Prolugue: How To Go Boating and Save $500!

Most of the boat operators I know are still in shock about paying $7.00/gallon for diesel. On April 29, the day before our shakedown cruise, I had Ned fill up the tank. I had no idea what it would cost, but I wasn’t prepared for the $2,739.30 invoice. I immediately doubled the fuel allowance in the Relentless expense spreadsheet and tried to put it out of my mind.

Over the past few months, there’s been a lot of talk among boat owners about how the cost of fuel will affect their summer plans. A number of folks said they planned to spend more time in the marina. Others mentioned short trips to an anchoring gunkhole.

Being a bit of a smart ass, I kept saying, “If you have to worry about the cost of fuel, maybe you shouldn’t be boating.”

Knowing I would be taking my USCG Captain’s License exam on May 14, I’d eyed May 21 -23 as our first overnight cruise. We typically head to Newport since it’s really a year-round port with everything open well before Memorial Day.

I booked the Newport Yachting Center and made dinner reservations at The Reef and Midtown Oyster weeks ago. As the weekend weather came into view, none of the forecasts agreed. NYC has a 72-hour cancellation window, and on Tuesday, I started looking for alternatives that would work in a 15-20 mph blow.

I quickly settled on Oak Bluffs, and that’s when it hit me; the round trip to Newport was 60 miles more than Oak Bluffs. That works out to saving 80 gallons of diesel worth $500!

And with that, this smart ass started changing his plans based on the high cost of fuel.

Oak Bluffs Friday

We woke up Friday to thick fog…

But it’s only 18 miles to Oak Bluffs, so we were in no rush to depart, and the fog lifted around 10:00 AM.

Although we were pretty much alone on Buzzards Bay, it was a great day for boating…

I spent much of the winter studying to pass the USCG 100 T Master Captain’s exam (by the way, I passed – story to follow). And while it’s true that you have to learn a lot of stuff, you’ll never need to know; I did learn a lot of new stuff about boating.

As you may know, I do run in the fog under instruments when I’m well offshore, but I learned a lot in this course about how to travel safely in fog.

One of the big lessons was the legal requirement to run our radar at all times – even on a clear day. I have committed to doing this in 2022 and did so all the way to OB. I also learned how to use “Echo Trails” to see a potential collision even faster.

In the screenshot above, you can see four AIS-equipped vessels off my port bow. The green and the red dots show the location of the ships, and the blue blurs are the echo trails of where they’ve been.

The ships shown with green dots are moving away from me, and the ships with the red dots are moving toward me. I’m not sure if the color of the dots is significant or not – more to learn.

On The Boardwalk!

I remember visiting the Sandbar in Oak Bluffs in our 26’ Whaler 20 years ago and looking at the yacht docked at the bulkhead on the boardwalk and wondering how they got it. Little did I know that Oak Bluffs Marina operates four slips across from the Coop DeVille, Lobsterville, and the Sandbar. I had booked it last year but had to cancel due to weather, so this was our first time docking there.

Being mid-May, the boat basin wasn’t crowded, but by noon, the sun was shining bright, and the day boats from Falmouth were streaming into OB.

Petey (Coop DeVille owner) welcomed us and handed me a set of his new menus for the boat. I wanted to kick off our first visit of the season with a basket of their wings, but Mrs. Horne really wanted sushi, so we headed up the hill to the Lookout.

It was around 65 degrees, and there was a 10-knot wind coming across the front porch. The Lookout was still quite comfortable, thanks to some custom-designed plastic curtains…

Mrs. Horne loved her sushi and edamame…

On the other hand, I shouldn’t have ordered the wings. I’m a Buffalo Wing purist – deep fry em and toss em in hot sauce. The Lookout Wings are more like KFC, tossed in hot sauce.

I know some people like them this way, but not me!

New Look For Circuit Avenue

After lunch, Mrs. Horne and I took a stroll up Circuit Ave, and we barely recognized it! Over the winter, the town widened all the sidewalks and got rid of the angled parking…

The old street was dark and crowded. Mrs. Horne hated it, and suddenly she said, “This is as nice as Edgartown.”

It was the first day of the season for Vineyard Vines, and we wanted some new shirts for our grandkids. Unfortunately, the VV in Oak Bluffs is very small, and the selection for kids was very limited. Since we were planning to bike to Edgartown Saturday, I suggested we shop in their huge store there.

Mrs. Horne did find a nice purse as BeetleBung, and I learned from the owner that Homeport in Menemsha was finally reopening – they closed during the pandemic and never reopened.

My favorite coffee shop – Toccopuro, was still closed for the season. I searched Yelp and discovered an open shop- Mocha Mott’s. It’s kind of a basement shop, and I had walked right by it for years because it looked so dark and dingy. But with the new look on Circuit Avenue, it was transformed into a bright and warm venue.

I’m a bit of a nut when it comes to my ice coffee. It’s basically a strong Americano. I pour hot espresso over a cup overflowing with ice and viola – you get a strong Americano. The thing about this sort of ice coffee is that you really taste the beans, and if they’re off, you end up with a lousy and expensive drink.

The coffee beans at Mocha Matt’s are great!

The Red Cat Kitchen

In late 2017 we discovered what a wonderful place Oak Bluffs is during the shoulder seasons (May to mid-June and after Labor Day). We also discovered this eclectic little restaurant- The Red Cat Kitchen.

As you may know, I’m not a big fan of Obama’s politics, but man, can he and Michelle pick great restaurants, and RCK is their favorite in OB.

We ate there in 2017 and 2018, and then Chef Ben opened up The Cardboard Box and The Oyster Bar 02257 and started dining at the newer restaurant instead.

Unlike the Cardboard Box and The Oyster Bar 02257, The Red Cat requires Old School reservations (nothing online – phone in only).

Anyway, I decided to call a week out and landed us dinner reservations last Friday night.

It’s a very intimate little spot…

It was a tad noisy, but we could still carry on a conversation. I started with a glass of the house Pinot, and we shared three delicious dishes.

I ordered Rhode Island Three Ways…

Red Cat Kitchen – Rhode Island Three Ways

This was an incredible fried seafood feast for $27. It consisted of Oysters, Clams, Calamari, and Peppers. It was my entree, and Mrs. Horne sampled some, but we couldn’t finish it.

Speaking of Mrs. Horne, she went for the Seared Scallops over Corn Risotto…

Red Cat Kitchen- Seared Scallops

The risotto was perfectly prepared- creamy and not mushy.

We opted for the Crispy Brussels Sprouts as a side…

Red Cat Kitchen – Crispy Brussels Sprouts

Very tasty with just the right amount of Balsamic and Parmesan. We couldn’t finish this dish either. Unlike fried leftovers- which I didn’t want at home, I could think of a couple of dishes that I could make with this, so we had leftovers!

Foggy Saturday

Our plans for a bike ride to Edgartown looked iffy when I woke up Saturday morning…

We kicked around the idea of taking the bus or a cab most of the morning while watching food shows and checking weather apps every 15 minutes. Eventually, I took a walk to the market and caught a glimpse of the sun…

This was great news since it meant the ceiling was 100% fog, not clouds and as soon as the fog burned off, the sun would certainly shine.

Edgartown Bound

Around 10:30, things were brightening up enough to take our chances biking to Edgartown. We left town by the Ferry Dock and quickly ran into a Marathon that was using the bike trail…

The traffic officer told us to just stay on the right side of the road. Being mid-May, the traffic was light and we survived.

Vineyard Vines Edgartown

I’m not sure, but I think this might be their original store. According to Forbes, their first store was on Martha’s Vineyard, and it opened in 2005. I’ve been visiting Edgartown by boat since around that time, and I can’t recall the store on that corner ever being anything but Vineyard Vines.

If you know me, you’ve probably noticed that I wear clothes from Vineyard Vines 99% of the time. I love the quality and the fit. My dedication to this brand has rubbed off on my grandkids, and although they only own a few VV garments, they wear them often.

Vineyard Vines started online, and once they started opening stores, they introduced a limited line of graphic shirts with the name of the store location on the shirt, and you can only buy them in that particular store.

Anyway, Mrs. Horne quickly hit the kids section and picked up matching Edgartown branded long-sleeve tees for Jack and Lucy.

Lunch at the Atlantic

We’re really getting hooked on the Atlantic in Edgartown. We’re planning four days on the Vineyard in June, and we’ll probably revisit it.

The weather was still in transition Saturday when we got there…

Whenever it’s just the two of us, Mrs. Horne and I always try to grab a seat at the bar and strike up a conversation.

Saturday, we met a new bartender Named Vladimir…

Vlad (as he preferred to be called) is from Serbia, and although it was only his fifth day on the job, he exhibited an incredible command of the menu.

He was selling the Charred Oysters hard, and we shared a half dozen to start…

Charred Oysters at The Atlantic Edgartown

You may know that I’m a huge oyster fan, and this may be the best oyster dish I’ve ever had. The oysters are shucked and broiled, but not all the way through. Then an exceptional Parmesan is melted on top.

This is a unique preparation, but what put this dish over the top was the incredible Katama Bay oysters – large, plump, and juicy. And at $24, they were reasonably priced, at least for Edgartown!

Mrs. Horne went for the Lobster Arugula salad…

Lobster and Arugula Salad at The Atlantic Edgartown

Vlad tempted me with a number of new dishes, and I took an unusually long time making my entree selection. With Mrs. Horne and Vlad pushing me to decide, I went back to my favorite – Street Style Shawarma Tacos…

Street Style Shawarma Tacos at The Atlantic Edgartown

I’ve had this 3-4 times, but this was the best yet. It’s an incredible flavor bomb inside a fresh (warm) pita bread.

It’s filled with rotisserie lamb and veal, cilantro, tahini & amba sauce and topped with French feta cheese.

The South Beach Bike Loop

It’s a little over six miles from OB to Edgartown. I like to do 10,000 steps every day by bike and on the Tern eBike, which usually means 20 miles. Mrs. Horne doesn’t bike as much as I do, but she was up for the ride. Besides, the sun was coming out, and the temperature was well into the 70’s…

We started out toward Norton Point but took a right at the fork and headed down Herring Creek Road. This turned out to be a great decision. The bike path is as nice as any I’ve seen, reminiscent of Nantucket.

Herring Creek Road – Edgartown

As I’ve mentioned before, the island website has a comprehensive map of all the paths and bike routes around the island..

Last summer, I ran into Ernie Boch Jr.’s Llamas on Katama road. I told Mrs. Horne about them, and we unsuccessfully looked for them every time we passed the back of his estate.

On Saturday, the Llamas were out by the street, and Mrs. Horne got to see these beautiful creatures up close…

Mrs. Horne thinks she was looking for food, but I just think she wanted a kiss!

We got back to Relentless around 3:00, and the boardwalk looked like mid-July.

Summer Breaks Out in OB

The mooring field was still empty, but people were tying up everywhere, and the ferry from Falmouth was running nonstop. There was little wind, and the temperature was close to 80.

Even though the water temperature was 59°, people were walking around in bathing suits and even swimming…

I have to admit that sitting up on Relentless’s Flybridge sipping on an ice-cold beer felt a tad elitist, but every time I made eye contact with someone down on the boardwalk, I said “Hi” and ended up making conversation with a few people.

Dinner at The Coop

Saturday night was our last meal on OB, and we felt guilty that we hadn’t eaten at the Coop DeVille yet, so we decided to try it for dinner. Petey’s new menu looks like a regular seaside restaurant for folks who aren’t into wings.

Mrs. Horne went for the Steamers…

I went for a Fiddlehead, the standard Buffalo Wings and a basket of fries…

We sat in the back bar, talked to locals, and watched the Sox hammer Seattle!

We ended the day with a beautiful sunset and a smooth run home Sunday morning…

Sunset on Oak Bluffs

Next stop is meeting friends in Plymouth Sunday through Tuesday.