We are wide awake at 5 AM with the rumble of thunder, the sound of rainfall pelting the deck hatches and Cutter Loose tugging at her anchor. In our pre-dawn thought process, we become resigned to spending the morning or perhaps the entire day at anchor.
By 7 AM, the weather radar shows the storm moving on to the east. The forecast calls for gradually improving conditions behind the front with moderate winds out of the southwest. By 8 AM, the anchor is up and we are underway in order to enter Woods Hole channel at slack tide.
Even under these optimum conditions, the current runs perpendicular to our course and we throttle up to avoid being swept sideways in the channel. And of course, there is the obligatory meeting between Cutter Loose and the Woods Hole passenger ferry in mid-channel. The ferries rule this territory. Pleasure boats must anticipate the movement of the ferries and concede the center of the narrow channel to the professional skippers.
We utter a sigh of relief as we emerge from Woods Hole and enter Vineyard Sound, then Nantucket Sound where we set a course for the island of Nantucket, about 30 miles to the southeast of Woods Hole. Soon, Marthas Vineyard disappears astern and there is no land in sight. This is remote territory. Shoals, eddies and countercurrents contribute to the mystery of this passage.
At 11 AM, the lights go out as we enter a fog bank…more practice navigating by radar and electronic charts. Exactly one hour later, visibility improves…the equivalent of being cured of blindness. We breathe yet another sigh of relief, cut the engine and sail silently to Nantucket on a close reach in 20 knots of wind. At 2 PM, we are rewarded with sunshine and blue skies as we secure a mooring in the harbor. We look forward to a few days of relaxation and exploration of the island.