The waters of Buzzard's Bay are one of the most pristine and beautiful natural resources we have. I have spent most of my life sailing the bay. I have seen the bay so calm that the sky seems to merge with the mirror smooth water. I have seen the bay with the wind so fierce, and the waves so high that all I could do was hang on as the boat surged along on a broad reach under reefed sail, the top of each wave coating us with spray.
I've seen the arrival of the terns in springtime, and the amazing sight of sailing off Ram Island in Mattapoisett at sunset, as these tiny birds return by the hundreds each evening, to feed their young, with sand eels hanging from their beaks. As my boat ghosts along in the fading wind of sunset, I see them, wave after wave of birds flying back from all corners of the bay, focused on one purpose, to feed their young.
I've seen seals arrive to winter over off of Cuttyhunk and seen the seals return north in the springtime by swimming back though the Cape Cod canal. The seals have even explored the shallow waters of Little Bay, watching me row my skiff in an early spring excursion into the harbor.
Summer brings Oystercatchers and Snipes to Little Bay, and Bluefish in abundance.
Summer brings dependable 15 knot breezes out of the southwest each afternoon, laying out a roadmap for a sailing vessel, broad reach to Woods Hole, windward to Kettle Cove.
The fall brings the changing of the seasons. The bluefish head south, along with the terns and other shore birds. Blue herons and snowy egrets stop for a while on their migration south to warmer shores. In their place arrive the arctic ducks, the buffleheads. These tiny ducks of black and white markings fly in clusters. They are first seen offshore, out by NoMan's Island, then as the month of October progresses, they are seen further and further in shore, until by December, when they roost with the mallards in Little Bay and other protected estuaries.
racing is an indescribably joyous thrill.
Winter brings frozen waters. The ducks remain as do the seals, but it is the most barren time for the bay.
Buzzard's Bay provides me with a source of spiritual renewal. Since my early days of sailing along her shores, the sense of a force of nature, so very much more powerful than me, provides me with a sense of respect, humility and timelessness. Seasons come and go, I age, and yet the winds of summer return each season. The brilliant sunlight reflecting on the water as Yuletide glides on a broad reach from the Elizabeths, season after season. Decade after decade.
Harbors of Buzzards Bay