Early afternoon, outside Scituate Harbor
The entrance to Scituate Harbor is marked by a brilliant white, postcard-worthy lighthouse. One I have never seen before. After consulting the Duncan and Duncan cruising guide, I discover that it’s been decommissioned and privately owned. Can you imagine living in a lighthouse? How cool!
As we slowly cruise in, two working lobster boats are heading out, they pass us to port and their captains smile and wave. Today, Susan has appointed herself the designated waver, and returns the gesture.
Raising the Scituate Harbor Yacht Club on channel 9, I request a mooring assignment. “Meet me at nun 8, I’ll show you your mooring,” was the reply. As we follow the nav-aids down, I wonder why it is, in all my years of boating, I have never been to this beautiful place. Both the cruising guides we carry on board say very nice things about it. Apparently, it has everything a boater could possibly want, restaurants, liquor store, CVS, a supermarket, and gift shops, all on a quaint little street which is supposed to be just a short walk from the dinghy dock. I can’t wait to check it out.
When we reach nun 8, the yacht club launch meets us and it’s skipper shouts: “Follow me. I’ll circle it.” We follow. He circles. Susan captures the mooring line with a boat hook and loops it around the bitt. I shut down the engines and the electronics. Time for a cold drink! “What are ya havin’ Hon?” I ask. Knowing the answer, I have it ready before she stows the boat hook and hops onto the aft deck. It’s so darn hot and humid we’re sweating buckets just sitting in the shade. It’s much too hot to even walk down the street, so we decide to postpone our usual dinghy trip for now. It’s a good thing we did.
“Rick! Check this out.” Susan is looking at the northern sky, transfixed by the cloud formations marching frightfully fast towards us. “Quite a weather front,” I say. “The clouds look like big fried Chinese chicken fingers!” Within seconds, a chill wind turns every boat on a mooring northward like they’re magnetized. Delightfully cool air is whipping through the boat, freezing the sweat on my face. It feels soooo good! Too bad we have to close all the widows and hatches soon.
Out on Massachusetts Bay, the ocean turns an unfriendly shade of olive scribbled with whitecaps. A dozen boats come bombing in. Nearby, the yacht club pool and bar, which was packed to capacity ten minutes ago, is now nearly deserted.
“Here it comes,” I announce. Suddenly, a gorgeous, sunny, July afternoon turns into a dark maelstrom. Ginger Lee is bucking to and fro. Lightning cracks all around us. Huge windswept droplets of rain loudly pelt everything. “I never saw it leak there before,” Susan says as she lays a towel on the wet inside window ledge. “‘Cuz it’s raining sideways! At least it’s leaking above the waterline,” I say as I place a towel under the usual drippy spot near the center windshield. Despite the craziness outside, it’s so cozy inside our boat I decide I need a nap! A decision that extracts the oddest look from my wife, and rightfully so, I suppose. Still, I stretch out on the couch, pull my hat over my eyes, and mumble: “Just a cat-nap. Ten minutes at the most.”
Susan says it rained for about three hours with heavy thunder and lightning. I blissfully slept through it. Old age has its perks!
Early evening. Clearing skies.
Finally, the rain stops and we’re able to take a dinghy ride. We hop into Ol’ Salty, wipe off the seats and head out. The Harbormaster gives us a friendly wave as he slowly motors towards us down the fairway. “Where’s the dinghy dock?” I ask him when he gets near. “Two wharves down on the right, under the gangway. Take my space, and if anyone says anything, tell ’em Bob says it’s okay.” Bob smiles broadly and idles off. He looks as rugged and craggy as his old Boston Whaler.
Finding his space, I tie off Salty and we amble up the long, steeply angled aluminum gangway. A gazillion lights of a travelling carnival bombards us as we reach street level. Enjoying the feel of solid, unmoving ground beneath my feet, I feel so giddy that I leap-frog a wooden piling. My wife is duly impressed, but I make a silent vow to never do that again; it’s exactly the kind of thing that can land a sixty-two year old man in the emergency room of the nearest hospital.
Doctor: “So, Mister Coraccio. Exactly how did you break your face?” Rick: “Oh. The usual way. Being wicked stupid.”
As advertised, everything a boater could possibly want is here on Front Street, except a refrigerator magnet. We try to buy one in every port we visit but today we have no luck. There is a certain style we prefer but any one with the name of the town or city will do.
Hand in hand, we stroll along the waterfront, enjoying the view of the harbor which is dramatically lit with that yellowish tint that only occurs for a few minutes before dusk. Susan calls this “the lemon light.” I regret taking only one night in this gorgeous, quaint little harbor. It feels good just being here. I’m coming back!