Block Island

Monday morning, we awoke early and weighed anchor at 6:30. Our goal for the day was to complete the journey eastward out of Long Island Sound, and then some. The destination was Block Island, a pork-chop shaped island located in the Atlantic Ocean, which is a part of the state of Rhode Island. The island, which has a population of 1000, is about 14 miles from the mainland. In 1699 it was visited by the notorious pirate, Captain Kidd. It has a 20-mile shoreline, 250-foot high clay bluffs providing cliff-side views, sun-washed beaches and an island mystique. It has been called “one of the last great places in the western hemisphere” and “the Bermuda of the north.” The day’s passage of 64.4 nautical miles to this grand destination was very pleasant. The only location en route that was of concern is a section called “The Race,” which is at the southeasternmost end of Long Island Sound. Waters go from about 40 feet deep to over 300 feet deep in a short distance. This causes the water to squeeze through an area between islands creating amazing rip currents. Whereas earlier in the day we would have been fighting a head current of 5.7 knots, when we passed through we experienced slack water. Whew! We motorsailed for most of the way, arriving by 4:30 in the afternoon. The sun was warm, the breeze was cool, and the seas were benign.

Leaving New Haven Harbor through one of the three breakwaters.  A lighthouse on one of them.

Leaving New Haven Harbor through one of the three breakwaters. A lighthouse on one of them.

Sailing to the sun

Sailing to the sun

Airing out the sails

Airing out the sails

Ringing Red 2 Buoy at the Entrance to Great Salt Pond, Block Island, RI

Ringing Red 2 Buoy at the Entrance to Great Salt Pond, Block Island, RI

The cut into the New Harbor

The cut into the New Harbor

Once we entered New Harbor on Block Island, we hailed the harbormaster on VHF channel 12 and made arrangements to pick up one of the 90 town-owned moorings. Our initial impression of the island is that it made us feel that we were back cruising in the Bahamas. Of course, there are many differences, but this place is very much unlike the mainland on which we’ve spent the last several months. We love it! It has a natural, airy beauty and an island feel. Once Cindy flawlessly picked up the mooring ball (it’s been a long time since we’ve moored!), we headed into town for dinner. There is a free dinghy dock at the Block Island Boat Basin, which is also the location of The Oar, a famous cruisers restaurant/bar which is overrun with, you guessed it, oars. From our table, the view of the harbor was delightful, and the food was quite good. After dinner, we dinghied back to Beatitude for the night. Tuesday would be a day for exploration.

Upon tying up to the mooring ball we were visited by two geese checking to see if we offered free handouts

Upon tying up to the mooring ball we were visited by two geese checking to see if we offered free handouts

Tied to the mooring

Tied to the mooring

The view over the harbor from our table at The Oar

The view over the harbor from our table at The Oar

The Oar

The Oar

Shortly after awakening we were greeted with shouts of “Andiamo!” from a bakery boat making its rounds through the mooring field. We bought cinnamon rolls for breakfast. The rest of the morning was spent making phone calls in an effort to find Cindy’s lost purse. We assumed it had to be at the marina or at the Broadway theater we visited. (Later in the day, while looking for batteries, we found it beneath the bench in the salon where we store various odds and ends. How it got there is a matter of much debate.)

"Andiamo!"

“Andiamo!”

After we had finished with our phone calls, we took Dalí into the Block Island Boat Basin dinghy docks and then made the 1.5 mile trek into town (Old Harbor, or New Shoreham), the smallest town in the smallest state. We stopped for some mediocre pizza for lunch, did some shopping in the small shops, and proceeded to Island Moped to rent our wheels, a 2-person moped, to explore the island. For the next two hours, we zipped up and down the streets of Block Island on two wheels, enjoying the scenery. We first visited the brightest lighthouse on the Atlantic seaboard, the Southeast Light, perched atop the Mohegan Bluffs, over 200-feet above the sea. We then proceeded to a spot where I could descend wooden stairs down the cliffside to the beach (actually the last 15-20 feet are traversed holding onto a rope over rocks and boulders). From there, we motored to the other end of the island to view the North Light, which sits on Sandy Point. Along the way we stopped at Crescent Beach for a few moments to take in the view.

Taking Dalí in for a day of exploration

Taking Dalí in for a day of exploration

Pizza for lunch on Block Island

Pizza for lunch on Block Island

Although the pizza joint offered below average pizza, they did have a 25-cent Pac-Man game.  Boy were we rusty!

Although the pizza joint offered below average pizza, they did have a 25-cent Pac-Man game. Boy were we rusty!

"Gothic Hotel"

“Gothic Hotel”

"Born to be Wild!"

“Born to be Wild!”

The Rebecca Statue, named for the biblical Rebecca-at-the well.  Erected in 1896.

The Rebecca Statue, named for the biblical Rebecca-at-the well. Erected in 1896.

Moped Mama

Moped Mama

Southeast Lighthouse

Southeast Lighthouse

A view of the seaside below the Mohegan Bluffs as seen from the lighthouse grounds

A view of the seaside below the Mohegan Bluffs as seen from the lighthouse grounds

The route down (and back up) to the beach at the Mohegan Bluffs.  You can see Cindy, who came part way down, on the stairs with the blue blouse.

The route down (and back up) to the beach at the Mohegan Bluffs. You can see Cindy, who came part way down, on the stairs with the blue blouse.

Beach below the Bluffs

Beach below the Bluffs

Beach at the Bluffs

Beach at the Bluffs

Anglican Parish Building Cross

Anglican Parish Building Cross

Crescent Beach

Crescent Beach

North Lighthouse

North Lighthouse

North Lighthouse

North Lighthouse

Standing near the North Light

Standing near the North Light

Settlers' Rock, commemorating the first European settlers on Block Island.  In April 1661, the families and animals of 16 men who had purchased the island for 400 pounds sterling arrived by boat from the Massachusetts Bay Colony.  Because there was no natural harbor, they were forced to leave their ship and wade to shore.  The cows swam ashore into the cove, now known as Cow Cove.

Settlers’ Rock, commemorating the first European settlers on Block Island. In April 1661, the families and animals of 16 men who had purchased the island for 400 pounds sterling arrived by boat from the Massachusetts Bay Colony. Because there was no natural harbor, they were forced to leave their ship and wade to shore. The cows swam ashore into the cove, now known as Cow Cove.

We saw these stone cairns all over the island.  This is our contribution (thanks to Cindy) to say, "We were here!"

We saw these stone cairns all over the island. This is our contribution (thanks to Cindy) to say, “We were here!”

Just before our two hours were up, we returned our wheels, had a drink at a local bar/restaurant, and began our 1.5 mile trip back to New Harbor (also called the Great Salt Pond). Along the way, we stopped at Block Island Grocery to replenish our bread supply. Once back aboard Beatitude, we were happy to relax with a cool breeze blowing through the salon. We devoured a wonderfully-prepared Lasagna by Cindy for dinner. After watching the sunset and a movie, we retired to spend our last night in Block Island.

Hotel in Old Harbor

Hotel in Old Harbor

One of the many freshwater ponds on the island.

One of the many freshwater ponds on the island.

Glow post-sunset

Glow post-sunset

6 thoughts on “Block Island

  1. As always, love the pictures! How do you get pictures of you and Cindy together – like on the moped and the rocky beach? Set the timer and get back into the picture? Just wondering. Most of ours will be one or the other. 🙂

    • Usually, we grab an innocent bystander and ask them to help us. When no victim is around, we’ll set the timer and take it ourselves. 🙂

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