Monday, July 20, 2009

Summer Sailing Vacation Adventure Part 2

Monday 13 July 2009

One of our vacation days always ends up being a chore day. We let go of the anchor in Jamestown and motored east across the bay to Newport. We had a shopping list of boat supplies we needed for a few of the projects that we wanted to complete that day. We had a few items on the to-do list that needed to get done. The water filters for the sinks hadn’t been changed in who knows how long. The antifreeze from seasons past coagulated in the filtration cartridges and made teeth brushing nauseating. The water from the galley sink was entirely undrinkable as well.

The floors in the boat were utterly disgusting. My springtime cleaning binge this year was rather disjointed and there were whole portions of the boat that hadn’t been cleaned. The radar system was still not functional, and Todd also wanted to wire an electrical outlet into the cockpit.

It sounds like a crappy thing to do on vacation, you know, fixing stuff on the boat when we’re supposed to be relaxing. But this is how we relax. Boat restoration is a hobby of ours, and spending an afternoon checking a few items off the list is worth it to us if it means that life aboard will be just a little less like camping. I am happy to say that I can now brush my teeth with water directly from the tap without getting the urge to barf. I can also drink the water from the tap without fear that I am drinking antifreeze. We can also plug electrical things into the cockpit, and the floors no longer had that layer of filth which clung to the bottoms of our feet. The radar system, however, still eludes us. It remains classified as “decorative” rather than “functional.”

Tuesday 14 July 2009

I woke up with an itch on my brain. (No amount of thinking about sandpaper would relieve it.) This itch would only be scratched by going somewhere we’d never been. We’d been examining the maps, checking the forecast on the Internet, and trying to make a decision as to where to go. We settled on Westport, Massachusetts, which is pretty much a stone’s throw east of where Narragansett Bay lets out into the Atlantic Ocean. We untied the mooring line and set a course for south once we left Newport Harbor.

We watched coastal Rhode Island pass us on the left as we headed east. There was no wind to speak of, so we motored the whole way, Auto von Pilot steering the way. After about 2-3 hours we came upon the entrance buoy for Westport Point.

Westport Point is located at the mouth of the Westport River. The entrance into the harbor is a bit tricky as the river and the rides have worn in a narrow channel that winds around a humongous sandbar in the center of the entrance. The tide was on its way out and was producing a three knot current that we had to steer against while we tried to keep the boat in the deepest part of the channel.

We tied to the mooring and turned off the engine then did what we normally do when arriving in a new anchorage. We took a nap. There’s something about the drone of the diesel engine and the salt air that makes us sleepy. Once siesta time ended, we headed into “town” to explore.

“Town” consists of two restaurants. That’s it. That’s all there is in Westport Point. We settled on one of the restaurants for dinner, figuring that we had a 50/50 chance of finding something good to eat.

After dinner we explored the river in the dinghy. We motored under the drawbridge, and avoided the fishermen casting their lines on the bridge above. The delta of the Westport spread north in front of us and mansions dotted the shore. In all the places we’ve sailed, I’ve seen my share of mansions on the shore. They consist of huge houses with docks with boats or several jet-skis where the perfectly manicured lawn meets the water. I ask Todd the same question every time we see a place like this, “What the hell do these people do for a living?” I am sure that waterfront property is expensive enough without the mansion with several dozen bedrooms, probably several dozen bathrooms, and the dock with the toys thrown in there as well. I forced my jaws closed and we motored on.

By the time we decided to return to the boat we burned nearly a half tank of fuel. The tide was on its way in and the wind was kicking up from the west, precisely in the direction we were going. The incoming tide and the wind from the same direction caused us a very bumpy and wet ride back to Sabine. At one point I took the tiller so Todd could sit, and promptly drove us right into a gigantic wave that sent water splashing over the bow and soaking Todd.

It would be this strong westerly wind and the strong current from the tide that would cause problems for us in the days to come.

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Anonymous Taoist Biker said...

Ruh-roh, Raggy.

Ominous much? I'm hoping your aforementioned dog-tummy-trouble issues were the biggest bummers of the vacation.

July 20, 2009 at 1:53 PM  
Anonymous crisitunity said...

In our area, they are lawyers, or psychiatrists, or hoopety-hoop doctors at Johns Hopkins, or CEOs of Hecht's (formerly), or high-ups at the White House, or they have totally random jobs and just got lucky somehow.

In Newport and that whole New England coastline area, I wouldn't begin to guess. Old money?

July 20, 2009 at 2:23 PM  
Blogger BJ Knapp said...

Crisitunity, that's what I would guess too. Newport's got some old money trucking around in there. But there's also some new money kicking around. And I wonder how much is luck.

TB, you'll just have to stay tuned. :-)

July 21, 2009 at 3:28 PM  
Blogger The Creeper said...

Vacation tasks are much more enjoyable than every day tasks, that's for sure. We were dreaming and wishing in the RV store today. As much as cleaning it would suck, it would suck less than cleaning the house.

Your last bit is just like the "To be continued..." at the end of a TV mini-series. Thanks. ;)

July 22, 2009 at 3:31 PM  
Blogger BJ Knapp said...

Carol, ya gotta leave em hangin'.

Cleaning the boat is definitely more enjoyable than a house. For one, it's smaller. And cleaning the deck is easy. We have a canvas bucket tied to a rope. We just lower it into the ocean, fill it, then up end it on the deck. Voila! Clean deck!

July 23, 2009 at 8:23 AM  

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