So, we left Antigua and headed to St. Martin. We hadn’t been there since 2017 just before Irma blasted through. We anchored in Marigot and spent a few days zooming around the lagoon in the dinghy, it is faster than walking and much safer than driving. We picked up a bearing to repair our wind speed indicator, ate lunch ate the yacht club, which is full of some of the most interesting characters we’ve had the pleasure to have met, and bought up all the french cheese we could carry. We spent an afternoon at Loterie Farm, a relaxing oasis of trees and hills and monkeys, as well as good food, up on Pic Paradis.
Then we moved over to Grand Case where the LOLO food is the best (LOLO is the term for local cuisine). Chicken and ribs and fish and lobster and crab and mac and cheese and corn and everything all right before your eyes and served at the most uncomfortable seating ever! Perfect. We went for a dive at Creole Rock that wasn’t too interesting until we passed by a turtle or two and then swam side-by-side with two magnificent Spotted Eagle Rays. They just kept pace with us for a long time, one watched me while the other one occasionally turned around and swam by Nancy before continuing on their way. And no, I didn’t have the camera. Then it was time to head to Bermuda.
We had a great six day sail with all kinds of conditions enroute. We used every sail in our inventory (not the storm sails), even the new code G! The weather was pleasant and the seas were comfortable, we even had a 200+ mile day. This trip was just the two of us and we tried standing 4 hour watches instead of the usual 3 hr; we found that it is far superior to the old way and continued using it for the next leg to Newport, RI.
We arrived in Bermuda ahead of a cold front and spent ten days in the freezer. When we were there two years ago, you may remember, it was November and cold, rainy and blustery. “Come back in May,” they said. “It will be beautiful.” Some hype that was! We had one warm, sunny day out of ten this time. But we enjoyed the company of friends on Nomad and Persephone. Cocktails on Persephone and dinner aboard Zephyr made our time enjoyable. Not to mention the great folks at The Wharf, who kept us entertained, fed and hydrated.
St. George is a beautiful colonial-style town with winding streets and well-kept buildings, unlike Hamilton, at the other end of the island, which is a bustling metropolis. We both got great haircuts and Nancy had a spa day while I worked on boat projects. Finally the weather cleared and we had a window to head to Rhode Island.
We set off for Block Island, which was a 680 mile trip, on a Friday morning with decent wind angle and comfortable seas. However, it rained solidly for the first two days with the sky so gray you couldn’t tell the horizon even when it wasn’t raining. I felt like Noah without the manure. Our biggest concern for this leg was getting through the Gulf Stream in settled weather. We were a bit concerned about some northerly winds which were forecast for the area about the same time, so we kept pushing. The Stream crossing was a mill pond. Just after we got through we came upon Nomad stationary in the sunny, warm, calm water. The crew had decided to take a swim since the water was only 11,000 feet deep! They picked a good time because four hours later the wind was blowing 30+! It went from 5 to 30 in about three hours which made for some VERY steep seas. The ride was not bad, we were double reefed on the main with the staysail and still doing 9 kts on a close reach. We were taking seas over the dog house but we stayed warm and dry inside, letting Hammie (our trusty auto-pilot) take the punishment. After 10 hours of that everything moderated and we were under full sail reaching for Block Island. We arrived in exactly four days; an exhilarating but enjoyable trip.
The Great Salt Pond at BI is packed with boats in the summer and it is often difficult to find anchor space. We arrived Tuesday after Memorial Day to find one boat at anchor and only 8 boats on the 400 moorings! We immediately headed to The Oar restaurant to check on OUR oar! As you may know, Nancy and I were married on BI 24 years ago June 14, and hung an oar with the best wishes of our guests written on it. It is still there. In fact they were doing some rearranging while we were there and positioned our oar in a more permanent fashion. When Mikey and I hung it on my wedding day we just jammed it into a spot where it wouldn’t fall. The guys screwed it to the wall while we were there this time. Thanks, guys.
Block Island was a delight! The Memorial Day crowds had gone and the regular season doesn’t really get started until next week, so the streets were deserted, the sun was warm, the breeze was slight, and we could get seating at any restaurant in town. We walked all around the town and bought a bag-full of $1 books from the town library’s book sale, and dropped off many that we had read. Thursday afternoon we rented a scooter and toured the island. Again, there were few cars on the road so it was fun just toodling along looking at the scenery. Our first stop was the South Lighthouse overlooking Mohegan Bluff where we had placed the ashes of Harrison, our old Golden Retriever, 20 years ago. They have kept his spot well-tended for him. We rode all around and ended the evening with an anniversary dinner at the Atlantic Inn, a 19th Century inn with a fantastic restaurant. Duck breast and gnocchi, fois gras, scallop ceviche with pesto and candied jalapeños, and a scrumptious burger. Fortunately we still had the scooter for the ride back to the boat!
Anticipating a Norther blowing up on Saturday, and planning to haul the boat in Newport on Wednesday, we motored out of BI on Friday morning. We motored on a flat calm the 20 miles to Newport and picked up a mooring. Sure enough, as I write this the wind is howling, it’s 50 degrees and gray as can be. I have work to do since our faithful Webasto heater, which we have been using on a daily basis for two years to make hot water for showers, decided to have a sensor fail on the one night we actually wanted to use it to heat our toes. I have to take it out and send it in for repair (“no user serviceable parts”. My four most hated words!) Also our dinosaur of a generator has developed a series of failures, many of which I have overcome, but this last one is insurmountable, so out it will go to be replaced by a modern, efficient, quiet Fisher/Panda unit. OUCH!
So, it’s off to the yard in a few days. Then we’re taking the train to Iowa where more boat projects await, and off to travel around before returning to the boat in late July. It’s time for a little vacation! Thanks to everyone who follows us, don’t forget to subscribe to receive notification of new postings. Check out Book Nook for reviews and Nancy’s Studio for new art. If you are in Des Moines this summer, Nancy will be having her first one woman show at Zanzibars 24 June through 24 August. Some great pieces will be on display.