Sunday, August 12, 2012

Onward To Maine

We gained another learning experience about the mail.  It seems like general delivery in a big city like Norfolk is a bit different than in Oriental or Georgetown.  In our ignorance we picked the wrong post office to sent it to then went on a wild goose chase.  We were scolded by a postal official who claimed that general delivery was being abused by homeless people who really had an address.  Finally we found out that the package had been returned to sender.  On to plan B--maybe we can have it sent to our next destination. So we headed out Chesapeake Bay into open ocean again for the 2 day trip to Rhode Island to visit our friends Andy and Judy.  We met them while waiting for mail in Georgetown, Bahamas.  The wind was calm for the most part and right behind us but we used the sails to boost our motoring speed and use less fuel.  We crossed the shipping lanes for New York harbor during a Saturday night so there was blessedly little traffic.

We arrived at Block Island, RI in the morning.  There was some fog blanketing the Island but we could still make out cliffs and trees.  Block Island is a popular weekend summer vacation spot and many boats were just leaving since it was Sunday.  Our original plan was to stop and rest at Block Island but we decided to suck it up and go the 6 more hours to Andy and Judy's house.  I'm glad we did because we were treated to a great RI clam dinner and now we could really relax.  The islands and shores of Narragansett Bay were beautiful and green. I really expected it to be more urban.  Palatial mansions line the banks and we anchored right across from one (thank goodness Andy and Judy's house was more modest).  Many clam fishermen work these waters.  They appeared very early in the morning raking clams with a basket on a very long pole.  This has got to be hard work and there must be a bunch of clams there to support so many fishermen.

Judy had bikes and kayaks and we spent a day touring the peninsula of Warwick neck.  There was even a blueberry farm down the road where we picked blueberries.  The next day we took a tour of Newport and hiked the Cliff Walk where we gawked at the mansions.  We didn't see any reason to pay to go in them but there was one (being used as a university) that we could look inside the first floor for free.  When we got back to the house Bill found that the GPS chip had been delivered--hurray!

We said goodbye to Andy and Judy that night and left early Wednesday morning.  We motorsailed down the Sakonnet River passing more mansions and small towns on the way then made way across Buzzards Bay Massachusetts.  We anchored near the entrance to the Cape Cod Canal for Wednesday night.  The canal passage must be done with the proper tide and we had it Thursday morning.  Thursday we crossed Cape Cod Bight and anchored that evening at Rockport, MA.  The lobster pots were thick as we approached the coast and we tangled the propeller in one on the way to the anchorage.

Friday morning was foggy and the first thing we had to do was get the propeller untangled.  Thank goodness for radar because the whole day was foggy and it took both Bill and I to watch for boats on the radar and watch for lobster pots.  The fog finally lifted a little at the end of the day and we got our first sight of Maine as we approached the twin lighthouses at Cape Elizabeth.  The lobster pots were thick--they are not set out in orderly lines like the crab pots in NC.  They are scattered all over with barely enough room to fit our boat.  But we made it this time without snagging one and arrived at Jewel Island exhausted. Jewel Island is a state-owned island and a popular boating and camping spot.  We are lucky that the weather forecast has not been good so there are not dozens of boats in this tiny harbor.  We made it to Maine!!!

Yesterday cleared up and after a very cool morning we had a good day of hiking the island.
We met the island caretaker, Vinny, (what a great summer job) who gave us a trail map and told us that we could find baby lobsters in the "Punch Bowl", at low tide.  So we hike across the island to a nice tidal pool filled with seagrass and rocks.  I immediately started looking under rocks and soon found baby lobsters. I could have stayed there all day--maybe a week but Bill wanted to press on.  The trails led through fir and spruce forests, swamps, and fields of ferns and goldenrod in bloom.  We climbed the abandoned WWII spotting towers and were treated to a breathtaking vista of forested islands around us.

When we got back to the boat we were ready for lunch then Bill was ready for a nap.  I got in the kayak and  checked out the dead seal on Little Jewel Island and attempted some seagull pictures. Rocks and seaweed were more cooperative subjects. Then it was time to take care of what we really came here for.  We got in the dingy and went across the bay to a small fishing port.  A guy was on one of the docks was taking lobsters from a pen and was happy to sell us 4.  He also had this very unusual half albino lobster that he had found last week.  So it was lobster dinner last night!

This morning is very foggy and we can hear the fog horns.  I am not sure if this will last all day or not.  We are planning to stay here a couple of days then will be off to discover more.

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