To go or not to go….that was the question the morning of August 22nd. Not a long cruise to our next port of Sandwich, MA, only 33.7 miles but what was making us a little nervous was the fact that there were small craft warnings in the morning. Winds were out of the north at 16 knots with the possibility that they could increase during the day. But after a few minutes of debate, our decision was made – it was a go!
Although the 3 to 5 foot swells didn’t seem like a lot, they were breaking and partially hitting us on the beam so it was very bouncy as you can see in the video below!
And, as expected, the swells made the lobster pots really, really impossible to see from a distance. Bad enough spotting them in calm waters but really challenging when the seas are rough. One minute it was “oh, oh, there’s one off to port. Quick steer to starboard” when it was riding the crest of a wave, followed by “I don’t see it anymore, where the heck did it go?” when it would disappear into the trough of the next wave.
Prior to our departure from Situate, on August 20th, we had submitted a Dockwa request to the Sandwich Marina, considered the Gateway to the Cape. This particular marina is located within the Cape Cod Canal. It is a municipal marina with 140 seasonal slip holders, 42 commercial slips and 24 slips available for transients. There are no moorings. Dockage rate was $3/foot (3 x 42′ = $126) plus a $22 fee for 50 amp electrical service ($15 for 30 amp and $50 for 100 amp) so our total for one night was $148! Gasp! In the return confirmation, we were assigned to an end dock, slip H-30 (see marina map here). We were instructed to hail them on channel 9 about 5 to 10 minutes prior to our arrival so a dock hand could provide assistance.
The seagulls probably heard a big sigh of relief when we finally reached the breakwater at the beginning of the canal. Calmer waters ahead (we hoped)!
As we neared the marina, I took over the helm so Rob could get the lines and fenders ready.
Finally we were able to dock at our slip. Because of a smaller sailboat also tied up at the end of the dock there wasn’t a lot of room for us but we managed.
Once tied up, Rob got busy hooking up the electrical connection and filling the water tanks. In the meantime, I went down below. Oh no! Remember the comment we made stating that everything was buttoned down before we left Scituate? Well, not so! In the middle of the floor of the cabin lying on its side was our small table. Oh, no! That was the only table we had on board for eating. It is very heavy so there had to be some serious rocking for it to tip! But whew, thankfully no damage was done. To avoid that happening in the future, if there is any indication of potential bounciness, we will lay the table down on the floor.
Once settled in, it was time to explore. It seemed like there was a lot to see and do near the marina. Within walking distance, there were several restaurants. We considered going to The Pilot House Restaurant but it looked fairly crowded so we decided against it. Near the restaurant was a Marina Bell with a sign that said it was dedicated to the families of Italian families who contributed so much to their new country.
Nearby was the Cape Cod Canal Visitor Center operated by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (COE), but by the time we realized it was there, it had already closed for the day.
Changing direction, after a stop at the boat to gather laundry, we headed to the Sandwich Marina Office. Along the pathway were signs about fishing and lobstering,
and the types of boats that are in the marina and transit the canal,
and an anchor is dedicated to the memory of the seafaring men who have given up their lives to the sea since 1639.
In the photo below, the Sandwich Marina/Harbormaster’s Office is the relatively new building behind the two flags. The laundry room is located in a separate building to the left (the forward facing one with an ice machine on the end).
When we approached the laundry building, the doors were locked. For access, tokens must be purchased in the office. Nearby park benches offered very scenic views of the harbor and lots of boat activity which kept us entertained while we waited for the laundry to finish.
An interesting article in the magazine, Cape Cod Life, says that “George Washington is known as the father of our country, but in these parts he could have been remembered as the father of our canal. In 1776, an engineer in General Washington’s Continental Army did a feasibility study and recommended the construction of a canal, but it took nearly a century and a half before the canal became a reality. Construction began in 1909, and the canal was opened in 1914.”
Speaking of the opening of the canal; inside the Sandwich Harbormaster’s office is the 65 inch replica of the ship, Rose Standish, which was built from scratch by Carlos DiPersio, a master model ship builder. On opening day, July 29, 1914, the steamer, Rose Standish, leading a parade of other boats, was the first ship to pass through the Cape Cod Canal. Cool model and cool history! When completed, he donated the 50 to 100 pound model to the Sandwich Harbormaster’s office. The model took over a year to build, the completion date coincided with the 100th anniversary of the building of the original ship (in 1911 and 1912).
Near the Harbormaster’s office, across the cove from where we were docked, was another restaurant, Fishermen’s View Restaurant and fish market on the Marina. Lots of people sitting outside eating and listening to music!
During our overnight stay we had an issue with the 50A breaker on the power pole causing us to keep losing voltage on one of the two legs. If Rob checked the breaker it wasn’t tripped, but if he flipped it on and off, he could hear it arcing. Multiple flips would cause it to stop arcing, at least for a little while. The outside of the breaker was rusted, the inside apparently had issues too so his assessment was that it needed replacing. In response to the posting he made on Dockwa, we were told that “the electrician is aware of the problem and is scheduled to address that issue as soon as his schedule allows. We refunded you the electricity charge of $22.00.” Cool! Compliments to the marina for their customer service!
Tired from our bouncy sea passage, lots of walking and catching up with chores, it was another night of relaxation, highlighted by another gorgeous sunset.
Rob had spent a lot of time studying the charts and tides for our passage through the Cape Cod Canal and had determined that the best time was during slack tide which would occur about 8:30 the next morning. So it would be an early rise for us the next day. More about the canal and the funky tides in our next post.