4th of July on The Block   Leave a comment

It doesn’t seem like it’s been that long since my last post but we’re certainly in a different place.

Our stay in New York lasted another couple of days. Lee and I walked around, did a bit of shopping, saw Toy Story 3, and stumbled onto the Gay Pride parade on our way to West Marine. What a sight! I’m glad we got to watch part of it. The energy was amazing.
Lee and I had lunch with my brother and an old family friend before we left on Tuesday. We set sail in the late afternoon and breezed out of NY harbor. The wind lightened when we got out in the ocean so we pointed the boat up Long Island and motored with the main up that evening. Lee took the first watch, starting at 9, and the wind picked up from the West, as forecast, before midnight. When I took over we were blasting along at 8-9 knots on a beam reach under a bright moon. I helped Lee put in a reef before he went to bed.
I sat in the cockpit, dodging occasional spray and feeling awed by the scene. Eventually I had to change our course to be closer on the wind so we’d actually be heading towards Block Island. Then, of course, the wind picked up and I ended up waking Lee up from his watch a little early so we could put another reef in the main.
Once again, I didn’t sleep at all. I stood another brief watch after sunrise so Lee could catch a little more sleep. That was when I saw our first whale! It was just cruising along, not far from the boat, going the same way we were going. I’m not sure what kind of whale it was. It was very dark colored with a small triangular fin on it’s back.
The wind started to die right after we switched to the solent that morning. We continued on, with less and less wind, eventually pulling in to the Great Salt Pond on Block Island in the afternoon. That was the end of our cruise from Portsmouth, RI to Block Island by way of Chesapeake Bay, as we’ve started thinking of it. The fun-filled fourth of July weekend was just beginning!
The Salt Pond anchorage and mooring field were already crowded. It’s a good thing we got here as early in the week as we did. Boats continued to pour in every day, squeezing into any available space to anchor and making us very nervous with their short scope and apparent ignorance of what would happen if the wind changed or died. There were enormous rafts of little power boats. Sometimes 10 or more boats tied up next to each other. The dock space at the marinas looked about the same. Block Island itself is gorgeous. Everything is green and all the houses are New England-y cute. The beaches are sandy and the town has a fabulous ice cream parlor that Lee says hasn’t changed since he was a kid. We had ice cream there almost every day.
After a thwarted attempt to do laundry (only laundry service was available and it cost $14/load) we ended up walking across the island our first day here. The next day we biked around the island, walked on the spectacular beach below the Mohegan Bluffs, and relaxed on the beach. Those activities dominated the rest of the weekend. Lee rowed us to and from landing spots on shore in the mile-wide anchorage. We are definitely the only people without and outboard on our dinghy. People laughed at us, yelled encouragement, and sometimes asked if we wanted a tow. The whole place was a hive of activity at peak capacity on Saturday. There were dinghies buzzing around all over the place, bikes, pedestrians, and cars clogging the narrow roads, and crowds seeping out of the bars. The fireworks that night were augmented by every boat in the harbor blasting their air horn. It was pretty funny to hear all the different horns. We even tried our lung-powered horn that came with Pirat.
After buying supplies at the Block Island grocery yesterday, we BBQ’d up a feast in blustery conditions last night. There was steak for Lee, homemade veggie burgers, squash, bell pepper, and corn for both of us. Yum! We ate out on our cockpit table and were surprised that no one else within sight was grilling on their boat.
The launch from Aldo’s bakery is weaving among the anchored boats, yelling it’s morning announcement of “Coffee on boat!” I heard about this guy from the Magnusson family so it was cool to see the coffee/muffin boat in action. Having retrieved the bikes from shore, it’s now time to leave for Newport. We plan to anchor there for a couple nights before moving over to Pirate Cove for a while. We feel better showing up in Newport now that Lee has scrubbed Pirat’s bottom. He took advantage of the incredibly clear water here to give the bottom and waterline a much needed cleaning. We don’t look like a river barge any more.

Posted July 5, 2010 by Rachel in Uncategorized

0 responses to 4th of July on The Block

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  1. New England-y houses and ice cream parlours?! Sounds like a pretty traditional 4th of July! 😀

    …and 14 dollars a load for laundry!? I’d use seawater! ha.

    Sounds like it was the kind of weekend / crowd that could’ve gotten on your nerves without the right outlook. I’m glad you guys had a good time.

    Oh yeah, and perhaps it’s time to invest in some kind of East coast marine life field guide? Then you’d know what kind of whales you’re looking at. 🙂 Not sure if you care enough.

    xoxo I hope you have a good week!

    • You’re right, we do need a guidebook to some local wildlife. We’ve seen so many birds that I couldn’t identify and it was strange to see a whale I’d never seen before!
      The scene at Block Island only got on my nerves when we were trying to bike through the crowds on land and when we were leaving this morning. There are some really inconsiderate power boaters out there who throw their wakes around, making things uncomfortable and dangerous for everyone in their path.

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