On this picture perfect July morning, we are heading east along Block Island Sound. The wind is minimal and so are the waves. Love it!
We leave New York and Connecticut behind and set a straight line course from the Watch Hill Pass to the Point Judith Harbor of Refuge, familiar territory for Ginger Lee and her crew. Right now, the biggest problem is the low morning sun directly in front of us. It is so brilliant we are squinting even with our sunglasses on.
The Coast Guard, stationed in Point Judith, is running some kind of exercise and the radio is alive with their entertaining chatter. We gather that two rigid inflatable gunboats will escort the Block Island Ferry out of the Harbor and a mile beyond. Sure enough, as we approach the familiar man-made seawall, two orange and black R.I.Bs, with large-caliber machine guns mounted forward, surround the massive ferry through the West Inlet and a mile out to sea before peeling off and zooming homeward. Flak-jacketed Coasties hang onto grab-rails and dark automatic weapons. We give them plenty of clearance; the intimidation factor is wicked high.
We transit the scenic Point Judith Pond, go through The Narrows to the Upper Pond, and tie up to the Ram Point Marina fuel dock. We were just going to pump out our holding tank and get our slip assignment, but the diesel price was so low we filled up the port-side tank as well.
I like this marina a lot. Everyone is friendly and helpful, the showers are nice, the laundry room is clean (and has cable TV), they even have a well stocked marine store. Unfortunately not well stocked enough to provide us with a new depth sounder. Not a problem. I hop on my bike and ride off to the West Marine store, about two miles away. Hopefully, I can make it there and back before the rain.
I spend a couple of hours hooking up the new depth sounder. There’s a gizmo called a transducer that attaches to the bottom of the boat, and reports to the gauge part at the helm via a long wire.
“How does one attach a transducer to the boat bottom while still floating?” you ask.
An excellent question! I don’t think you can without diving gear. So I have to McGuyver something. I cut the handle off a brush and screw the transducer onto it, then lash the whole thing to the swim platform supports with hose clamps. Unfortunately the darn thing isn’t working, so I call the manufacturers help line.
“The transducer should make a clicking sound,” the technician says.
“No click,” I say.
“Then it’s defective. Send it to us and we’ll be happy to repair or replace it.”
“Well, that’s not going to help me; I’m in the middle of a cruise.”
“I’m sorry but that’s pretty much all we can do for you,” he apologizes.
He’s right; there’s not much that can be done. I thank him for his time, he wished me luck, and that’s it.
Thankfully the nice people at West Marine agree to exchange the defective unit for another, even after I told them I had to cut wires to de-install it.
We are renting this slip for $2.50 per foot, or eighty bucks per night, including water and electric. Really cheap for New England, still, I prefer the privacy of a mooring but there are no moorings available in the crowded Upper Pond.
We take a short bicycle ride into charming Wakefield Village to visit a friend who owns an art supply store. Then on to the Mews Tavern for a Burgers and fries lunch.
I can’t get enough of this delightful area. It has a quality that awakens pleasure. Yeah, I could live here forever, right in this very slip.