Pleasant Bay is a magical place—a shallow estuary teeming with life and natural beauty, protected from the open ocean by a long barrier beach. Few know this network of tidal creeks, flats and marshes better than Willy Case, who has boated and fished these waters for more than 32 years.

Willy Chase at the helm. Photos/New England Boating, Tom Richardson.

Willy Case at the helm. Photos/New England Boating, Tom Richardson.

In the accompanying video, shot in October 2013, Case conducts a boater’s tour of Pleasant Bay, Little Pleasant Bay and Chatham Harbor aboard Nauset Marine East‘s venerable Boston Whaler work skiff.

Chart: Little Pleasant Bay and Chatham Harbor

Chart: Little Pleasant Bay and Chatham Harbor

The tour begins in Meeting House Pond, in the upper reaches of Little Pleasant Bay. As the morning sun lights the marsh grass, Case and New England Boating host Tom Richardson head south along “The River” toward Little Pleasant Bay. Along the way, Case points out the various landings, islands, side creeks and hidden coves. As you’ll see, this is paddler’s and small-boater’s paradise, especially in the fall and early summer, when launch-access parking is easier to attain and boating traffic is at a minimum.

Chart: Pleasant Bay

Chart: Pleasant Bay

After a fly-by of the Wequasset Inn (a great waterside dining option) and Ryders Cove Marina (great launch ramp), Case and Richardson pause to discuss the “new” inlet in the barrier beach created by a storm some 7 years ago. The channel is marked by the harbormaster, but can be confusing and even dangerous for novice and visiting boaters to navigate, especially when a sea is running.

Case and Richardson also check out the local seal herd and the remaining cottages on North Beach before shooting across the harbor to Aunt Lydia’s Cove and the Chatham Fish Pier.

By the end of the trip, you’ll no doubt want to trailer your boat to Pleasant Bay to sample the pleasures of this aptly named body of water on Cape Cod!

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