Why am I always alone when I walk picturesque Swifts Beach? It’s understandable in the winter months, when I have to bundle up in forty pounds of clothing, but it’s almost summer, and this mornings weather is the finest I’ve experienced in quite some time. The temperature is in the mid seventies with bright blue skies and wispy white clouds. There’s even a hint of humidity in the air. When was the last time it was humid? Last August? Where is everybody? I hope I never become immune to such beauty. But I suppose I shouldn’t complain; it’s nice to be alone with my thoughts on a beautiful beach in any weather. To me it’s inspirational, gets the creative juices flowing. Years ago, when I was a professional musician, I wrote most of my songs while walking the beach. Now, I write my blogs here as well!
I take advantage of the firm, wet sand along the shoreline, walking so close to the water that my footprints could easily be washed away with the slightest ripple. But it rarely happens here in Wareham; there are no waves, except for when it storms, and even then they’re not so impressive. On this picture-perfect late spring morning, not only are there no waves, there is no breeze. Everything is still, quiet, unmoving. Everything, that is, except the no-see-ums. With no wind to blow their loathsome little bodies away, they unmercifully nip my bare arms, legs, face, and even find their way under my hat. Jeez I really hate that! “The walk is over,” I say to myself and quicken my pace, but they chase me all the way to my dinghy pulled up on the sand. Sure, the bugs are awful this time of year, but the good news is: it’s tee-shirt and shorts weather! Around here, that’s practically cause for celebration.
I motor slowly back to Ginger Lee, our cabin cruiser moored off Swifts Neck. My wife Susan, is having coffee on the aft-deck. She puts down her book, pulls a boat hook from its holder, and helps me dock to the swim platform.“You’re up early,” I say, and peck her on the cheek. “Went to bed early. I think. Around boaters midnight,” she answers.
It’s sometimes hard to stay awake on a boat after the sun goes down. Probably because the motion of the water gently rocks you to sleep. I noticed the phenomenon long before I heard the phrase “boaters midnight” from other boaters. But you know, sleep is good, so I figure it’s a good thing. It’s been our habit, while on the boat, to put our timepieces away. No watches allowed. The only clock on board, a beautiful brass antique, is purposely left unwound. We go to bed when tired, wake when ready, eat when hungry, and get there when we get there. It’s amazing how relaxing boating can be when you have no strict time constraints. That being said, if you’re going somewhere far, it’s usually a good idea to leave as early as possible, before the waterways are stirred up by the sun and other boats; it’s always calmer in the morning. To get around the no clocks rule, we made up our own boat time references. For example:
Wife: “When are we leaving?”
Captain: “In the morning.”
Wife: “At oh-my-god o’clock?
Captain: “Sounds about right, give or take.”
Wife: “Just drag my butt out of bed and pour some coffee down my neck.”
Then there’s my personal favorite:
Captain: “Is it beer-thirty yet?”
Wife: “I’m sure the sun is over the yardarm somewhere!”
This morning, right after breakfast, we plan to cruise to one of my favorite places: the quaint little village of Onset. I love the place! Every time we visit, it feels special, like an expensive and distant beach vacation destination, but it’s neither. Twenty bucks a night gets you a mooring near the town wharf, absolutely the best deal in South Coast boating by a longshot. There’s also plenty of free anchoring space on the east side of Wickets Island. A slow boat like ours can make the trip in a little over an hour. A nice little cruise with plenty to see along the way in the busy Hog Island Channel, and since Onset is part of Wareham, technically, we never even leave our hometown!
Check out Onset Harbor, it has everything a cruising boater needs: a beautiful beach, ice cream shops, hardware store, market and liquor store, plus great restaurants.
For seafood, Susan likes The Quahog Republic. I don’t like seafood, but the hot dogs and sandwiches are great. For pizza and subs, we both highly recommend the legendary Marc Anthony’s. Onset also has a launch (new this year), a pump out station, and two marinas. Bring your kayak and stand-up paddleboard because the conditions are great for either. Don’t have ’em? You can rent them right on Onset beach.
Have I inspired you to get into your boat and explore our wonderful waterways? I hope so because that is my intent. They are here for all of us to enjoy. I wish all of you calm winds, gentle waves, and sunny days.