We left Cuttyhunk somewhat reluctantly in slight chop with enough wind to sail initially, despite the wind being on our nose. Having skipped Boston, we decided to skip Newport as well, as our timing meant we would be arriving during the Newport Boat Show – exciting if we planned to attend, but with limited and expensive mooring/docking options if not. We’re heading to the Annapolis Boat Show anyway. So we headed instead directly across Rhode Island Sound to Block Island. Half way across the sound we both agreed that we were not making the speed or distance we needed to arrive during daylight hours, given the direction of the wind and our need to tack across our rhum line, so we furled the genoa and motor-sailed the rest of the way, arriving around 4:30 pm. The channel into Great Salt Pond, Block Island, is not quite as narrow as that into Cuttyhunk Pond, but the shore along the channel was lined with people fly fishing in a tournament, so we kept to one side to avoid being their catch of the day.
We dropped our main sail in the pond, and anchored to the south of the pond at the back of the mooring field, in 25 feet of water, along with quite a number of other cruising sailboats and trawlers. Great Salt Pond is basically a one square mile inland sea filled with moored and anchored boats in the middle of Block Island. At the south end of Great Salt Pond is New Harbour, with several marinas and restaurants, as opposed to Old Harbour, which is on the ocean-facing East shore, now used primarily by ferries.
We enjoyed sundowners and dinner in the cockpit but left exploring for the next day as we had agreed to spill a day to see Block Island.
Day 96: September 13;
Distance travelled today 44 NM;
Current Position: 41° 11.49 N; 71° 34.60 W;
Weighed anchor in Cuttyhunk at 09:45;
Anchored in Great Salt Pond, Block Island at 16:45;
Weather: Sunny and clear, 24° C; Wind: WSW 7 kn. Seas: 0.5m waves.
The sky was clear blue and the sun already hot on our backs as we took the dinghy into the marina the next morning after breakfast. We picked up a map of the island at the little store at the marina, and set off on foot for Old Harbour, taking a route towards the beach, opting for the slightly longer but more scenic way into town – 1.5 miles away.
It was a lovely day for a walk and the beach was perfect – a long stretch of pristine sand with just a few people like us walking along. We waded, the little breakers pleasantly warm, and I enjoyed beach combing for sea glass, and looking at the sea life in the shallows …including a large blue swimmer crab.
We wandered through town, browsing in shops and enjoyed lunch on the deck of one of the lovely inns, overlooking the harbour and the beach, before setting off again along the beach where we stopped to swim in the sea, happy that we had thought to bring our swimsuits and towel in our backpacks.
The water was lovely and the sun soon dried us off and warmed us up again for the walk back across little roads back to The Oars Bar at the marina, where happy hour was in progress. We bought ice for the fridge and dinghied back to the boat.
Although we have gradually become much more efficient with practice, it still takes time to get ready for each leg of our trip, hauling up the dinghy motor onto the bracket, hauling up the dinghy and securing it on the davits, entering waypoints and a route for the next day etc. So that is how we rounded out the day.
Although we did not rent bikes or a moped to see more of 6 mile long by 3 mile wide Block Island, we enjoyed our day tremendously – though we would highly recommend visiting it, as we did, post-season, as we found Block Island pleasantly scenic and uncrowded. We have been so blessed with weather so far on this trip, and watched the sun drop behind the lighthouse, thankful for yet another perfect sunny day.
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