Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Day 11: Martha's Vineyard to Nantucket

I have always dreamed of having a boat and visiting Martha's Vineyard and Nantucket by sea. I finally realized the trip. Today was the shortest leg of our entire journey, a mere 27 nautical miles from Oaks Bluff on Martha's Vineyard to Nantucket Harbor, where we latched onto a mooring ball.
Martha's Vineyard to Nantucket
Our setup at the dock in Martha's Vineyard was a bit unusual, and getting out was tricky, so we woke up the kids around 7:30 to get their help, after Ann and I had done some early shopping for bagels in town. We pulled our fender from the mid ship piling and attached it back onto our boat. The boat was touching both pilings with fenders, so I had virtually no room to maneuver. While Benny released the stern lines, I had to keep the boat even, and also far enough back for him to get back on while at the same time not hitting the dock or the boats on either side of us.

As I pulled forward, Ann and Elana had to released the spring lines, and we noticed that on both sides, our lines were intermingled with lines from the other boats. I quickly had them pull the lines out through the loops, which isn't that easy with 50 foot lines as the boat is moving forward. Fortunately, we pulled it off without a hitch and were on our way.
Leaving Martha's Vineyard behind
It was a bit chilly up top on the flybridge, but I didn't mind, and I was just grateful that there was no fog today after yesterday's long trip. I navigated alone on the bridge while the family stayed more comfortably below (except for a short spell where Ann took over so I could go down to the bathroom). The whole trip took just over an hour. As I pulled into Nantucket Harbor, we noticed some gorgeous yachts, ranging from 80 feet to 125, and the moorings here, unlike anywhere else I'm familiar with, can accommodate boats well over 60 feet.

As I approached the harbor, I noticed a famous lighthouse called Brand Point and snapped the following photo. If it looks familiar it's because I photographed a replica of this very lighthouse in Mystic at the Seaport Museum. The one here was built in 1901 (rebuilt after fires destroyed an earlier version), and the one in Mystic is relatively new, so it's in much better shape!
Brand Point Lighthouse on Nantucket
I hadn't fueled up since Providence, and our next two legs are going to be longer, so I contacted the harbormaster and asked about the fuel dock. I got some unclear instructions, and so I pulled down a narrow alley into one of the most difficult docking situations I've ever encountered. Between several large boats, with pilings on one side, and a narrow dock on the other. A strong current was pulling me into the fixed pier, while the wind was working against it at a perpendicular angle. The owner of the closest boat to me seemed quite displeased with my efforts, and we quickly learned that this was not the fuel dock. I had to back out, just as a large boat was coming in. The situation was pretty overwhelming, but I managed to get out unscathed and chalked it down to a docking lesson. The fuel dock was around the corner and easy to manage. 

After fueling up, we pumped out even though our waste tanks were only between 1/3 and 1/2 full because we are going to spend 2 nights on a mooring, and I subscribe to the "pump out when you can" theory. Once we were done with these chores, we got on our mooring, and set upon removing our dinghy and getting ready to explore Nantucket.
Sababa on a mooring ball in Nantucket
For the remainder of our time here, we will use our dinghy to shuttle ourselves back and forth to shore. There are a couple of dinghy docks on land for that express purpose. However, they are so overcrowded with these tenders, that we ended up tying up behind a couple of dingy's and climbing over them to get to shore. It's common practice, and everyone seems to manage.

Nantucket is a quaint New England town, pretty much what one would expect. Many of the streets are cobblestone and brick, and all the houses have similar wood siding, which it turns out is an island ordinance. 
Main Street in Nantucket
We took a two-hour narrated bike tour through the island, which I highly recommend. A great way to see the sights and learn about some of the history of the place.
The Rubins (minus Tamara) about to take a bike tour of Nantucket

Biking Nantucket
Our bike tour took us to Brand Point Lighthouse.
At Brand Point Lighthouse
We also saw houses of several notable celebrities. These were valued at over $20 million. Some of the smaller inland houses with no views are worth over $2M. Real estate here is about as high as anywhere I've ever been. One of the houses had gorgeous flowers.
Flowers along the driveway
We also stopped and took some scenic pictures.
Posing by the beach with Elana and Benny
And we saw the oldest operating corn grinding windmill in the country.
Old windmill in Nantucket
Ann and I tried a silly pose in front of the windmill, but I think we kind of botched it.
Don't quit our day jobs
We took the dingy back to the boat after the bike tour and all showered, while being conscious of our water usage. We need the tanks to last another 2 days before we have a chance to fill them again. It's the first time we are not at a marina dock on this trip, and we wanted to get the full mooring experience at least once. In fact, it is the last time we won't be at a marina with shore power, water, and easy access to land. We are running the generator full time, and even though I'm told by several trustworthy people that the diesel generator, and the way the boat is made, results in zero risk of CO poisoning, I purchased a carbon monoxide detector for each bedroom and installed them before the trip. I'll sleep better knowing that we are protected that way.

We then dingied back to land and found a nice restaurant for dinner. On the way back to the boat after dark, Elana snapped a nice picture of Sababa on a mooring at night. The Prestige is blinged out with fancy blue lights.
Sababa at night
Tomorrow, we are doing a 4x4 tour of the island and not traveling, so I will not blog. Friday, we will head up to Fallmouth and then Saturday to Boston, our ultimate destination before we turn around and head home. Boston will be our next and also our last two-day stop. The rest of the days will all be travel days as we attempt to get home in 4 days from Boston after taking 2.5 weeks to get there.