Province Town, Cape Cod, Massachessettes, founded by Pilgrims in 1620 but now a haven to the gay and artist community, is one cool place. Located on the extreme tip of Cape Cod, it is surrounded by lovely beaches and boasts a significant protected marine area which is host to scores of dolphins, whales, sharks and seabirds. In fact, just as we put our anchor down after arriving in Provincetown, a huge pod of dolphins casually swam by the boat with many small boats and a large Dolphin tourism operation in hot pursuit. Provincetown also happens to be Cape Cods most popular vacation destination and judging from the crowds it was still a very happening place.
Provincetown is the end of the road when you drive the Cape Cod peninsula and is a popular mecca for all types of travellers. The storefronts and houses in this town were incredible, so stylish and well cared for. The food was also incredible and offered a huge variety to suit almost any taste. There are more galleries than I have ever witnessed with reams of beautiful work. There’s a great beach vibe here as the place is completely surrounded by accessible beaches which surround Cape Cod and run through the town itself. Provincetown has it all.
We sailed into Provincetown on a hot, sunny day and dropped the anchor, intending on hanging out for a day before making our way through the Cape Cod canal. But when we went into the town that evening for a quick walk-about, we both knew we were going to hang out longer. We’ve been to Cape Cod several times and could not believe we had never made it here but were thankful we had this time around.
There were many boats of various sizes and home ports in the bay as we cruised around looking for the perfect anchorage. We finally tied up on the west end alongside Mojo I, and settled in for a pleasant three day stint.
The town was incredibly busy while we were there, with loads of tourists milling about. We had a fun day in town the next day, eating and touring the city. Al managed to get his hair cut while I had the best lobster roll I’ve had in a while. I love how they do their lobster roll in Cape Cod. There are many ways to serve it but I like it in butter, hot on a brioche bun. During lunch we met three guys who we had a lovely chat with. Turns out one of them, Mike, had just spent a better part of the summer touring Newfoundland with his two dogs. He has probably seen more of the island than the two of us but his fondness for the place was obvious.
But Provincetown wasn’t only fun, it was also very productive. I baked bread for the first time, and it turned out pretty decent. We ate the whole thing, which is a good sign. I also started teaching myself guitar and hope to be able to play before the end of our adventure.
We had planned on leaving on Wednesday but the wind was too high in the morning and you have to schedule the tides to be in your favour when entering the Cape Cod canal. We missed our opportunity so we had to wait for the following day, which turned out to be spectacular.
As we were leaving Provincetown that morning a small houseboat was towed out of the harbour ahead of us by TowboatUSA. I thought to myself, I wonder if they’re towing it home? Or is the home their boat and they just take it wherever they please?
Cape Cod canal is not to be messed with lightly so we were somewhat apprehensive to see how it would treat us. We were sailing with Jill and Mike from Mojo I and had a solid plan in place to enter at optimum tide and exit the other side in Buzzards Bay with a slack tide.
Our trip through the canal was nothing more than a breeze. We opened the panel in our dodger to see more clearly and discovered that Filbert likes it that way. So the dodger will remain open henceforth. He really likes the access it gives him and spends a lot of time rolling around on the deck, sunning himself.
We made it as far as Marion, Massachusetts, Ingomar’s former home port. The harbour was full of boats and we managed to track down Ingomar’s replacement, a 43 foot Tartan. She was a beaut! We got up early the next morning to an amazing sunrise. In fact, I was trying to sleep in but Al, who had gotten up at 5:30 am, came and told me I had to get up and check out the sunrise. I cannot refuse a good picture opportunity so I dragged myself out of bed and was pleasantly surprised to see a beautiful setting with mist rising off the water and the harvest moon, languishing on the horizon on the other side of the bay.
We set sail for Newport under incredibly warm and sunny skies. The weather has been stellar and incredibly warm. That day was in the high 20’s and perfect for sailing. We entered Newport, a beautiful and busy harbour, around 2:30 pm. The Newport Boat show was on while we were visiting so things were probably busier than normal. We found a mooring, popped a cold one and settled in for a 3-4 day visit to one of my favourite American cities.
I got in touch with LeeAnn, a relative of mine who lives in Newport and who had been working to find us a berth while in the port with her friend Ken. We arranged to meet up at a great harborside bar at Bannister’s wharf. Coming into a port and knowing people is just so awesome! I’ve known LeeAnn forever and as chance would have it her brother Kerry and partner, Jodi, were also visiting. We had a great afternoon checking out a few spots on the main drag before heading back to LeeAnns for a BBQ. Ann and George, who are LeeAnns neighbours were also hanging out with us. We spent an awesome evening together at her house. Its funny but it’s the first house Al and I have been in since we started our trip! It even feels strange to say that. After a fun evening we headed back to the boat before 12pm because thats when the water taxi stopped and we had to get back to make sure Filbert had not mutinied on us.
When we returned to the boat we found a note from another relative in our cockpit. Dan and Matt were in Newport for the boat show and had heard we might be there as well. Matt managed to track us down on AIS and figured out that we were moored less than 100 feet away from one another. Serious!
The next day we met up with Matt and Dan on their boat and after catching up, we all headed to the boat show. Newport is an amazing boat town, with every kind of boat possible but most striking is the amount of mega-yachts here. Al and I were shopping for a couple of things but not a mega yacht! What we were looking for was something to supplement our batteries while on anchor and we managed to find a great set of flexible solar panels to install on our bimini. We also met up with the Salty Dawg group, who are a volunteer group which arranges an orchestrated sail to the British Virgin Islands every fall. We are considering joining this group and it was a great opportunity to meet Bill, one of the founders and ask questions. After the boat show we did some provisioning which was a breeze because LeeAnn had loaned us her car. Having a car while in a port makes life so very easy.
We headed back to the boat, put our supplies away and headed over to Matt and Dans boat for an awesome evening. Its always so much fun to meet up with friends and family in an unfamiliar place.
After a great evening with the guys, eating fresh seafood, talking about boats and general catching up, we headed home. The next day we laid low, as the weather was very rainy and we were also a little on the foggy side. When the rain dried up we ventured into Newport and did some exploring, and laundry. Newport is gorgeous and cool and full of awesome restaurants, bars and shops. Its also very international and you can hear every language possible on a walk.
The next day we explored the town further and met up with Simon to hear about his adventures. We had also run into Simon at the boatshow, who we knew from RNYC, our home base in Newfoundland. Simon works for Gunboat and they had a catamaran at the show which was very impressive. Actually we toured a couple of the newer 50 foot boats, Amel, Oyster and Hanse. Its not the best idea but wow some of these boats would make you want to give it all up for a life at sea. We met Simon at a place called Mission which my sister Jac had recommended. It had the best hotdog and fries and I will definitely take her advice again on eateries. After getting some business taken care of, returning LeeAnn’s car and refuelling, we were ready to leave the next day.
It has been a fabulous week! I think the further we explore, the more we grow accustomed to life aboard. Filbert has also come into his own and is very chill about his new situation. We’ve loved Massachusetts and Rhode Island and cannot recommend them enough. The USA gets a bad rap in the media and people like to highlight whats gone wrong but I feel compelled to write in their defence and say that the northeast coast of USA and the people are awesome!
And people are key to the spirit of a place. We’re learning that home is something that you carry with you. It isn’t just the place, its also a state of mind and the people. Running into friends and family this week made us feel such a wonderful sense of home. You carry it with you.
We’re headed for New York in the next couple of days and I cannot tell you how excited I am about this. We’re currently hanging out in Oyster Bay, its 29 degrees and New York is a small train ride away. What more can I say?