Monday, October 5, 2020

Cape Cod Canal and...Oysters!

We up-anchored and left Provincetown harbor this morning under cloudy skies, with a light breeze from the southeast, motor-sailing towards the entrance to the Cape Cod Canal about 20 nm to the southwest.

After running an engine for about an hour to put some amps in the batteries, I shut it down and we sailed most of the way to the canal. The swell and wind waves came from two directions, the southeast and the east, and when the waves got in phase, Intermezzo was rocked suddenly a few times, would settle down for a several minutes and then get rocked again. I ended up steering slightly east and off course to ease the unpleasant motion.

By mid-morning, the sun was shining through partly cloudy skies. As we drew near the canal entrance, I saw a mola-mola, an ocean sunfish, floating flat on the surface (click on the link to see pictures, they are strange looking fish). It was a small one, a only about 4 feet by 3 feet. Mola's can get huge, 10 feet or more, and a couple of thousand pounds. They float on the surface so that birds can eat the parasites that grow on their bodies.

We entered the Cape Cod Canal just before 1 pm as an ebb current was beginning to flow which and help push us along, It did indeed; we hit a top speed of 10.1 knots with just one engine running at 2,500 rpm. The canal is plain but pleasant. Trees line its banks, along which people strolled on footpaths. The trees here haven't begun to change here yet. Maybe it won't be as cold now.

With the current pushing us along, it only took an hour to pass through the canal and out its west end into Buzzards Bay. We continued a few more miles and then turned south to round a point of land, head back east up a narrow channel and then wind our way into a small cove on the east shore of Bassets Island, located west of the small town of Pocasset.

We took the dinghy to the island right after getting anchored. It was low tide and as I stepped onto the wet sand beach, I was amazed to see it littered with oysters! Many hundreds of them, just waiting to be collected. No wading in water, no prying off rocks, just the tough job of deciding which one to pick up. We collected about four dozen and ate three dozen for dinner, saving the rest for tomorrow's appetizer. They were delicious- a nice balance of brine and meat, the perfect size and the cool water temperature made them ready to eat, no chilling required. What a stroke of luck!

This is a very calm and quiet place. I can't feel Intermezzo moving as I write this, the water is so still. That hardly ever happens.

We're making good progress towards the jumping off place for Intermezzo's next cruise, close to where we began this one in July. I really enjoyed sailing in Maine and I feel a bit sad leaving those waters behind. But it's getting cold, the sailing season is ending here and it's time to move on.

Our next adventure is sailing to Hilton Head via Norfolk VA and the Intracoastal Waterway (ICW). We'll wait for a weather window to sail a direct ocean passage to Norfolk and then stay "inside" the rest of the way to Hilton Head, where I'll leave Intermezzo for the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays. We'll be revising some of the places we sailed on the way up to New York last summer. I'm looking forward to that. Hopefully it's not too chilly sailing this time in late fall.

A few of the four dozen oysters we picked up off the beach on Bassets Island

Entering the Cape Cod Canal

Exiting the Cape Cod Canal

Bassets Island

Yesterday's Provincetown sunset