At the end of the Nauset estuary are Coast Guard and Nauset Beaches, which extend from the mainland on sand spits that look on a map like opposing fingers. Between the spits is a channel to the Atlantic through which the tide flows into and out of the estuary. These beaches are relatively far from their respective parking lots - almost two miles for Nauset Beach and over a mile for Coast Guard - making them generally unused by most people. But if you are a boat owner with access to the estuary, you can get easy access to these barrier beaches from the inlet side. There is only one catch: you must know how to dual anchor your boat.
Since this is our first year with a boat, we have been gradually making every new boat owner mistake. I have three simple goals every time I boat: (1) keep the people in the boat, (2) keep the water out of the boat, and (3) don’t hit anything. Fortunately we made most of our most embarrassing mistakes before our neighbors were on the Cape. For example, there was the time I tried to take the boat out in high winds with Kristin’s mother and promptly beached it. Then there was the time Kristin learned she didn’t know how to row a dinghy and found herself swept out with the tide while she flailed about in a frenzy. And then there was the time Eben didn’t tie the dinghy to the mooring ball, and we stood silently by while our ride back to shore floated away. But after watching a YouTube video on dual anchoring by made by a Captain Chris in Florida, I was pretty sure this would be easy. After all, if Captain Chris can effortlessly secure his bow and stern anchors all by himself, how hard could it be for me to do with my wife and son as first mates?
To get to the barrier beach from Town Cove, you need to pilot through the marked channel past Hopkins Island to Weeset Point. Once you get by the two green buoys near Weeset Point, you will leave the marked channel and enter an area marked by the harbormaster using orange fisherman buoys. While the water stays relatively deep at high tide, I always go slowly here and use great caution. After passing the second orange buoy, you will see Coast Guard Beach on your right. There is about a 400’ stretch between the buoy and shallows that is a good place to anchor.
The good news is: we managed to follow the general concepts of Captain Chris’s 2 minute and 50 second video. The bad news is: the Captain Joe video took 40 minutes, required 5 anchor drops, and included lots of high tension between the captain and his first mates. There was a moment of near mutiny when I thought my crew might make me walk the plank. Fortunately for me, the water was below my knees.
My lessons learned? (1) boating is harder than it looks, (2) everything looks easier on YouTube, and (3) Captain Chris is just a show-off.