Wednesday, July 7, 2010

From One Extreme to the Other - Newport to Cuttyhunk

Cuttyhunk, MA 41 25.62 N 70 55.44 W

We did not travel very far over the past week since our last posting. We spent 5 days anchored in Newport Harbor over the busy 4th of July holiday weekend. Needless to say we were ready to move on to a quieter place.
Newport is one of those glitzy yachting towns that attracts boats from all over the world. The harbor was very crowded with many "weekending" boats, but we were also anchored near other sailing boats voyaging from the Netherlands, Germany, France, Great Britain and France. Mega-yachts (mostly of Cayman Islands or other tax-free island nations) were docked at every marina surrounding the harbor. The town itself was also a mob scene of tourists over the holiday weekend with crowded streets, boutiques and over-priced restaurants.
We opted for anchoring in the designated harbor anchorage area (for free) as opposed to the $45/night mooring balls that riddle the majority of the harbor. One never tires of watching all of the activity while swinging on an anchor in Newport Harbor. Boats of every size, shape and expense are coming and going in the main channel we were anchored off. Harbor launches, inflatable dinghies, and smaller sailboats are cutting through the anchorage in every direction, passing mere feet from your hull and kicking up wakes that rock the boats. The harbor was just too crowded for simple boater etiquette that one would typically expect.
July 4th afternoon we dinghied over to a town park and dropped an anchor just off to hear a local reggae band while we drank Margaritas. Newport put on a fantastic fireworks display at Ft. Adams point on Sunday which was surpassed only by Mother Nature who gave us one of the most spectacular sunsets in recent memory just before the show.

We left Newport on Monday morning in light winds and calm seas. With the help of the “iron genny and then some beautiful spinnaker sailing we traveled about 25 miles to Cuttyhunk.
Cuttyhunk is the smallest and the outermost island of the Elizabeth Island chain that extends off the “elbow” of Cape Cod. This also has been one of our favorite places to visit in the past and we looked forward to spending an extended time here.
Cuttyhunk is the antithesis of Newport. This is the place to come to get away from it all. No sounds of highways, cars, horns or sirens. As a matter of fact there are no cars. The preferred mode of transportation is battery powered golf carts!! There are no bridges or public airports to the island so the only way to get here is by boat or ferry. The island presently has over 500 summer residents that dwindles down to 34 winter residents  residing in 184 homes.
For the island residents the highlight of each day is the arrival of the daily ferry from New Bedford bringing provisions for the local market. No Super Stop & Shops, CVS's, hotels or restaurant's here. There is a bed & breakfast that serves breakfast and a home that serves pizza that you can eat at picnic tables in their driveway and that's about it. The island is dry if you don't have the foresight to bring your own booze. 

We have spent the past 3 days in Cuttyhunk sitting out the northeast heat wave. We were shocked to hear the record breaking temps back home while here the air temps remained in the mid 80’s with a cooling sea breeze during the day which tempered the heat and humidity. There is too little wind to even attempt to sail anywhere so instead we spend our time kayaking and swimming whenever we feel the need to cool off. We dinghied a short distance to the town pier and took a walk along a deserted beach searching for sea glass. We found a few small pieces but the big prize was a pair of fishing gloves.

Afterwards we stopped at the small island store for eggs and fresh produce.
Both cats have adjusted well to the cruising lifestyle. Barnacle has really surprised us. He is hissing less at his “brother” and seems to be very content. We have even broken him of his habit of prowling the decks all night. This makes for a much more restful sleep for all. Barnacle gives a "thumbs up' to cruising !

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