Nantucket – Part One

Sunday morning, we released our Vineyard Haven mooring ball and slipped from the harbor with a course set for Nantucket. Nantucket, whose Indian name aptly means “far away land,” is thirty miles off the coast of Cape Cod. It is an island known primarily for its central position in the history of whaling. The seaman of this place dominated the whaling industry for many years. Herman Melville, the author of Moby Dick, said of the island’s inhabitants, “Two thirds of this terraqueous globe are the Nantucketer’s. For the sea is his; he owns it, as Emperors own empires.” I’ve just recently finished reading the excellent book by Nathaniel Philbrick, “In the Heart of the Sea: The Tragedy of the Whaleship Essex.” It’s cool to be visiting the place which is central to his maritime history. As I looked out across the harbor, I imagined whaleships anchored around me waiting to leave on their journeys to the Pacific, or perhaps just coming into the harbor, as I did, except their ships were laden with whale oil and spermacetti.

West Chop Light, Martha's Vineyard

West Chop Light, Martha’s Vineyard

Unlike our last passage, the 28.5 mile journey from Martha’s Vineyard to Nantucket was blessed with relatively calm seas and winds of less than ten knots from the southwest. We pulled into the harbor and made our way to the fuel dock around 1 p.m. We were running pretty low since we’ve done a lot of motoring and haven’t filled up since Annapolis. This fill-up hurt the pocketbook! My 125 gallons of diesel went for $5.00/gallon. When we filled up in Annapolis, we paid $2.39/gallon. Ouch! But, now we’re set for a while. After filling up our fuel tanks, we motored about 75 yards away to the town dock where we temporarily tied up to fill our water tanks and wash all the salt off the boat. We took on a lot of salt-spray and water over the bow on our passage from Newport to the Vineyard. There’s nothing like your home covered with a layer of salt. Everything touched feels dirty and gritty. It felt so nice to rinse it away.

Brant Point Light, at the entrance to Nantucket Harbor

Brant Point Light, at the entrance to Nantucket Harbor

Refueling at Nantucket Boat Basin upon entering the harbor

Refueling at Nantucket Boat Basin upon entering the harbor

Filling up with Water on the Nantucket Town Dock

Filling up with Water on the Nantucket Town Dock

A few moments later, we were escorted to our mooring in Nantucket harbor. We tied up to the sturdy mooring ball where we stayed for the next several days. We were so excited to be there and to be joined that first evening by our nephew and niece from Ohio (Ben and his wife, Kristie). They drove out to spend two days and three nights with us in Nantucket. We expected great fun!

Leaving Beatitude at her mooring in Nantucket Harbor

Leaving Beatitude at her mooring in Nantucket Harbor

The catamaran Meow on a mooring in Nantucket.  What are the odds!  Cindy and I learned to sail on this boat in St. Petersburg, FL.  We also chartered it to take family out for a couple of days. (In a tropical storm!)

The catamaran Meow on a mooring in Nantucket. What are the odds! Cindy and I learned to sail on this boat in St. Petersburg, FL. We also chartered it to take family out for a couple of days. (In a tropical storm!)

After a little R & R, followed by some cleaning, we took Dalí to town to buy some beverages and have dinner. The Tavern at Harbor Square had great food and a great atmosphere. Afterwards, we awaited the arrival of our guests. They barely made the last ferry leaving from Hyannis, Massachusetts at 8:45. I dinghies over to the ferry dock to pick them up around 10:00. After some difficulty finding a place nearby to tie up Dalí, we finally gathered them and their luggage on board and motored to Beatitude.

Dinner at The Tavern

Dinner at The Tavern

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One of the many fire boxes around Nantucket.  I guess after the great fire of 1846, they're taking no chances.

One of the many fire boxes around Nantucket. I guess after the great fire of 1846, they’re taking no chances.

The next two days flew by. The first day was the eight-year anniversary of Ben and Kristie’s marriage. We mostly relaxed on board and enjoyed each other’s company. After lunch, we enjoyed a rum cake which I baked for their anniversary. The rest of the day was occupied by a walk in town, some shopping, and a special anniversary dinner at The Tavern at Harbor Square. Kristin and I enjoyed the delectable scallops.

Cindy, Kristie and Ben in Dalí.

Cindy, Kristie and Ben in Dalí.

The obligatory bow pose. :)

The obligatory bow pose. 🙂

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Nantucket has so many beautiful flowers in windowside planters.

Nantucket has so many beautiful flowers in windowside planters.

Anniversary Dinner!

Anniversary Dinner!

Ben and Kristie cleaning out the track the door slides in.  What a difference  when done!

Ben and Kristie cleaning out the track the door slides in. What a difference when done!

Ben and I working on the sliding door between the cockpit and the salon.

Ben and I working on the sliding door between the cockpit and the salon.

The second day, we took Dali into town in the late morning. The four of us then visited one of the best historical museums I have ever visited, The Whaling Museum. How captivating to see and hear about the history of whaling. An excellent guide gave a 45-minute lecture describing the whaling process. The highlight was viewing the complete skeleton of a 46-foot Sperm whale, along with whaling artifacts and memorabilia, such as a longboat, harpoons, and scrimshaw. The museum was originally a candle factory in which candles were made from the whale oil and spermacetti.

The Whaling Museum

The Whaling Museum

Sperm Whale skeleton.  Above the skull is a hollow area which would contain up to 500 gallons of spermaceti.

Sperm Whale skeleton. Above the skull is a hollow area which would contain up to 500 gallons of spermaceti.

In the whaling museum, which used to be a candle factory, in which candles were made from whale oil.

In the whaling museum, which used to be a candle factory, in which candles were made from whale oil.

The Sperm Whale suspended above a whaling boat.  The crew would descend from the ship into three of these boats to chase down and kill the whale.

The Sperm Whale suspended above a whaling boat. The crew would descend from the ship into three of these boats to chase down and kill the whale.

An example of scrimshaw, a carving or engraving on the teeth of sperm whales.  Nantucketers were renowned for this artwork.

An example of scrimshaw, a carving or engraving on the teeth of sperm whales. Nantucketers were renowned for this artwork.

Spermacetti Oil

Spermacetti Oil

Once we had our fill of whaling history (I think all Kristie kept saying throughout our museum visit was, “O! Poor sperm whale!”), we took the free van ride a few miles away to Cisco Brewery, a microbrewery, distillery and winery on the island. The Whale’s Tale Pale Ale and Grey Lady Ale are really good. We ate pizza for lunch and hung out at the brewery for most of the afternoon before returning to the boat. What a great day!

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Enjoying the Nantucket sun

Enjoying the Nantucket sun

We saw this bulldog at the brewery, which looks a little like the last UGA, Russ.  The owner, from New York, knew all about the history of the UGAs (Georgia's famous mascot).

We saw this bulldog at the brewery, which looks a little like the last UGA, Russ. The owner, from New York, knew all about the history of the UGAs (Georgia’s famous mascot).

Dinner aboard Beatitude

Dinner aboard Beatitude

Enjoying dinner with Ben and Kristie

Enjoying dinner with Ben and Kristie

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