The Perfect Family Boating Adventure

Exploring Orleans on the water with a little help from Goose Hummock

By Lisa Leigh Connors

It was the end of August and I started thinking, “Where did the summer go and what did we do?” We took the kids to the Chatham Fourth of July parade, attended Cape Cod Baseball League games, spent a rainy weekend in Maine and went to the beach—maybe a half dozen times. I quickly realized we hadn’t experienced many aquatic adventures as a family. I was determined to get out onto the water and spend some quality time together before our seven-year-old and 10-year-old went back to school! So I called Goose Hummock in Orleans to reserve one of their power boats, a 14-foot aluminum Starcraft (which accommodates four people), for a half-day rental. It turned out to be one of the best decisions I have ever made. Upon arrival at the Orleans shop, my husband and I checked in at the rental desk where we met Goose Hummock owner Phil Howarth. As I filled out a short rental waiver, Howarth went over our route from Goose Hummock’s dock on Town Cove to Nauset Beach. Howarth said as we traveled down through Town Cove and Hopkins Island, we’d take a sharp right, pass oyster beds and soon arrive at the beach. Our journey would take about 20 minutes. He advised us to stay away from the inlet, which is a no-go zone, and the further down you go along Nauset Beach, he said, the shallower it gets.

We headed down to the dock and loaded our coolers (filled with sandwiches, snacks and drinks) onto the boat, as well as nets and buckets for the boys. After we fastened our life jackets, we were ready for our adventure! On our journey out to the beach, we passed kayakers and larger power boats, which created big waves and made our ride even more adventurous (even our 10-year-old actually cracked a smile!). As we approached Nauset, we slowed down and dropped the anchor. The boat is light and easy to maneuver. We felt like we were on our own private island since there weren’t many people around. We sat and ate lunch, the boys caught some crabs and minnows and we explored the beach. While we walked along the sand, we spotted a seal bobbing up and down as our boys collected rocks. We then crossed over the dunes on a walking path to the ocean side (mindful of the “threatened birds nesting” signs). As expected, there were strong currents. So after putting our feet in the water briefly, we headed back to the calmer side.

The afternoon was over in a flash. As we approached the dock and one of the workers tied up the boat, my younger son stood up and exclaimed, “That was awesome!” Next time, I think we’ll rent the boat for an entire day. It turned out to be the perfect family boating adventure.

The Goose Hummock Shop, Outdoor & Marine Center, 15 Route 6A, Orleans. To reserve a power boat, call 508-255-0455. Rates are $150 for a half day and $275 for a full day. Stand-up paddle boards and kayaks are also available to rent.

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