Trekking North and Visiting Friends – Little Silver to Block Island

After a couple days off the boat and with easy access to laundry, a car, and groceries, we loaded up provisions and headed back to Beyzano.  While sad to leave our friends, we had an exciting day in store as we were heading up the East River, passing through NYC.  The day was beautiful with clear blue skies and a comfortable temperature – we couldn’t ask for a better day for the adventure.  After a couple hours fighting the current crossing the Lower New York Bay, we were under the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge and into the Upper Bay.  While still fighting some current, we were able to take some detours that allowed us to come around the south side of Governor’s Island such that we were entering the East River right as the currents were changing in our favor.  The Statue of Liberty was off our port side and Abby was excited to see her after having learned about her in school (she immediately requested a picture be sent to her teacher!). 

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While we had views of the city for much of our crossing that morning, the true grandeur of the city hit us as we entered the East River.  It was an odd feeling seeing the city from the water.  Whereas Mark and I have been on the ground in the city and have had the feeling of being tiny next to the massive skyscrapers, the feeling was quite different from the water.  Oddly, the buildings did not seem as massive – maybe because you could actually see multiple building at once versus only see those directly around you when walking down the streets of Manhattan.  Abby and I spent much of the trek at the front of the boat and we thoroughly enjoyed seeing the architecture of the buildings, listening to the loud trains passing on overhead bridges, and helping Mark keep watch for the high speed ferries that would appear almost out of nowhere.  The ferries kicked up quite a wake on the narrow river, enough to roll a sleeping Mollie off the cockpit bench! 

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The real current push on the East River is coming through Hell’s Gate and we sure got a boost, hitting 10 knots while motoring.  We were able to ride the current under Throgs Neck Bridge, the last official bridge of the river, and then we were officially in the Long Island Sound.  Once in the sound, we still had a little current  with us and decided we would push as long as possible with the hope to make it to Port Jefferson, NY.  Wind was lacking so it was an afternoon of motoring with dinner underway.  We pulled in to Port Jefferson around 8 PM and used the last bit of light to scout out a place to anchor.  For the first time, Abby and Mollie joined me up front as we set the anchor, adding a little extra excitement to an already exciting cruising task.  Once anchored, we pulled out our string Luci lights for the first time and enjoyed their awesome glow as twilight faded. 

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Our main reason to push to Port Jefferson was to catch up with our friends, Janet, Drew, Hope, and George Kirkpatrick, before they headed off for a year sabbatical in Tasmania.  We literally caught up with them the day before they were leaving their house and heading off for their adventure – not at all a stressful time for them!  After a day of fueling up and exploring town a bit, we met up with Janet, Hope, and George at a beach in town and the kids had a blast exploring while the adults cringed since the beach area wasn’t exactly pristine.  Drew met us a bit later and we decided to walk to grab a beer at the brewery and then pizza at The Pie.  After post dinner ice cream, we said our goodbyes to the Kirkpatricks and took the dinghy back to Beyzano.  We had some tired kiddos and all were glad to be back home and to get to bed.  Our plan was to trek all the way to Block Island the next day so sleep was definitely in order.

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Living on a boat, you are completely reliant on the engine and count on it to crank each time you turn the engine key.  When we turned the key at 6 AM on June 29th, there was no crank!  Mark was quick to rig up jumper cables so we could use the house batteries to start the engine, and with only a minor delay, we had the anchor up and were underway.  Looks like we are going to need to look at replacing the starter battery in the not too distant future!  While once again there was no wind, we did plan our departure to have the current of the Long Island Sound in our favor, allowing us to enter the Block Island Sound shortly after noon.  We knew we were getting more to the north as this was our first encounter with fog, though luckily it was light and cleared as the afternoon progressed.  Mark has been so excited to fish on this adventure and we had lines out.  As we were getting close to Block Island, we had a fish on and had to pause while Mark reeled in a massive blue fish (thanks to Janet K for the fish id!).  The girls were both napping, which was probably good since this was our first time hauling in and filleting a large fish on Beyzano.  Mark did a great job and kept the mess minimal, while I got the fish marinating so we could grill it up for dinner that night. 

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Heading in to the Great Salt Pond on Block Island, excitement levels were high for all as we were really looking forward to getting anchored and catching up with our friends on SV Matilda.  Chris and Seneca were basically in the dinghy and on their way over just as we were setting anchor.  The anchorage was a new world to us as the water was deep and there were a lot of boats there, everyone gearing up for the 4th of July.  We anchored near a retired tug boat (more on him in the future!) and let out more chain than we ever have to be safely anchored in 35 ft of water.  The grilled fish turned out amazing and we had a wonderful time reconnecting with friends until late in the evening.  Abby was so excited to see Seneca and this was the first time Mollie was in the play mix – it’s going to be an awesome summer!!

Our very first sunset at Block Island – we had a summer full of amazing sunsets!

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