Back through New England to New York

3rd - 11th  September 2005

The leaves were already falling as we'd left the mountains of New Hampshire, it was definitely time to start our long trek southwards again.

Our first overnight stop was near Portland, Maine.   This time, for variety, we picked an anchorage at the off-lying Cliff Island, where we had time to head ashore for a spot of treasure hunting on the beach.   Our original plan was to explore inland on the island for a while but we were deterred by signs warning us of deer ticks carrying Lyme Disease.   It was a shame we chickened out, as the owners of the land at one end of the island had kindly laid out trails through their land for visitors to explore.  


Scenes from Cliff Island, Maine

Keen to continue our swift progress southwards, we left the anchorage at first light the next morning and made our way to Kittery, right on the border between Maine and New Hampshire.   We had failed to "tick-off" New Hampshire on our way northwards earlier in the season but our road trip to the mountains had allowed us to set foot on New Hampshire's territory since then, so we no longer had the desperate need to land there on this occasion.   Instead, we took a brief walk ashore in Maine to visit Kittery's fort. 

That evening, half way through dinner, we came up with the brainwave of continuing south overnight to Province Town on Cape Cod, which is exactly what we then did.  It was a beautiful, moonlit night and we found ourselves safely anchored in Province Town by breakfast time.   It may have seemed a little crazy to set off again so close to bedtime but the ground that could be covered simply by plodding along at five knots all night long, made the effort worthwhile.

View of Anju from Kittery's fort.


Little had changed in Province Town since our previous visit, it was still its old flamboyant self.    We did enjoy another trip to the "Nautical Novelties" shop and again managed to resist the temptation to fit Anju out with a used cannon.   We were delighted, however,  to find a collapsible canvas bucket, an item we'd been seeking since we first lived aboard.   Even better, as a military surplus item we picked it up for the reasonable price of four dollars!

Anju transits the Cape Cod Canal


An early start from Province Town took us through the Cape Cod Canal with a favourable tide, at around eight knots, which greatly improved our progress, so we were able to reach Hadley Harbour by late afternoon.     

Hadley Harbour was a tiny bay providing excellent protection from all wind directions.   Space was very restricted but the kind islanders had provided mooring buoys for use by visitors and another friendly local vacated the mooring he was on when we arrived, to allow us to stay overnight.   One island in the bay had been set aside for use by visitors for walking and picnicking,  enabling a visit ashore where all other surrounding land was privately owned. 

The following day we gingerly made our way into Woods Hole Cut, hoping our tidal calculation were correct and soon found ourselves anchored safely in Vine Haven Harbour on the famous island of Martha's Vineyard.    During our tour of the town we came up with the idea that on an island playground of the rich and famous, it may be worth making a visit to the Goodwill Store.    Despite our initial disappointment at the poor selection of clothes available, we soon loaded up with several interesting household items to use in our handicraft projects aboard.  


By lunchtime we felt we'd seen all the town had to offer and decided to visit the neighbouring island of Cuttyhunk, which meant passing back through perilous Woods Hole Cut.   Luckily, by now, the tide had again turned in our favour and by the end of the afternoon we were anchored in the harbour of the tiny island of Cuttyhunk and taking an trip ashore to explore.

The island was very picturesque and tranquil.    In about an hour we'd explored every road that existed and had a taste of how life might have been on the other New England islands in earlier times.   

In contrast our next stop was bustling Newport in Rhode Island.  We ran all our errands in one afternoon, including picking up further spares for our main Yanmar engine from Meredith at Oldport Marine and were ready to head out again next morning.    

Rush Hour in Scenic Cuttyhunk

Houses on the Thimbles


We'd decided to keep pressing onwards and cover Long Island Sound in a couple of day hops, saving a visit to Connecticut for a later occasion.    After a long hard day of motor-sailing we arrived at the Thimbles Islands just as darkness fell.   Our perception from looking at the chart was that the Islands would be small specks of rock and probably uninhabited but were surprised to find houses crowded on almost all of the small islands, despite the fact that they were only accessible by boat.    By the time we arrived, we were pretty weary and some welcoming locals pointed us in the direction of a mooring buoy we could use overnight. 


By the following evening we were on the outskirts of New York City, anchored at City Island and planning the timing of our transit through Hell Gate on the East River and along Manhattan Island.    We had planned to continue straight past New York southwards but two factors led us to change our plans.   Firstly was the draw of the bright lights of New York City which was too strong a temptation to rush by.  Second was Hurricane Ophelia, which had decided to hang around off North Carolina, battering the coastline and producing big seas and bad weather, finally persuading us to seek refuge in the sheltered waters of the Hudson River, in case she should decide to head in our direction. 
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