Nantucket Harbor where we traversed yesterday midday to watch the various boat traffic enter and exit - anything from kayaks to mega yachts. 
Secluded beach along the south short

Bob wants one of these Hobbie Cats badly
Water fountain fill up along the bike path
Towards the end of another spectacular day
Busy dinghy dock as we prepare to head back to Argon for the evening
We stroll the piers and have an expensive drink at Cru; over dinner we examine the weather, wind and currents and decide to set sail around 0800 for Martha's Vineyard. Some light provisioning is done at Stop-n-Shop before boarding Chin Chin to nestle in to Argon for the evening.  Night night.

1 comment:

  1. Wow!!!! Looks like so much fun guys. I hope you're having the best time!


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