Friday, May 16, 2008

I once sailed a boat to....Coatue?

[Kyle]Which is part of the island of Nantucket. Perhaps I was being a bit too specific...

Nantucket Harbor is composed of a basin about 5 1/2 miles by 1 mile enclosed by a great sand spit that is between 150 and 450 yards wide ending in an area called Coatue. Since yesterday's sail presented us with a veritable mine field of a mooring field that was waiting to tear off any of our underwater appendages, we anchored about a mile and a half from town in a private spot off Coatue.

Our next day started out sunny with a light wind. We spent the morning readying the dinghy and when the strong current switched in our favor, I started the long row into town. By the time we finally got there, Footprint's mast was about half a pinky width high at arms length. We went to the town dock but could not find the harbormaster. The guy at the store next door said they take long lunches out of season and wouldn't likely be back for a while. We told him we were interested in showers and he said they were still locked up and turned off, try one of the marinas. He then asked if that was us he saw rowing in from way around the corner in the little orange boat. I said it was. He said he was concerned but that as long as we seemed to be making progress, he'd just keep an eye on us. He seemed pretty impressed that I actually rowed that far. More boat cred.

Once on shore, we went to the next marina and asked about showers. The young women in the Dockmaster's office told us they were all locked for the season, then remembered that they had just opened a couple on the other side of the complex and told us we were welcome to them. We also asked about dockage rates, mostly for curiosity's sake: $3.50 per foot per night off season, $5.50 in season, moorings slightly less. Holy crap!! Glad we anchored. The showers were marvelous, however - great torrents of hot water.

Refreshed and rejuvenated, we ambled into town. We had a quick lunch at a taco stand (Nantucket is well known for it's Mexican food - on Nantucket!), then went to the excellent whaling museum. Whaling does not seem at all like it was pleasant but it still beats being whaled. What a gruesome business. A bull Sperm whale had been dying and came ashore here in 1997. Many of the islanders were involved in first trying to save the whale, then processing the remains after he died. This gave many of the islanders a first hand look into the industry that was so important in the island's history and made for an interesting perspective into the presentations..

After the museum, we had a long walk around town. This place is just beautiful. I kept catching my breath at how pretty it all was and how lucky I was to be able to see it. The entire island is a national historic district. The houses were mostly weathered wood shingle with the occasional colonial brick thrown in. Many of the roads were cobbled with ballast from the old ships. It just looked like Nantucket.

We stopped at a grocery store for a few provisions, and arrived back at the dinghy after the harbormaster had left. We rigged the sailing kit (even more boat cred) and had a really nice downwind sail back to Footprint, talking about our day and laughing with each other as we went. It was a really good day.

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