3 Weeks, 4 Islands, 6 Harbors – Edgartown

Moving on, we left Lake Tashmoo. If you look closely at the photo below, you can see a boat nearing that red nun. It is a bit disconcerting to see  such a narrow route into a reasonably wide channel opening.

That red nun again — marks the very narrow entrance in and out of Lake Tashmoo.

Making our way from Tashmoo, we passed across the entrance into Vineyard Haven, flanked on each side by two lighthouses, West Chop and East Chop.

West Chop Light, built in 1817, has been moved back from the edge of the 60-foot high bluff in 1848 and then again in 1891.

The East Chop Lighthouse, in Oak Bluffs, was built in 1878, 79 feet above the sea.  Until 1988, when it was painted white, the East Chop Light was fondly called the “Chocolate Lighthouse” for its brown-red color until it was painted white in 1988.

We passed “Skipper”, a  very crowded charter fishing boat. I guess they had to be careful as they cast out their fishing lines. And not to run to one side when someone has a good catch.

Before we left Tashmoo, I called to make a mooring reservation, something we don’t usually do in home waters (We must be getting older?) I used the online service, Dockwa to reserve a mooring. It was easy and worked well.

Edgartown Harbor is a busy place, with an outer harbor and inner harbor that is part of Katama Bay. The blue arrow is the path into the harbor.

The Edgartown Lighthouse (yellow star on the map above) greets us again as we turn into the inner harbor region.

The Edgartown Lighthouse looks especially cheerful on this day with the colorful sails of the sailing school dinghies.

The next step is to dodge, or patiently wait, for the Chappaquiddck ferries to make their crossing.

The two Chappaquidick ferries pass each other as they cross in synchronization.

The Chappy ferries each dock and discharge passengers and one or two vehicles.

The Edgartown Yacht Club.

Very sleek racing boats docked at the yacht club.

After passing EYC, we turned into the mooring field to hunt for our yellow ball assignment. Turned out to be a good location.

Kindred Spirit in the mooring field. Can you pick her out? Hint – the red bottom of the Snark and the edge of my green kayak are both visible on the port side of the flybridge.

It’s been 5 years since we visited Edgartown and we were eager to get reacquainted with this charming and elegant town, starting with the mooring field and boats.

The Edgartown dinghy dock. That hasn’t changed – you still have to jocky around and find a space. As long as everyone ties with a long painter, you can manage when the dinghies are two deep. But, hey, there IS a dinghy dock!

Mike!! He still runs the pump-out boat and he remembered us from the name “Kindred Spirit”. He was interested in our “new” boat and came aboard for a visit and tour.

This little catboat sailed out and back every day. That sail is amazing.

On one of our dinghy rides around the mooring field, we spotted two boats, not near each other. But combined, they brought a big smile to our faces and a chuckle. If you spend time in Hope Town, Abacos, you will know exactly why.

Now this sailboat caught my eye! Al loves to say “correcto mundo”, but I have never seen a boat named that before. Remember the character Fonzie on the sitcom Happy Days?

Getting reacquainted with Edgartown required that we spend some time during our stay evaluating the ice cream shops. We tested Mad Marthas, Scoops, and Scoop Shack.

The winner is ………………………..

Scoop Shack wins!

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3 Weeks, 4 Islands, 6 Harbors – Tashmoo

On Friday, August 11, we departed from Menemsha on a very, very, very calm morning, heading north along the west coast to Lake Tashmoo.

It doesn’t get much calmer than this.

It was an easy and short ride from Menemsha to Lake Tashmoo.

The entrance to Lake Tashmoo can be a little intimidating. It is narrow and shallow. That red marker is way over to the left and must be kept to starboard (right) side.

This aerial photo shows the narrow and shallow entrance and channel into Lake Tashmoo, a saltwater lake fed by freshwater springs at its head and open to the sea.

No wake in the lake. Got it.

Once inside the lake, you are greeted by the osprey.

We have made a stopover in Lake Tashmoo many times to enjoy its quiet scenery and proximity to Vineyard Haven, but now we another reason to visit – Tortuga and Colin. It was one year ago that we met Colin here in Tashmoo.

Tortuga sighting in the mooring field.

We anchored in our usual place, near the back of the lake, past the moorings and town dock. Tashmoo is a nice place for quiet playtime such as sailing and kayaking.

The toys are out and ready to play.

The red x is our old anchoring spot.

 

As soon as we were in the kayaks, the pump-out boat/harbormaster (dual duty) came over and informed us that we could not anchor there. In the fall of 2016 much of the lake became a protected designated eelgrass area. OOOO Kaaay. We had to move about 50 feet back farther into the head of the lake.

 

We were lucky to find enough space to anchor in the non-eelgrass area.

Kayaking to the head of the lake. So peaceful.

A trio of row boats nestled under the tree limb.

Geese and swans paddled about with us.

We spent one afternoon on the beach by the entrance channel. It was the weekend and there was plenty to watch, both people and boats.

One family’s no-stress kite flying method.

Three boats of interest:
– a cat boat with a deep red sail
– a newer Catalina 14.2, similar to our Marigold
– a catamaran that goes forward or backward without turning

Lynn and Colin

 

We had time to enjoy a dinner with Colin and Lynn aboard Kindred Spirit. They loaned us their bikes so that we could ride into Vineyard Haven and do a little shopping.

 

 

 

Colin took us for a car ride to Lambert’s Cove, on the west side between Menemsha and Lake Tashmoo. We pass it by boat but have never seen it up close. A lovely beach and sunset view.

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3 Weeks, 4 Islands, 6 Harbors – Block Island and Menemsha

Still procrastinating and still catching up on blog posts…………Better late than never?

By August it was finally time to escape from land and get away. We revived our old summer sailing trips and headed east towards the southern New England islands. For at least 12 of the past 23 summers we would sail among these islands for 3 weeks, escaping from land and jobs. Now we just escape. We tried last year, but the “almost, but never really happened” Hurricane Hermine sent us home early.

True to form, we didn’t make any firm float plan, just turn east and go where we want when we want. It works. We began at Block Island and met Mary Jo and Dean there again to celebrate our 23rd wedding anniversary on August 6th. We had dinner at Dead Eye Dick’s near Salt Pond harbor.

Toasting to our 23 years with dear friends, MJ and Dean.

After dinner we sat outside near the Dead Eye Dick’s new fire pit area. Very nice!

Always a fun evening together! Thanks for celebrating with us!

Eager to get to Martha’s Vineyard, we only stayed at Block for three days. We always stop first at Menemsha, a fishing village in the town of Chilmark on the southwestern coast of the Vineyard. We can’t imagine a trip to the vineyard without a stop first at Menemsha.

That first sight of the clay cliffs at Aquinnah is always a thrill.

The lighthouse on the cliffs – caught the light on!

This part of Martha’s Vineyard owes it’s name to these brightly colored cliffs on the western edge. In the 1600s the white settlers on the island referred to the region as “gaily colored cliffs,” and the settlement near there became known as Gay Head. The primary residents and elected officials of Gay Head have almost always been members of the Wampanoag tribe. To this day, many of the town’s current residents are in some way related to the original holders of the land, the Wampanoag tribe, Centuries later, in 1997, the town of Gay Head voted to change its name to Aquinnah to honor its Native American heritage. The tribesman who started the petition in 1991 said, “I guess it’s simple. An Indian place should have an Indian name.”

The “towns” of Martha’s Vineyard

Most people take a mooring when they stop by Menemsha, either outside or inside the harbor, but we don’t, at least not yet. We have had reasonably good weather during each visit and anchor outside.

The two inner moorings, with three boats on each. The Coast Guard Station overlooks the harbor.

Kindred Spirit in her usual spot, anchored off the beach.

Some people think we are crazy, but we are accustomed to a little rolling and don’t mind. Al employs a special anchoring method formally known as an “anchor swell bridle” when the rolling becomes too much.

Diagram of an anchor swell bridle. It can be quickly released if the weather should change and the wind picks up.

Kindred Spirit with the anchor swell bridle on her starboard side. Al says it works. I think I agree even though I don’t fully understand it.

We took our usual walking tour around Menemsha, enjoying the familiarity of it all.

The Texaco station at the end of the road into the harbor.
The Menemsha Market, farther up the channel just before it opens to the inner Menemsha Pond.

This meandering little creek is always one of my favorite Menemsha spots.

We were delighted to see that the 17-foot sculpture “Swordfish Harpooner” was back at home again after a lengthy recasting in bronze.

Looking for something different to do, we decided to take the dinghy around the southwest tip of the island to Moshup Beach at the base of the clay cliffs. This beach was formerly called “Jungle Beach”, to reflect its reputation as one of the few clothing optional, “nudity friendly”, naturist, or sans vêtements beaches left in the U.S.

The cliffs are stunning when seen that close. The nude sunbathers, not so much. Yes, there really were a few folks, less than a dozen in all,  enjoying the freedom of au naturel attire. At least I assumed they were enjoying it. It was all pretty ordinary, sunbathing and reading on a blanket or strolling along the beach.

Approaching the beach by dinghy.

Looking up at the lighthouse above the slope of gray, beige and red clay.

Gray clay from bottom to top.

Looking eastward

Looking westward

Menemsha and Aquinnah are two of the loveliest spots on Martha’s Vineyard.

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