Monday, September 3, 2012

The Elizabeth Islands - Cuttyhunk

We were on a mooring in Newport for quite a while. Finally the mists surrounding our schedule cleared and we headed for Wickford and a few nights on shore power and a step onto land. Wickford was a peaceful location; a historic village to stroll around, the estuary to explore by kayak, and of course Dave's supermarket - it felt like Harrods to us compared with a couple of weeks of Stop and Shop. After a couple of weeks on a mooring we were also able to get some maintenance jobs done. Both dinghies are now detailed - it was surprising how much bottom growth accumulated in a short space of time. Last Mango is now gleaming inside and out from application of varuious fluids; I think we have just about every cleaning substance available to man on board this boat. We felt virtuous after our labours so it was clearly worth it.

After our chores were done it was time to move on. Destination - the Elizabeth Islands. No, I had not heard of them either...........but they have some interesting history. Named after Elizabeth I; privately owned, mainly by the Forbes family, an old Scottish clan who made their first fortune from opium in China. The island chain lies SW of Cape Cod, and the island we headed for was Cuttyhunk. Here is a picture of Last Mango tied to the pilings at the village dock. In 1602 Bartholomew Gosnold founded the first English settlement in the Americas on Cuttyhunk. Gosnold's plan was to harvest sassafras extract, a herbal medicine of value in treating venereal disease. On return to England with his cargo he encountered some difficulty since Sir Walter Raleigh claimed to have a patent on all New World products. Intriguing trivia! Gosnold had been a Cambridge Scholar and studied law at Middle Temple. But I digress.

Cuttyhunk is a great cruiser destination. There is a well protected natural harbor and the island has very few permanent inhabitants, less than 20. But they are fully geared up to looking after the itinerant cruisers who flock here on weekends in the summer. When we arrived I ordered our lobster at the dock and it was delivered, cooked, at 6pm. If you need something from the Raw Bar it will be delivered to your boat - oysters? Clams? The main dining option on the island is Bart's Cart - just what it says it is. But there is also a breakfast option at the Cuttyhunk Fishing Club.
The island is well known for its striped bass. So much so that a group of New York millionaires bought most of the island in 1865 and built the fishing club; there were 50 members initially and the joining fee was $300. What men will do 
to get their fishing! Apparently they wore jackets and ties even while they fished, and drew lots each day to see which of the 25 fishing stations they would use. Although the club is no longer active, it is a rustic bed and breakfast location and a wonderful place to have breakfast. Here is one happy Admiral at the club on 3 September - the last day of the year that the club will be open for breakfast - it is the end of the season for many (not us!), and as I sit here writing this I am watching boat after boat heading home to the mainland after the holiday weekend.
Yesterday I reviewed the stats for this blog. Wow! I am so glad that you all are following us and reading the musings. To have such a following from around the world............from Austria, Japan, Singapore, Russia, and many other amazing. I started looking at the possibility of pursuing the cruising life by following blogs; it did seem hard to achieve at first but feasibility came with more knowledge. Thank you all for looking in on us; it is much appreciated.
Tomorrow we will move on to some more islands. Here is my checklist for today (1) Engine room checks - always a good idea. (2) Weather forecast tomorrow - 5-10 knots, 2-3 ft seas (that is fine). (3)Reservations/mooring/anchorage - I have a slip reserved at the next destination already. (4) Check the route and likely length of trip (48 miles - 7 hrs). (5) Check tide and currents in Buzzards Bay and the Sounds (best current 2 1/2 hrs after current turns SE at Woods Hole per Eldridge).  

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