Back To Tashmoo

Labor Day Weekend 2007, Janet and I sailed over to Lake Tashmoo on Martha’s Vineyard.. I told her what an unbelievably gorgeous harbor I had “discovered” on my previous voyage. Janet was curious and wanted to see it for herself. The three day weekend was the perfect time for us to go. We were both stressed out from work and life in general and needed all the time we could get to just relax.

We set sail from Mattapoisett on Saturday at 6:30am. It was a beautiful, ideal, end of summer day with a nice breeze from the northwest. Nothing remarkable about the sail over except to say again how beautiful it was. During the trip, Janet and I talked about how lucky were to experience sailing the waters of Buzzards Bay and Vineyard Sound. We talked about how there are over five million people who live in Massachusetts and that only a few thousand will ever see and experience what we were doing that day. When that conversation ended, I think we both looked out at the islands before us and thought to ourselves how truly fortunate we were.

When we got through Woods Hole and entered Vineyard Sound, I steered for the water tower marking Lake Tashmoo. I noted the tower when leaving the harbor on my first visit. Earlier in the day I had plotted our course for 160 degrees magnetic and monitored our tracking with GPS for the currents in the Sound. But as it turned out, the currents were weak and it was literally smooth sailing.

We crossed the shoals of Middle Ground. The choppy little white caps clearly marking the entire length of the shoals for as far as we could see in each direction. I took particular attention describing the shoals to Janet and of course recounting my harrowing adventures crossing these shoals a few weeks earlier.

As we crossed the sand bar, I couldn’t see bottom this time. The sea turned much greener and I knew there wasn’t much water where we were. Though I just couldn’t see the sand. That’s always a good thing. :-)

Something to keep in mind is that there is plenty of depth over the Middle Ground shoals for a sailboat drawing 5 and a half feet if you keep in a straight line from Woods Hole to Lake Tashmoo. Or I should say, there’s plenty of water 2 hours outside of low tide. After my initial experience, I’ve only traversed the shoals 2 or more hours before or after dead low. Which I plan to continue doing that until I find out differently.

Anchoring in Lake Tashmoo was an adventure this time around. After picking out what I believed was a good spot away from any other anchored or moored boats we dropped our hook and waited for the boat to swing into the wind, indicating the anchor took hold. It didn’t. We just drifted toward another anchored boat with a worried skipper on her deck. I pulled up the hook and told Janet to put the engine in gear and get us away. Our anchor was covered in eel grass. The Danforth anchor would never set in in that. So we tried again in a different location. Again, the anchor wouldn’t set. I pulled it up again, finding another clump of eel grass.

Enough was enough. I directed Janet to steer for the area that I had anchored in a few weeks earlier that was directly across from the public landing and dinghy docks. Third time was a charm. The bottom in this area is all mud. Sweet black mud. The stuff that Danforth anchors just love.

Janet absolutely fell in love with the harbor. As I’m sure most sailors do. It’s now the favorite harbor for both of us. Previously we loved Block Island because we could take the dinghy to the beach and it didn’t have a busy, noisy town right in the harbor. We could have solitude but could walk a short distance to town. Well, Lake Tashmoo has everything we look for in a great harbor. And it’s only a 3 to 4 hour sail from Mattapoisett. Block Island is 10 to 12 hours ( if the winds are right).

We stayed on the Vineyard for three days. It was a great weekend. We really enjoyed ourselves: going to the beach, playing tennis, having great seafood at the Net Result. We left on Monday, Labor Day. Which as it turned out was a big error in judgment. The voyage back was a harrowing experience that I’ll write all about in my next blog entry.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.