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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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!