Friday, October 21, 2011

BLOCK ISLAND, Rhode Island
24th –27th July
After our big morning of sightseeing cruising past the Statue of Liberty and Manhattan Island, (see previous blog entry),  we popped out into Long Island Sound, which runs from the top of the East River at the New York, end to Block Island, which is just past the northern tip of Long Island. The Sound is roughly about 90 miles long and 20 miles wide and is dotted with heaps of sheltered coves and sandy beaches all the way along its length. It makes for very easy day hops which was something that we were looking forward to, after having a few overnight passages on the trot.,Our first priority after entering the sound was to find somewhere that sold diesel as our tanks were getting low. Consulting our guide book it looked like City Island would be the easiest place. The marina at Island Yacht Sales had a floating fuel dock and it was just a little detour from our present course. As we got near the marina the beach ahead of us was packed to the rafters, it was a really hot New York summer’s day and along with the heat came the nasty little black biting flies. We’d been struggling with these flies since we’d got to the Chesapeake bay  and couldn’t wait till we got to the cooler climates further north to be rid of the blighters.
  A couple of hundred yards from the marina we rounded a small island with a high tower on it and were shocked when suddenly our GPS, I Pad, wind gear and phone went down. The transmissions  the tower was sending out had knocked off all  the electronic signals on our boat. This was not good as there were quite a few shoals and underwater rocks between us and the open water back in the sound. While taking on the fuel Annie asked a few other boaters if they’d had any similar problems, she only got blank faces as a reply. Maybe the boaters in this neck of the woods didn’t use GPS or wind gear! We had all our fingers and toes crossed that the problem would right itself once we got away from the tower, and especially that none of our systems had been damaged. We took on 110 gallons of fuel and were soon on our way again, sans electronics. Following the advice from the guys at the marina and checking the charts, we motored slowly down the doglegged channel and back out to deeper water. We were at least one mile away from the evil tower before our electronics sprang back to life, the exception was the wind gear readout. It had suffered some damage with the direction and speed, no longer giving accurate readings. What a bummer. With the breeze filling in we spent the rest of the afternoon having a lazy sail along the Connecticut shore till we found a nice anchorage just to the north of Charles Island near Milford. It had been a long day’s run of 79 miles, so it was early to bed for us.                   IMG_5789
Block Island  was another long days’ run of 67 miles but we had good sailing conditions and arrived  at the very crowded anchorage in Great Salt Pond  late afternoon. To our surprise, fellow cruisers who we’d known since Turkey, Deb and Terry from Wings, were also in the anchorage. Block Island, as we soon found out, is an extremely  popular weekend destination for those who live around the shores of Long Island Sound.The bay was chock-a-block when we arrived with every mooring ball, marina berth and patch of reasonable depth anchoring ground taken. And not only do people come on yachts, but there are a couple of big fast ferries that bring those without sea legs across from the mainland. So the weekend population of the island  really swells during summertime. Thankfully, the next afternoon the bay started to empty out as people set sail to return home for work on Monday morning.
We  spent a couple of days on the island  but due to the inclement weather only ventured into town for a few hours.The walk from the bay took around 45mins and it was nice to be able to stretch the legs. We passed lots of B and B’s  along the way and the odd small farm. Town was quaint, sporting all the usual tourist type shops selling everything  from homewears to tee-shirts.
IMG_5797  IMG_5796
On our way back Liam wanted to try his hand at hitching a ride and, after the 6th drive-by, a couple of nice guys in an open backed jeep did a u - turn and came back to pick us up. We clamored into the back  thankful for the ride, as the drizzle  had started to come down. During the course of the conversation  we found out that Joe, his brother Robert and their families  were out from New York visiting their sister who lived on the island. They invited us to join them for dinner in town  that evening but unfortunately we had  made other plans. Instead we suggested that they come out to the boat for coffee the next morning. Well, around mid morning, Joe, his wife Winny, along with his sister Kathy and her husband Keith arrived  in their runabout bearing an armful of tasty bagels, donuts, homegrown blueberries and freshly laid eggs. Wow was that  ever a surprise!
Our new friends stayed a while but before they left we swapped email addresses and phone numbers and  promised to catch up with them when we came back to New York in a couple of months. Not long after they’d gone we lifted the anchor and set sail for Newport Rhode Island, about 40 miles away.  Newport, the undisputed home of  American yachting, and in it’s hey day, the home of the America’s Cup, would also be yet another “bucket list type place” for us. It’s the town where Australia 11 beat the New York Yacht Club and Denis Connor  to win the Americas Cup in 1983. Our “Boxing Kangaroo” flag will be flying high when we enter that anchorage!

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