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Hadley Harbor

Posted by on September 3, 2012

Happy Labor Day, everyone! Hope everyone is enjoying the long weekend and the unofficial end of summer.

For the start of the weekend, we set up camp in Hadley Harbor for a few days. On Thursday, we made the exciting dinghy trip across Woods Hole Passage into the little town of Woods Hole. The passage is the same one Brad last posted about where we were barely moving against the current, and it is used by most boats and ferries in Buzzards Bay heading to Martha’s Vinyard and Nantucket. You can probably imagine what boat traffic is like on Labor Day Weekend. Thankfully, we landed safely and even fairly dry on the other side.

Tiny Woods Hole is right up our alley. It is home to the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute, the Marine Biological Laboratory and NOAA Northeast Fisheries Science Center and Aquarium. Each organization has done a great job of developing exhibits and educational opportunities for visitors. We were disappointed to hear that the MBL campus tours had ended for the summer several days prior, but there was still a lot to see. We enjoyed the WHOI Ocean Science Exhibit Center where we learned about WHOI’s discovery and exploration of the Titanic. There is also a lot of information on their development underwater exploration vehicles, including “Alvin” the vessel that surveyed the Titanic.

We moved on to the Woods Hole Historical Museum where we enjoyed reading about the history of the area and viewed the Yale Workshop, a small, restored building which houses the extremely well-preserved artifacts of renaissance man Dr. Yale’s “man-cave,” as the volunteer put it! Dr. Yale was the local physician, and a descendent of the university founder. Behind the historical museum is the Small Boat Museum, housing canoes, sailing dinghies, and information about boating in the harbors around Woods Hole.

After that we went to the National Marine Fisheries Aquarium, the oldest public aquarium in the US. It is small, but packed with information about local sea life, fishing traditions and the scientific advancements made in these areas. The aquarium is home to two seals, who are usually fed every afternoon at 4:00, but their pool was closed for cleaning, so we made the crossing back through the passage JV.

After reviewing the forecasts again Thursday evening, our trip north was deterred by a forecast of strong winds and high seas north of Cape Cod. It was even a little too rough for us to brave the passage to Woods Hole in the dinghy, so we enjoyed the day on the boat in little Hadley Harbor. We actually had quite a show as boats started to pour in around us mid-morning, trying to find a protected anchorage. A kite-boarder brought his gear out from one of the houses on shore and we watched as he battled the wind and kite in gusts over 20 knots and finally hailed a ride back in from his shore party. The boats crowding in made us happy we had decided to stay and weren’t out trying to find a protected anchorage in unfamiliar territory.

While in Woods Hole on Thursday, we had learned that the Nobska Lighthouse would be open to the public in a rare occurrence on Saturday from 9:30-11:30, so we decided to take the opportunity to see it. We were happy we had arrived early when we saw the crowd of people and a little later they had to start turning people away. The light is a 4th order Fresnel lens that is automated with replacement bulbs if the active bulb burns out. In addition there is a “red sector” screen to notify boats that they are in the shoal area to the south east of the light.

We enjoyed the tour of the lighthouse and returned to Woods Hole for a more thorough look at the town. The boat restoration club was meeting at the Historical Museum, so we had to check that out. A couple of really nice gentlemen showed us around their current boat projects as we took in the scents of resin and fresh-cut cedar. We later popped into The Captain Kidd, a century-old bar, to find our alma mater Ohio University playing Penn State on the TV.  We grabbed a couple of stools, some clam strips, a few pints, and enjoyed watching Ohio’s win.

After the game, we realized we only had to kill a little bit more time before the scheduled seal feeding at 4:00 at the Aquarium. We walked over that way, and it was worth the wait. The seals are rescues that can’t be released back into the wild. Lucille can’t support herself in the wild and was found stranded three times before she arrived at the Aquarium. Bumper was the victim of a shark attack and was blinded by the resulting infection. They feed them, but they also play with them to keep them active. In addition they use the feeding to check them for medical issues and brush their teeth. It was a very cool mini show, and we were glad we got a chance to catch it.

Sunday morning we dinghied around Hadley Harbor and explored the Naushon Island area. Naushon Island was purchased by John Murray Forbes in 1856, and later the Forbes family purchased most of the other surrounding islands. Today the Naushon Trust manages the islands, and reportedly Forbes’ wealth was so great that the islands have been a summer retreat for his direct descendants since his death in 1898. The family even has their own ferry, the “Cormorant,” to bring visitors and supplies to the island. The Trust is friendly to boaters and there are many places to anchor in the protected harbor. We explored the various bays and viewed the picturesque family retreats on the shores. The Trust allows visitors on Bull Island, and Brad walked the path while I waited in the dinghy (I didn’t bring any shoes along.) We enjoyed the dinghy ride, but these bays would be perfect to explore by kayak, and if you have one and you’re in the area, we highly suggest it!

Now that we’re in Onset, Massachusetts, we have a good internet signal, so enjoy the pictures from our adventures over the last couple of days, and Happy Labor Day!

4 Responses to Hadley Harbor

  1. Brandon Meshey

    Great to see another post from you guys. The pics look awesome!! Keep the posts coming when you coming, always anxiously waiting to see the next one.

  2. Candace

    Very nicely written and photographed! I especially liked the photo of the Forbes dock–the wooden boats all lined up…Beautiful sunset–and great mansion shots. Wish we could visit! Enjoy!

    • Brad

      Those boats are expensive, it cracked me up to see them all hanging out there in a row. It was a very cool place, and it puts the wealth in this area into perspective.

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