Thursday, March 31, 2011

“Wake up,” Todd nudged me at 9 AM on Sunday. I’d taken a shot of Tussionex the night before in an effort to fend off my infamous semi-annual-chronic-cough and I was groggy. “I got the reservations. We need to leave in an hour.”

The afternoon before we looked into the possibility of taking a car on the ferry to Block Island to go geocaching. Reservations are required for transporting a car, and it’s still a bit cold to be biking around on a small island 15 miles offshore.

“I’m going to clean out the Jeep and pack a daypack. You wash up and get something to eat. The ferry’s at 11, we need to leave at 10,” he instructed while I rubbed my eyes.

At 10:50 we arrived at the ferry landing in Point Judith, RI. I backed the Jeep onto the ferry and rubbed my palms together in excitement, the adventure was about to begin.

The last time we’d been to Block we’d sailed there. I can’t remember if it was 2004. Maybe. At any rate, we were due for a visit.

Here I am in the ferry bay, just after backing in and getting ready to go upstairs to the main level of the boat. When we got into the seating level we saw that other people brought their dogs to sit with them. We left the boys in the car, and instead made a list of all the geocaches we wanted to find. There are dozens of them on the island. Many are about a half mile apart, if that.

The ferry is about to land in New Harbor.  This section of the island, for obvious reasons, is the downtown area.  Not many people have cars on the island.  There is bike rental and scooter rental and there are flat rate taxis on the island driven by full year residents.

After lunch we headed to our first cache, just south of the ferry landing. We were greeted by a dozen or so seals lounging in the sun. We watched them drape themselves over the jagged edges of the rocks.

“How can that possibly be comfortable?” Todd asked.

“They probably can’t even feel it through all that blubber,” I pointed out.

We got back into the car and headed to the next cache at Mohegan Bluffs.  The Bluffs is quite possibly my favorite beach in all of Rhode Island.  You have to go down 144 stairs to get to the beach.  The dogs bounded down them the moment they got out of the car, Griffen dying for a swim.  We called them from the top of the stairs, but the crashing surf is too loud we had to go down all those stairs to get them back. 

Looks like Nemo got a bit wet too.

After the Bluffs we headed to the west side of the island, and got there about a minute later, Block Island is that small. The next cache was near the life guard station, but we didn’t find that cache. Most of the caches on Block Island are micro caches. That means that the container that holds them is very small. Usually it only holds the tiniest of notepads for a log book, and you have to bring your own pen to sign it. I am not a fan of micro caches, because the fun part is to see what’s in the box. Usually it’s just junk, we end up taking one silly little toy and put it into another cache. But the micro caches are pretty uneventful.

But on Block it looks like hiding caches is quite hard. In the summer the bushes off the paths becomes quite overgrown to the point where you couldn’t possibly get through it to get at a cache. And many caches get thrown out because non-geocachers don’t know what they are and assume it’s litter. Hence, micro caches are the way to go because they can be hidden inside things easily.

On the west side of the island we kept Griff on the leash so he would have the chance to dry off and not get the inside of the car sopping wet.

As we drove to the next cache, in the cemetery at the center of the island, I spotted a deer on the side of the road. It hadn’t occurred to me that deer would be on an island 15 miles off shore. I wondered how they managed to get out there. Sure, I’ve seen deer on Jamestown (island in the center of Narragansett Bay) and on Aquidneck Island (island that Newport is on). But those islands have bridges to them, and the distances to those islands is much shorter. For example, the bridge connecting Jamestown to Aquidneck is 2 miles long. A deer could cross that bridge easily, or swim across. How the heck did deer manage to arrive on Block Island.

I googled around and learned that deer were brought over on the ferry in 1968 at the request of hunters. Since then, the deer population on the island boomed and is now labeled a nuisance. Apparently, there is a running debate about whether to eradicate the entire population because deer transmit Lyme disease through ticks and pose a threat to public health. Most island residents have either contracted Lyme disease or knows someone who has.


We found a few more uneventful caches after that. Overall, it was a beautiful day on Block Island, and I leave you with my new favorite picture from the day.

Husband in the sun.




Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oooh fun! I've wanted to do that, but just haven't. You know who never wanted to go and now I just don't seem to have the time between all the kids, grand kids, picking up animals for the shop, etc. One day I hope it'll slow down. Ironically though, you know who (and I don't mean Voldemort) now goes geocaching all the time. Whatever.

Another reason those seals are comfy on the rocks could be that they've been lounging about on them for so many years that they've rubbed the sharp bits smooth. LOL!

April 5, 2011 at 7:10 PM  
Blogger BJ Knapp said...

Zion, take the kids with you and go. Win win!

April 11, 2011 at 12:21 PM  

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