View Full Version : Cape Cod to NewHampster
09-27-2004, 07:23 AM
Just helping a friend sail back for the winter in a nice leisurly way. Crew was one of the sisters who co-owns the boat, the other sister's husband, and myself. We went through Woods Hole and past Hadley's, where the shark is, at 1200 on Friday with no clue as to what was up. Made our way into Plymouth after dark for a night of luxurious shoreside dining. Just ahead on the float was a lovely 55+ foot yawl, finished bright, lovingly beeing kept up. Because the family was settling in to pizza I didn't intrude enough to get a light under her stern to see. Same next morning when I took it that the kids were fishing in the predawn. Actually, it turned out that they were not supposed to be on deck unsupervised and were feeding the swan. They scampered below with giggles when they heard their Dad stirring. I think he was trying to give them a chance to disappear.
Gorgeous boat - looks sort of Rhodes like from the cabin shape but more Aldeney in the bow and Stevensish in the stern.
Saturday morning in over 10 fathoms of water we took a big bash like I'd never heard before. I've hit rocks and timber and even a container. In our wake came up a really ticked off 300+ pound sunfish. I guess they don't look up when surfacing.
Not too long after that we had a chance to do a cushin over-board drill. After a few failed attempts to approach the cushin as you might a mooring in the slavish way the teach at some Coast Guard Auxilary squadrons, and the main sheet all wrapped about the helmsman, I asked to take the helm just for an exhibition. I brought her up under sail, engin back to neutral, till the cushin was just a bit to weather. I then tacked into a heave-to by keeping the jib belayed and as we got into the wind putting the helm back to lock the otherway. That is, from the starboard tack, I put the helm down till the jib was filling backed and then put the helm back to a starboard turn such that by the time we'd settled the jib held the bow off, the main provided marginal movement and together with the helm countered the jib. Then we made a nice square drift to the cushin for easy retrieval over the leeward rail.
We then practiced a few times so everyone could do it.
And so by Saturday late afternoon we came to Rockport. Just like the set of Popeye. As we entered I saw a nice schooner ahead that I mentioned looked like Appledore II. And it was. I'm happy to say she looks good and seems to be taking dollars from the tourists at a fine clip. We saw one bold gull stick to his perch atop the main topmast till they'd cleared the breakwater and were hoisting sail.
Rockport is a dry town but the other sister brought more beer and scotch by car.
Good company, good sailing and good food make all well.
[ 09-27-2004, 08:26 AM: Message edited by: Ian McColgin ]
That sounds like a good trip! Fun stuff. I was once blue fishing off Truro (when I spent my youth) in a small aluminum outboard. We hit a big sunfish flat out (He was 6" under). The impact was hard enough to knock the engine off the transom. Luckily we had it chained on and after a bit of fun we managed to get it going. Boy those are big funny fish. I felt terrible for hitting it though.
09-27-2004, 08:55 AM
Does Mary E know you want a digital camera for christmas?
09-27-2004, 10:12 AM
Thanks, Ian. We didn't get out this weekend. Barely a whisper on the Bay... nice to hear about someone else's sail. Hope to get out again next weekend. Season's getting short fast.
Norm: :D .
09-27-2004, 11:33 AM
Noah/Ian, I take it that these sunfish just lay near the surface of the water? Do people fish for them?
09-27-2004, 11:49 AM
I hear the Bay is full of debris washed down from the last hurricane and probably to be joined with more over the next couple of days.
09-27-2004, 12:25 PM
Take a ride to Sandy point, or better yet, over the Bay Bridge... it's a mess. My understanding, based solely on old rumors / wives tales, is that it's debris form Pennsylvania dams that are flushed a couple times a year to release the debris... right into the Chesapeake Bay.
Where we are, there's very little debris, but it's irritating to see full tree-size logs floating around out there... it happens a couple times a year we see this stuff - spring and fall. I don't think it's hurricane related, except that with additional rainfall the reservoirs could need draining... but I don't think so, there's been precious little rain this summer.
09-27-2004, 12:27 PM
Ocean Sunfish web site (http://www.earthwindow.com/mola.html)
Have you encountered this fish? Your report can help sunfish research.
Underwater and topside nature photography from Southern California.All images Copyright © Mike Johnson. All rights reserved.
Edited to add Credit & copyright info
[ 09-27-2004, 01:36 PM: Message edited by: register101 ]
Ocean Sunfish or Mola Mola are pretty interesting creatures. They are big funny looking fish, that got their name because they sun themselves just under the surface of the water.
They aren't intentionally caught, and eat stuff like jellyfish and shrimp. I have heard they are a by-product catch of commercial fishing though. Unfortunately lots of them get hit by boats as well.
They get pretty big too. Often around 2000lbs, and up to 4000 I believe.
You can see pictures at:
BTW, there is a sighting form at:
Which they ask for sightings to be reported at.
09-27-2004, 04:42 PM
Originally posted by Matt J.:
My understanding, based solely on old rumors / wives tales, is that it's debris form Pennsylvania dams that are flushed a couple times a year to release the debris... right into the Chesapeake Bay.I wonder if it's simply that high water events tend to clean out stuff that is hung up on dams (and along the river banks, on sand bars, etc.)? I know from watching small dams near my house that logs often get caught behind dams and elsewhere along the river because the water is not normally high enough to carry the logs over the dams or past other natural obstructions. Many of these logs get lifted over the dams and carried downstream when the water gets high. If the logs and other debris tend to show up in the Bay after heavy rain or other high water events like spring runoff then I think it's a fairly safe bet that they are there largely due to the actions of nature rather than the actions of people...
The Gentleman Sawyer
09-27-2004, 04:42 PM
Ian, what shark?
The Gentleman Sawyer
The thread says to "New Hampster" so far you are in Rockport (Mass' I presume). How about the rest of the trip?
I once tied the schooner "Defiance" to the pier at "Motif #1" in Rockport. You've never seen so many cameras and artists easels. There must be picturesd of my bald pate all over the world.
09-27-2004, 05:44 PM
HehHehHeh. I actually abandoned my pals on Sunday morning to grab a ride back to the Cape from one of the sisters. It was very easy sailing the last 20 miles or so.
The shark is a great white, about 1700# and 14', stuck in Hadley's Harbor which is between islands just south of the Buzzards' Bay end of Woods Hole.
They think they can get it out tomorrow with the spring high. So far they've kept trophy hunters and fools at bay and the shark, humans and local dogs are all safe.
10-02-2004, 10:03 AM
Rockport sure is a pretty harbor and the Appledore II is a really nice addition to the
place. My wife and I had a very pleasant
couple of hours on her this summer. The
folks who run her were kind enough to go
out with less than their minimum number
of 6 passengers that day so we shared the
trip with just one other couple. That's going above and beyond the call in my book. Although Rockport is currently a dry town
( there's a referendum coming on this issue)
you can get a drink on board once they get under way. They often sell out the trips so
we were really fortunate to have this type of
Joe ( Cold Spring on Hudson )
10-03-2004, 12:05 AM
Ian I saw that GW Shark on the news the other night. It has become a bit of a tourist attraction people feeding it like a pet :rolleyes:
10-03-2004, 07:34 AM
Yep. I gather they are trying to keep folk back.
They got a radio collar on her and if they can get her back in deep water they'll learn more about these elusive beauties than every they dreamed.
The scientists tried laying a chum line to lead her out but she's apparantly not hungry just now. Great Whites can go a while without dining.
They tried liming the water to push her out but that does not bother her enough.
The pond she's holed up in is way too small to accomodate a boat large enough to haul her up so they have a real problem so long as she sits there.
10-03-2004, 12:25 PM
IF the tourists get too obnoxious, they'd make dandy shark food ;)
10-05-2004, 07:21 AM
Seems she was reluctant to swim over a shallow bit of eel grass as she could not see that freedom lay just beyond. They used water jets to herd her - great ariel video from the Channel 4 heleocopter which helped direct the two boats with the hoses. C&P follows.
Reluctant shark finds open water
Scientists use hose blasts to end great white's stay near Naushon Island.
By ERIC GERSHON
FALMOUTH - And on the 14th day the great fish sprinted toward the sea.
And the people were glad.
And for now she knows the joy of deep water.
"I was a little nervous that she would turn around," said Greg Skomal, the biologist who led the team of scientists and fishermen that drove the 14-foot great white shark away from the coast yesterday.
But the shark seemed bent on the deep.
"She's probably in Vineyard Sound right now," Skomal said three hours after the big fish sped to freedom across a sandbar. "My guess is she's in deep water and wants to stay there."
Spotted on Sept. 21 by residents of Naushon Island, private land in the Elizabeth chain, the 14-foot shark circled inland waters for two weeks, allowing unprecedented human access to one of the ocean's most powerful creatures.
Yesterday wildlife officials used gas-powered water hoses to drive the 1,700-pound fish over a long, broad sandbar that seemed to trap it in Lackey's Bay, mere feet from the Naushon shore.
They first tried guiding the shark over the sandbar with ropes meant to simulate nets, which sharks don't like, but the fish wasn't fooled.
"In the end, it was the hoses that pushed it out to sea," Diodati said.
Four men in two small boats frothed the water around the shark, making it uncomfortable enough to risk swimming over the sandbar.
When it did, said Dave Peters, Commissioner of the state Department of Fish and Game, "We're all on the boat going 'Go, go, go!' "
A television news helicopter filmed the fish as it dashed towards Martha's Vineyard.
The shark lived in a shallow Naushon lagoon - once a popular swimming hole - for at least 10 days before wildlife experts ushered it into Lackey's Bay last Friday with weir nets, bursts of electricity, and blasts of water.
Over the weekend the fish lingered in an even shallower inlet, unwilling to pass over a long, broad sandbar between it and the ocean beyond.
All attempts to lure the fish away with food - false albacore and bluefish - failed, and Skomal attributed its lack of appetite to stress.
"It's like finding yourself locked in a closet," Skomal said. "You're not really thinking about food."
Wildlife officials said they viewed the fish's bloodless departure as a victory for science, for the humane treatment of wildlife - and for the great white shark in particular.
Depicted as a hungry man-eater in the "Jaws" books and movies, the 1,700-pound female shark did not harm or attempt to harm any people in two weeks close to shore.
"We did dispel the great 'Jaws' myth of the 1970s," said Peters.
Except for attaching a data-gathering device to the shark's fin, wildlife experts never touched the fish.
"We are very proud to have created a standard of respect for this animal," said Paul Diodati, director of the Division of Marine Wildlife.
Given the great white's reputation as a ferocious predator willing to attack boats to get at the people inside, wildlife experts might have been forced to treat the shark as a menace, as some weekend boaters wished.
"We're convinced if we didn't get the shark out of there, it might have become very stressed and ended in a very different way for the shark," Diodati said.
The state at no point considered killing the shark, and in fact adopted an emergency regulation prohibiting the harassment of great whites in Massachusetts waters.
The regulation remains in effect for now, as does a prohibition on boating and swimming within 1,000 yards of Naushon. A net blocks the entrance to the lagoon, where the shark spent most of its time.
This morning wildlife officials plan to survey local waters from a Coast Guard helicopter, looking for signs of the fish.
They acknowledged the shark's behavior, like that of any wild animal, was unpredictable, and that the fish, or another great white, could return.
"I want to see if I can locate her," Skomal said. "I don't believe I will - but you never know."
(Published: October 5, 2004)
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