The second week of our voyage we got soaked, saw whales, came out of the dark ages, and were mistaken for firemen, just to name of a few of our adventures as of late.
On October 4th, the 8th day of our voyage, we left Gloucester, Massachusetts. It was with some reluctance that we left that town, for it had been good to us. It was somewhat reminiscent of Rockland, and felt a bit like home.
That day, we traversed Cape Cod Bay. About mid day, while my mother and I were in the galley, we heard a shout to come up above. Apparently, my father had spotted whale spouts. We came up and looked for a bit, and before long, we too saw two mighty columns of water rising out of the ocean. About 15 minutes after the first spout was spotted, we saw more than just water. Only a few hundred yards off our starboard bow, we saw two glistening backs and curved dorsal fins. It was a big treat to see these magnificent creatures up close in their natural habitat.
A few hours after we had seen the whales, we attempted to moor at Provincetown, Massachusetts. We had decided to purchase a mooring rather than anchoring, as usual, in order to take showers. For, you see, most marinas will not allow you to use their shower facilities unless you purchase dock space or a mooring. Unfortunately, the marina had started to put away its moorings for the season. Therefore, we had to tie our own line to the ring on top of the buoy, and it was with a great deal of difficulty that we did so, as it was blowing 25 knots. Later on, we went ashore and took showers. But, we were not able to stay clean for very long. On the boat ride back, we got rather wet and salty. Although, this was not the only time this sort of thing would happen.
The next day, we left relatively early in order to give us time to prepare for incoming high winds and bad weather. As we were coming in to the entrance of Plymouth harbor, called the Cow Yard, we had to watch carefully for lighthouses, channel markers, and other reference points to help indicate where we were. We had to use extreme caution because certain areas had only a few feet of water, and some areas were only submerged at high tide. This is not a good thing for a boat with a 9 foot draft. Once inside, we thought we knew exactly where we were. We had matched the #2 nun in sight to the one on the chart, but, to our great dismay, we sighted another nun with #2 on it, and another, and another, and another… After carefully examining the chart, we realized that there were at least five red nuns labeled #2 in various areas of the harbor. Upon realizing this, we carefully picked our way back out of the harbor and anchored in a sheltered cove just outside and prepared for inclement weather. We did this because my father worried about possibly having to shift anchor at night in such a close and confusing area.
That night, sleep would be made very difficult because of the noise of the howling wind. Lines violently hitting on the mast, the anchor chain rattling like an army of skeletons, waves noisily lapping at the hull, small unidentified noises that had an uncanny resemblance to the sound of someone pacing the deck, and the fear that the anchor could drag kept me awake that night.
The heavy winds continued through the next day, so we stayed right where we were. My brother and I caught up on our school work, and my father finally hooked up a few lights. But of course, none of them were even close to my cabin.
The winds had died down considerably by the following day, but were still rather strong. Our short distance over to the entrance of the Cape Cod Canal was a rather chilly one. With the winds as strong as they were, the wind chill factor made an already chilly day much colder. Once inside the canal, we were protected a bit from the winds, but seeing people in t-shirts and shorts walking along the canal made me even colder.
Upon exiting the canal, we headed to Mattapoisett for the night. Once at anchor, we piled into the inflatable to go ashore for dinner. But, those infernal winds did not make it very easy for us. Waves crashed over the bow of our tiny inflatable boat, water crawled up over the sides, and the salty spray stung our faces. In the middle of the harbor we considered going back, but we pressed on. By the end we were all drenched. I was somewhat fortunate that only the bottoms and back of my jeans were wet, although it was still quite unpleasant. I was just glad not to have soggy shoes. But, I was the only one. My mother had wisely worn her foul weather pants in addition to the foul weather jacket, but because so much water had accumulated inside the boat, she had wet feet. But, she came out of it best. My father got very wet from the inches of water he had to kneel in order to steer. But that was nothing in comparison to my poor little brother, who had been sitting in the bow. His jeans and sneakers were completely soaked, and, in spite of his foul weather jacket, even the front of his sweatshirt was wet.
We were quite a spectacle, all water logged and decked out in matching florescent yellow. One old lady we passed asked if we were selling something. And, as we walked by a playground we heard a kid shout, “Hey, are those firemen?” After many strange looks and much inquisition from the locals, we went back to the boat for the night.
Monday brought more blustery weather, which had never truly left. Even in those imperfect conditions, a milestone was reached. I finally got lights in my cabin. I never thought simply being able to read in bed would be such a luxury. In addition to my lights, a bunch of lights in the galley and main saloon were also hooked up. We were finally out of the dark.
The next day, in Newport, Rhode Island, we finally ran into some good luck. We were able to find a nice dockside location with nearby private bathrooms containing showers. Right around the corner from us was downtown Newport. We were so content there, we decided to stay there an additional day. And so, we closed our second week with a delightfully dull day.