Block Island, 16 June, 2015
0530 on the 13th, and I’m ready to roll. The Admiral…..Not so much. That’s O.K., we’re on a mooring, so I can slip it myself, and get the Girl up the Sound while she gets a reasonable nights’ sleep. Our plan is to transit the Long Island Sound to the east end of Long Island today so that we can make a short jump across to Block Island, then on to Martha’s Vineyard, Nantucket, and finally Provincetown before heading to Nova Scotia. We’ll spend a couple of days at each stop, picking up some of the sights that we missed on our trip down the coast last Fall. It’s a gorgeous day, high 60’s and partly cloudy as we make our way to the Northeast. We see a few boats along the way, but not nearly the number that we encountered in September last year-I guess it’s still early in the season. The water is still cool, around 55 degrees, so the wind blowing off of it has a little nip. Suz says she’ll have to break out some warmer clothes. Ironic that it’s Summer and we’re unpacking the long-sleeved shirts and fleecies. The good news is that the wine cellar (bilge) will be a lot nicer temperature for the bottles stored there. In midafternoon, we hear a boat screaming up on our starboard side. I get up to look out the window in time to see a USCG RIB alongside, around 10 feet from our rail. The guys don’t look too happy. After ordering Suz to stop the boat, and before I had a chance to ask them, they asked me what the problem was. Long story short, they had received a Mayday call from an unidentified vessel, and localized it to our position. I assured them that we had made no such call, and in fact, had not used the radio at all today. They seemed unconvinced, and asked if we had any children on board. After a little backandforth, they dropped back off our quarter and hovered for awhile. We weren’t sure what to do, so we got underway (slowly). Eventually, their boat peeled off without any further communication, and we continued on. We didn’t feel good about this whole matter, because calling in false emergencies is kinda frowned upon, but there was nothing we could do about it. Later, as the Coast Guard was periodically broadcasting that they had received a Mayday from thus-and-such a lat./long., I calculated our position at that time using hourly positions recorded in our logbook. We were 2.7 miles from the reported position, but that didn’t make us feel any better. Three hours later, we heard the USCG reporting that they had received a Mayday in a child’s voice reporting that “We are sinking”, asking if anyone had any information on this call. This drama played out for another hour or two before the Coast Guard cancelled the alert, and informing all listeners that calling in false emergencies could result in $25K fines, possible imprisonment, and restitution to the Coast Guard for all costs incurred. Nearing Shelter Island, our destination, we heard another call from a boater in distress, this one “taking on water”. I won’t bore you with the details, but the sailboat was filling faster than the pumps could pump. Fortunately, they were only a few miles from port, and motored back to a waiting Travel lift sling that lifted them out before the REALLY BAD happened. Ooooooh, the excitement of it all!
Entering Dering Harbor on Shelter Island, it’s pretty clear that there’s no room to anchor. The mooring balls take up all of the deep water, so we call Mike, the owner of Jack’s Marine (and hardware), who directs us to one of his moorings. It’s one of those rare early summer warm evenings, so under sunny skies and a setting sun we take our cocktail cruise in the dinghy. Sunday dawns sunny and warm, so we throw the bikes into White Star and head for shore. The roads on the island aren’t exactly bike-friendly, but we manage around 15 miles and a good survey of Shelter. Many of the homes along the shore remind us of the Victorian architecture on Mackinaw Island in Michigan. Real estate here is not for the faint-hearted or those of shallow pocket. A 2 bedroom ranch in the cheap seats (mid island) goes for $500-$600K, on the shore starting at $2M. Gawking is still cheap, and we get our money’s worth. We broke up our ride with a 6 mile hike in Mashomack Preserve, one of The Nature Conservancy’s largest properties. Even though we stayed on the trails as directed, Suzanne managed to pick up a few ticks. Over the next few hours, long after our hike was done she picked off around 8 of the little buggers. What was weird is that we were side by side the whole hike, and I had nary a one. It brought back memories for Suz, harkening back to her childhood when either she or one of her sisters would find one that had been onboard for a day or two and had attained rather remarkable proportions. Needless to say, a good hot shower was in order when we returned to the Girl, and the clothes were submerged in a sinkful of water. Like the dutiful husband that I am, I offered to inspect the real estate very carefully for any hangers-on. That evening, when I awoke to the sound of the raindrops pounding on the deck above our bed, I imagined the patter of little tick feet running across my chest. I’m pretty sure there’s a little hypochondria(sp?) going on here. Well, the torrential rain the night before was the vanguard of a pretty significant cold front. We woke to a steady rain and 56 degree temperatures-a perfect day for a boat ride. We slipped our lines and made our way to Block Island battling a 3 knot current with a 25 knot wind on our starboard bow. The rain was torrential at times, with visibilities down to ½ mile at times. We passed a convoy of 4 small gunboats heading west, escorting a nuclear sub to Groton, CT., where the East Coast base is located. Upon entering Salt Pond at Block Island, we spied our Nordhavn buddies, Jim and Colleen, as well as “Tapestry”, a 58’ Krogen, which our friends Bill and Stacy had recently sold. We haven’t met the new owners yet, but I’m guessin’ tht’s in the cards for the next day or two. Meanwhile, it’s 57 degrees, raining, and blowing like stink, so we’re hunkered down after rewatching a couple episodes of “Game of Thrones”. Suz is doing some website research, and I’m doin’ the hunt-and-peck thing to bring us up to date. Colleen just called, so we’ll be joining them for dinner on shore somewhere tonight-not sure where, but they’re the locals and I’m sure will pick someplace good. It’s supposed to be 82 tomorrow (I’ll believe it when I see it). As long as it quits pouring, we’ll get some biking and exploring in.
-That’s it for now.