Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Summer Sailing Adventure Part 4

After my bummer of a last post, I need to continue to re-live my vacation.

Thursday 16 July 2009

At the end of the last installment, we were held hostage by a small craft advisory in Westport, Massachusetts. We attempted the trip back to Narragansett Bay, just to be tossed around in the ocean like a tub toy.

The moment we got tied up to our mooring, we considered our options. There isn’t much to do in Westport that we could access on foot, and rain was forecasted for Thursday. We got on the Internet and reserved a rental car for Thursday afternoon so we could expand our exploration range.

The rental car arrived at the marina, and we set off to explore with a copy of a hand-drawn map of the area. Once we were a few miles inland, sprawling green pastured farms lined the road side. We stopped at house and barn that was converted into a general store. We wound our way through the maze of hallways into rooms that were once living rooms, dining rooms, bedrooms and kitchens that were converted into spaces where saleable merchandise lined the shelves and tables. We had lunch. We ate ice cream.

We ended up in a seaside village called Padanaram (PAY-duh-nair-um) where we window shopped and watched the fishing boats return from their morning trips. We stopped in a jewelry store, where Todd purchased my vacation bling. It’s become a bit of a tradition for us; we buy each other a gift while we’re on vacation. He often buys me something sparkly, and I usually buy him a book or a T-shirt. This year’s bling is a necklace with a turquoise sea glass pendant made by a local artist.

We continued on to explore New Bedford, Massachusetts which was once a thriving sea side town. Much of the industry has left the area, and it shows in the unkempt buildings and the saddened expressions of the people walking around. Just miles from New Bedford are upper class neighborhoods with gates that keep everyone out of their lush green lawns and pristine exteriored homes. But in the heart of New Bedford are boarded up windows, graffiti tagged walls, weeds creeping through the cracks in the pavement and broken signs. All I could think was the potential that the town has. All it would take is money and jobs to turn the place around. But for the moment, it's a desperate ghost town.

Before returning the car we ran a few errands for the boat. We hit up the local Bloodbath and Beyond to buy some new silverware for the boat, a new bathmat for outside the shower, and a few other odds and ends.

Friday 17 July 2009
The battery powered alarm chirped at 7 AM. We leapt out of bed and looked out the portholes. The wind had died down substantially as it wasn’t howling anymore, but the tide was still incoming. We fired up the diesel, cast off the lines, and pointed Sabine out of the harbor.

We continued dead south until we reached the buoy that instructed us to turn west. The waves were minimal compared to the day before. The sun was shining, and the wind was still headed directly from the west. Sabine doesn’t like to sail windward. We often joke that where ever we go the wind will always be on the nose. We continued to motor toward the bay, without having to raise the sails.

After a few hours we turned north into the mouth of the Sakonnet River. This is the river that separates the east side of Newport (Aquidneck Island) from the eastern-most portion of Rhode Island. We’d never been up the Sakonnet, and have always wanted to check out that side of the state.

The wind shifted from the south west, which was perfect for us. We were headed directly north. We raised the sails and killed the diesel. When ever we turn off the engine and sail, it feels a bit like the world has stopped. The roar of the engine ceases, and I always expect that the boat will stop moving because that’s the way it works in a car. It is different on a boat because it will continue to coast on the residual inertia created by the propeller spinning below the water line. Eventually that momentum will slow, and the boat will continue moving from the pressure of the wind on the sails. The relief of turning off the engine and listening to the wind, and each other, is always welcome.

We found an anchorage just south of Tiverton, RI where we ate lunch and lounged around on deck for a few hours. Griffen jumped into the water to chase down a kayaker, I napped, we worked on my book for a little while and relaxed.

Then we released the mooring and headed into Tiverton for the night.

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