Previous Port: Great Bridge to Block Island
July 17-25, 2005
Anchorage: N41011.453 W71034.683
Block Island was a great place to rest-up after 75 hours at sea. The anchorage was very crowded but fairly calm, with good protection. Upon arrival we circled it several times, looking for a good spot, before we got desperate enough to drop the anchor so close to other boats.
The first couple of days at Block Island were spent in heavy fog. During the afternoon of the third day, the sun finally came out. Everything dried up quickly and we enjoyed fabulous 790-810 weather. Just thinking, "if we were in Texas it would be in the 100s", made it feel even better. We hadn't reached the perfect temperature (low 70's) yet, but 790 was sure nice for a change.
Twice a day Aldo's Bakery sent a boat out to the anchorage with bread and pastries. You could hear "Ah-de-a-mo, Ah-de-a-mooo" being called out in a deep, singsong voice, long before you could see the caller. The sound was something like a yodel. You almost expected the guy to appear out of the fog dressed in lederhosen. It was a delight the first morning to pick up pastry and bread right from the boat. The pastry was pretty good but would have been wonderful had it been a little fresher. The bread was a real disappointment. It was the worst bread we've ever had. A few days later we tried the cinnamon rolls at $3.00 each. They must have been left over from the previous week. I buttered and micro-waved mine to make it edible. After that, we weren't tempted again by the "A-de-a-mo" and the sound even got old.
We made the two-mile trip into town a couple of times, seeing whatever there was to see along the way. The town was packed with tourists. I like being a tourist but I want to go where there are not so many of them. There wasn't much at all for cruisers in the Block Island vicinity, except the free anchorage.
One of the discouraging things we're encountering is that desirable places to anchor in New England are somewhat scarce. Block Island has a really big area for boats but most of it has been taken up by private or rental moorings ($45.00/night). That, along with the two marinas (about 2.50/foot), doesn't leave much space for anchoring. Boaters end up anchoring in spots they normally wouldn't, just as we did.
The Friday we were there, tons of boats started coming in. By noon on Saturday we could almost touch a couple of boats anchored around us and there were still more coming. Most of these boats had tiny Danforth anchors attached to rode. They put down maybe a 3:1 scope, if even that. Around 11:00 on Friday night, the wind changed direction and really picked up. Boats were dragging all over the place. TowBoatUS was out, in their little red boat, pushing boats off each other and trying to wake folks to take control of their vessels. We held fast but some of the boats next to us had to find new homes in the night. The next morning, we looked over and saw a guy on deck in a sleeping bag. He must have decided that was the best way to keep a watch on things.
Our scheduled Monday departure was delayed by fog, but Tuesday morning brought bright sunshine and a great 740 temperature. Apparently we weren't the only ones that hadn't wanted to navigate in the fog, because there was a mass exodus from the island as we were leaving. I didn't count all the boats in front of us but there were 19 behind us that I could see.
July 26-27, 2005
Anchorage: N41025.907 W70055.138
We watched Cuttyhunk Island disappear in fog as we neared it. By time we were close to the anchorage, it was gone and so were the boats anchored there. It was an easy decision to drop the anchor far away from where we "remembered" other boats at anchorage. This was not a sure thing but the best we could do. The hook went down in total fog, a 15knot wind, and a 72.70 temperature. I actually got chilled setting the anchor.
Cuttyhunk turned out to be the worst anchorage we've had since the Bahamas. During the night, opposing tide & wind jerked us so much that we finally moved to the settees, hoping for sleep. Things did calm a bit but not enough for real comfort. Daybreak found us still enclosed in total fog, making it impractical to leave. Wind conditions worsened again during the day and the fog stayed. There is not much a person can (or wants to) do when the boat is bouncing around. It was a wasted day just sitting in the cockpit waiting for the fog to lift. That didn't happen until just before bedtime; too late to find a new anchorage.
The second night was even worse than the the first. Strong winds kept clocking around and the anchor must have reset two or three times. Bob did an anchor watch most of the night, which meant that I had to do a Bob watch part of the night. Around 3:00am the boat began to really hobbyhorse. Never had we experienced conditions where there was such violent force being put directly on the anchor chain. It was obvious that the anchor couldn't hold too long, and sure enough, about 5:15 it popped loose. I pulled it in (fully dressed this time) and we headed across the bay to New Bedford.
The ten-mile trip took 6 hours of beating into the wind and waves. Even so, that was better than spending another day & night at anchor in Cuttyhunk. Cuttyhunk is supposed to be an interesting place to go ashore but I don't think I ever want to see it again.
It felt like heaven when we finally stopped rocking and dropped anchor outside the hurricane wall in New Bedford.
Next Port: New Bedford, MA to Maine