Today the morning was beautiful, cool and clear with only a slight breeze. The water in Edgartown Harbor was glassy smooth. We left the harbor around 7:30 AM – we wanted to get to Block Island by 10 AM so we would not have a problem getting a mooring. As you will see, our planning was a bit flawed.
The run to Block Island was easy. We cruised between 22 and 25 knots over seas that were 1 – 3 feet. The ride was fairly smooth until we hit the junction point between Vineyard Sound and Buzzards Bay; at this point it was a little rough but quite manageable. The view of Martha’s Vineyard and the Elizabeth Islands was spectacular.
As we crossed Rhode Island Sound we had to wind our way through several fields of lobster pots. By this time, however, the seas were calming down and the rest of the ride was uneventful. We reached the entrance to Block Island a little before 10 AM, thinking we had arrived in plenty of time to snag one of the first-come-first-served town moorings. All looked perfect except that we noticed a number of other boats entering the harbor right before us (in fact, there was a steady stream of boats going in) and only a few boats coming out. Once in the harbor, we began cruising the mooring field looking for an open mooring. So were 10 or so other boats. Every mooring was taken and no one seemed to be preparing to leave.
Time for Plan B. We had no Plan B. We could have called to see if we could get a slip, but we knew it would be pretty expensive in Block Island, and several friends had had bad experiences docking here only a few days ago. We could have found a place to anchor but the cruise guide suggested that getting the anchor set might not be easy. At this point, we decided that Block Island was not to be on this trip.
After a quick study of the map, we decided Shelter Island would be our next stop. Ade called the Shelter Island Yacht Club, and they had a mooring. We were off to the west again.
The seas were still calm, and at 25 knots we were at the entrance to Gardiners Bay in just over an hour. By noon, we were safely moored at the Shelter Island Yacht Club. But we were not done with “Plan Bs” yet.
While we were cruising we got a voice mail on my phone from the Milford Yacht Club where we had made reservations for a slip for Friday night. Well, it turns out that the girl who made the reservation for us didn’t bother to consult their register to see if there really were any slips available. And, of course, there were not. It seems that another yacht club had planned a cruise to Milford for the weekend and all the slips were filled. MYC recommended we call Milford Landing Marina. We did and they too were full because of the same cruising group. So then we decided to try a spot on the Long Island side of the Sound and called Danford’s Hotel and Marina in Port Jefferson. They were delighted to hear from us but they had some charity event on Friday for which they offered all their slips; some 96 boats were coming in on Friday. So, no, there was no room in that inn either. Finally we called the Stratford Brewer Marina in Stratford, CT. They had a slip and were happy to take our credit card number. We just hope that they do not realize tomorrow that “Oops” they made a mistake and have no room.
After lunch, we went to explore the island. Not much here. Beautiful homes but not much else. The “town” of Shelter Island is one block long – gas station at one end and Jack’s Marine supplies, toy store and hardware store (all rolled into one) at the other end. We asked at the gas station if there was more to the town then we had seen. The answer was no. Not deterred, we went walking. We walked a mile east and found lovely homes and the Dering Harbor Inn but nothing else. We turned around and headed west of “town” into Shelter Island Heights. Here we found a little more action (emphasize little) – a one and a half block long village. Not much here but there was a restaurant called Sweet Tomatoes that looked interesting. We made reservations and will let you know if it is any good.
Tomorrow we are off to Sag Harbor which is just on the other side of Shelter Island. It will be our first slip in a while. It will be nice to have power and unlimited water.