Buzzard’s Bay has the reputation for being a nasty body of water, given to high winds, strong currents and large seas. You wouldn’t know it from our cruise yesterday. We left New Bedford around 7am, and you couldn’t have asked for a better cruising day. The seas were glassy, the winds were about 5 kts and there were hardly any boats around. It could not have been more perfect.
We thought we might have some trouble just getting off the dock in New Bedford but that also proved to be a non-event. As we mentioned, we were tied up on a very tall fixed dock with our lines wrapped around the pilings. Curiosity, at times, was sitting 7’ to 8’ below the top of the dock. We were worried that Jim would have to get off the boat to get some of the lines and then jump back on through the forward gate. Not ideal by any means. But when we left we were at about mid-tide, so although we were still below the top of the dock we were close enough that Jim could just toss off the bow and forward spring lines while still on the boat. We looped the aft spring on a cleat so Jim could just pull it through while still on the boat, and he was able to flip the stern line over the piling from the cockpit. We were untied in a matter of minutes and easily eased out of the harbor.
Our cruise to Stonington was calm and uneventful. There were the usual lobster pots, but by this stage of our journey they’ve become much more infrequent and therefore much easier to deal with. There were very few boats on the water until we started to approach Newport. Then we encountered several very large commercial vessels under escort in the shipping channel. They are impressive to see, but we kept our distance. The views of of the Rhode Island and Connecticut coastlines were spectacular in the late morning sun.
We also had an unusual notice to mariners from the Coast Guard regarding a ferry that was going from Point Judith to Block Island. Apparently there was a 200-yard security zone around the ferry as it made the transit, and no boats were allowed to approach without first getting clearance from the Coast Guard escort. At first we thought Obama was aboard, but that didn’t make any sense because he’s still vacationing in Martha’s Vineyard (or is he??) In any event, we figured it must have been some other muckety muck who merited that level of security. For us it was all theoretical because we never even saw the ferry.
We had no trouble picking up a mooring at Dodson’s Boat Yard this time. Well, that’s not quite right. We had a little trouble. The moorings have a double line, but on our mooring only one of the lines had a pennant to grab. The other line had a float that was floating away from the pennant, so I was able to hook only the pennant line and cleat that one. I usually do this from mid-ships because I’m only a few feet from the water at that point. If I were to do this from the bow, I’d have to reach down over 8’, which, for me, is very difficult to do. But that’s what I did to get the second line. All the weight was at the end of the boat hook as I tried to pull the line in, and at one point I thought both the boat hook and the line were going overboard. But I managed to get them both in and get the line cleated.
We settled into the mooring and relaxed on the boat. It was a glorious afternoon. The sun was shining, the air was clear with virtually no humidity and Stonington harbor was calm and very peaceful. We sat on the cockpit read and enjoyed the views.
We decided to have dinner at the Dog Watch Café, which is located at Dodson’s. We wanted to have an early dinner because Jim needed to be back on the boat for an 8pm conference call for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. But we thought we had enough time to stroll around some of Stonington’s neighborhoods. Stonington is a very scenic little town on the Connecticut coast. Many of the homes date to the 1700 and 1800s. Some of these were captain’s houses and others belonged to various notables in Stonington’s history.
We hiked down to the Stonington Yacht Club area and then turned back toward Dodson’s. By 5:30 we were seated and ordering dinner. It’s a good thing we arrived early because by 6pm there was a 30 minute waiting time for a table.
After dinner we took the Dodson’s launch back to Curiosity. The evening was as beautiful as the day, so we went up to the flybridge to watch as boats lazily entered and exited the harbor and the sun set. It was too bad that Jim had his call at 8, but duty called and we went down to the salon. While Jim made his call, I puttered around getting ready for our departure the next day. We would be heading for Old Saybrook , where my college roommate and her husband have a summer cottage.