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August 25th 2013
Published: September 1st 2013
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For the past few days, we have been paying close attention to weather forecasts. On two previous trips, we returned through the canal and encountered horrendous sea conditions in Buzzards Bay. The essential problem is that Buzzards Bay is wide open to the South West. If the wind blows from that direction for a day or two, it blows all the water in the bay towards the canal. When water is pouring through the canal in the opposite direction (from East to West, which is what we need), the canal entrance (at the Buzzards Bay end) becomes very nasty indeed.

Monday is going to be one of those days. Fortunately, the forecast for Sunday is benign and water will be pouring through the canal from East to West on Sunday afternoon. So once again, we decide to omit our usual overnight stop at Sandwich marina.

We head out past Plymouth lighthouse in the early morning to get out of this big harbor before the tide starts rushing in. We then idle our way down the coast towards the canal. Water will not begin heading in our direction until 1:30pm so we have time to kill. In fact, we enter the canal at about 12:15pm so we chug our way in, pushing against the current at barely four knots. Even some of the walkers on the canal-bank footpath keep up with us ... :-)

Gradually, as the water turns, our speed increases and by the time we are underneath the big railroad bridge at the Buzzards Bay end of the canal, we are back up to our normal cruising speed and are accompanied by a flotilla of boats who have made the same calculations as us and are planning to be somewhere comfortable by nightfall.

The wind in already starting to blow as we emerge into Buzzards Bay, so it is choppy and squally. But this is pretty much “normal conditions” for Buzzards Bay and lots of very-small-boat sailors here love these conditions. And it is a sunny Sunday afternoon near the end of summer. So the whole bay is littered with tiny boats with every sail up rushing to and fro. We are heading into the wind so we simply keep our motor going and chug across the bay and back into Marion.

On Monday morning, as predicted, there are strong winds and showers and a Small Craft Advisory for the bay. We are snug on our mooring.

At lunchtime, we walk into town and visit the General Store. We are pleased to find that it really is still open and still sells all the essential food and incidentals that a sailor needs, plus a few luxuries like some locally made unpasteurized blue cheese. We wonder how much longer this useful little place will stay in business and hope that it will still be here when we return next season. Many similarly useful little shops in these small towns have closed in the past ten years.

Monday night and Tuesday morning brings heavy rain. But by noon on Tuesday, the skies are lightening and the wind has dropped, so we head out into the bay and across to Quisset.

This is where we have been for the “next” few days ...
Tuesday & Wednesday, Aug 27 & 28 - Quisset MA
Thursday, Aug 29 - Marion MA
Friday, Aug 30 - Westport MA
Saturday, Aug 31 - At anchor in the Kickemuit River behind Bristol RI
Sunday, Sep 1 - Brewers Wickford Cove Marina

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