Where did the summer of 2019 go!
Every year I remind myself that the New England summer is only 8 short weeks long – The 4th of July to Labor Day. But this year, with Labor Day falling on September 2nd. it felt even shorter.
Last week I was riding my bike and suddenly there were kids getting on school buses…
I guess I just have to stop thinking about the traditional 8-week summer as the summer season and think of it as “The Tourist Season” instead. My summer begins in early May with out first day trip and ends a few days before we fly west to San Diego at the end of October.
Still, it all just seemed to go by too damn fast!
First Time Guests On-board
We’ve really been blessed with lotsa guests on Vigilant this summer. We’ve also taken advantage of this great summer and plethora of guests to take quite a few extended cruises.
Last weekend our California guests – Mike and Susan, flew in from Seattle in a quest to share in the total Buzzards Bay experience.
Although we’ve known Mike and Susan for over a decade, we’ve never vacationed together or even stayed at each other’s home.
To me, that’s pretty much the definition of “Good Friends” – if enjoy hanging out with someone “7X24” for several days then I’d say you’re Good Friends!
Our Labor Day plans with Mike and Sue were concocted last winter back in Palm Desert. They were very loose with the thought of some boating day trips and maybe a little golf.
But golf went out the window when Mrs. Horne broke her wrist, leaving us with a Labor Day Weekend of boating, boating, and more boating.
By the way, Mike and Susan didn’t have a lot of boating experience, but they assured me they had never gotten seasick and were generally fearless about what Susan called “Boat and Float.”
Small Craft Warning Friday
While the forecast for the weekend looked fine, Friday did not. We woke up to Small Craft Warnings with a stiff wind blowing out of the south west. On one hand, I didn’t want to scare my guests with a rough day at sea, but on the other, I did want to get a feel for the their tolerance to less than perfect conditions.
With all that in mind, I selected Padanaram for our day one destination. It’s only 12 miles from Mattapoisett, well protected from the SW wind, and is well served as a Dock and Dine destination at The Sail Loft thanks to their relationship with South Wharf.
Not only did I want to see how Mike and Susan handled 3-4′ Buzzards Bay chop, but I also wanted to see how 6’4″ Mike felt about sleeping in Vigilant’s rather tight guest berth in the event we decided to go somewhere overnight.
Despite a 20 knot head wind, the ride to Padanaram was pretty smooth. I kept the speed just under 20 MPH, closed the hardback door, and cranked up the AC. The windshield wipers ran most of the time, but other than that. we were all quite comfortable in Vigilant’s little cocoon.
Due to weather, Padanaram was pretty much an all-or-nothing destination so I called South Wharf before we left to see if they had dockage available.
The guy who answered the phone said “let me take a look and call you back.” He never called back…
So we headed over just the same figuring the worst case might be a New Bedford Yacht Club mooring and launch ride.
As always been the case, South Wharf did not disappoint and tied us up in a slip with a nice finger pier.
After another great lunch at the Sail Loft we headed downtown…
I guess we hadn’t been downtown in a while because there were a few more shops as well as a new restaurant called Chumley’s.
In terms of the new shops, most were Home Goods, but my new favorite was a general merchandise store called Padanaram Outfitters.
PO offers an eclectic array of goods ranging from Fishing Gear to beautifully hand crafted cutting boards. It somewhat reminds me of Offshore Trading Company in Edgartown.
All in all, I think Padanaram had become a very nice destination for Dock and Dine with a little shopping. South Wharf is FREE to tie up, but bring a few fives to tip the kids working the docks.
Interestingly, before we left South Wharf they asked us to show them our receipt for lunch when we returned. Apparently, the free dockage is only for those dining in Padanaram. I guess they must charge you if you’re just shopping.
Although it was blowing 25 knots on our return, it was mostly downwind. I closed the back door, all the windows, cranked up the AC, and surfed back to Mattapoisett.
We enjoyed a little quiet time back on the mooring…
We also decided that our guests were ready, willing, and able for an overnight cruise so I quickly started hustling to grab a slip in Newport for Sunday night.
Saturday started calm and was forecast to stay calm all day. My number one day trip destination on a calm day is Edgartown…
When I visit Edgartown I hope to use Dave Kaiser’s mooring. Labor Day weekend is a big event for the Kaiser family in Edgartown, so the mooring was not available.
My next thought was to pay the Harbormaster $40 for a Town Mooring. Not on Labor Day Weekend – all were taken.
Now I was in a pickle. I had already announced Edgartown to Mrs. Horne and our guests as our Saturday destination but I had no where to tie up!
I decided it was time to “bite the bullet” and I went on Dockwa and booked a 3 hour tie-up at the Harborside Inn for $245.
Just as I was bringing Vigilant into the MBY dock for a pick-up Saturday morning, I got a text from Dave saying that they were heading for Lake Tashmoo and his 24′ Bertram Ripple would be the only boat on the mooring.
BOOM – Time to call Harborside and beg for mercy! Actually, request that they cancel my Dockwa Reservation and refund my $245. The dockmaster wouldn’t do it, but offered a credit for a future stay. I told him I wasn’t planning another trip to Edgartown this season, and thanked him for trying.
He then asked if I would be coming anyway and I said “Yes..”
Surprisingly he offered to speak to the GM and see if I could get a refund. He said he’d call me back and about an hour later he did, telling my request was granted. I felt like I’d just found a fist full of $50 lying in the street!
The trip to Edgartown was smooth, but the heavy traffic through Woods Hole and into Edgartown reminded me that it was Labor Day Weekend.
No matter how often I enter Edgartown Harbor, I still get a thrill seeing that lighthouse…
We rafted up to Ripple and used the second mooring painter to secure Vigilant directly to Dave’s mooring. I then put out the sunshades and we enjoyed our usual Edgartown mooring tradition…
Suddenly a guy on a paddle board pulls up and joined in the conversation. I forgot his name, but he said he knew Scott and Catherine Webster…
Once I called for the launch, I realized that Labor Day Weekend was probably the wrong time to hang out on the boat til 12:30 planning to head in for lunch. It took about 30 minutes to get the launch and another 20 minutes to pick up others and get to the Town Dock.
As we ran around picking up other boaters, I was sure Mrs. Horne was wishing we’d just paid the $245 to tie up at Harborside, but thankfully she kept it to herself.
As we passed Vigilant for the 3rd or 4th time I snapped a photo of her with Ripple in the foreground. It kind of reminded me of a mama whale and her baby…
Lunch at The Shanty
To absolutely no one’s surprise, we headed for The Seafood Shanty immediately upon landing. By now it was 1:30 on the Saturday of Labor Day Weekend and the Shanty was packed.
Surprisingly, the wait was only 30 minutes – not bad at all. And much to our delight, two seats at the corner of the bar opened up just as Mike and I ordered our drinks.
And to top it off, we were actually seated after about a 20 minute wait at a primo table…
The only problem was that the girls went shopping and weren’t there when we sat down. The hostess didn’t like that and almost refused to give us that great table. I immediately started texting the girls, but they were shopping and thus trapped in an impenetrable time warp!
Wanting not to get into trouble with the good folks at The Shanty, Mike and I immediately started ordering more drinks and wings…
We even offered our awesome waiter Andy a beer and asked him to join us…
Andy was studying at the Culinary Institute of America and as he described his career plans, it became clear that this was one Millennial no one would have to worry about – this kid was going places.
As we waited for the girls, we noticed a young boy who was also tired of waiting…
Eventually the girls showed up and everything was fine. I tried a new menu item called Bam Bam Shrimp…
It’s essentially popcorn shrimp tossed in a spicy Thai chili sauce – not bad. I might have preferred larger prawns with less breading, but that’s just me.
Mrs. Horne ordered the healthy and popular Grilled Fish Taco’s…
As we left to return to Vigilant, I glanced over at the young boy sleeping on his mother and he was still enjoying the day…
I sent everyone shopping and went out to bring Vigilant in from the mooring by myself. This has become my new routine when we’re in Edgartown with guests shopping. I’m okay not shopping and it’s very easy for me to drop the mooring and back Vigilant up to the Town Dock for a “touch and go” pick-up.
No Mo Tashmoo For Me!
On a beautiful day like this, we generally stop in a gunkhole on the way home for a quick cocktail. Mrs. Home suggested Lake Tashmoo – just past Vineyard Haven, and I fully agreed.
I knew Dave Kaiser would be there and Joan Ruel had texted us saying they might be too. What could be more fun than rafting with The Sarah Francis and True North?
Although I take pride in my seamanship skills, I still make a mistake now and then. As we approached the narrow mouth of Tashmoo, there were boats entering and leaving so it looked like a normal channel inlet.
If I’d been thinking, I would have stopped and waited til the mouth was clear, powered up my Forward Looking Sonar, and gone through the middle of the channel. My mistake was that I didn’t!
As I crawled in on the right side of channel doing 4 MPH, I looked out the helm door and much to my shock, I saw that the water was only about a foot deep. I immediately put the helm in neutral just as I felt the rudder shutter slightly – I was about to ground into the sandy shoal.
I quickly threw the bow thruster hard to port and pulled the bow into the middle of the channel. The thruster and tidal current was enough to bring Vigilant back into safe water.
Of course this was very alarming to all the little boats around us, particularly the jerk with the bleached spiked hairdo in the mini cigarette boat behind us. Mrs. Horne did not take kindly to his whining and gave him a piece of her mind for messing with her Captain. She made me very proud!
People ask me how to learn to captain a boat on Buzzards Bay. I tell them you learn by surviving your mistakes. I learned another lesson on Saturday.
Next Stop Weepecket Island
As soon as I had room, I ran Vigilant up to 2200 RPM’s to check for any issues from our little grounding. Specifically, I look for any vibration, shimmy in the helm, drop in fuel efficiency, or jump in engine temperature.
Thankfully no sign of trouble and determined to end the day anchored somewhere. I then set course for Weepecket Island.
It was a good move and wonderful spot to watch the day fade…
Sunday – Newport Bound
After two long days at sea, it was clearly safe to take Mike and Susan overnight on Vigilant. They’re both Foodies, so I needed to make sure we dined somewhere offering a high quality culinary experience.
That meant Newport and one of the Top 5 seaside eateries there. After a quick search, I booked Fluke for 6:45 on Sunday. I also needed a marina. I didn’t have time to enter a Dockwa request and wait for a confirmation so I called The Newport Harbor Hotel directly and booked their last open slip.
In an effort to give Mike and Susan the full My Buzzards Bay experience, we stopped en-route to Newport at Gooseberry Island for a picnic lunch…
The slip at NHHM was great with an aft facing view of Newport Harbor…
The only problem with the harbor view is that we were basically facing southwest and directly into the setting sun. This was exactly the reason why I created the My Buzzards Bay sun banner…
Around 3:00 the sun started coming in from the south and I swieched to a starboard mounted banner to keep the cockpit cool.
Dinner At Fluke
Like always, Fluke never disappoints. We were seated on the second floor with a nice view of the harbor…
And everyone loved their meals…
Monday Breakfast at The Franklin Spa
If you follow these pages then you know I’m on a never-ending quest to find the greatest breakfast joints in New England. Many people have suggested The Franklin Spa, so it seemed like time to give it a try.
I’ll be doing a proper review soon. I’ve now dined in 7 different breakfast spots in Newport, so I’ll also do a ranking report soon.
You’d think we hadn’t eaten in a week the way we ordered, but I loved it because I got to try so many different dishes…
Everything was properly prepared, but perhaps a tad under seasoned. The French Toast (Raisin Bread) and Sausage Links were outstanding. I would also say the portions were huge.
We did get a little side show with our meal. Although they only take cash at the Franklin, a guy took out his credit card and then let it fall between the two built-in bench seats.
It took a very hardworking cook almost 10 minutes to disassemble the seats and eventually retrieve the card.
When he finally emerged with the card, the entire restaurant gave him a hearty round of applause.
That’s the kind of place the Franklin Grill is…
Wrapping Up Labor Day in Style
There was a fair amount of chop coming out of Newport, but I noticed there were no Fish Traps on the trip down, which let me take a more sea-kindly heading home.
We skipped lunch after that big breakfast and decided to show our guests a little local cuisine. That meant Turks at around 4:00 PM.
It was unusually crowded for a Monday (even for Labor Day) with no seats open at the bar. One couple left and we grabbed their seats. About 3 minutes later another couple left and I started hustling people to move down to create 4 seats next to each other.
I think Mike and Susan were impressed by my move to create 4 adjoining seats along with the friendly bar crowd at Turk’s.
I started talking to the couple I moved down two seats…
Like Mrs. Horne, Susan had a “broken wing”. They’re also big fans of My Buzzards Bay which warms my heart.
We pretty much ordered the usual dishes, except for one. We tried the Volcano Roll which was a Daily Special…
The Volcano Roll is loaded with Scallops and Crab. The Spicy Aioili was outstanding.
It was a great 5 days and I think the look on Mike’s face sums it up perfectly…
POSTSCRIPT – DAISY LOVES MIKE
Our little dog Daisy is a bit of a nut. She only cares about three things; going for a walk, eating her “cookies”, and sleeping in the big bed (our bed).
But every now and then she takes to one of our guests like a long last friend. Last week she was all over Mike, sitting in his lap and smothering him with kisses every chance she got.
Mike was recovering from a minor shoulder tear and had been using a tennis ball to massage his damaged shoulder. He forgot to bring his ball with him and asked if we had one he could borrow – we didn’t.
We did have this silly rubber dog toy that Daisy had no interest in and it worked perfectly…
A few hours after Mike left, Daisy was acting odd – running around and jumping up and down on the couch. I said to her “What’s wrong, do you miss Mike?”
And with that Daisy ran to her basket of toys and rummaged through 20-30 stuffed animals before emerging with Mike’s rubber toy…
Who says dogs are dumb!
Categories: Living The Dream!