Where we at

Tuesday, July 9, 2024

Providence --> Newport --> New Bedford (ball)

July 7

Staying another day in Providence we dinghied all the way into downtown, tying up to a wall that was the town dock. Using our scooters we made rounds at a flea market, did another escape room, then found a brewery to play Hanabi and had some beer.

Here's an embarrassing admission: We just accomplished an excellent escape, and had a great chat with the game's designer. We set the top record for the month in that room, and while the month was young, they were certain our number would stand all month. We missed the all-round best by 3 minutes. Having decided where we wanted a lunch we made our way back across the river. I took a look at our dinghies (and, man, I wished I'd taken a picture), the exclaimed, "We need to get to the dinghies!" Because both of them were dangling from the lines. Yep! The tide went out, nearly 2 feet, and those nicely snug lines now were binding our vessels nearly in mid-air. So, yeah. None of us (and there were four who boat as a lifestyle) took that into account. 

Remember that... it's gonna come back as a side note on the next day.

Best time of the month. Miss all time by 3 minutes.

Thought this was funny, and seen on our dinghy ride into Providence.
Pirate skeletons are boarding this house boat.

Gondola on the Providence River.

July 8

The weather was going to get ugly later in the week, so Monday and Tuesday are the only decent days to travel. Highwind's crew made a long day of it, and sped to New Bedford from Providence. We weren't against that but we had to stop in Jamestown to pick up a package (Amazon isn't as reliable as it was, and they delivered something I'd cancelled, so I felt pretty obligated to get it out of their hair). We decided to spend another night in Newport.

We started engines around 8 am, then headed for the dock to pump out and fill up on water. And that's when we realized we couldn't turn off our engines.

Usually, that screen...

...looks like this.

A long while ago Russ removed our hard switched an put in electronic ones. They've worked fine for years... until some update. In the small time we traveled from our ball to the dock the buttons vanished from the screen. We kept the engines running while we did the 2 tasks, then got underway. Russ spent the couple of hours trying to find some reason for the problem, but nothing was obvious. We restarted electronics, we played with settings, nada

Came time to get on a ball at Newport... and viola! They appeared.

Russ, bypassing the fuel filter on the dinghy
Putting that mystery on the back burner we lowered the dinghy and got ready to ride over the Jamestown. We'd just gotten out of the mooring field when the motor stopped. Just stopped. Checked fuel, checked lines, but it wasn't until Russ checked the fuel filter did he see the casing was cracked. Which let in air. Which kills the motor.  With me applying pressure by holding the line we got the motor going and headed back to inQuest. There Russ bypassed the fuel filter. And off we went to get my package.

Why did it crack? Remember that dangling on the wall incident? One of the ropes ran under the fuel line and must have applied enough pressure that the housing cracked. What's shocking is that the failure didn't occur on the ride back to the boats. Would have been handy then, as we'd have had a buddy boater to help with a tow, if needed.

Needless to say, between mystery buttons disappearing and dingy issues we didn't want to go into Newport. Hopefully, we'll hit it on the way back.

July 9

I was quite happy to see the electronic buttons bright and ready to go when it was time to get underway. The winds would come up this afternoon, so we wanted to get the 4-hour ride done before then. The buttons were the first hurdle to get the day going.

The second was the fog.

All day we had about 1/4 of a mile visibility. Not bad. We could see prop traps well enough before they were an issue. But we couldn't see a large research vessel pass by us as we left the channel. We knew they were there, we even chatted on the radio. But unsettling not to put eyes on something you know is quite close.

Foggy morning. Ran the fog horn all day long.
By the time we got through the hurricane gates into the New Bedford harbor the fog has lifted. As promised, the winds kicked up a few hours later.

Odds are we'll be here a while.

Sunday, July 7, 2024

Bristol --> Fall River --> Providence, ball(s)

A little behind from the holiday (4th of July) so I'm catching up.

July 4:

On July 4 we traveled to Fall River which was a very short day. We didn't get underway until 11 am. There's a naval museum there and the mooring field is largely sheltered by a battleship acting as a breaker. Despite that, given the holiday, anyone who has a boat was out and about on it, waking, whooping, and firing off fireworks. Yes. From the boat.

Additionally, the mooring field was jammed with locals gathered to watch the official fireworks display. The town puts a barge in the river and put on quite a show -- lasted nearly 30 minutes.

Lots of locals out to watch tonight's fireworks.
That raft has 11 boats on it.

For a few dollars you can watch the fireworks from the battleship.
It's clear many people do, looking at the crowds on the bow.

The following day we hung out in Fall River. We went to a brewery nearby, then off to Sagres, a Portuguese restaurant. THAT was outstanding. Lots of fish items, all prepared uniquely, and all of it delicious.

We ended the day with a ride on the old carousel, built in 1920. A rather nice holiday, all in all.

Round and round we go!

July 6: 

Passing under the bridge on a dreary day, out of 
Fall River.
The winds were high but not much of an issue. It was on our nose for the first segment, then on our stern the next. Once we got moored, however, we bounced most of the day.

Our solution? Don't be on the boat. We all packed up scooters and headed to shore, Highwind's crew took their dinghy but we took the launch (largely because we were lazy and didn't want a wet dinghy ride -- the launch was nice and dry).

We toodled over to the first brewery, Long Live Beerworks. While there we booked an escape room for early evening. We scooted to a 2nd brewery, Moniker, where we played Hanabi to kill some time before heading to our escape.

Saved the world then went out for noodles!
After we successfully thwarted a nuclear armageddon (in 37 minutes) we sought out a noodle bar for dinner. It was amazing. Somehow we found 2 unique and excellent restaurants in 2 new towns without any recommendations.

Left the Garmin on for 2 days.
And this is why I hate anchor monitors.
(Joke for boaters....)

Wednesday, July 3, 2024

Bristol to Bristol (Kickemuit), anchor

We took a small 1 hour ride to the back side of the peninsula to a secluded and protected little cove. We plan on staying here until the 4th. Good call too -- lots of room, very protected, calm waters. With the exception of little fisher boats, no waking.

Given there's not much to say (thankfully, no excitement) here's some vids I've shot over the last few weeks.

While on the hook during a windy day I saw this person enjoying
the weather. Good thing someone is!

What do we do when anchored? Recently, we've added exercise to 
our daily routine. THIS specifically. We have VR headsets
and do workouts with Supernatural. Here's a little sample.
It gets our heartrate up, makes us sweat, and is SO much fun.

Monday, July 1, 2024

Jamestown to Bristol, anchor

We had a great visit in Newport, even though it was a 20 minute dinghy ride to get there. We met up with other boater friends we know, Jamie and Trish of No Rush. We all got together Saturday for lunch followed by an escape room -- their first! Then Sunday night we did a fancy dinner at The Dining Room at the Vanderbilt. They're headed up the Maine this year, so I expect we'll catch up with them again before the end of summer.

Our buddy boat wanted to head out around 8:30 today which got them some travel before they had to start work. We, on the other hand, thought we'd hang out a bit. But by 7 am, after being rocked by a steady north wind and a parade of tows and ships banging down the channel and waking us like crazy, I was ready to go. 

The plan was to get to what looked like a night protected anchorage called Potter Cove. inQuest still needed a pump out. After some research Russ found that Bristol, a small town near Potter Cove, had one. While underway we called -- yep, they did, and yes, they were working. So we headed that-a-way.

Excellent escape room, DaVinci themed.
Meanwhile, David realized that all the comments about the anchorage said it was now full of balls and transients were no longer welcome. As they passed by they confirmed it looked too full to be useful to us. They noted an anchorage in Bristol and that's where we decided to spend the night.

It's in a No Wake zone, so not as choppy as Jamestown. Moreover, with a north wind, it's fairly protected.

Tomorrow the winds switch to the south. We plan on moving to the other side of the peninsula just for that.

We had the BEST score ever in the room so far, beating the
old record by nearly 5 minutes. Yay for us!

Saturday, June 29, 2024

Wickford to Jamestown, ball

While the trip today was short (90 minutes) it was a little exciting. While in Wickford Russ replaced the belt system on the port engine, moving to a serpentine belt. Explanation to follow. This made the day a maiden voyage for the new drive, and such things are always exciting.

Winds were strong in the morning coming from the north. If you see the map, that's the one direction that would cause much wave action. Overall it wasn't bad, and once we made the turn southward on the other side of the island, it was on our stern, which we like. For the most part, the travel was uneventful.

About the belts: The port engine is also the engine that charges our house electrical system. We have big lithium batteries, and a big alternator that, when the engine is on, pumps them up. Within the first year of owning inQuest Russ upgraded to this beefier alternator. The consequence of that was the belt system, which had to be arranged to accommodate the new alternator. The result was, given the extra "oompf" needed to spin on the new alternator, belts started to break. We went through a bunch of belts on our first year of cruising until Russ found some he liked. However, they frequently squealed at some point until they were adequately tightened (expanding the wheels), and, given the physical space of the engine room, the engine, and the alternator, frequently couldn't be expanded too much. A serpentine system (I was told) would solve this problem, but no one made one for our engine.

Wickford has a tea house. So, we went.
Tea, scones, biscuits, and cucumber sandwiches!
Until a few months ago.

Russ bought a kit, which we carried with us since Baltimore, and worked on it this last week. He'd do something, realize he needed something more, contact the company, they'd over night the part, and he'd continue to work. Pretty much that's how it went the entire visit in Wickford -- he got at least 3 packages from that company (and from what I can ascertain, the company had never actually put one of these one -- I think we're the guinea pigs here). We didn't start the engine at all until Thursday, the day before we were going to leave.

All worked great.

On the moors amidst the rocks.
We get underway and (of course) it squeals. After the engine warmed up a bit we tried again and were able to run the engine and alternator for an hour. I was told later that this is typical for serpentine belts, and once it's broken in this will go away. 

Before taking a ball we wanted to pump out and get water (we really, really needed water). Called the marina, Clark Boatyard, and they told us their pump out wasn't working so use the town's free one. We did. It too didn't work. Moreover, the dock didn't have water, either.

Curious how they built this place.
We made our own water, thankful that we can. And we'll seek a pumpout when we leave here in a couple days.

Never a dull moment, even on the dullest of journeys.

Also (note to myself) this location is seriously wakey! https://photos.app.goo.gl/TGJRocpaYmMmgBTh7

Sunday, June 23, 2024

Mystic to Wickford, ball

Ah, the joys of boating, frequently having to choose between what you want to do, and what you really have to do. And today, it's gotta be today.

The plan had been to spend the weekend in Mystic. It's a great touristy town, with lots of food, drink, and shopping. We did an escape room last night, then had massages scheduled for this morning. After we'd get some lunch, walk the town, enjoy the weekend...

But. Weather.

Keeping at eye on wind we noticed that Sunday (tomorrow) the winds would pick up. It was clear they'd be very high winds, and make any travel we planned to do Sunday miserable. And the travel ahead was a lot of exposed on the Atlantic travel. Moreover, it wasn't clear that once you got somewhere you might be there for the next 5 days.

First came the escape room victory...

... then came the rain. Soggy dinghy ride back to the boat.

Options included going to Stonington which was really close. But we were concerned about protection from the wind direction. Ultimately we were going to Narragansett Bay to spend a few weeks. We concluded we'd just make that dash now.

In and out of fog all day
It's a very open crossing to get there but today the wind was mild. More of an issue was the fog, then later thunderstorms.

inQuest needed fuel. The plan had always been to stop in Galilee since they have the cheapest diesel in the area. We headed there first and fueled up -- easy in and out as we were near slack tide -- then headed around the point and north to get into Narragansett. 

We picked a mooring field in Wickford for it's protection over the next few days. As we approached the breakwall the skies got dark and burst open on us, with gusts over 25 knots. We managed to get on a ball in the downpour.

While we didn't go too far, getting started late and stopping to fuel made for a longer day. But totally the right call. Despite the sections of fog and the storm the water was nice. 

We wanted to see if it was faster to get to town by tender. This bridge
is the only obstacle, with a vertical clearance of 3 feet. We clear it
by ducking, of course. but the trip was still about 30 minutes.


Moonset by the lonely lighthouse

Thursday, June 20, 2024

New London to Mystic ball

Our last day in New London was perhaps our most busy. Officially it was a holiday, Juneteenth, so we could take advantage of having the workday off. 

Around 9 am we got together and scooted to the Submarine Force Museum in Groton. Well, Hannah, David, and Russ scooted, I Uber-ed since my back was acting up. But that got me a great ride with a resident of New London that told me the town it on the cusp of booming. You can catch a bullet train to NYC from there, and given the sprawl, that's a big win.

On top of the Nautilus, about to 
start our tour below.
The sub museum is the home of Nautilus, one of the first nuclear powered submarines. You get to tour it, which was really cool. The museum also has an interested movie about how subs have played a part in history and (of course) the wars. To our surprise it was nearly 45 minutes long, and quite engaging.

From there was came back to the vessels and shoved off. We can stay for free on the city dock for 72 hours, and the folks there are really friendly. There are showers and laundry facilities, but Russ and I took our bulk items (big bedding, for example) to the local laundromat which was a 12 minute walk away.

It was only about an hour's ride to Mystic. In the past we've stayed at the museum. This time we took balls south of town at a local yacht club, Mason's Island Yacht Club. Once settled we piled our scooters in our dinghies and headed to Mystic. Originally we hoped to do an escape room, but the venue got sold out (silly us didn't reserved a spot). We bummed around the quaint town instead, doing a little shopping then eating dinner in the downtown area.

Russ took this while on the i-95 bridge that allows pedestrians, bikes, 
and scooters to cross the Thames. That's how they got to the sub museum.
I don't feel that I missed much...

At the moment the rest of the northeast is having a heat wave. It will be close to 100 degrees in Boston today. But here, our high is around 85. So, lucky us!

We always see or learn something new while boating. Like this
dinghy dock. You don't tie to the dock, but rather the clothesline they
provide, then you move your tender away to make space for the 
next dinghy. Very clever, but we'd never seen a dock managed that way before.

Monday, June 17, 2024

Essex to New London, city dock wall

We spent a few days anchored and around Essex. The Safe Harbor Marina new the anchor had free water and pumpouts (noted for fellow boaters), something we all took advantage of before heading to New London.

Our last day on the Connecticut River we traveled up to Haddam and anchored. We all piled into a dinghy and went to Gillette Castle. We got there around 2:30, knowing they closed at 4 pm. However, there only did tours (you couldn't walk through on your own) and those all sold out by 1 pm. Bummer! It looked like a nifty place. It wasn't until we were leaving that we read why folks go there -- it's the Connecticut home of William Gillette, a playwright and actor, most known for playing and developing the character of Sherlock Holmes. All the iconic images of Holmes (deerstalker cap, cape, pipe, and "It's elementary, my dear fellow") were due to him. Maybe we'll be back someday. I added a note to "RESERVE TICKETS!"

Gillette Castle, of which we did NOT visit.

How we got to Gillette Castle, landing a dinghy on a nearby beach.

But that all became a distant memory when, around 7:30 pm, we piled into the dinghy again and headed up river to the Goodspeed Opera House where we saw a production of South Pacific. For a small, local theater it was a great show. Excellent actors, great singer, impressive dancing, and all to live music.

The white building is the Goodspeed Opera House. Darling venue, great show.
The had a dock at the opera but it was reserved for members. A small town dock
was right next to it. It all worked perfectly.

Saturday we charged down the Connecticut River and headed just east to the Thames River. Here, in the USA they say THames, not "Temz". Our destination was, of course, London. New London, that is.

Highwind and inQuest on the CT river.
Very large, and very fast ferries come and go from New London, creating massive wakes as they do. When we came into the area we didn't like the look of the closest mooring field with all the boats there bobbing from the water. We continued beyond to another anchorage only to spy another, smaller buoy field... totally lacking in any boats. Russ called the numbers listed to reserve, we hailed on the radio, but no one responded. The buoys looked good so we grabbed one then dropped the dingy to make for the nearby dock in hopes to find someone who knew if we could stay a while.

I happened to see a couple of women go into an office nearby so I asked if they knew anything about the buoys. They didn't, but offered, "You can just dock here." They gestured to all the space around the pier restaurant. "It's free!" Magic words. So we went back to the boat, texted Highwind the plan, and sidled next to City Dock Restaurant and Oyster Bar.

Inside Fort Trumbull. Completed in 1852, it has 
a lot of aesthetics taken from Egyptian archeology.
From here we all went out to eat and then enjoyed Fort Trumbull.

Been a busy couple of days.

Friday, June 14, 2024

Saybrook to Essex, anchor

Just a couple miles up the Connecticut River was Essex. In addition to being a darling town there's a yacht club that Hannah and David have reciprocity to dine at.

Originally we were going to grab some balls at said yacht club. As we approached, however, they hailed as asked, "Are you the catamaran?" "Yes." "We don't allow catamarans on the mooring balls." Thus we anchored out, just across the way. Saved us $60 a night, too. The dinner, however, was quite good.

There's a museum we wanted to see in Essex but it's hours didn't work with the working folks on Highwind. So we're hanging out, enjoying the weather, and we'll all do the museum Saturday before getting underway to head up the river to Haddam, CT, where we'll catch a show that evening.

This promises to be a lazy summer of little boat rides. Kinda new for us!

Our anchored vessels across the river

Essex, like much of the north east coast, is big on its Revolutionary
patriotism. They build battleships here for the war, in fact. With
July 4th being just a few weeks away, everything is decorated
in red, white, and blue. Even the street divider is "in colors".