Science Made Public: How to Sink a Boat

August 23, 2016 by Julia Pearl

Ocean Science Exhibit Center
15 School Street
Woods Hole, MA 02540

SCIENCE MADE PUBLIC – During July and August, WHOI’s Ocean Science Exhibit Center and Information Office at WHOI sponsor a series of public talks by WHOI scientists and engineers designed for a lay audience. Everyone is welcome to attend.

How to Sink a Boat: The Ocean Engineering BehindAlvinand Other Deep-sea Manned Vehicles
Bruce Strickrott, AlvinManager, Operational Scientific Services

Alvin and other
deep-sea manned submersibles are complex machines with high-tech systems. But
the principles of diving a deep-submergence vehicle are based on the
fundamentals of physics, hydrodynamics, and engineering. This presentation
includes a brief history of submarine systems (1600s through 1900s) and lessons
on the basic concepts that take Alvin
and other deep-sea manned vehicles safely to and from the seafloor.

Woods Hole Science Stroll

August 6, 2016 by Beth Colt

August 6, 2016 • 11am – 3pm

Water Street, Woods Hole

A FREE public event

  1. Woods Hole Science Aquarium

Marine animals, touch tanks, harbor seals in an outdoor pool.

  1. NOAA Dock

NOAA Fisheries
Displays related to research on whales, sea turtles and other protected marine species, fish, water chemistry and plankton, and tracking ocean currents. Learn how to identify whales; identify sea turtles; step inside a life-size (43-foot) inflatable humpback whale (weather permitting).

US Coast Guard (USCG)
Tour the USCG 45-foot response boat;* see a shipboard damage control demonstration and techniques to control flooding; watch a search and rescue demonstration with a USCG helicopter and rescue swimmer. Time of demonstration will be communicated on the day of event. *Availability of activities is subject to change based on USCG operations.

US Geological Survey
See the SeaBoss vehicle, which collects seabed images and sediment samples in coastal regions, and participate in interactive demonstrations of underwater video capabilities by the SeaBoss.

  1. Waterfront Park

Buzzards Bay Coalition
Learn all about the 10th annual Watershed Ride to help save Buzzards Bay. Get details, ask questions and sign-up for this fall tradition.

Sea Education Association/SEA Semester
From Plastics to Plankton! Conduct simple experiments to better understand plastic pollution in the ocean, a serious problem that affects birds, fish, and ocean mammals; use a microscope to get up-close and personal with the ocean’s wanderers: plankton!

US Geological Survey
Meet the authors of a new book on the Cape Cod National Seashore. Check out the interactive displays on shoreline change, 3-D sea-floor mapping, and predicting hurricanes. Try your hand at a demo about how scientists sample gas from the Earth.

Woods Hole Historical Museum
Check out reprints of historical photographs and publications about the long history of science in Woods Hole. Kids will enjoy a number of games including a “fishing game” with cod of various sizes in a bucket.

Woods Hole Research Center
Learn about Climate research conducted around the world by the Woods Hole Research Center. Measure the amount of CO2 absorbed by plants, using a CO2 Analyzer.

WCAI – the Cape, Coast, and Islands NPR Station
Play “Guess That Sound,” a children’s activity involving ocean life and ocean environment sounds. Meet the host of “Living Lab,” Heather Goldstone.

  1. Marine Biological Laboratory Pierce Visitor Center and Gift Shop

Colorful exhibits tell the story of the MBL and its impact on life sciences.

  1. Marine Biological Laboratory Marine Resources Center

Tour the facilities and see live animals in the touch tanks. Space is limited; sign up on-site.

  1. Zephyr Education Foundation

See the effects of sea level rise, storm surge waves, and tsunamis as you model coastal processes using “augmented reality sandboxes.” The activities are suitable for ages 9 and up. Younger children benefit from adult supervision.

  1. Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) Dock

NOAA Ship Bigelow
Reserve a space for your tour* of the NOAA Ship Henry B. Bigelow. Learn about the research conducted aboard the ship and see what it’s like to live onboard. *Reservations required. Visitors to the ship must have a valid photo ID. Tours require the ability to climb several flights of stairs. Please wear sensible shoes; no backpacks, no strollers. For free ticket visit

Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution displays
Get up close with some working oceanographic instruments and research vehicles used in oceans around the world. Check out Splash Lab science demos and make your own Science Stroll souvenirs at the kids activities table.

  1. WHOI Redfield Auditorium

Come see a kid-friendly film for free at 2 pm sponsored by the Woods Hole
Film Festival

  1. Buzzards Bay Coalition Discovery Center

Explore a marine touch tank full of animals from Buzzards Bay and hands-on family friendly activities.

  1. WHOI Ocean Science Exhibit Center

Videos, displays, and exhibits include marine mammals, Titanic, hydrothermal vents, polar research and many more.

Around the Sound Sunset Cruise

June 6, 2016 by Beth Colt

Getting ready for summer? Need a break before the hectic rush on the Cape?

Join us for a relaxing evening onMonday, June 6 as we take in the view of breathtaking sights around Vineyard Sound and the Elizabeth Islands. (The exact route will be dependent on the weather and tides.) Complimentary appetizers and light fare will be provided by Atria Woodbriar, and the evening will also include a cash bar and fabulous raffle!

The boat will leave promptly at 5:30 PM from the Island Queen dock, located at 75 Falmouth Heights Road. Please arrive by 5:00 and carpool if possible, as free dockside parking is limited. Dress is casual, but a windbreaker and/or sweater and rubber-soled shoes are recommended. The boat will return to dock at 7:30.

Tickets are $25 ($10 tax-deductible) and proceeds will benefit Falmouth Museums on the Green community programming. To register, visit ourwebsite or call 508-548-4857 ext. 11.

6th Annual Falmouth the Hyannis Regatta

May 27, 2016 by Beth Colt

6th annual Falmouth to Hyannis Race which begins from in front of the Falmouth Yacht Club. Falmouth is an excellent place to stop for the night if you are heading east to participate in another racing event. The Race to Hyannis offers the opportunity to tune your boat and practice your boat handling before competing in another event. Registration information is contained in the Notice of Race, which can be found at link below. Come enjoy the company of your fellow sailors the evening before at the Falmouth Yacht Club bar and breakfast on race day morning.

Cape Cod sunset sail on the Liberté

August 7, 2015 by Beth Colt

If you’re looking to get out on the water and do it in style, you’ve got to book a ride on the Liberté. Watching the sunset over the westernmost part of Cape Cod from the deck of a beautiful 74’ three-masted schooner is easily one of my best memories from this summer.

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My friend Bonny and I had been waiting for some good weather to go out for a relaxing evening after work, and last Thursday turned out to be the perfect day. The air had that perfect end-of-July warmth, and there was enough wind to fill the sails and keep us cool as we made our way out into the Vineyard Sound. The crew was composed of Captain Chris and two experienced and friendly young women. Their teamwork allowed us to get our sunset sail underway quickly, and all we had to do was sit back and enjoy the sights and sounds while reclining in one of the boat’s many comfortable seating areas.

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Once we were out of the harbor and all the sails had been raised, the crew offered full bar service with a selection of wine, beer, and cocktails. With glasses of pinot grigio in hand, Bonny and I toasted to the dog days of summer and laughed as we listened to Captain Chris’s tales from his time at sea.


Captain Chris Tietje and his wife Jane had this sail boat designed and built just for them, and they live on it for most of the year. In the summers, they keep the boat docked in Falmouth Harbor (a 10 minute drive from the Woods Hole Inn) and take people out for a one-of-a-kind Cape Cod sailing experience. While on the boat, Captain Chris treats the passengers to stories about the birth of the Liberté and the history of Martha’s Vineyard and the surrounding waters.




There were about 35 other passengers with us that evening, but the boat never felt crowded. It seemed that each separate party was able to have their own intimate moments while still harmoniously coexisting with the rest of the group on board. There was plenty of room to move around, and I made sure to get photos from each part of the top deck.

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The Liberté sails three times a day, seven days a week throughout the summer and can be booked for private charters or parties. If you’re looking for a memorable Cape Cod sailing experience, you don’t want to miss out on a chance to ride aboard the magnificent schooner, Liberté. Check out for more information about the Liberte and how you can plan your sailing trip.

— from guest blogger Sam Frawley

Photowalking Woods Hole

June 23, 2013 by Beth Colt

One of the greatest pleasures of inn-keeping is the chance to meet people from all over the world.  One of my passions is photography, and I enjoy sharing the beauty of Woods Hole on guest “photo-walks” the best of which turn into fascinating conversations about life.

We generally depart from the front door of the inn, and I like to get out when the light is still good, and we explore the village for about an hour, scouring the back alleys for lobster traps, peering down pathways and scampering across Cape Cod beaches.  I love sharing my favorite spots, and seeing them anew as guests always point out things I have never noticed.  There is always new light, new flora, new angles to explore.

This spring I went out a few times, and one guest Janice Murray (who keeps a great Etsy shop of her work here) even sent me some of her favorites to publish here (see below mixed with mine).    Then there was the guy on his honeymoon from the UK, wandering the East Coast for a few weeks with a large camera and an insatiable thirst to understand the American psyche.  Here are a few pictures from these great walks/talks.  I look forward to many more…

Beach Cape CodPhoto Walk Cape Cod Summer Beach Cape Cod

Jan Murray

photo by Janice Murray

Jan Murray

photo by Janice Murray

Jan Murray

photo by Janice Murray

Boating on Vineyard Sound

August 22, 2012 by Beth Colt

Exploring VIneyard Sound in a boat

Re-discovering Cape Cod from the water is one of my favorite parts of summer.  As the days started to get shorter, and the crispness of autumn snuck into the air, I rushed to take my boat out onto the Sound.  The warmth of the summer water made me feel bold, and we packed the boat with kids and set off in our small vessel last week.

We departed from Woods Hole in the late morning with the goal of visiting Lake Tashmoo on Martha’s Vineyard, and making it up to Menemsha to get fresh fish for dinner at Larsen’s Fish Market.  Some people would take that time to go fishing themselves — I would rather buzz around with a boat load of kids, see the sights and purchase my fresh catch from one of the world’s best fish markets.

Martha's Vineyard boat trip

So off we set with sunscreen, bathing suits, beach towels and plenty of cash to buy our fabulous fish.  First stop, Lake Tashmoo, just about 20 minutes across the Sound on a clear calm day like this one.  Storm clouds hovered over this part of the Vineyard, and I am usually the first to wimp out in the face of real weather but the rest of the sky seemed bright enough and we pushed on.  Brave!

Summer visit to Marthas Vineyard by boatLake Tashmoo was once a pond and the entrance has been opened to a small channel that then lets you into a rather large protected harbor.  We slowed way down to avoid leaving a wake (waves would disturb the other boaters moored and anchored about) so it took the better part of half an hour to putt putt all the way in and see the whole thing.  There were scads of lovely boats, and houses with great green lawns yawning down to the sandy shore below.  It was exciting to peek in the back yards of the valuable waterfront real estate on Martha’s Vineyard and we were not the only ones snooping along the shore.

At the entrance, there is a barrier beach that was packed with people enjoying a lovely day in the sun:

Visiting the Vineyard by boat

Onward we traveled to Menemsha!  The Vineyard is not small (18 miles long) so we powered at full speed for about 20 minutes along the coastline to get to this tiny little town at the very end of the island.  A channel with a strong current flowing let’s you into a beautiful protected harbor packed with real fishing vessels.

Menemsha Harbor with lovely red fishing vessel

We struggled to get a spot to tie up, then found one along the pier and ran to get our fresh fish from Larsen’s.  The kids clambered along the island road to the local ice cream shop, and the day was so hot that it was a challenge to eat the ice cream before it melted all down your arm.  The smarter members of our crew bought “frappes” which is the New England way of asking for an ice cream shake.  Yum.

colorful fish signs in Martha's Vineyard up islandLarsen’s is an institution up island on the Vineyard (you can read more about visiting Up Island as a pedestrian on our blog).  I have seen Larsen’s t-shirts proudly worn in Los Angeles and New York, a way insiders telegraph to each other that they are “in the know” about what is cool on the Vineyard.  It was lunchtime when we got there and people were clustered around lobster trap tables enjoying the fresh fare and harbor views.

Larsens Fish on the VineyardI especially liked the look of this meal, but there were too many kids with us to indulge in a lobster feast.   Gotta love those all-American paper cups:)  Next time!

Lobster meal on paper plates in rustic setting

We explored the Menemsha harbor a wee bit more, then read a few days later of a shark sighting right near there.  I guess they come for the same reason the fisherman like these waters — plenty of fresh fish!

I love my annual peregrination to Menemsha, and I will be back soon before the weather turns the water cool again.  You simply can not beat a day on the waters of Vineyard Sound.  You can re-create this journey with one of many local charter boat captains.  Book a room at the Woods Hole Inn and with a little advance notice we would be happy to set a day trip just like this one up for you.  Sharks, lobster and all:)

Visiting Vineyard Sound