Cruisin’ the Cape Cod Canal

It was hot and humid so I thought there might be some relief out on the water. I thought I’d follow up on the sight-seeing cruise ship I’d seen on the Cape Cod Canal. I’d learned that the boat went out of Onset. I don’t think I’ve ever been to Onset so that alone would be interesting.

Driving into Onset took me past clam shacks , souvenir shops and typical tourist  attractions. I think I even passed a miniature golf course. I finally pulled over and asked 2 young men if they could tell me where I could find the sight seeing boat. I was a block away!

Following the road the men pointed me toward took my right along the beach. To my surprise it was practically empty! Once I reached the parking area and wharf I was greeted at the entrance. The attendant told me I was in the right place and pointed me to a parking spot.

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An automated parking meter accepted my debit card and spit out a receipt for me to put on the dash of the car.

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The MV Viking was pulling in as I parked. Timing couldn’t be better.

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I bought my ticket and about 15 minutes later I boarded for the 2 hour cruise.


We reach the canal from Onset Bay.

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At buoy marker 21 we passed an active Osprey nest then turned to port (left) to head into the canal.

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Ahead was the Cape Cod Railroad Bridge and the Mass. Maritime Academy (both of which deserve their own posts).

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The Cape Cod Railroad bridge is a vertical lift bridge. This means that the rail bed is elevated when not in use and lowered to connect with the rail bed on terra firma when a train needs to cross the canal.

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I was surprised to learn that the bridge is still in use being raised and lowered about 3 times each day when the Cape Cod tourist trains come through.

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The Mass Maritime Academy has been preparing men and women for careers on land at sea for over 100 years. The co-ed academy balances a unique, regimented lifestyle with a typical 4 year college environment. Moored near the academy is the MV Kennedy, a huge training vessel for the cadets.

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Next up was the Bourne Bridge, one of the 2 bridges that span the canal and connect the upper and lower cape.

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The center spans on the Bourne Bridge and the Sagamore are the same size.

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The Bourne Bridge is the larger bridge because the topography requires to additional extensions on either end that the Sagamore doesn’t need.

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The cruise provided an answer to a mystery that I have always wondered about. Have you ever noticed the round “balls” attached to some high tension lines? No one hs ever been able to tell me what they were for.

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Well, according to the commentary on the cruise, they are so low flying planes can see the lines and if they can’t see them then radar can pick them up so the planes don’t get entangled. They are called “Talons”.

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Finally we came to our turn around at the  Sagamore Bridge.

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There was the Herring run near the Butterflies of Cape Cod and the Seafood Shanty where I’d first seen the Viking cruise by.

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There was a lot more to the cruise covering history and antecedents but I need far more room to include it all. I invite any one local to try the cruise and if you aren’t, then come on down for a vacation and give it a try.

Cape Cod is beautiful in the summer.

Posted in attraction, Birds, Cape Cod, Cruises, Massachusetts, Travel and tagged , , , , .