Look! It’s Martha’s Vineyard! Block Island Part 1 – 9/7

Looking at the forecast, Sunday was going to be our best opportunity of the next several days to get to Block Island. It looked like it was going to be high seas and high winds beginning on Monday, so we took advantage of Sunday’s reprieve and headed out bright and early.

Leaving Stonington Harbor was much easier Sunday morning than entering it the previous day. When we came in on Saturday there was a group of eight people racing their sailing dinghies back and forth across the harbor. Since they were under sail and we were motoring they had the right of way, but as I said to Jeff later, it reminded me of the old arcade game “Frogger” with the dinghies representing the logs flowing across the water. But this time instead of landing on the logs, I had to miss the dinghies.

Anyway, the wind forecast for Sunday called for light and variable early, building to approx 10 knots for a few hours, and then dying off for the day. That’s exactly what we got. We motored for a bit over an hour until the wind built up enough to sail, and then we had a nice beam reach for a few hours before it died and we fired up the engine again.  With the exception of the short-lived winds, this trip was much nicer than last year’s inaugural trip to Block when we discovered what “building seas” meant and the wind was right on our stern. THAT was a white-knuckle, roly poly ride.

Now, about the title of the post. When you’re sailing to Block, from far away it looks like two separate islands. Last year we saw the “two” islands and spent some time debating what the second island could be. We decided that it must be Martha’s Vineyard, not realizing that Martha’s is a good 40+ miles away from Block. As we got closer we saw that the two islands were actually one, and when we subsequently looked at a chart we felt rather silly thinking that it could be Martha’s. So this trip, when we saw the “two” islands we had our inside joke – Look! It’s Martha’s Vineyard!

99% of the boats that go to Block end up in the Great Salt Pond which is jam packed in the summer. But after Labor Day there are plenty of moorings to choose from, so we had our pick after sweating it through the channel.  Supposedly the channel is 300 feet wide, but it feels much narrower to me, particularly when you’re a stone’s throw away from fishermen on land and another large motor boat is coming in the opposite direction. I had forgotten how narrow it felt last year. Probably a good thing.

One going in...
One going in…
Another going out.
Another going out.

At least we weren’t sharing the channel with this guy!

image

After we chose our mooring ball and tucked everything away, we made some cocktails, fired up the grill for some surf and turf (tri tip and Bomster scallops), and settled in to spend a few days on Block.

 

And vacation begins! 9/6 – Stonington

It felt like it would never arrive, but we finally found ourselves on Friday night loading up Pegu Club to begin our two weeks of vacation. The initial itinerary was to sail to Block Island on Saturday, Jamestown, RI on Tuesday, Warwick on Thursday, Bristol on Friday, Battleship Cove on Sunday, Newport on Tuesday, Stonington on Saturday, and back to Groton on Sunday. We expected to have to make adjustments to accommodate for weather conditions, but we didn’t expect to change things up right away. Nevertheless, a look at the forecast showed 30 mph gusts and 3-4 foot seas for Block Island Sound on Saturday so we decided to make Stonington our first stop instead.

Saturday morning we made a last minute run to Target for a few items we had forgotten, loaded the dinghy motor onto the stern rail and finally headed out. Two weeks of living on a boat!  Yay!  We caught the current and flew towards Stonington until the wind died, leaving us to motor for the last half hour. Little did we know this would be a sign of things to come. Still, we made it to Stonington in 2 1/2 hours – Pegu Club was flying!

We’ve been to Stonington a few times this year so I did some pre-vacation research looking for a few off the beaten path things to check out. The Velvet Mill, an old factory that houses a variety of artists studios and a nanobrewery, sounded like just the ticket. It was only a mile from the marina and although it was HOT and HUMID, the walk was entertaining, capped off by sighting an old classic Jaguar.

Now THAT is a cool car!
Now THAT is a cool car!

By the time we made it to Beer’d Jeff was welcoming the free beer flight. Unfortunately there wasn’t any air conditioning in any of the studios (only fans blowing hot and humid air), and frankly after having a cool dry summer I was starting to get overheated so after browsing in some of the other studios we trekked back to the boat where it’s always quite a bit cooler. Besides, grilled chicken drumsticks, cocktails, and a pretty sunset awaited – not to mention Block Island the next day!