Rowing The Elizabeth Islands From Woods Hole To Cuttyhunk, 2

Here Biddle Morris continues his story about rowing the Elizabeth Islands from Woods Hole to Cuttyhunk.

Here I am rowing off Naushon Island. I know I have opened my back up way to early, but it was a long day and I was tired!

After entering Vineyard Sound and rounding Jobe Neck there is a nice beach on which to land (some signs have to be ignored). The next stop will be Tarpaulin Cove and its lighthouse. At some point you have to cross over Buzzards Bay to enter Cuttyhunk Harbor. Take Quicks Hole and try not to go on to Canapitsit Channel. Quicks is wide and has a beautiful beach on its eastern side, and if the tide has turned you can land and just walk your boat through. If you have a reservation at the Cuttyhunk Fishing Club (tel. #508-992-5585, and you have be advised to call, since it is the only place to stay and it is popular), land just after you enter the harbor, take your boat out by the pier and walk to the club.

Since you rowed down mostly with the current, you will have to row back against the current. Not a problem. The current in Vineyard Sound may be 2.5 knots, but in Buzzards Bay it is only .5 knots against you and only for a few hours. Buzzards Bay changes three hours before Vineyard Sound. The prevailing winds are usually out of the southeast so you should be in the lee. A good rest stop is Kettle Cove on Naushon Island. Now is the time to check the tide and current charts and see if we are entering Hadley Harbor and Woods Hole under the right conditions. If all looks good, look for the entrance to Hadley a little ways past Weepecket Island. It is hard to see and does not look like an entrance. Remember, if the “hole” is too dangerous to cross you can try going back into Buzzards Bay. Go way out and around to get beyond the tidal rip, and back to that beach on the northeast side of Penzance Point. Better yet, stay in Hadley and wait for the tide to change.

Here are a couple of issues to be prepared for. All open water rowers need to think safety. First, be prepared to spend the night on one of the beautiful islands. This has happened to me twice (once by choice). I spent a lovely night sleeping on the beach in Tarpaulin Cove (not allowed) and on the beach on Weepecket Island (tolerated). Once I had to turn back in a stiff wind and surf back to Woods Hole, and once I had to wait out strong winds on Penikese Island on a day trip across Buzzards Bay from Rhode Island. Since I have slept at the inn on Cuttyhunk three or four times, you can figure the odds. Carry extra water, at least a bivy sac, something to eat, tick repellent (there are lots of them), and a VHS radio or cell phone.

It is a fabulous trip for those who are adventuresome and in good shape.

Good luck!

Biddle, many, many thanks for your great contribution!

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