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The First Leg North

Posted by on August 21, 2012

[We’re rafted up to Minx with internet, so I’ve edited this post for clarity and added the pictures.]

We departed Bohemia Bay on Thursday morning to a light breeze, cool temperatures, and sun. It was a gorgeous day to motor through the C&D Canal and into the Delaware Bay. Our AIS was working great on the Delaware Bay, and we headed south near the main shipping lane. As we passed the nuclear plant the tide was pushing us along at 8 knots, a little later we were doing 9, and we held 9 knots for close to 2 hours! The wind was light and from behind us, so the apparent wind was zero and it got very warm in the afternoon. It was about that time that the biting flies showed up and we proceeded to fight with them for several hours. As we approached Cape May
the tide switched quickly and we were suddenly only making 3.5 knots out the mouth of the Delaware Bay. Once we cleared Cape May we quickly turned out to sea to avoid the flies and the current and luckily around nightfall most of the flies were exterminated.

We searched for wind most of the day Friday, adjusting our course so we were sailing dead downwind wing and wing to harness as much of the light breeze as we could. Thankfully the wind built later in the day and we were able to resume our proper course until the wind died again and we had to start the engine around midnight. A small thunderstorm passed over around 3 am bringing sheets of rain, thunder and lightning, but little additional wind. As we approached Long Island that wind started to swing around to the north
and build so I fell off the wind so we could sail, but to enter Block Island we had to drop the sails again and motor straight into the breeze.

As we approached Block Island around dawn the local fishing fleet was out in full force. I should have expected it as I realized it was Saturday morning and there was a favorable tide running. We were able to dodge the boats without incident as we motored through rain with the radar running.

As the rain continued Saturday morning we made it to Block Island and pulled into Great Salt Pond. The guide book said that on most days you could find 1,200 boats in here, and on the 4th of July there could be 2,000! There certainly were plenty of boats, but we were able to find a spot to anchor pretty easily because the harbor is huge. The depths range from 20 to 50 feet with the shallower spots to anchor going first, but we found good holding in 25 feet.

We ate a hot lunch of chicken gumbo (gumbo in August? Yeah it’s colder here,) then we took naps before our friends Jay and Tanya arrived on S/V Minx. Minx anchored next to us and we had dinner aboard JV while we were treated to a beautiful sunset as the rain cleared out. Sunday morning while aboard Minx eating blueberry pancakes, we heard a small boat running around the harbor shouting/singing “An-di-a-mo! Andiamo!” The boat is run by Aldo’s bakery and has been delivering fresh baked goods to the boaters for 43 years. His selection of danishes, Portuguese sweet bread, hot sandwiches, coffee, and assorted pastries were mouthwatering. Tanya selected a few items and we watched afterwards as he pulled up to almost every other boat in our area.

Later Sunday we explored Block Island, taking the 2 mile walk from New Harbor (Great Salt Pond) to Old Harbor. Old Harbor is where the ferries dock and it reminded me of a cruise ship port – touristy and over-run with people. The town and surrounding area is picturesque, and maybe we’ll stop here later in the season on the way back south when the crowds have lessened. On the way to Old Harbor we passed a tiny bait shack, and I stopped in to see what a fishing license would cost. (After seeing all the
fishing boats, I decided it might be a good investment.) I was shocked to learn that a non-resident Rhode Island license would cost me $10 – and it also covered me for Massachusetts, Connecticut, New York, and Maine! I thought I wouldn’t be able to do much fishing along the coast, but that all changed as I handed over my $10 bill. I spent Monday morning downloading all the various fishing regulations for those states, and figuring out how to fish for cod. We’ll see if I have any luck.

Sunday in Old Harbor we stopped at a pub to have a few Narragansett beers – the beer that Captain Quint famously drank in Jaws. It was very tasty, and I’ll be happy to follow in Quint’s footsteps and enjoy this local beer while we’re in the area. Sabrina and Tanya walked farther around town and found a petting zoo, handmade yarn shop and organic garden where Sabrina picked up some fresh kale. You can see some of their adventures on Minx’s blog.

Today we’re headed to mainland Rhode Island to check out some places while Minx returns to her marina for a few days before we continue cruising around this area later this week. We have plenty of pictures, but I couldn’t them to load on the slow internet here, we should have better luck on the mainland.

2 Responses to The First Leg North

  1. Candy

    Sounds like you are having a great time–the yarn shop sounds super! Enjoy RI–Newport is beautiful but $$$!

    • Brad

      One plan was to go to Newport today, but that might have changed. We’ll explore the city at some point, and try to leave before we spend too much.

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