Once again we saw the Isles of Shoals as we headed out to sea. The rain was steady, but did not affect visibility. We hoped it would clear as the day wore on, and that the sun would work its way through the clouds. There was a mild wind coming from the west. Two hours into our trip the wind continued to increase in intensity. The water was choppy but it was still early so we continued to be hopeful for improved conditions. After another couple of hours the wind had increased again and so had the waves. By now they reached heights of six to eight feet and growing. By noon time a serious change of course was in order. We decided to head closer to shore to try and mitigate the deteriorating conditions. We were now south of Boston Harbor. Our thinking was that closer to shore there would be less “fetch”. I had learned that fetch is the area of open water over which the wind has to gather strength.
It wasn’t long before we realized it was time to find a place to pull in for the day. Fortunately we weren’t far from Plymouth, Massachusetts. I looked through the cruising guideto see our options. There was the Plymouth Yacht Club, a marina and the town’s mooring field, all very promising. We traveled close to shore until we reached Plymouth Harbor. Upon entering the harbor, the waves died down. Duxbury Pier Lighthouse greeted us and I began to see lighthouses in a whole new way. Instead of being a pretty landmark, it was a sign of safety. With the aid of the lighthouse and the channel markers we worked our way to the marina. Tim radioed for a slip. None were available. Next try was the town’s harbor master for a mooring. That yielded a positive result and so we were safe for the night.
It was a brisk 40° out but the sun had finally made an appearance. Next on the agenda was getting Tigger to shore. That meant using Rose, the dinghy. We carefully lowered it into the water, keeping it attached to Little Prince with the davits on the swim platform. Once it was in the water it was time to set up the outboard motor. Tim lifted it off its mount and onto Rose. He adjusted the controls, put it in neutral and gave it a pull, nothing. A few more tries netted the same result. It was time to look at the manual. Being the proper quartermaster, I was able to retri
eve it right away. Tim was in the dinghy (still attached to Little Prince) and I was on the deck, manual in hand, and reading instructions when the Harbor Master came by.
“I see you with the motor and your wife with the manual and I’m thinking this could get ugly. Let us know if you need a ride to shore.”With that, off he went.
Our goal for the day was to reach Sandwich, Massachusetts. The course we set was about seven miles off shore. That way we had a straight shot down the coast without a lot of course changes for the various capes and rock outcroppings. In hindsight, perhaps staying closer to shore might have been a better alternative. We were fine for the first hour but then things started to get cranked up. Rolling waves turned ugly and white caps were getting more and more plentiful. When things started flying around the cabin and we were holding on to the grab bars good and tight, we called it quits. It was time to head towards the shore.
Fortunately, we were near Plymouth Harbor. As we got closer to shore the waves subsided but we’d had enough at that point. I was also determined that when we hit rough water I would have things securely placed. Really though, I was hoping to not be in conditions like that again. I know that was wishful thinking but eventually we will be in calmer waters.
We were able to get a mooring through the Plymouth Harbor Master. The next step, after tidying up was to get to shore with Tigger. It was time to try out the new dingy. The smart thing would have been to try it out before we left but time got away from us. Times have changed since Tim last used an outboard motor. Apparently the kill switch was now needed to start the engine. Problem is, it was back in Falmouth! When we determined that was the reason it wouldn’t start, the oars came out. Tim called Judith, his cousin in Falmouth and I called my brother in New Jersey. She’d ship the kill switch to him and we catch up with him when we get there.
It turned into a very nice stay in Plymouth. We wandered around the next day reading all the historic plaques. Of course we had to see Plymouth Rock. We were also looking for information about William Brewster, a distant relative of Tim’s mom. Just what the relationship is, we aren’t sure but I was looking for information about Grandpa Brewster. In our travels we were able to get a couple of cups of coffee, which was much appreciated on such a chilly morning.
Back on the boat we were once again heading out. This time for a shorter distance and closer to shore. We pulled into the Sandwich Marina and settled in for the night. We checked with the folks there about what tide we should attack the Cape Cod Canal. They assured us that we’d have no problem leaving first thing in the morning. Gale force winds were being predicted for later in the afternoon.
We got off to an early start and it was quite calm and lovely. We knew it wasn’t going to stay that way so we pushed on as far as we could before it started getting bad. This time only two items got thrown around in the rough seas. It was another trip where we were hanging onto the grab bars. As a result we are sitting tight until we get a good weather report. The gale force winds should subside by Thursday or Friday. Patience is key here but I’d really would like to get beyond New England!