A Particular Harbor

Menemsha (the name derives from an old coastal Native American word “Still Water”) is a special place; we’ve always loved it and wished for more time in this fishing harbor a bit more bustling than Cuttyhunk. Menemsha is located up-island on MV’s north side just a few miles from the western tip of the island. It is known for affording fabulous views of beautiful sunsets, lobster and fish markets to satisfy your every New England seafood desire, several shops to tempt you and beaches to sunbathe on or to beachcomb. Four hours was all our drooling, eager selves needed to cover all those bases; with temps in the low 70s we opted for beach combing rather than sun bathing.

One of two seafood markets by the docks in the harbor

One of two seafood markets by the docks in the harbor

If you take my picture I won't buy out the store

If you take my picture I won’t buy out the store

The harbor is postage stamp size with prime dock space for 15 power boats and 2 mooring balls for sailing vessels only (expect rafting). Additional dock space mid-harbor is available for unlucky power boats or ones who’d rather not have their every move and sound witnessed by neighbors and passersby. Larger yachts can dock parallel along the opposite side of that dock. Outside the harbor, just off the beach are additional mooring balls but they’d be a lousy choice if the wind is more than 12kts from any direction other than south. Another option is to anchor off the beach; the holding is very good in coarse sand and you can be in 10ft easily. We anchored of course.  Low wind for the afternoon and night made this the perfect time to visit Menemsha; who knows what the conditions would be when returning from Oak Bluffs farther east.

The essential bike ferry- so you can bike your hearts out across MV

The essential bike ferry- so you can bike your hearts out all across MV

Looking down the long dock toward the harbor entrance

Looking down the long dock toward the harbor entrance

After assisting Menemsha Blues with their end-of-summer sale and acquiring lobsters to steam aboard as well as a dozen local oysters to shuck we headed over to the beach. Happy me that the sea glass fairy (we are near Gay Head after all!) dropped a few teeny trinkets on her way to some other place; one of them a pea-sized piece of red sea glass.  Red is rare and this is my only piece.

Russ wanted to explore further up into Menemsha’s harbor and check out the decaying remains of Orca, the shark fighting vessel of Jaws fame. Orca was showing her age and neglect back in 2007 when we last stopped at Menemsha on Island Bound, our 320 SeaRay. After the movie was filmed she was brought to the harbor to rest on her laurels and whatever other parts, on the sandy flat long the harbor’s edge. Russ did not have any photo taking device with him I am sorry to say. While he was away I updated the blog and our “where-is” Google map.  I did not notice the large yacht until Russ shouted from the dinghy, “who’s the yacht?” Well, let’s check. I go to the chart plotter, touch the green AIS triangle and up pops this screen of info.

Who owns this? Let's just say that tonight Menemsha is Margaritaville

Who owns this? Let’s just say that tonight Menemsha is Margaritaville

Wide-eyed, we both realize at the same moment, just who owns that (cornflower) blue-hulled yacht. Happy hour and oysters can wait; we need to find out if he might actually be aboard. Umm, let’s see. Done with US concert tour, not heading to Paris until Sept 26. Yep, could be chillin’ out in this particular harbor. No guarantees because the yacht can be chartered, but still quite likely and this is second-home territory.  The 32’ center console tender zoomed in and back out to the mother ship. We watched expectantly as the yacht made her way into the harbor.

Continental Drifter heads for the breakwater entrance to Menemsha

Continental Drifter heads for the breakwater entrance to Menemsha

Oh ya, she’s going to tie up alongside the dock and we’ll dinghy in for some close-ups.

Continental Drifter III prepares to dock

Continental Drifter III prepares to dock

For some reason, the fenders had not been placed on the correct side and had to be laboriously moved to the yacht’s port side before she could snug up to the dock. Several onlookers stood by on the dock while others at the “prime” docks across the way stood on their bows, some with visual aids.

Hey big fender-won't you come on over?

Hey big fender-won’t you come on over?

Just think, Buffet and crew are here most likely for much the same reasons we are. To taste the saltiness of Menemsha and enjoy lobster, oysters and sunsets. For us just one night; the September winds would be present again for a couple of days so we’d kick it up a notch and head for more vibe in Oak Bluffs.

2 thoughts on “A Particular Harbor

  1. Twice in the 90s we took our tri up into Menemsha pond. I don’t think you can do that anymore. It was slightly tricky because there was a big rock in the middle of the channel. Not very good holding ground, but very scenic. I forget now, whether we were eye candy for the rich landowners, or they were eye candy for us.


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