20/09/2016 – Plymouth, Provincetown and Mattapoissett

We spent a day ashore in Plymouth being tourists! This was the location where the Mayflower's passengers established their village though they had first made landfall at what became Provincetown on Cape Cod. A replica of the Mayflower was built in Cornwall in the mid 50's then sailed to Plymouth, Massachusetts in 1957. It is still afloat and is occasionally sailed, though it needs constant care. This winter it will be taken to Mystic Boatyard in Connecticut for the start of a three year refit, the intention is to return it to Plymouth every summer. We spent some time wandering around the boat until it was overrun by a group of school kids, probably Canadian because they were speaking slightly odd French! Close to the Mayflower is "Plymouth Rock", a fairly unremarkable lump of rock with the date 1620 carved on it. It is protected from the elements by a structure which resembles a Greek temple and has a guard on duty. The main attraction, though, is Plimoth Plantation. No, I haven't misspelled the name; contemporary documents used this spelling among others. This was a very informative 'museum'. From the entrance the path winds through trees to a replica Indian settlement. Here members of the local tribe go about everyday tasks and talk to visitors. One young lady had cooked a stew with sweetcorn, beans and fish over an open fire. She explained that the settlers traded items such as metal cooking pots for food, before that the Indians used earthenware pots on the fires. In another hut two older ladies were discussing the way animal pelts were treated which could then be traded. From the Indian village the path wound uphill to the craft centre where other Native Americans demonstrated various crafts such as pottery, headdress making, candle making and beekeeping. Two young women made bread which was cooked in a traditional clay oven, this bread is sold in the gift shop and it sells out very quickly! The main part of the museum, close to the craft centre, is the village with a fort on the high ground looking over the village and with views on all sides. The fort was armed with a number of cannons on the upper floor and was used as a meeting room as well. Within the village there are number of cottages with gardens, furnished as they would have been in the 1600's, brought to life by people in costume speaking an earlier version of English. It really was very well done though John had difficulty joining in the role playing! He was happier talking to the staff in modern dress. It was a very good day. On Saturday we dropped the mooring and zigzagged our way out of Plymouth, at least we were leaving on a rising tide unlike our arrival! There was no wind so we set a course for Provincetown just over 20 miles away. The wind came up so we pulled out the jib and motorsailed. Given how little wind there was, the water in the protected harbour of Provincetown was surprisingly bumpy. John did call up a company to ask about the availability and price of a mooring buoy, $55 per night, so we said no thank you and anchored. £42.30 per night is extortionate. The plan was to go ashore on Sunday morning but it was showery, blowing strongly, kicking up a chop, and we didn't fancy the dinghy ride. The next plan was to leave by 0900 Monday morning but the combination of a torrential downpour obliterating the houses ashore less than half a mile away, the rain radar promising more soon and the unpromising weather forecast conspired to change our plans. We sat tight. This morning, Tuesday, visibility was a bit limited but was forecast to clear by mid morning so we set off at 1030 aiming Starblazer towards the entrance to the Cape Cod Canal. We got the timing right, the fog lifted part way there and we entered the canal shortly after high water, picking up the maximum 5 knots of current. We flew through, briefly hitting 10.7 knots over the ground. Once out of the canal we motored on for another hour and dropped anchor just outside Mettapoissett Harbour. There is a large anchorage area inside but it is filled with moorings, more reasonably priced at $35 but that's still £27, just to tie up to a buoy somewhere in the middle of the harbour. Tomorrow we are moving on to Newport, Rhode Island, more from there hopefully. Joyce

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