Monday, July 4, 2016

Goodbye and Thank You Block Island

Block Island, also called "The Block" by the locals has been a delight for our first extended on-land stop the past 5 day. As much as we wanted to sail more during that time, when you are done sailing for the day you gotta park your house somewhere and parking it around the July 4th weekend turned out to be a bigger headache than we anticipated. Looks like locals take an entire week off around the 4th so we had to find a secured spot for longer than we really wanted. Probably a sign that Block Island was worth discovering, and indeed it was.

For a 7 mile long and 3 mile wide island 12 miles off the Southern Coast of Rhode Island, it has an impressive pedigree: 17 miles of beaches, 28 miles of hiking trails, 46% of preserve open space. We have been truly impressed by this island - fine dining, outstanding harbor facilities, water activities, land activities and just plain nice people. Wow!

Harbor facilities: a very effective launch service with for $4 a person, young kids picking up your trash with a 'tip only' business model, free pump out service that comes to your boat, water service that comes to your boat, bakery and oyster boat delivery by Aldo's. We expected a zoo with over 2,400 boats in the main harbor (New Harbor) and instead we saw a very well organized harbor that made our 4 day stay feel like a luxury stay. Last night, they even had an helicopter and harbormaster boats looking for a potential person when a dinghy was going in circle with no one on board.  While the fear was for a poor drunk soul who may have fallen in the water after the fireworks, the dinghy owners reported everyone was accounted for, so likely a prank or someone borrowing the dinghy to get home.

Land activities: You can walk your heart out. Takes 20 min to walk to town from the launch drop off. You can walk to the magnificent Mohegan Bluffs (left) from the dock, a steep cliff you can walk down on a 100+-steps wooden stair to view Vail Beach (ironic!). You can rent funky (pedal brakes) bikes for $25 per person for 4 hours and tour the entire island, stopping at lighthouses along the way - which we did and thoroughly enjoy the thrill of stopping bikes by back pedaling - trying to rewire our brains for that was a great challenge. Mopeds are also popular for rent but are an annoyance to bikers.

The island does have an issue with Lyme disease from tick bites. For that, we opted to avoid the hiking trails, even though the 28 miles of it were tempting our Coloradan legs.

Water activities: aside from the beautiful 65F clear-water no-algae beaches on the east side of the island, in the Great Salt Pond (the huge pond in the middle of the island) where we anchored, the water was very clean and we saw kite surfers, windsurfers, kayakers, paddle boarders, water mattresses, jet skis, sailfish boats, and crazy people (us!) rowing their dinghy across to get to the beach.

Fine dining: this was the most shocking to me. When you get to an island, you often found the restaurant scene taking full advantage of your limited options situation. Here, not only do they have many options, most of them have an incredible selection, high quality food and super friendly service. Even better, they have an international program that brings foreign students for the summer to serve tables: we had south african and serbian waiters here. We heard Moldova was also big this year.

We were warned everyone will be drunk on the island around the 4th and instead we saw well-behaved tourists enjoying the weekend, some watching the Euro 2016 semi-finals, although I think I was the only one rooting for France yesterday. Iceland's cinderella story won everyone's heart.

Tomorrow, assuming we can set our anchor free with the ugly bulky rusty tug boat in front of us, we plan to depart at the crack of dawn towards Martha's Vineyard, with a first stop at Cuttyhunk (thanks Barry for the recommendation!). Should be a good long 8 hour sail there. We should experience another first: sailing with fog and rain. We are definitely overdue for some bad weather. So long Block Island and thank you so much for your incredible hospitality! Captain is happy to report our first pump out did not result in any implosion.


  1. Looking good over there! I'm missing the sea shanty life already.

  2. Sounds like a great time. So glad that you are getting to enjoy the fruits of your labor. And glad the head did not implode or explode. We are heading out on Raven tomorrow for two weeks up in Canada.


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