While thumbing through the Eldridge Tide book, as one does, I noticed that 23rd July had the perfect tides for a jaunt down the Elizabeth Islands to Cuttyhunk. Slack tide down at Cuttyhunk was 11.40 am meaning we would get a nice push down Vineyard Sound with the current and a push back up after the current change as well as the afternoon sea breeze. Cuttyhunk was on Kens bucket list as well as mine, so we decided to start early to make the most of the day.
We met at 6am at Trunk River, near Nobska Light in Falmouth, and hit the water at 6.30. It was calm and as we crossed Woods Hole we could feel the current building already and our GPS confirmed an easy 6 knots at normal paddling. As we paddled down the island chain we stayed a half to three quarters of a mile offshore to make use of the current. It was only when we stopped we realised how fast we were going without even paddling. Other than the scenery and the calm waters it was an uneventful trip down and we were both surprised that we entered the marked channel into Cuttyhunk Harbor at 9.30am, 3 hrs and just over 15 nm after leaving Trunk River. We landed at a dirt boat ramp by the harbormasters office and had coffee at the Cuttyhunk Cafe on the dock. We walked around "town" and up to the hill for a great view of the Islands.
Ken suggested returning part way back on the Buzzards Bay side of the Islands so at 11am we left Cuttyhunk for the trip back. The famous long horned cows on Nashawena Island watch as we paddled pretty close to shore. After an hour we arrived at Quicks Hole and picked a sandy beach for a lunch stop. The Enviromental Police boat was buzzing around stopping boaters. By now there was plenty of activity on the water, private boats, party fishing boats, commercial boats, ferries, you name it, they were there.
After a quick bite we continued on the Buzzards Bay side to Robinsons Hole where we crossed back over to the choppy waters of Vineyard Sound. One last 40 minute rest stop at Tarpaulin Cove on Naushon Island and then the final push home. The waters around Woods hole were pretty lumpy, a combination of 2 fast currents meeting and a bunch of boats, large and small, made for some interesting waves. Big lumps of water suddenly lifting up beside us from nowhere. We had to wait for a few boats including a ferry at the first channel markers and as we approached the second pair, the Seastreak fast ferry appeared and we had to wait again. It slowed somewhat but the wake was still pretty big. We had surfed the waves most of the return trip and that continued all the way to our launch at Trunk River where we arrived at 4pm.
It was an excellent day in excellent company, thanks Ken.
Some stats from my GPS. Total distance 32.1 nm (37miles). Recorded max speed 8kts. Time moving 7hrs 20 mins. Avg. speed 4.4 knots.
File comment: Arriving at Cuttyhunk
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File comment: View from the top
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File comment: Cows of Nashawena
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File comment: grainy pic of more cows
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