Molly’s Cove

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    Molly’s Cove is the best anchorage in Mattapoisett Harbor. It’s located across the harbor from the Boatyard mooring’s. In the picture above of the  Harbor it’s at the far left.

    It doesn’t really look like a cove. Actually, it appears to be just the western section of the harbor. But the beauty of the cove is that the holding ground is good, it’s in the lee of the prevailing winds, and it’s quiet. Any cruising sailor heading up or down the Massachusetts coast or local sailors gunkholing in the area would do well to spend a night at Molly’s Cove.

  I discovered Molly’s Cove by chance in 2001. That summer I went sailing by myself for ten days along the southern coast of New England. Janet flew to China with her sister Susan to keep her company and help out with the adoption of Jennifer. That gave me some time for myself, so what better way than to spend it sailing.

   At the time I kept Galatea at Marina Bay in Quincy, located in Boston Harbor. So, to reach Buzzards Bay was usually a two day sail, beating against southwesterly winds. The first day I’d either make for Plymouth Bay, anchoring in the lee of Clark’s Island or sail all the way to Sandwich, inside the canal, and settle into a slip for the night.

   Anyway’s, that summer I explored southern Massachusetts and Rhode Island. I sailed to Hadley’s Harbor, Oak Bluffs, Cuttyhunk, over to Newport RI.

   On my voyage home home from Newport I was running low of diesel fuel. No problem I thought, I’d sail over to Cuttyhunk and pick up some fuel there before leaving. Well, it turned out I was lower than I thought. As I discovered, my fuel gauge wasn’t working properly. When I reached Cuttyhunk harbor I found that my fuel tank was nearly empty. I estimated that I had a half a gallon remaining. I should also mention that at that time I didn’t have a dinghy.

   So I had to get fuel before leaving Cuttyhunk. In the morning when I went to leave, I found the fuel dock crowded with boats. So I waited at my mooring for a boat to leave. Nobody did, for hours. So I waited and waited. Then I’d see a boat leave and I’d run up to the bow of Galatea to let the mooring go, only to see another boat quickly get in and tie up. So, I waited at the ready to jump right in. It was nearly noontime and the fuel dock was still crowded with no room to tie up.

   I didn’t want to stay in Cuttyhunk another night, so I dropped the mooring and motored up to the fuel dock. I motored back and forth slowly, hoping some skipper at the dock would get the message. None did. After 20 minutes I could wait to longer, nor waste any more precious fuel. I made the decision to leave and find a harbor where I could get fuel.

   I left just before noon and sailed north into Buzzards Bay. I didn’t make it very far at first. I remember floating in the same spot for about an hour just outside of Penikese Island. The winds were light out of the southwest at no more than 2 -3 knots. But whatever small headway I made was negated by a contrary current. With almost no diesel left, I had no choice but to sail and wait for the winds to change. And I knew they would. It was a hot July day, it would only be a matter of time before the sea breezes kicked in.

   While I waited and baked in the hot sun, I reviewed my charts of Buzzards Bay to figure out where to go. My original plan was to sail to either Hadley’s or Red Brook Harbor closer to the Canal. But with almost no fuel both of those destinations were ruled out. Then I remembered there was a small town on the mainland that had a wide harbor that I could sail into without an engine if need be. It was a good plan, so I set my course to the little town of Mattapoisett.

   I hadn’t been in Mattapoisett for about a dozen years prior to that. I remembered it from a sailing trip to the Vineyard I took with my sister Lissa and her husband Bob on his families 44 foot CSY cutter. I think that was back in 1988 or 1989.

 Well as expected, the sea breezes picked up to 15 -20 knots in the afternoon from a favorable direction and I made it into Mattapoisett Harbor around four o’clock. And luckily making it to the fuel dock before it closed for the day. No other boats were at the dock. What a difference from the craziness at Cuttyhunk.

   At the dock I asked the attendant where the best place to anchor for the night was. He told me without hesitating, “Molly’s Cove” while pointing across the harbor.

   I checked my charts and motored across to Molly’s Cove. I threw the hook down and enjoyed a really pleasant evening there. As I mentioned earlier, my observations of Molly’s Cove were that it’s not much of a cove. It was really just the far shoreline of the harbor. But it was well protected in the lee of the wind and that was all that mattered.

   The other thing I remember about staying at Molly’s Cove that night was the moon. It was full or nearly so and rose from the east above Buzzards Bay. It was an unbelievable sight. It was one of those huge moons that appear to be larger than at other times. And as it climbed in the sky, the moonlight shimmered across Mattapoisett Harbor as I’ve never witnessed before anywhere. That sight is forever etched upon my memory.

   A few year later, Janet and I discussed moving Galatea out of Marina Bay to save money on boating expenses. When the idea of keeping her at Mattapoisett was bought up I remember saying, “Oh, yeah, I really liked that harbor and Molly’s Cove”.

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