Day 350, Year 6: Nantucket to Martha’s Vineyard
Date: Sunday, October 9, 2011
Weather: Sunny and Warm, Winds NW to SW 10-15
Location: Vineyard Haven, Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts

There was not a cloud in the sky today, the temperature was in the 70’s, and the sail from Nantucket to Martha’s Vineyard was wonderful. The winds were out of the west, the direction in which we were headed, but we managed to make our way eastward in just a few long tacks sailing tight to the wind. The seas were calm and it was just delightful. We wouldn’t have won any speed records today if racing, but I think we won the award for Most Relaxing Sail. We started our morning with a hearty breakfast aboard Windbird, went in to take showers in the public facilities on shore, and then headed for Martha’s Vineyard. We left Nantucket at 10:15 am and arrived here in Vineyard Haven at 6:30 pm just after the sun went down. We had hoped to go into Oak Bluffs for the night, but when we looked closely at the charts the depths just seemed a bit too shallow. We thought about anchoring outside the inner basin, but as we approached we saw a ferry landing on the long pier outside the basin. Since we didn’t have detailed information on anchoring there and it was obvious that there would be ferry traffic all evening, we opted for heading on to Vineyard Haven. We arrived in the mooring field just outside the inner harbor at dusk and found the place to be deserted. There are only a couple of other sailboats out here on moorings. Whether we want to acknowledge it or not, the end of the cruising season is upon us. But what a glorious weekend we have had to celebrate the end of the season. Actually, I’m hoping that we have a couple of more weekends like this. I can’t think of a better way to end the sixth year of the Voyage of Windbird than to sail right into the late fall.

I spent a part of my day trying to figure out what kind of seals and sea birds we saw at Siasconset yesterday. I was trying to name photographs, but I got completely stuck on the seals and birds. After consultation with others aboard and much checking in bird books and online, I think we saw a flock of Red-necked Phalaropes in their nonbreeding plumage. I hope our friend Patsy Decker is reading this and that she can look at yesterday’s photos and give us a positive identification. I also wanted to identify the kind of seals we saw yesterday. That was much easier than the bird identification due to the distinctive head shape displayed in the photos. These guys looked more than horses than seals and the research revealed that they were Gray seals, AKA horse head seals. And that is exactly what they looked like upon closer examination of the photos.

Tomorrow morning we plan to head into Vineyard Haven and get on a bus to Oak Bluffs and Edgartown. We’ll have lunch in Oak Bluffs and then head back to Woods Hole. The weekend is going to end way too quickly. We have had a wonderful time sailing with Tom and Kitty and could easily just keep on going.

111009 Day 350 Cape Cod, USA–Nantucket to Martha's Vineyard