Woods Hole Names & Numbers
April 10, 2015
NOAA 13235, 13229, 13230
Riddled with ledges and swept by strong currents, Woods Hole is a notoriously tricky passage to navigate. It’s also incredibly busy, with boats of all sizes, plus massive ferries and other ships, plying the main channel. If you are unfamiliar with Woods Hole, time your trip to coincide with slack tide, and do not attempt to make the passage at night. Also, keep red buoys to starboard as you head from Vineyard Sound toward Buzzards Bay, all the way through the channel. Controlling depth in the channel is 11’.
Entering from Buzzards Bay is fairly straightforward, as there is plenty of deep water leading into the channel. Just remember to keep red buoys to port as you enter the channel from the Buzzards Bay side. Pick up the G “13” Fl G 4s Bell marking the northern entrance to Woods Hole and keep east of GC “11” and west of R “10” Fl R 4s as you enter the “Strait”. As you pass RN “6” and GC “7”, turn east toward the harbor. Keep in the middle of the channel, which is bordered closely by ledges and rocks. The channel forks as you split RN “4A” and GC “5”. If heading for Great Harbor or Eel Pond (see below), stay north of GR C “SB” and enter Great Harbor, passing first between Grassy Island and Red Ledge. (If continuing into Vineyard Sound, turn south-southeast at GR C “SB” and enter “Broadway” channel.)
If bound for Eel Pond, continue east-northeast after reaching RN “2”. You’ll find the pond entrance next to the Landfall restaurant. The drawbridge to the pond opens every half-hour in summer. Depth in the channel is 7’, with depths of 17’ to 20’ inside the pond.
When approaching Woods Hole from Vineyard Sound and points south, pick up the southwest channel between the G “1” gong and the R “2” Fl R 4s Bell (about a ¼-mile south of Great Ledge). From here you can head north toward the harbor. If heading through the passage and into Buzzards Bay, turn northwest along Broadway upon reaching G “5”.
When approaching Woods Hole from Nantucket Sound and Cape Cod, keep south of RN “20”, as some large, submerged rocks extend from Nobska Point. The rip here can also be quite rough. Pick up the southeast passage into Woods Hole between G “1” QG east of Coffin Rock and R “2” Fl R 2.5s. Steer northwest toward RN “6” south of Juniper Point. From here you can head toward RN “8” or pick up the Great Harbor ranges to the north.
Entering Eel Pond
To enter Eel Pond, call the Eel Pond Bridge on Channel 13 to ask for the bridge to open. Inbound vessels always get to enter Eel Pond before exiting boats can leave, so don’t crowd the channel while you wait to exit. A red and green traffic light for boats will let you know when it is your turn. The bridge opens on the top of the hour and bottom of the hour as long as a request is made. Once you are settled, feel free to stop by the bridge-tender’s shack for directions or local information.
Dockage, Moorings & Service
Woods Hole Marine (508) 540-2402
Transient slips and guest moorings inside Eel Pond and in Great Harbor. Slip services include shore power, ice, showers, repair and trash removal.
Pinky’s Marina (508) 540-2310
Transient slips to 45’ on Eel Pond, as well as showers, shore power and ice.
Woods Hole Yacht Club (508) 548-9205
Transient moorings sometimes available.
R&R Marine (508) 548-6976
Marine supplies, bait and tackle, charter trips and nautical gifts.
Gas and diesel are available in Falmouth Inner Harbor, 2 miles east of Woods Hole.
Anchoring is possible in Great Harbor, northwest of the National Marine Fisheries Service wharf, although boaters should check with the harbormaster first and make sure they are not impeding fairway traffic. The bottom is fair holding ground. Anchoring is not allowed in Little Harbor or Eel Pond. Another nearby option is protected Hadley Harbor, tucked between Uncatena Island and Nonamesset Island, on the Elizabeth Islands side of Woods Hole.
A concrete launch ramp is located next to the Woods Hole Science Aquarium, although street parking is limited at best. A better bet is the large state ramp in Falmouth Inner Harbor or the ramp in West Falmouth Harbor.
Where to Eat
Captain Kidd (508) 548-8563
Venerable, low-key restaurant on Eel Pond. Limited dockage for boating patrons.
Quicks Hole Tavern (508) 495-0048
Creative sandwiches, along with a wide selection of wines, beer, ale and cocktails.
Quicks Hole Tacqueria (508) 495-0792
Baja California surfer hangout meets New England clam shack. Can you say lobster tacos? Open seasonally.
Shucker’s Raw Bar (508) 540-3850
Casual Eel Pond dock-and-dine. Serves seafood, chicken and steak dishes.
The Landfall (508) 548-1758
Large, popular restaurant overlooking the harbor. Lively bar scene.
Fishmonger Café (508) 540-5376
Village mainstay next to the Eel Pond inlet. Specializes in fresh seafood with a Mediterranean flair. Serves breakfast, lunch and dinner, including vegetarian dishes.
Wood Hole Market (508) 540-4792
Small but well-stocked market on Water Street.
Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, (508) 289-2252
World-renowned marine science facility. Offers walking tours from its information office at 93 Water Street.
Woods Hole Science Aquarium (508) 495-2001
Over 140 species of local marine life can be viewed—and sometimes touched—at this small but interesting aquarium at the end of Water Street.
Woods Hole Historical Museum (508) 548-7270
Intimate museum containing exhibits and information on the village’s rich history. Also maintains a small collection of old wooden boats and other marine-related artifacts.
Shining Sea Bikeway
Beautiful bike path stretching over 10 miles from Woods Hole to North Falmouth. Much of the path runs along the shores of Buzzards Bay.
Marine Biological Laboratory (508) 548-3705
Drop by the MBL visitor’s center on Water Street to learn about the lab’s research in the field of marine biology.
Buzzards Bay Coalition Visitor’s Center (508) 540-6222
Next to the Landfall restaurant, the BBC Visitor’s Center is stocked with interactive exhibits that excite adults and children alike. Get up close and personal with sea stars, hermit crabs, whelks and bay scallops in the center’s touch tank.
Where to Stay
Woods Hole Inn (508) 495-0248
Woods Hole Passage B&B (508) 548-9575
Woods Hole: A Village on Cape Cod