Captains Log – August 16 2016 – Block Is. to Fishers Is. to Niantic

Stardate 94226.93

air 26.7C
water 82F
wind 5kn S
pressure 101.6 kPa rising
scattered showers
T.O.D. 8:00

It started out with a leisurely passage between Block Island and Fishers Island… and then three US Navy patrol boats showed up…

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Excitement for the day! – Didn’t your mother ever tell you not to poke around a hornets nest?
Well venturing too closely to a Military Submarine is very similar to that scenario…

Block Island at night reminds me of Christmas. All the twinkling anchor lights from the hundreds of boats moored in the lagoon reflecting off the gently rippling water. It’s a very beautiful place if you ever get a chance to go.20160815_212300

We awoke to clear calm skies this morning. Perfect time to get out on the water for our next adventure. 20160816_080740

TL kayaked the dog a couple hundred feet from our mooring to what the locals call ‘dog beach’ which is more gravel than sand, but the dogs don’t mind. When they got back I tied the kayak to the deck and off we went.

It was a very pleasant passage from Block Island approximately 20nm off the shore of Road Island to Fishers Island. The seas were flat so we cruised across at 22 knots to make a short run of it. By 8:30 we were at the channel into Fishers Island. We weren’t planning on staying here, we just wanted to cruise around the island to see some of the houses and boats. There’s a nice mix of new and old architecture here. After a quick tour around the bay we continued on toward Niantic.

Just outside the bay there was a small island with the perfect setup for someone wanting to live off the grid.

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The property had a turbine and solar array. It looked like the perfect little spot for a writer or artist to hang out for some quite time.

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It was shortly after this that the excitement began… we were about the cross the channel into Newport when off to my port side I saw what at first glance looked like a little island with a couple of light houses on it. One at each end. IMG_9380I thought that’s weird, I didn’t notice that a few minutes ago. After taking a peek through the binoculars I said “Hey, I think there’s a submarine out there!”IMG_9382

It was still more than a mile away at that point, so it was hard to be sure. I checked the charts and there was a wreck close to that location. We thought maybe it was the wreck sitting above the water. It didn’t appear to be moving and there where two sail boats between us and whatever this thing was. They both crossed in front of it from our vantage point.
“Let go take a closer look!” I exclaimed.

As we approached a half mile it was clear to see through the binoculars that it was a sub and it was moving.

“Let’s get closer for some pictures! Wake up the kids!” I squealed like a school girl.

Remember, we had a chance to see the interior of a decommissioned sub in Rimouski a month ago, so to see one in operation out on the water was pretty cool.

So anyway, I continued to approach the sub at around 5-6 knots as it was coming into port. We weren’t heading directly toward it, but off to one side still at least a quarter mile out.

Then one of the kids said “Hey there’s some boats coming up behind us with lights flashing.”

I looked back to see not one, not two, but three! fully loaded and armed US Navy zodiacs heading our way!

TL was giving me trouble for getting too close. “We are going to get arrested!” She yelled as she punched me in the arm.

“For what? We aren’t doing anything threatening.”

I put the boat into neutral and floated around as the three armed zodiacs surrounded the submarine to secure the area and escort it into the harbour.

I grabbed the GoPro and jumped up on the deck to fasten it to the tripod all the while TL is giving me trouble. “You are going to get shot!”

I waved at the guys in the closest boat and they waved back. In all the excitement I don’t know that I got the GoPro aimed in the right direction, I’ll have to check the footage. TL was too busy freaking out to take any pictures while the sub was right beside us, but I did manage to get a few on my Samsung S7.20160816_103113

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The name of our blog is plastered 14 feet long across the sides of our boat, I don’t doubt that they knew exactly who we were within a couple of minutes.

Anyway, lots of excitement and it isn’t even 10am yet!

Next stop Niantic! The rest of the passage to Niantic was uneventful. We saw a few hundred whales, a dodo bird and a unicorn… nothing special.

We pulled into the dock at NBYC and asked about dock and mooring options. They could only accommodate us on mooring as we were over 30 ft.

The bay was pretty open to weather, so we decided to head up the river a bit, under the lift bridge and see what else was available for fuel and accommodations.

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The clouds were starting to look a bit grumpy so we pulled into what looked like new docks at a restaurant called ‘The Docks’… Just as we pulled in and got tied up it started pouring rain. We quickly put in the windows and I ran up to the restaurant to inquire about staying for the night. Ends up the docks we had stopped at were part of a new marina still under construction, so the power wasn’t working yet and we weren’t able to stay the night there. Back to the boat I ran, through the torrential downpour.

We decided hang out for a few minutes until the rain passed before heading back out on the water returning to NBYC for a mooring ball. They at least had WIFI for the kids to chat with their friends. Plus they had launch service to get us to shore.

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a sundial in the park

One of the young chaps working at the marina gave us a ride into town to grab dinner at a local pub. They had the olympics on which is one thing I do miss seeing on the boat. We were going to catch a movie as well but ended up missing the early show, so walked back along the boardwalk to the marina.

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concrete sculpture on someones lawn

The winds started to pick up in the afternoon and it ended up being a night of rocking and rolling with only a couple of hours sleep. It was unfortunately too dark and windy to attempt moving over to their docks at night. At around 5am, the winds had settled a bit and I could see, but the seas were still rolling, so I moved us over to the dock and got another hour of sleep.

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some amazing sunrises and sunsets on this trip. I may try and paint some of them at one day.

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Chow for now!

Author: Doug Law

A technology professional currently taking a three month sabbatical, doing the Down East Loop, aboard a 36 foot Express Cruiser, with his family.

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