Long Island Sound and Nantucket Sound!

August 1

A hot day today…spent most of it at the pool at Shore and Country Club.  It hit 37C.

 

We took a quick tour of some nearby islands, a deserted lighthouse.  We have never seen so many shells in one place!   The kids went wild with their collection.  We also saw many large horseshoe crabs all over the place, washed up on the beach.  Unfortunately, it was at this point, that I dropped my camera.  It looked fine until I tried to close it.  The zoom on the shutter was no longer working – broken. Not sure how I will get another one quickly so I can take photos for our memories and blog….very disappointed with my lack of coordination.  Serena was the first to dive into the salt water.  Jeremy & Christian followed but quickly came out after a few baby jellyfish were spotted at the surface.

 

When we got back to the boat, we had a visitor….Sergio Boniche, a colleague from IBM, came with gifts from Joe Traders.  He had dinner with us and stayed until 23:00.  It was great to catch up with him!

August 2 – SINCERE APOLOGIES and thanks to your notes of concern!  ACCESS TO INTERNET IS NOT AS “ACCESSIBLE” AS ONE WOULD THINK ALONG THE COAST!  Verizon does not like non-US based accounts.

A late morning, spent most of the morning fixing little things.  Kids went to pool.  After lunch some thunder-boomers made their presence, spoiling some of our plans.  After spending 2 hours getting “Stewed” at Stew Leonards’ with 15 bags of groceries, we ended up in the safety of Ted and Keri O’Neil’s home for the rain and thunder.

Another wonderful evening of banter while the kids had fun together.

August 3

At 8:15 am, on our way back to the Shore and Country Club I got a text message indicating that we had another visitor at our boat – my boss, Chris.  He had dropped by to say hi.  After I unlocked the boat, we had a nice visit…unfortunately, very hot morning already (34C) with no wind.  I don’t believe Chris was expecting air conditioning, but I think he might have been overwhelmed with the heat, which cut his visit short.   20170801-18-T&KAfter he left, Keri offered me the use of her car to go to Best Buy and pick up a replacement camera (after I stupidly dropped/broke it on one of the Norwalk islands the day before).  It was a very generous offer, so I took it and quickly got the replacement.  To answer the questions you might already be asking, NO, my Android phone does NOT take good pictures…there is almost no zoom and the flash is non-effective.  It is a good replacement for a camera one evening, but not for a one year trip.  YES, my children have cameras, but we can never find them when necessary, and when we do, they either have a full memory or battery dead.  I cannot work with that…I need a camera at my side at all times, fully charged at the ready to take photos of anything that might spring up.  And I do NOT find an i-pad small enough to conveniently fit in my breast pocket.  Ok, enough said, I think most of you might understand….

After the errand, we ate a quick lunch and departed (filled up diesel, gas for dinghy, and free pump out at the Norwalk Cove Marina).  With no wind on the horizon, we thought we might be caught motoring all the way to Port Jefferson, our next planned destination.  Luckily, the wind puffs tempted us to roll out the genoa and then the main…good thing we did…next thing you know, we are going at 6 knots across the Sound to the New York border.  Not only was the wind on our side, but we found we were continually getting knocked, so on our next tack, we were aiming right at Port Jefferson channel.  What a beautiful sail…we averaged the last hour at 6.5 knots with a nice warm sunny sky.  Very invigorating!  Dad, I know you would have loved this sail and Mom too, as there were no waves!  The scenery was fantastic – the non-stop sand beaches and mansion-like homes.  Getting closer to land, you could smell the cedar from the thick woods at the water’s edge.

Entry into Port Jeff was a bit dubious as it looked so shallow.  The sand dunes were on both sides of the channel and looked like we would easily be caught on sand bars.  To make the entry more challenging after starting the motor, we realized that the transmission would not engage due to the fact that the transmission control cable had come loose.  Luckily Captain Christian came to the rescue by manually engaging below deck…something that needed to be looked at later.  Otherwise a very peaceful night.

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August 4

We awoke to gentle rain starting to fall on the boat.  We got up to close the hatches and heard cracking thunder all around us.  The storm lasted only an hour during which time Captain Christian started to work on fixing the transmission and Mama Bear began making pain doré.  After breakfast, we took the dinghy over to explore the sand dunes.  Breath-taking views from the tops of the dunes.  Smooth pebbles and rocks lined the beaches.  We played in the water and on the dunes for about an hour before leaving for our next destination:  Mattituck.

We were worried we would arrive late evening due to our late departure and the 30 miles of distance we had to cover.  But we had VERY favourable winds, flat seas (in the lee of the shore), averaging 7.2 knots of speed, we arrived at 5:45pm.  If we thought Port Jefferson entry was dubious…Mattituck channel entry only gave us 1.2 feet under the keel, beaches about 20 feet off both sides of the boat and a current that whipped up unexpectedly at the Old Mill Inn where the channel bottom dropped to 40 ft depths.

White egrets were on all sides of us, fishing for dinner as were beautiful homes.  We arrived at the end of the river to anchor in a quiet little bay.  Motor boats anchored (too closely) around us.  Very windy night.

August 5

We took our friends’, Ted and Keri’s, advice to go to Harbe’s Farm for the afternoon.  So after a sleepy breakfast and some homework, we started to head out.  Getting a cab in Mattituck is comparable to watching grass grow….unfortunately, it is watching grass grow with 2 very impatient kids.  There is only one cab company and when they say “30 minutes”…add another 30 minutes.   We spent some time at the bar at Strong’s Water Club while waiting for the cab.  A 7 minute drive and $20 later, we arrived at the farm.  Very nicely organized.  Great for toddlers, teenagers, and adults…something to interest everyone (trikes, sports ball toss, corn maze, water toys, singing hay ride, etc.  There is even a vineyard for winetasting where kids are allowed.  We really had a great time!

After a 70 minute wait for the taxi back (no surprise that it was the same driver), we sat out on the lawn at Strong’s to listen to a band with good music and watch the sunset.  The wind picked up and howled the rest of the night.

August 6

We had an early departure, despite the heavy winds.   Captain Christian navigated the channel back to Long Island Sound, luckily in high tide.  The current at the Old Mill Inn was still viciously strong. At the mouth of the entrance, the waves were kicking up and the wind was blowing at least 20 knots.  The boat was bobbing around like an uncontrollable cork and we worried about sea-sickness for the kids who were playing below.  We put in 2 reefs in the main and only opened up Kleenex on the genoa.  Then we were off – smooth sailing, taking on all the waves like a galloping race horse.   At some points, we were surfing off the waves at 9.2 knots!  Despite the fact that we had 33 nautical miles to travel to Montauk – the last bay before Block Island – we had no worries about arriving late.  We got in to a mooring we reserved at Montauk Yacht Club just before 3pm, had time to go in for a swim and a drink.  At 5pm, we went to discover the fishing boats.  Montauk is a huge fishing village and we saw at least 30 large fishing vessels (with the huge rolled nets and seagulls feasting) during our tour.  We also took a brief walk around the wharf area where there was a concert / band and many tiny shops welcoming the tourists.  We agreed it was a quaint little town, but went back to the boat to have chicken fajitas.  Everywhere we looked, the bay was filled with multi-million dollar motor boats, all with the hired staff cleaning and buffing the railings.  This was definitely a bay for “motor boats”.  Sunset was lovely orange/red, but typically that predicts good weather (red sky at night = sailor’s delight).

August 7

Despite the overcast skies and predicted rain storms, we decided to stay at the Montauk Yacht Club until 11am (after a nice swim, hot shower and sauna!).  We knew we had made today’s trip shorter by travelling the extra distance yesterday (33 nautical miles)…we only had 17 nm to travel today…so we felt safe leaving a bit later.  The sailing to Block Island was assisted 20170808-1-Monwith the motor because it was blowing lightly.  Uneventful except for the fact that the kids did their 2 hours of homework and Serena helped us for 1 hour by steering and keeping watch above.

With all my sailing/racing in Newport, Rhode Island, I had always heard that Block Island was a mecca for sailboats, but upon arrival, it was very clearly packed with sailboats.  Right at the entry was a > 150 foot sailboat from France that impressed us.  It was extremely challenging to find a “safe” spot with the large number of sailboats in the anchorage area.  After anchoring, we dinghied out to Payne’s marina/bar where we found our friends, Keri and Ted, and happily shared a drink with them while our kids went and watched a film with their kids down below.

Not much else to do in this dreary drizzly rainy weather.  Wind is supposed to clock 180 degrees tonight and gust to 30 knots with rainstorms.  So we are hoping for a restful night.

August 8

Today was our friend Ted O’Neill’s birthday.  Being a rainy start to the day, we took our time getting ready and then decided to go for a walk to explore the Old Harbour of Block Island.  The rain let up and we had fun going in & out of the quaint shops.  Old Harbour is full of colonial style houses – Water Street has quaint little shops where you could spend countless hours shopping.  Ted had rented a car for their whole gang…it was hard to miss given the huge inflatable American eagle strapped to its roof.  Just a note for those of you travelling to Block Island…do not expect their car rentals to be top of the line Hertz quality (typically a few years old, an empty tank of gas, doors that do not lock, you get it).  We piled into one of their vans and went on an expedition across the 7 mile island to discover an intriguing Gilligan’s Island type “play area” on a west-end beach (punching bag made out of a fender, basketball hoop, hammock, trampoline, etc).

On the drive, it was surprising to see so many fresh-water ponds/lakes scattered in the landscape. Wild turkeys also seem to roam at large in the fields.  Then we visited the lighthouse on the island that was “saved” exactly 24 years ago today by being moved 350 feet from the quickly eroding sand cliff.   The children enjoyed a refreshing Del’s (a real lemonade made with ice and lemon rind) which is made uniquely in Block Island.

Dinner was at Dead Eye Dick’s restaurant (just up from Payne’s marina).  We danced and drank until late, children we very well behaved – all was good.

August 9

Today was our day to discover the beach.  We thought the day would be cancelled due to a wall of fog that quickly enveloped our boat at 7:30.  It was so incredibly thick that it obliterated our view of nearby boats.  As quickly as it came, the fog dissipated, and we prepared for the beach.  A quick ride over to “Dinghy Beach” where there were at least 50 dinghies anchored, beached, etc.  7 minute walk across the road brought us to Scotch beach…very powdery sand and crashing waves.  The kids enjoyed the day by playing on bougie boards and surfing the waves.

August 10

Early morning visit from Ted and Grady got me a quick lift to town to do a grocery run (a 2km walk).  We were desperately out of milk, OJ, and eggs.  But replacing them is another story in Block Island.  The price for a dozen eggs is an alarming $9USD.  Orange juice without pulp (“with pulp” does not seem to exist) is $8.69 for a 2 litre box.  Cheese, yogurt, veggies, and other staples were also a 300% markup from what we typically pay.  Milk and apples were the only reasonably priced items.  Christian then picked me up at Payne’s dock and we went to the beach with the kids to meet the others.  Today, we brought the Airhead and all the kids had a blast playing on it on the waves.

In the evening, we met up for drinks with our neighbours on a Tartan called Pegasus who shared some great stories about when they travelled the world for 3 years on their boat.  Their kids were the exact same ages as ours and they had a great time playing together…. Jelly Bean tasting and Mad Libs.

August 11

We were very intrigued by the “service boats” that meander through the anchorage offering water, pump outs, ice, etc.  There is also a small boat that offers coffee & pastries in the morning and seafood/bread in evenings.  They are always calling out “Andiamo” – Italian for “let’s go”.  A bit pricey, but a fun idea for anchored boats not wanting to take their dinghies 10 minutes to Payne’s expensive snack bar.  20170810-9-BIWe decided to call the Pump Out boat for services.  It took 3 hours for them to come over, they were so busy.  In the meantime, we invited our friends from Pegasus for a coffee and chat.  Cameron, their son sailed his little Opti over and offered to take both Serena and Jeremy out for a spin.  They each took a turn learning how it feels to be closer to the water on a boat that is more sensitive with a tiller.  Then the kids played splashing on the Airhead behind the boat.

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Later, Serena and I decided to do “a girl’s day in town” where we walked into Old Harbour and did some good shopping…scouring the stores for deals.  The kids got bougie boards, I bought some earrings and a rain jacket (desperately needed) and a few more souvenirs.  Meanwhile, Jeremy went to the beach with Papa.

August 12

Rain day…All of our friends everyone left including the motor boaters and Pegasus.  We were able to get about 3 hours of homework done.  Papa was also able to repair some lights and the fan.  Despite the light rain, Papa took the kids to the beach to try out their bougie boards.

August 13

Last day to pick up a few necessities/groceries and a few hours at the beach.  We met some people on an Irwin that had come across from the UK.  They were planning the same southbound route as us but they would be doing a rally from the Chesapeake direct to BVIs in 12 days.

We went into town for the morning…got back around 2pm just in time to get to the beach.  The sun was out and the waves were frothing.  The kids had fun with their bougie boards.  A relaxing day.

August 14

Morning was spent planning the route for the next few days and 2 hours of homework.  Both kids were well caught up, given the time they took off to play with their new friends in the last week.  After getting the water tanks filled up, garbage dumped, and a last visit to Water Street in Old Harbour, we went to the beach for a few hours.  Dinghy beach was packed with zodiacs as usual!

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It was unbelievable how high the waves were given that the wind was at 0 to 5 knots.  The ocean was completely flat, but the kids were overwhelmed by the crashing waves.  One more lovely sunset, peaceful evening…the kids were entitled to play Lego till late!

August 15

Time to finally leave Block Island and visit Newport.

A short 17 nautical mile trip across the Sound.  A very pleasant day.  During the approach to Newport, we were greeted by many of their traditional lobster pots scattered about forcing us to keep diligent watch.  The entrance to Narragansett Bay brought back fond memories for me of my previous visits here for regattas (J24s, Women’s Rolex).

We found a great anchorage just south of the cable in the harbour.  We would realize a few days later that we were on Alex and Ani’s (the harbour shuttle) transportation route.  Because we arrived around noon, we had plenty of time to take a walk in the old harbour.   20170816-3-NewportThames Street was filled with tourists, but unlike them, we were searching for a grocery store.  En route to the Stop & Shop, we discovered a wonderful library – very modern.  We left the kids there to play Animal Jam on the computers while we bought $140 worth of well-needed groceries. When we picked up the kids, we discovered a book sale in the basement of the library and left with another bag full of books that each cost $0.50 (Serena stocked up on Nancy Drew, Jeremy on another mystery, and the parents got some Clive Cussler and Catherine Coulter paperbacks).

August 16

Took a long walking tour around town today starting at the Visitor’s Centre.  Yankee Candles store interested the children while Papa went hiking to the 7Eleven in search of a Verizon card (our internet still not yet working on the boat).  Then we visited the Newport Museum which was VERY interesting.  It took us through the Gilded Age with antiques set up in multiple booths to replicate the timeframe.  There recordings at each station to help explain the information.

Then we walked along Thames Street to check out the north end stores.  Then we went further up to Bellevue Avenue to sneak peaks at the mansions.  We passed a dozen mansions, each with a well mapped out explanation of timeframe, owner, and other history.  We got as far as the Cliff Walk and the Breakers mansion.

The kids were frighteningly exhausted but we encouraged them a bit further by fulfilling our promise to buy them ice cream….we stopped at the Stop & Shop grocery and bought a big tub of Cookie Dough ice cream.  To eat it, we settled in the nearby park and chowed down the whole box! IMG_1882 Mmmmm…!  Unfortunately, during the walk, someone stepped on the heel of my sandal and it ripped off the sole making it flap continuously (to the point of possible detachment) when walking.  Christian sacrificed his sandal and walked barefoot to help me out.  This forced a shopping spree where I needed to search for good walking sandals (that were NOT flip flops).  Not easy.  Rockport store came close with a great end of season sale, but only Christian scored new sandals there.  I found a cute little boutique called “Sole Destiny” where I found a pair of Tevas.  They look a bit thin too (easily breakable) but they will do for the next few months.  Dinner on the boat was simple but very late.   Everyone was tired and in need of a foot massage!  But gotta love the view if you are a sailor…definitely Sailor Eye-Candy 360 degrees around you…always action!!!

August 17

Today, ended up being beautiful weather.  We decided to go to visit Fort Adams.  Not easy to find the dinghy dock, but once there, easy to navigate the site.  We got on a tour which took us through many places not open to the public including one of the officer’s chambers, the watch tower, one of the tenace, and at the end we went into the underground tunnels which they used to listen to possible intruders who might be mining into the fort.   We found out it took a few years to build in 1851.

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It was one of the largest forts (it could hold 5 Ticonderogas in its interior) and the most advanced in terms of design.  Because it was never under siege, it ended up being a “training camp” for the military.   It finally became a “country club” for the military where they had a football field, a bowling alley, a theatre and golf!  We bought a few “wicking” shirts from the Gill stand outside to help with the humidity.

August 18

Today was a stay at home day and work on projects.  We understood that this week in Newport was the J Class boat regatta – these are not simple J24s…these are the 140 foot wooden classic boats that are all unique and have been shipped in from Australia, UK, Germany, etc.

We were continually intrigued when seeing a few of them far in the Bay with their black genoas and spinnakers.  Finally, when we saw one leaving our harbour, Christian and I decided to jump into the dinghy and fly out to follow it.  We got same great photos of the 40+ crew and them raising the main.

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This was the original J boat called Valdera from UK.  The other one that was out today was Lionheart (Valdera’s replica built in 2010).   They were practice racing.  Winds were too calm and they ended up coming in shortly.

Later that afternoon, we did 2 loads of laundry (for $14) at Anne’s Pier where they have excellent facilities for transient sailors (also 7 minute showers, free use of maps/charts, book exchange, ice, garbage/recycling, etc.).IMG_1921

Dinner was live lobster that we picked up at the Stop & Shop.  We had a tug boat that was anchored behind us which we started thinking was haunted.  A woman came out of it daily for 15 minutes to look busy on the deck and then we never saw her the rest of the day…no lights at night either, yet her zodiac was always attached.  A bit creepy….

August 19

The weather forecast was for rain and heavy winds later today because Hurricane Gertrude was coming up the coast.  So in the morning we decided it would be a good idea to do the Historic City tour on the trolley and a tour of a mansion.  We had a delightful tour guide, Carlos, from Brazil who had loads of information.  He told us when/how Newport was founded, Indian relations, about its original settlers, industry, religion, black slaves, and of course, interesting gossip about the socialites of the Gilded Age.  The tour ended with a drop off at the Breakers mansion – owned by the Vanderbilts who got rich building the railways.  We were guided through the 70+ rooms with an audio tour explaining details in our ears.  These poor children each had their own rooms, private bathroom, walk in closet, their own servant and had to change clothes at least 7 times a day for the busy days of swimming, sailing croquet, bowling, each mealtime and napping.  Check out some of the photos!

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Immediately upon our return from the tour, it began raining lightly.  We had just enough time to get back to the boat and the winds started to roar and the rain pelted down.  We hunkered in for the night as squall upon squall passed us.  Just a few times the wind gusted above 30 knots.  Ended up being a quiet night.

August 20

Surprisingly calm this morning.  Very hot.  Christian prepared us an AMAZING breakfast of Eggs Benedict!

Were we ever spoiled!  We had another exciting adventure chasing the J boats as they prepared to go to the race course.  We spent a few hours cleaning up under the floor boards after a few challenges were had switching from the tank system to the open ocean system.  Easy but “smelly” day that ended in one last trip to Stop & Shop and a good bye walk on Thames Street.  The children wanted to sit down at the Ann St Pier for awhile, so Christian and I took one last walk around the harbour to take in the sites.

August 21

Up at 5:55am to get the boat unhooked, took off to the floating water dock to fill up the boat with water (both are tanks were low to empty).

Our next destination:  Martha’s Vineyard – 52 nautical miles away.  Lots of lobster pots the whole distance and the ocean was like a washing machine with inconsistent swell and where the odd 6 foot wave would sneak up on our stern or beam.  It was disappointing that the wind was on a hiatus for the first 4 hours.  When it did pick up, it was dead astern – not ideal for lumpy seas. The Elizabeth Islands are lovely to pass, each with their own Native American name and hidden harbours. Currents around Martha’s Vineyard were very challenging, at some points slowing us down to 4 knots even with the motor at top speed.

Our last 3 miles was a lovely sail under genoa alone at 6.2 knots.  As we finished anchoring, Jeremy shouted out “un meduse!” (jellyfish).  We thought he was mistaken, but sure enough, we saw 5 more clumps that looked like pinkish cauliflowers flying by under our boat.  Within minutes, we saw another 3.  There were very big and moved swiftly with the current beneath the boat!  Obviously we would not be jumping off the boat for a swim tonight!

We visited Edgartown for an hour.  What a quaint little town…very Cape Cod style homes…almost everyone made out of cedar shingles.  Edgartown was established in 1642 as a colonial settlement named after the son of England’s Duke of York.

The first two blocks were full of colonial buildings of restaurants, ice cream stores, and clothing stores.  We walked up to School Avenue and then Church.  Home-made ice cream stores everywhere where 1 scoop was $6.  Restaurants were not an option for us on a budget! 20170821s-1-MarthaVin

By the way, did you know that there is no vineyard on the island of Martha’s Vineyard yet it has a brewery??!!  We were disappointed for being deceived by the name…not sure where it came from…as it was a big whaling port….not wine.  Edgartown was also the location where Jaws was filmed…it became the town of Amity where Steven Spielberg chose it to shoot scenes in the sear rather than a Hollywood studio tank.

August 22

Overcast day, lots of wind.  Went in search of South Beach (20 minute dinghy ride) but ended up on another protected beach about a mile down the road from South.  Only 2 families on it playing.  We beached closeby and got lots of helpful information from one of the families who have been coming here for their summers from Boston.   The kids got involved in catching horseshoe crabs, juvenile bass, and hermit crabs.

The tide went down as quickly as it went down.  Rain was threatening all day.  We left by 3pm after a very intimate day with nature.  Came back in time to prepare the boat for the heavy winds expected this evening…gusts of up to 45 knots.  We were anchored about 3 boat lengths from shore, so the water was very flat, despite the powerful gusts.  A very sleepless night for us both.  We were awoken by the “un-puff” at 3am….(the first moment of non-howling wind).

August 23

Sun was slow to appear so we took a lazy morning to make pancakes and do extra homework.  Into town around 11am where we took Bus #8 on Church Street to South Beach ($2.50 for a return trip).  There was a bit of a fight to go to the beach since we had no toys or bougie boards but at the end the visit was fantastic.

Swimming was forbidden at the beach due to the rolling surf and current from last night’s winds, but it was beautiful, foggy, the waves crashing into seafoam on the soft sand beach and wind eroded cliffs.   We came back into town after an hour visit and sat in Seafood Shanty on the harbour edge to eat a lobster roll and get internet connection!  First connection in ages!  On our way back to the boat, we did some jellyfish hunting, as they seemed to come up to the surface, encouraging us to follow the graceful beings.  Even though the locals say they are Man of War, we looked them up and found them to be the Warty Jellyfish.  Man of War float on the surface with a purple “puffy” triangular sail…these were pink and clearly globule all of whom floated just below the surface.

It was a bit frightening that we were spotting at least 5 jellyfish every 20m….not a place one wants to swim, that is for sure.   Due to the wind direction and the timing of the tidal currents, we decided to stay one more day before heading back west.  Maybe a beach day tomorrow?

August 24

The wind clocked North/North East during the night.  The rollers were hitting us on the side of the boat making it very uncomfortable onboard.  We did not relish staying in this swell for the whole day so at 6:15am, we made a decision to take a chance against the currents and begin our trip west.   After taking off the motor, hoisting the dinghy onto the bow, taking out the Rocker Stops, and securing items below, we got underway “motoring”, with wind on the nose, by 7:30am.  20170824s-1-MarthaVinWe had not yet planned our destination – either Block Island or Newport.  It was sunny and relatively flat, but the current started going against us around 8:30am, just on the west side of Martha’s Vineyard as there was a serious drop in our speed.  Several boats, similar size to ours, were passing us – all going in the same direction.  We thought they seemed to be in a rush to get somewhere, realizing at 9am, that it was “the current” they were trying to beat.   We slowed right down to ~3knots…very depressing knowing we had 50 nautical miles to cover and when our ETA calculator told us we would arrive in our destination (whether Newport or Block Island) by 22:15.  We frantically looked at the charts & guides to see if there was another place we could anchor in between.  Every possible anchorage area had a “cautionary” note stating non-locals not advised to navigate these shores due to the violent currents at ebb tide, etc…  So we continued on our course anxiously awaiting 3pm when the current was to lessen.  The kids stayed on the bow for “lobster pot” watch.  They ended up counting the endless jellyfish we passed.  For a 3 hour period, every 5 metres, we passed either a clump of jellyfish or a large school of tiny, shimmering fish.   It was alarming how many jellyfish were in the water!  The locals said it was the time of year, but I still think it unnatural to have so many jellyfish in one area.  Just as we approached the west tip of Cuttyhunk, we noticed a line of whitecaps.  We figured that the currents from Buzzards Bay, Nantucket Sound and Atlantic were converging and we’d come to a stop, but slowly, as we crossed the line, our speed started to increase!  About an hour later, the wind direction changed to allow us to hoist both sails in the direction to Newport.  Our speed averaged 6 and hit a high of 7.4 knots.  At 2pm we were excited to see 6 black sails on the horizon…the huge J-class boats racing just off Newport’s shores.   20170824s-1-Newport20170824s-2-NewportWe caught the start of their last race at 3pm.  How thrilling to see their aggressive approaches to the start line!  We stayed around with the other spectator boats until they rounded the windward marks and popped their shoots.  We had an awesome run to Newport Harbour and were lucky to find the EXACT same spot in which to anchor…next to the haunted tug boat, the Wallace Foss.

August 25

Today was an easy day of clean up, going to get some groceries, and checking out a few historic houses on Thames.  We visited the IYRS, spoke with some of the students, saw their projects under construction, and saw the restoration of the Coronet (from 1860) – has been going on for 12 years.  This time, we spent Happy Hour on a terrace near Ann’s Pier where the kids tried oysters for the first time.  Serena did not like the texture, but both children ended up eating 3 each.  The singer sang good folk songs.  After supper, Jeremy did a “Love Hunt” for us around the boat.  The party for the J-Class boats started around 9pm…a loud band.  Then, at 10pm, we were surprised with a fireworks display at Kings Park.

August 26

Beach day.   We took a cab to the 2nd beach since First Beach was full of red algae and smelled.  $16 later, we unloaded the bougie boards, pail/shovel, towels, tent, cooler, etc.  and had a lovely walk along the beach to find our spot.  The kids had fun making sand castles with dripping sand.  Another cab ride got us to the grocery store, our last provisioning before leaving for a week.   Jeremy also got 2 Hot Wheels to add to his collection (a Tesla and a Porsche) – he and Papa played with the track for awhile. 20170827s-3-WatchHill

Despite the fact that we were SO loaded down with not only refrigerated groceries (and ice cream!) but our beach things too, we walked back to the harbour.  Lobster for dinner again tonight!20170825s-3-Newport

August 27

We left Newport at the same time the Panarai Classic Boat Parade was starting.  The boats were all taking their positions just in front of our boat, making it a bit tricky to leave unscathed.  Our next destination was Watch Hill Point / Napatree Beach.  The ocean, once again, was like a washing machine with waves crashing against the opposing swell and additional motor boat waves to add to the mix – unfortunately forcing us to motor most of the way.  We arrived around 3pm because it took us an hour to fight the current and meander through the complex buoys marking the scary shallow water.   The canal to follow into the bay was no more than 100 feet wide and 10 feet deep.  The beaches were beautiful at Napatree…17 miles of almost uninterrupted powdery white/beige sand.

And almost no one on the beach!  The waves were about 4 feet high and made a rumbling noise when they crashed down.  A peaceful evening at anchor.

August 28

We spent most of the day on the boat.  Christian and Jeremy went ashore to see if they could find gas and a restaurant for my birthday celebration.  Aside from Block Island, this had to be one of the most expensive places we have been so far.  Restaurant prices were very high ($24 for a sandwich!)   In the late afternoon, we ventured back to the beach…and the kids got really creative with the sand!

Luckily we brought the tent because the wind was quite strong and getting autumn cool.  Papa Bear took the kids for a 1 hour walk down the beach…and then we packed up to go for dinner.

August 29

I woke up to have a lovely breakfast spread and birthday cards to start my day (and my next half century)!

Due to the cold wet weather coming in, we decided to do my birthday celebration as a late lunch, rather than a dinner.  Christian and Jeremy chose the Ocean House for my birthday meal.  Just before heading up the hill, we shopped around in the quaint shoppes on the main street…everything was on sale for end of season.  In the Ocean House, we were given a table in the “closed in” terrace overlooking the Sound and the crashing waves.  It was a beautiful view!  I had a lobster roll and Christian had the Bouillabaisse.  Jeremy tried New England Clam Chowder for the first time and Serena stuck with Chicken Caesar.  It was very leisurely.

Pete, our waiter, was very kind and interesting.  They surprised me with a little giftie of oil & balsamic vinegar.  The children discovered the dessert plate that was served at the hotel at 3pm, so they surprised me with a few sweet treats while Papa and I continued watching the waves.  The kids later found a wagon full of kids’ games and they got busy at Monopoly. 20170829s-6-WatchHill Later, they realized the table upon which they were playing turned into a chess board…so you know what the next challenge was!  After a quick tour of the hotel, we saw the clouds above and decided to take our leave.  We made it just in time back to the boat as the rain came pelting down.  It poured rain for the rest of the evening right until early morning!

August 30

A leisurely start to the morning due to the heavy winds that had been blowing all night.  Unfortunately, it was not a very restful sleep.  By noon, the rain had let up and we were ready to go to land and shop around.  Serena and I discovered the boutiques together, while Papa and Jeremy explored the beach and the lighthouse and the beach.    When we met up at 2pm, we walked to the beach together.  Unbelievable how high the surf was, crashing loudly on the beach.  Then we treated the kids to home-made ice-cream.  By 4pm, we realized that the wind had dropped completely, giving us a smooth path back to the boat.  We got bathing-suited up and went to the beach.  The waves were about 6ft high and sounded like thunder.

Serena was hesitant to go into the surf while Jeremy dived in.  Interestingly, there were many little bugs on the beach that were attacking us…perhaps due to the rain disturbing them.  So we went to the windward side of the beach and watched as the kids collected sea glass in the setting sun.

August 31

Time to leave this beautiful beach.  Despite the fact that our friends changed their plans due to upcoming weather, we decided to stick to the plan to go to Block Island.  Some heavy winds were predicted over the next few days and we felt that the Block Island Pond would give us good protection.  We left Napatree Beach / Watch Hill Point at 10:30am.  It took us an hour to navigate the snaky, low tide, narrow, shallow, swift current-filled (enough adjectives?) channel to the open Sound.  After a few lobster pots and clanging buoys, we were ready to raise the sails and set on our course to Block Island.  What a lovely sail at a steady 6.5knots (13km/hr) with 2 reefs in the main.  A simple beam reach to Block.  We arrived at 2pm (17 nautical miles).

We entered New Harbour, Block Island, in the company of several motor boats that were “bobbing and weaving” in the waves…we cannot imagine how a trip in a motor boat would be coming over in this disturbed water…luckily as a sailboat, we gain some stability with our mainsail.   The harbour was surprisingly empty of boats.  We were expecting several hundreds of boats anchored, as they say up to 2000 boats can be in the Pond of New Harbour for the Labour Day weekend.

 

 

 

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4 thoughts on “Long Island Sound and Nantucket Sound!

  1. In the meantime, use the phone. The camera is likely not as good as the one you dropped, and it will still keep the digital record! Of course… keep it away from the water!! LOL

  2. So happy to see that the adventure has begun!! It’s wonderful that Sergio could stop by. Looking forward to reading of more adventures (with pictures?!) LOL

    1. Hi Heather…Thank you so much for your comments! We are having challenges getting access to WiFi, so not finding it easy to update the blog. Lots of learning on the boat, that is for sure!

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