Cape Cod’s “Other” Islands

August 25th, 2015 by Oyster Harbors Marine

Everybody knows about Cape Cod’s most famous islands, Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket. Many are also familiar with the island of Cuttyhunk, with its sleepy village and beautiful views of Vineyard Sound and Buzzards Bay.

But what if you’re looking for islands that don’t have restaurants or shops or crowds of tourists, but rather scenery and solitude? A chance to enjoy a peaceful picnic on a quiet beach and connect with nature away from the crowds? Cape Cod has those islands, too.

Photo / Flickr

Photo / Flickr

Here are five under-the-radar islands that every Cape Cod boater should visit.

Sampsons Island – This 37-acre barrier island also known as “Dead Neck,” is located off Osterville and Cotuit. It’s managed by Massachusetts Audubon, and its beaches, tidal flats and salt marsh are important to migratory birds such as piping plovers and least terns. A narrow channel connecting Cotuit and West bays provides access to the backside of the island, where you can nose your boat onto the sand to offload gear and passengers.

Washburn Island – One of the last large undeveloped properties on Cape Cod, this 330-acre island inside Waquoit Bay features hiking trails that wind through oak and pine forests, barrier beaches and salt ponds. The surrounding shallow bay is warm, and the area is known for its scenery and wildlife. Primitive camping is available on the island (reservations required), but with no fresh water or flush toilets, come prepared.

Monomoy Island – Home to the Monomoy National Wildlife Refuge, this spit of land stretches 8 miles south of Chatham, forming the barrier islands of North and South Monomoy. The total size of the refuge is 7,604 acres, with habitats such as oceans, salt and freshwater marshes, dunes and freshwater ponds, of which 3,244 acres are designated wilderness. Boaters love the island for its sandy beaches and chance to view wildlife such as migratory birds and seals. The numbers of great white sharks in the area have also spiked in recent years.

Egg Island – Drop anchor at this low-lying island at the entrance of Lewis Bay off Hyannis and enjoy swimming in its shallow waters or picnicking on the beach. But plan your visit around low tide, as there isn’t much dry land to enjoy at high tide. Egg Island also makes a great anchorage if you’re spending the night while visiting Hyannis, and it offers good protection from the prevailing southwest wind in summer.

Great Island – This 6-mile barrier beach and island system in Wellfleet is one of Cape Cod’s most remote areas. Separating Cape Cod Bay and Wellfleet Bay, the island features pitch pine forests, high dunes, and, at low tide, a wide expanse of tidal flats that produce the famed Wellfleet oyster.

Enjoy Your Favorite Show Aboard Your Boat

August 14th, 2015 by Oyster Harbors Marine

There are times when you just want to relax and watch television. But you don’t want to leave your boat to do it. The great thing is, you don’t have to.

We recently installed a new KVH TV dome atop a new Viking 66 Convertible at our dock in Osterville. The KVH dome provides satellite television with access to hundreds of channels of digital TV programming aboard the boat. It comes in handy during long cruises, when the weather is bad, or when you just want to relax aboard your boat instead of your living room. (And who wouldn’t rather do that.)
KVH has long been an industry leader in advanced marine satellite TV antenna systems, providing boaters at sea with access not just to television, but also to commercial-free, CD-quality music from satellite services. KVH’s marine satellite antenna systems are renowned for their wide coverage and clear reception, so even when the weather is bad and the seas get rough, boaters still enjoy exceptional performance. KVH also offers satellite Internet and phone services, so boaters can always stay connected, even well offshore.
The KVH TV dome is a perfect fit atop the Viking 66 Convertible, a tournament-caliber sportfishing boat that is also a luxurious, comfortable cruising yacht ideal for long voyages. The 66 Convertible’s stylish interior and L-shaped sofa provide an ideal place to enjoy your favorite show or movie while being rocked by gentle waves and soaking in the salty ocean air.
If you think adding marine satellite TV services – or Internet and phone services – might be right for your yacht, talk to us. Our highly trained technicians can discuss various options available to you and come up with the best fit for your boat. They also provide professional installation, so you know the job will be done right. To learn more, contact us at 508-428-2017 or send us an email.

Center Consoles at Oyster Harbors Marine

August 12th, 2015 by Oyster Harbors Marine

Immediate Delivery

August 12th, 2015 by Oyster Harbors Marine

Fishing Essex, Connecticut

August 5th, 2015 by Oyster Harbors Marine

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Essex, Connecticut, has long been a beloved destination among boaters. But America’s favorite small town is more than just scenic streets, interesting museums and fine restaurants. It’s also home to some of the most thrilling and reliable fishing in the Northeast.
Situated along the Connecticut River, just five miles up from where the river flows into Long Island Sound, the waters near Essex offer some of the most diverse and productive sportfishing around. We should know, as our Essex office is just a stone’s throw from these prime fishing grounds.
The fishing scene in Essex really takes off in late April, as striped bass up to 2 feet long begin chasing migratory herring into the river. By late May, you can land 40-pound stripers. Come July, as the water temperatures warm, stripers return to the Sound.
But summer action around Essex is about fluke, scup and bluefish. Fishermen can snag doormat fluke around mid-June in the Sound at depths ranging from 10 to 40 feet. You can also find them inside the river from the mouth up to the train trestle. Probably the top summer fluke spots are White Sands, Black Point, Soundview, Long Island Shoal and Two Brothers Point. Anglers can track down scup in the rocky areas bordering the fluke grounds. And blues can be found in more open water.
As autumn rolls around, the fishing is about hunting stripers and blues. Some years, false albacore make their way into the mouth of the river. But one great fish to target around this time that is often overlooked is tautog. You’ll find tautog in 20 to 60 feet of water over rocky bottoms in areas such as Halftide Rock, Jordans Cove, Hatchett Reef and Hen and Chickens Shoal. The tautog fishing usually remains strong through mid-November.
To find out the latest fishing news around Essex, check in with a local bait and tackle shop. The folks at River’s End Tackle; 860-388-2283 in Old Saybrook can fill you in on what’s biting, and they publish a local fishing report online. You can visit Ted’s Bait and Tackle Shop; 860-388-4882, also in Old Saybrook, and Jack’s Shoreline Bait and Tackle; 860-399-2271 in Westbrook.
And, of course, you’ll find us in Essex at 9 Novelty Lane. Stop in. We’d love to talk with you about boating and fishing in the area.

Safety Gear to Have on Your Boat

July 28th, 2015 by Oyster Harbors Marine

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Whether you enjoy cruising or fishing, you likely view boating as a source of fun, carefree times; a chance to relax on the water away from the stresses of daily life. But even on a boat, problems can occasionally arise, from an annoying leak to somebody falling overboard to even an onboard fire. And if you’re unprepared, minor problems on the water can quickly escalate into a dangerous situation.

You can prevent that from happening by making sure you have appropriate safety gear on your boat. Create a safety gear checklist and review it periodically to make sure you’re never caught unprepared. Some onboard safety gear is required by law depending on the state you live in, the size of your boat, body of water you boat is on and other factors. Be sure to check what is required by the Coast Guard and local laws.

Start by making sure you have Coast Guard-approved Personal Flotation Devices (PFDs) onboard your boat. The Coast Guard estimates that 80 percent of boating fatalities could be prevented by people wearing PFDs. Make sure everyone onboard has a PFD that fits them correctly (especially children). You should also have throwable flotation devices immediately available.

Next, any boat with gas or diesel needs to have a fire extinguisher. If you ever need it, you’ll need it fast, so make sure it’s readily available. Routinely check that it hasn’t passed its expiration date and that the indicator needle is still in the green area. You also need both sound and visual signaling devices, such as flares, air horns and whistles. Again, check Coast Guard and local regulations.

While some safety gear might not be required, it’s just smart to have onboard. Chief among these is a first aid kit. If you have an accident on the water, it’s going to take time to get help, so you need to be able to aid yourself or a passenger fast. You also should have a bailer in case of a leak, and a tow line.

A decent tool kit will come in handy if you have any mechanical problems, and it’s smart to keep a supply of spare parts, including fuses, onboard. You need to have a waterproof flashlight (preferably a couple), and you should have communication devices such as a VHF radio and a cell phone. And, if you do get stuck on the water for a while, you’ll want to have spare food and drinking water stashed for just such an occasion.

 

The Unique Appeal of Woods Hole

July 23rd, 2015 by Oyster Harbors Marine

 

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It’s pretty safe to say there’s no other place quite like Woods Hole on Cape Cod, or probably anywhere else in New England for that matter.

On one hand, Woods Hole is a small, picturesque coastal village where you can walk or pedal a bike along quiet, narrow streets, and spend a leisurely day shopping and eating at local restaurants. On the other hand, this tiny seaside community is packed with multiple world-renowned scientific institutions, the caliber of which you’d expect to find around Boston on the campuses of MIT or Harvard. The result is a college-town-meets-fishing-village atmosphere in a place where you can enjoy beautiful scenery, eat great seafood, and learn about the latest in marine science all in a day.

While Woods Hole is a wonderful destination, navigating there can prove tricky. Boat traffic is heavy in the area, and includes large ships and ferries. The surrounding waters are also riddled with rocky ledges and powerful currents, so pay close attention to your cruising guide and channel markers. If it’s your first time boating to Woods Hole, make sure you have enough power and time your trip to coincide with slack tide.

For slips and moorings, a good bet is Eel Pond. There you’ll find Woods Hole Marine; (508-540-2402) and Pinky’s Marina; (508-540-2310). To access Eel Pond, you’ll need to contact the Eel Pond Bridge on Channel 13 and ask them to open the bridge. The bridge opens at the top of the hour and bottom of the hour as long as a request is made. Other dockage options include the Woods Hole Yacht Club; (508-548-9205), which sometimes has transient slips, and R&R Marine (508-548-6976). You can find gas and diesel two miles east in Falmouth Inner Harbor.

No trip to Woods Hole is complete without visiting its several amazing marine science facilities. The Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution; (508-289-2252) is one of the world’s most respected marine science facilities, and a visit there is sure to provide you with at least one (but probably several) mind-blowing learning experience. The Marine Biological Laboratory; (508-548-3705) allows visitors to learn about the lab’s research into marine biology. The Woods Hole Science Aquarium; (508-495-2001) features local marine life than can be viewed and sometimes touched. And the Buzzards Bay Coalition Visitor’s Center; (508-540-6222) has interactive exhibits that will appeal to both children and adults.

With all that learning, you’re likely to work up an appetite. Luckily, Woods Hole is also home to several fantastic restaurants. Among them, the Landfall Restaurant (508-540-1758) is a popular restaurant overlooking the harbor. Shucker’s Raw Bar; (508-540-3850) is a casual dock-and-dine with a large menu. The Captain Kidd (508-548-8563) is a low-key restaurant on Eel Pond offering limited dockage to patrons.

 

Super Sizzlin’ Summer Sales Event

July 22nd, 2015 by Oyster Harbors Marine

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The Remarkable Story of the Queen Bee

July 9th, 2015 by Oyster Harbors Marine

Boaters like to think that nothing bad will ever happen to them at sea. But they also like to think that if something does happen, their boat will be strong enough to survive it. And while many boat companies boast that their boats can handle whatever conditions they might face, Regulator Marine can back it up with one of the most amazing boating survival tales in recent memory.

article-2091834-1175193D000005DC-455_634x417In August 2008, Scott Douglas was fishing in his Regulator 26 center console – the Queen Bee – with his brother-in-law, Rich St. Pierre. Suddenly, the two men looked up to see a rogue wave towering 5 feet over their bimini top. It tossed the two men overboard, forcing them to swim to shore while they watched the Queen Bee, still under power, being pulled out to sea. While happy they were safe, the men thought it was the last time they’d see the Queen Bee.

Fast forward nearly three and a half years to early 2012, when Douglas was astonished to receive a call telling him his Queen Bee had been discovered across the Atlantic Ocean just off the north of Spain, still intact. After traveling roughly 3,500 miles across the ocean, the boat had a little rust, had mussels attached to it and had a slightly banged-up T-top frame. Other than that, it was still in great shape. Its two engines were intact. Its hull was still seaworthy. Even the first-aid kit, nautical maps and fire extinguishers were all still in place.

The saga of the Queen Bee received national attention. And rightfully so. Douglas was amazed his boat had survived. So were the people who had built it. Architects with Regulator say they design their boats so they can withstand a lot. But a three-and-a-half year ocean crossing? Enduring hurricanes and the notoriously brutal storms of the North Atlantic? No one who builds a 26-foot center console has that in mind during construction.

But somehow the Queen Bee survived. It stayed afloat because the main structural components of the vessel – the hull, the liner and the console – had all stayed intact. Some experts credit Regulator’s innovative fiberglass grillage system for holding the vessel together. A lesser boat likely wouldn’t have survived.

And its owner wouldn’t have nearly as cool of a tale to tell.

Tips for Onboard Entertaining

July 2nd, 2015 by Oyster Harbors Marine

32-exterior-2 featureEntertaining is likely one of the key reasons you bought a boat. But onboard parties bring with them plenty of challenges. You have much less room than you do at home, you’re working in a small kitchen with smaller appliances (if there are any appliances at all), and you’re doing everything on the relatively unstable footing of a boat on the water. Plus, it’s a boat! Everyone onboard – including the host – should be having a great time, not working away in the galley. Here’s a few tips to make your onboard entertaining experience a success that everyone will enjoy.
Make a detailed list of everything you’ll need. Then treat that list as if your party’s life depends on it, because it does. Once you leave shore, there’s no running back to grab what you forgot. So make sure you have everything you need, and plenty of it.
Create a strict guest list. At home it might be the more the merrier, and you might not think twice if a friend wants to bring a plus one. But on a boat there’s only so much space and so many places to sit. You also have capacity laws to think about, and you need to be sure you have enough life jackets. Think about how much comfortable seating you have on your boat, and then stick to that.
Consider the parking at your marina. If there’s not enough parking for all your friends, you may need to meet someplace close by and carpool in.
Prepare for the weather. It might look beautiful outside at the start of your party, but what if a surprise shower passes through? Or the wind kicks up? Is your boat able to shelter guests from the elements? If not, make sure people are prepared with windbreakers or raingear. Also, consider the sun. Is there available shade for guests? And make sure to have plenty of sunscreen on that list we talked about.
Is the party for a holiday or are you having a theme? If your event is for a holiday, make sure to decorate appropriately. For July 4, have plenty of sparklers, flags and red, white and blue decorations to go along with the burgers and beer. If there’s no holiday to celebrate, picking a theme – like a pirate party or karaoke – can be a fun excuse to have a party. Go all out with decorations and accessories.
Don’t go crazy with your meals. When entertaining onboard, your boat and the ocean atmosphere will take center stage. Meals should complement that, but not overwhelm. Also, with tight space and smaller equipment, cooking in your galley is much more challenging than your home kitchen, so limit your onboard prep work. Cook your main meal ahead of time at home, preferably that morning. You can also forego plated meals in favor of family-style casual, where guests help themselves (easing the work for the host). Potluck is a good way to go, and guests are always happy to oblige. Keep things simple with light appetizers and easy-to-prepare desserts. And with side dishes, think of what can be cooked and prepared ahead of time, or what can be easily assembled onboard.
Check out these boating recipes on Pinterest to get ideas for great make-ahead dishes.