Life's Adventure

Hyannis: Destination or Layover?

Guest Report by Ben Bassi – Ben ‘s wife Becky and I grew up in the same little village on Buzzards Bay. Early in the season Ben asked my advice on motorboats and boating in the Buzzards Bay area.

Shortly after that they bought a motorboat and joined the Flotilla. Ben and Becky were in Hyannis over Labor Day – a place I’ve never visited by boat. He asked if I’d like him to do a report and I said ABSOLUTELY.

Let’s give Ben a big thanks and hopefully learn more about Hyannis – Dave

Ben and Becky Bassi on their boat “Sea La Vi”

It was couple days before Labor Day weekend and we still didn’t have any boating plans. Becky and I wanted to have dinner with our good friends Cindy (who Becky has known since grade school) and Kevin Kett from Osterville, but we wanted to go by boat on our 36’ Cruisers Yachts Express named “Sea La Vi”. I went through every marina on Dockwa, until we finally got a slip in Hyannis for two nights. Hyannis is known more as a ferry port for the island than a destination, but the marina offered a lot of conveniences and it was close to Osterville, so we decided to take it.

Off to Hyannis

It took us an hour to get to Hyannis from Mattapoisett.  With the sun shining brightly, the temperature in the upper 80s and the water like glass, it was one of our best rides of the summer. As we approached the harbor, we noticed gorgeous beaches on both sides and it is also well marked, wide and deep for the ferries. We checked in with the Dockmaster, Carla Sullivan, who gave us a cloth bag filled with their restaurant coupons and other goodies. We gassed up and unbelievably were able to pick out our own slip. Carla and her staff were super friendly and helpful all weekend long. 

Sea La Vi docked in Hyannis

The slip was really nice with floating docks on both sides of the boat, and this was the first time I could scrub the starboard side of my boat.  The ferries come and go, but are far enough away as to not bother you.  It was a beautiful view; seals cormorants and great boating activity.

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Relaxing on the boat

Tugboats Restaurant

Since we had a coupon (from our gift bag), we headed over to Tugboats, which is a marina restaurant with a huge deck that overlooks the harbor.   We ordered a couple Bloodies and sat back in the sun watching the harbor activity.  Becky ordered chicken wings and I had the mussels.  The food and drinks were excellent. 

Wings, Muscles and Bloodies with our beloved Bernie, at Tugboats

Fuel Overflow, Stains & FSB

After a wonderful evening out with friends, I was disheartened upon waking the next morning to see dark brown stains coming from both of my fuel caps.   Filling up and immediately docking was a huge mistake, because the cold gas expanded with the hot sun and overflowed both tanks onto the fiberglass.  Now I had two really bad stains that wouldn’t wash out.  I headed over to the marina ship store, which was fully stocked, and picked a up a jar of Fiberglass Surface Cleaner (FSB).  You paint it on, wait five minutes and then wash it off.  Although it took a number of tries to remove the stain, I highly recommend it as it does so without hurting the fiberglass.

Osterville Harbor Tour

Our Osterville friends came by later that morning to guide us around Osterville Harbor, which was a short boat ride from Hyannis.  Although the maps show the harbor and islands having very shallow water, Kevin assured me that larger boats, up to 100 ft., often navigate through it.  You enter into Great Bay which is very large and shallow, carefully follow the channel markers which snake around the bay.  Beware, you will need to take a sharp left around one of the last markers in front of the Wianno Yacht Club to get to the bridge between the main land and Little Island. Although, with a 15 ft clearance, we decided not to go under it.  Give your horn one long and one short blast to have the drawbridge opened.  After you go through the bridge, Oysters Harbor Marine and The Chart Room Restaurant are on your right. The Chart Room (sister restaurant to the one in Cataumet) is no longer doing boat take out, but you can reserve a slip at Crosby’s Marina adjacent to the restaurant.

Osterville Harbor

We motored at headway speed around Little Island, Osterville Grand Island and inside Dead Neck Island for about an hour.   The area was serene with gorgeous homes, boats, oyster beds and lots of wildlife.  If you are in the area, this hidden gem is a trip worth making.  Behind Little Island in North Bay were a lot of empty “hurricane” moorings.  Kevin explained that during hurricanes, larger boats use them for protection.  Seas that are 2’ to 3’ with 15 knot gusts on the coast are quiet and like glass in the back of the harbor.  Cindy told us she used to water ski there in her younger days as we passed from Osterville into Cotuit.

There are two ways to exit the harbor: You can go around Sampson’s Island in Cotuit out to the ocean or head out between Grand Island and Dead Neck Island back into the entrance of Great Bay.  We chose the latter.  Here, there were beautiful beaches with boats anchored and people swimming having a great time.  The channel was 10’ to 15’ deep, so we had no problems. The whole area was like a wonderland.   

Beautiful Beaches

When we got back to Hyannis, the Dockmaster gave us a free courtesy car and we headed over to Kalmus Beach on Nantucket Sound.  Even though it was a quite windy on the beach, it was fun to watch both the wind and kite surfers.  Hyannis has a number of gorgeous beaches including those along Great Island. Hindsight, we wish we had gone to Sea Gull Beach, which we heard later, was a little nicer. 

Hyannis as a Layover

A lot of people use Hyannis Marina as a place to spend the night as opposed to a destination.  I liked the way the 150-slip marina was set up; the inside slips were for the seasonal renters, with the outside slips for visitors.  We were on “F” finger near the Dockmaster, which was peaceful and quiet for family cruisers. The boat behind us was from Charlestown and they headed out each day to Oak Bluffs or Edgartown to grab a mooring.  A beautiful, 36 ft. Morris sailboat arrived picking up friends to take them back to Nantucket.  And, we met three different parties from Bass River, who would dock their boats to have lunch at Tugboats. 

36 ft. Morris sailboat in from Nantucket

At the other end of the marina was an area reserved for fishing boats, and we met one fisherman who was proudly displaying his freshly caught 550 lb tuna! This end also has Trader Ed’s bar & cafe with live music and an outdoor pool.

Fishing boats

Hyannis wasn’t one of our bucket list destinations, but we really enjoyed our weekend exploring the area. And as always, it was great to be back in Brandt Cove Marina where the “welcome home greetings” from our fellow boaters; Bob and Norma, who just came back from Oaks Bluffs, and Joe and Sue who went to Cuttyhunk.

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