On August 22, we finally left for a week at Block Island. Our friend Ellen came over from Long Island by ferry to meet us at the boat in Norwich and off we went. The cruise was great under sunny skies and by mid-afternoon, we were tied up at Payne's, our favorite boating destination.
We can't tell you how good it was to see that old familiar sign at the head of New Harbor.
Soon, the place began to fill up. We backed into our slip with only about two feet between our anchor and the one in front. Guess we haven't lost our touch after all.
They come from all over to fish the waters around Block Island. That's Cliff Payne directing from the dock, as usual.
We even got some big neighbors. This one was better than 100 feet long.
Pooka the boat cat enjoyed sharing the boat with three cat lovers. Here he adjusts the radio. Lucky we all enjoy the same kind of music.
Payne's is just as nutty as ever. We took a walk to Old Harbor and again admired the selection of cars parked nearby.
On our walk, we encountered the annual Historical Society Arts and Crafts Fair. Yes, we made a purchase or two.
The weather was perfect every day. Warm days with almost no humidity and cool nights. After the first day or so, we turned off the AC on the boat. The sunsets were beautiful, especially that "golden hour" just after the sun sets below the horizon.
Frances and Ellen provided dinner on most evenings. Our cockpit made the perfect dining room for three. Note Frances' traditional flowers. Lots of people commented on them.
One day, we walked to Block Island Boat Basin, the marina next to Payne's. It was a perfect summer day and as we walked, we could smell the wild flowers. This is Payne's looking back from the Boat Basin driveway.
This is the Boat Basin. We've never docked there because Payne's is more fun. It is a popular place, however and they had open slips, even on a nice summer day like this one
On another day, we had lunch at the National Hotel, overlooking Old Harbor. The lunch was good but you couldn't beat the view.
While we were there, Payne's was the site for a schooner meeting. Seven schooners from as far south as Tom's River, NJ all met at Paynes. Beautiful boats and very nice people.
"Brilliant," the schooner owned by Mystic Seaport was there. Built in 1932 and donated to the museum by car racing great Briggs Cunningham, she is used for training kids how to sail.
One of the best parts of the trip was the appearance of four 44-ft. Coast Guard sailboats. They were manned by midshipmen in training from the academy and commanded by volunteer captains. They were lined up with military precision and they docked these boats in tight quarters without help from the Paynes crew.
We watched as they prepared to leave the next morning. Each boat had to turn to starboard very carefully to avoid hitting the yacht docked across from them. It was a boat ballet typical of Payne's but no one from Payne's was needed. These young midshipmen (and midshipwomen) did a great job. I know we would have needed some help getting out from a slip that close.
That's about it for this year's Block Island cruise. Frances may add some more photos (there are a lot) but for now, let's enjoy fall and the remainder of the boating season.