27 September, 2015
We were off the ball at Rockland by 06h35, bound for Portland, hoping to make port before the fuel dock at Vessel Services closed at 1700. Our calculations showed us with enough fuel to make Solomon’s, but with no reserve. As a carryover from my flying days, we don’t feel comfortable with anything less than a 10-15% reserve. The fuel prices posted on the internet looked great, so we thought that we’d go ahead and fill up. We had an unremarkable cruise under overcast skies, with winds under 10 knots, and a 1’-3’ swell. When we got to Vessel Services (basically a commercial vessel operation) at 16h30, we found that their price was considerably more than what was posted, and didn’t include taxes. Okay……..change of plan-just took on 150 gallons of diesel. It was an interesting stop. We had to dock ourselves in a cross-current (no one to catch our lines). Having tied up, the attendant was kind enough to come out to the pier and drop the hose the 10’ down to the boat so that we could fuel ourselves. After gassing up, Suzanne walked up to the shop to find him so that we could pay. Not sure what I expected-it’s a commercial pier. After grabbing a ball at Portland Yacht Service, we hit the familiar streets of Portland. We had an early dinner at “Ribbolita”, and Italian restaurant that we had missed last year, and were rewarded with a fantastic meal. Handmade pastas and locally sourced fresh vegetables and seafood were washed down with a bottle of Montalcino. After dinner, a passageata down the waterfront road was in order, along with a stop at the (awesome)kitchen store to check out toys. –There’s a theme here. Hardware stores and kitchen stores.
We were excited to get back to Portsmouth, NH, as we would be able to visit our friends, Cheryl and Paul (“Just a Splash”-last part of Nova Scotia, 2014) who live on Silver Lake, a couple of hours from town. We tied up at the city dock in Portsmouth after doing the two-step with several possible marinas. After initially telling us that they were full, the Harbormaster at the City called us from home to let us know that we could take the berth of a research vessel which would be returning a day later than expected. Paul and Cheryl came down, and we got caught up on the years’ events (two weddings-their daughter and ours, a year of cruising, and life at their lake house). They graciously invited us up for a few days, but our schedule (a nasty word that we don’t usually have to deal with anymore) didn’t allow. Jammed between dinner and non-stop yakkin’, a trip to the liquor store (only state in the Union with no tax on liquor) allowed us to lay in a years’ supply. Long before we were ready, they had to saddle up and get back on the road home. That’s cruising. All about the people you meet.
The morning of the 24th dawned clear and cool, and we were off the dock at 07h10. Over the course of the next 11 hours, the seas rose from 1’ to 4’-6’. Our plan had been to anchor in a bay off the channel leading in to Plymouth. When we dropped the anchor, it was clear that the swell entering from the sea would make a good night’s sleep impossible. We thought about anchoring in a couple of other spots amongst the islands in the bay, but in the end, I “weenied out”, and we drove the 5 miles into Plymouth to grab a ball, and a good nights sleep. Our “forced march” didn’t allow for dilly-dallying, so we didn’t even go to shore. We were off the ball at 06h19, a few minutes before sunrise, and heading for Wickford, Rhode Island which shares Narragansett Bay with Newport. Some other Krogen pals, Roberto and Maria use the marina there as their Summer base, and have had lotsa good to say about it. After another long day, we dropped anchor behind Dutch Island, a few miles from the marina, where we would dock the following morning. The Wickford Marina was small, but meticulously maintained and equipped-very swanky. The 5,000 square foot enclosed patio area, replete with a hot tub, Viking barbeque and oven, cabinets stocked with plates, plasticware and cooking condiments, umbrella covered tables, and a pergola-covered garden was over the top. Paul and Jean, retired seafood brokers and owners, were onsite to make certain that things went smoothly. We chilled on the boat for a few hours to watch the Wolverines skunk Brigham Young, then walked in to town. Wickford is a quaint little village within the town of Kingston. The village has a great number of late 17th and early 18th century homes, and a main street lined with funky shops and boutiques. Suz and I shared a light meal of chowder, Caprese salad, and a flatbread pizza at “Tavern by the Sea” while we watched the Buckeyes dismantle the Broncos. Back at the Girl, we wished that we had some playmates to hot tub with, but the marina was deserted on this cool Fall evening, so we did a few boat chores and vedged out on some college football.
All of this week, we have been keeping an eye on the weather, looking for a good time for our offshore cruise from New York to Cape May, NJ. Tuesday has continued to look like the best day, when the seas drop from the 8’0-10’ range down to 5’ or 6’ on a 7-8 second period before rising again on a shorter period through Wednesday into Thursday. Looks like a pretty skinny window, but it has remained open a crack for the last several forecasts. There are 5 Krogens stacked up in Sandy Hook, NJ, us, and Bill and Lisa on “Changing Course”, who we passed yesterday while on their way to Newport-all waiting for more favorable conditions to head south. Our plan is to leave Port Washington, north of Westchester, and ride the tide through Hell Gate down the East River and past Manhattan on Tuesday morning. From Manhattan, we plan to bang down the coast, arriving at Cape May, NJ, which lies at the mouth of the Delaware Bay in the morning on Wednesday. Meanwhile, we are headed ESE down the Long Island Sound under thin, altostratus clouds (portending rain), 60 degree temps, and 1’-3’ seas. We’ll spend the night at Joshua Cove, a little more than halfway down the Sound, before heading to Port Washington. We should get there early enough to reprovision before heading south on Tuesday.