Saturday, July 25, 2020

Block Island

Block Island, RI

Intermezzo is anchored in the Great Salt Pond of Block Island. The scenery is beautiful, the weather variable and the clams delicious.

We departed Three Mile Harbor on the south fork of Long Island on Thursday morning. The weather forecast, which I have come to refer to as the “weather suggestion” was for 10-15 knot southwesterly winds and seas less than 1 meter, perfect for sailing to Block Island, just slightly north of due east.  Well, so much for the forecast…again. The winds were less than 10 knots and from the just slightly south of due west, direct downwind…again. Ugh.

I tried valiantly to sail, but the log has no less than 12 stops and starts of the engines. Here are extracts of the log entries:

10:38 Sailing downwind main and jib
11:37 Wind died
12:06 Sailing
12:09 The the wind died completely
12:40 …and then the wind is back
12:45 …and then there is no wind
13:54 Wind is back but f*ing dead downwind
14:01 Wind died…I GIVE UP!
14:26 Try again

Fortunately, the wind shifted south enough to make my last attempt successful and we enjoyed two-plus hours on a nice broad reach until we arrived at the inlet to the anchorage around 16:40.

The anchorage is crowded with boats, but we found a spot in shallow water on the eastern shore, just off a little point of land.  As we were finishing up anchoring, Scott and Donna from s/v Voyager, another Leopard 39 catamaran of the same vintage as Intermezzo motored up to us in their dinghy and invited us over to visit after dinner. We took them up on their invitation and enjoyed a glass of wine and friendly conversation with appropriate  “social distancing” outside on their afterdeck. Scott and Donna live in Rhode Island and keep Voyager on a mooring here in the summer and then sail down to Florida for the winter. We shared stories about passages and harbors along the US east coast.

Also in the harbor with us s/v Delos, of YouTube fame. This Amel Super Maramu ketch left Seattle WA over ten years ago, has been regularly posting videos on YouTube ever since and now has over 560,000 subscribers. Crew members, mostly attractive young people, came and went as the boat sailed around the world. Now it’s just the captain, Brian, his wife Kazza and their baby daughter, Sierra (aka Nugget) on board as they shelter from the COVID pandemic. We invited them over for dinner but they politely declined, opting to “lay low” socially for the time being.

I started binge watching the Delos videos about a year before I set sail from San Francisco in 2015 and they provided a lot of ideas and inspiration for my own sailing voyage. Brian is a solid captain and does all the repairs and improvement on the boat, which I relate to and respect.

Yesterday we biked around the southern portion of Block Island, which comprises about two thirds of the islands land mass. This island reminds me a lot of the English countryside with stone walls dividing landholdings dotted with country homes. It’s really picturesque, with glimpses of the sea from various vantage points as you ride along, lighthouses, several large freshwater ponds and lots of green open space.

After the bike ride we took the dingy to the low tide shallows and I dug for clams. A cold front was passing through and it was a bit chilly treading around in waist deep water and downright cold when I had to immerse my upper body to reach down and pick up my mollusk treasure pieces. I was happy getting a couple of dozen clams in about an hour of determined effort and Lisa turned them into a simple but delicious dinner.

Today I stayed on the boat to knock off some of the items on the “to do” list. I repaired the barbecue, replacing the burner, burner plat and propane valve which had corroded to become nonfunctional after over four years at sea. I also spliced the ends of the new Code 0 furler line. The splicing was time-consuming, as I had to re-learn how to splice double-braided line but the process and end result were very satisfying.

Tomorrow we have guests from Providence arriving.
Great Salt Pond anchorage

s/v Delos of YouTube fame

The Narragansett in New Harbor

Block Island landscape

Steps down to the sea

Great Salt Pond sunset