Wood’s Hole idyll

One of the pleasures of kayaking is that I am the fossil burning engine and even am losing a few calories when I paddle. It’s a totally green activity, outside of the gas expended to arrive at the launch site. Another pleasure is that I get to go places only wealthy people go with their sailboats or power boats or worse, jet skis.

I and the Portuguese navigator had a leisurely paddle from Wood’s Hole on Saturday. We crossed the gut-often dangerous but today quite placid. We passed Nonamesset and within range of Tarpaulin Cove, with its lighthouse. The shards of a wrecked fiberglass boat were still bleaching in the sun like bones as they had been two years years ago when we saw them on a previous trip. The Forbes family owns the Elizabeth Chain that Naushon is part of—I would think they’d want to remove the boat….anyway. We saw in the distance the faraway point of Gay Head—or for those who prefer the original native word that is less obscene sounding—Aquinnah.

Naushon is largely free of humans—there are a few houses–and has a wild rugged uncultivated landscape with scrubby pines and dense underbrush that calls to mind Scotland—and I have been to Scotland, just for the record. I hear that there are sheep that inhabit the island. I’ve never seen one. After turning around and riding the tide, we passed under the causeway sluice gate into a channel studded with sailing boats. Most seemed from Padanaram in Dartmouth—so it was all quite upscale.

In the channel under a bridge, I saw two oysters studding a rock—interesting–they resembled the rock they were attached to. Oysters, by the way, are about the most destroyed sea life in the world. We then rounded Uncatena and had a fantastic panoramic view of the mainland.

Perhaps a mile or so to the southwest, we saw Weepecket Island. Two years ago, we were lost, having rounded Naushon accidentally, and perhaps the next island over, Pasque. We needed directions and we paddled from the shore to the island to ask directions to Wood’s Hole, the same way some people pull their SUVs into a rest area to ask how to get to the Jersey Turnpike.

The view to the west was gorgeous and even inspiring. The tide carried us the entire way. I like to let Mother Nature do the work. Terry saw us from the Vineyard ferry in our orange inflatable kayak and waved—we didn’t see her. We thought she was due on the next ferry, and it’s much easier for a single passenger on a ferry to spot an orange 19-foot kayak in the middle of the Wood’s Hole channel than for us to have seen her….

After landing, we retired, like all heroes after the battle, to the mead hall. Valhalla is a lovely place.

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