Off to the Islands – Menemsha, Martha’s Vineyard

From Block Island, the next island stop was Menemsha harbor in Chilmark on the western tip of Martha’s Vineyard, perhaps our favorite place on the Vineyard.

It is always an exciting moment when the Aquinnah Lighthouse comes into view.

It is always an exciting moment when the Aquinnah Lighthouse comes into view.

Menemsha is a quiet, working fishing village with front row seats to beautiful sunsets. We have always anchored outside the little harbor, off the beach. It can be rather rocky-rolly out there, but it is free. 😉  We have that Rocna anchor and Al knows how to set and arrange the anchor lines to minimize the worst of the washing machine effect.

Anchored just off the beach. Close enough for me to swim back after beach combing. Once.

Anchored just off the beach. Close enough for me to swim back after beach combing. Once.

Menemsha entrance - quite a dinghy ride into the harbor if the current is strong.

Menemsha entrance – quite a dinghy ride into the harbor if the current is strong.

It may have been a Thursday in late August, but children were still enjoying the warm weather between the rocks and the docks.

It may have been a Thursday in late August, but children were still enjoying the warm weather and water between the rocks and the docks.

As we walked around the familiar little harbor, we immediately noticed that one of our favorite landmarks was missing, the statue of “The Swordfish Harpooner,” which had stood over the dunes for years.

The Swordfish Harpooner

The Swordfish Harpooner – an old photo I took back in 2010 or 2012. I would have liked to have another opportunity to photograph it.

The 17- foot sculpture was commissioned for Chilmark’s tricentennial in 1994, to honor the fishing industry. We met the sculptor, Jay Lagerman, on the MV bus during our last visit in 2012. We corresponded by email afterwards and he sent us a DVD of the making of the Harpooner. A little research solved the mystery of the missing statue. The Harpooner was dismantled in December of 2015, removed in pieces and sent to ART Research Enterprises, a foundry in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. Jay Lagemann will oversee the process of recasting the statue and creating a new bronze version.

We have always loved that chandlery sign; it's been there for years. And that's my new big mug from Beetlebung. Just right for my morning coffee at home.

We have always loved that chandlery sign; it’s been there for years. And that’s my new big mug from Beetlebung. Just right for my morning coffee at home.

We picked up a sunset dinner at Larsen’s Seafood. Order inside and eat on the overturned crates outside. Or take it to the beach.

Dinner at Larsen's Seafood

Dinner at Larsen’s Seafood

People flock to Menemsha to watch the sun set from the beach.

A crowded beach of sunset gazers. We watch the sun set from Kindred Spirit.

A crowded beach of sunset gazers. We watch the sun set from Kindred Spirit.

Beachcombing on Menemsha is a must-do for us. We always find wonderful naturally polished pieces of “wampum”. The pieces are small but that is how I prefer them, filling glass bottles and containers to their top with our collections over the years. I found a site, Indian Country, that gives a nice explanation of wampum. Wampum is actually white or purple beads and discs worn by Native Americans on belts, headpieces, jewelry and other adornments. The white beads were made the whelk, a sea snail with a spiral shape, and purple beads were made from the quahog, a clam with purple and white coloring. Quahogs are found in the waters from Cape Cod south to New York, so it is primarily northeastern. Long ago, but only for a relatively short time, in the 1600s, the “wampum” was used as a trading commodity with the colonists since there was no printed money at that time.  The term “wampum” is still used as slang for money, as is the word “clams.” Strangely enough, wampum is often defined as Indian money in the Northeast, even though Native Americans did not really use money at all.

I only pick up the purple colored pieces that have been polished by tumbling around in the sea near the sandy shore until they are smooth and shining. According to Indian Country, the white beads represented light and brightness and happy things, while the purple beads represented more solemn things such as grieving, war, and death. Hmmm, I have been collecting the purple pieces for years and only just learned that. Oh well. I still like the purple ones better.

Wampum collection

Wampum collection

Menemsha has seaglass, too, but that is harder to find, especially these days, and usually very small.

A really thick, nicely worn piece of clear glass. A piece that thick is usually older glass. The smaller pale blue piece looks like it was melted in a fire.

A really thick, nicely worn piece of clear glass. A piece that thick is usually older glass. The smaller pale blue piece looks like it was melted in a fire.

While I combed the beach, Al found his own buried treasure, a very small sailboat, deeply covered by sand at the water’s edge. It had been there since October, or so another beach combing local told him. With a few hand tools, he carefully removed some of the hardware. Could be useful with his new nameless obsession.

A partially submerged small sailboat on the beach, abandoned there since October.

A partially submerged small sailboat on the beach, abandoned there since October.

As it happens, we were in Menemsha during the same week that a friend was staying in Chilmark. What a treat to have lunch with Maureen!

My dear friend, Maureen. How nice it was to spend time with her on Martha's vineyard. :-)

My dear friend, Maureen. How nice it was to spend time with her on Martha’s vineyard. 🙂

We intended to stay another day in Menemsha but the rolling became a bit much. Late that afternoon, we pulled up anchor and moved north around the western side of Martha’s Vineyard to tuck into Lake Tashmoo. We can always stop here agin on our way home.

Off to the Islands – Block Island, First

Each summer, for at least 8 years, we would take a three-week trip usually out to Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket. It’s been four years since we have cruised out that way and we have missed it. New England has the best summer cruising grounds.

We got an early start, really early, around 5 am, and headed out to Block Island. Here it was, late August, and it was our first trip there of the season. Sunsets are beautiful, especially viewed from a boat, but early morning sun can be even better. There is something peaceful about the ocean with the day’s sunshine lighting it. Everything feels new again.

Dawn in New England

Dawn in New England

The sun is peaking through the clouds and waking up the ocean.

The sun is peaking through the clouds and waking up the ocean.

Good Morning, Everyone!

Good Morning, Everyone!

About 4 miles west of the island we saw splashing in the distance. Initially, it was unclear what was making the large white disturbance on the water, a powerboat wake? Noooo…….. Al realized it was a whale when he spied the spout. Slowly and carefully we made our way in that direction. At one point we were very close as the whale surfaced, giving us an amazing sight with our naked eyes. It all happened so quickly that there was only a slim chance of capturing the whale in a photo. Some moments are better to live in, rather than try to hold it still through a camera. A bit later, I tried a video, but the whale was farther away in the distance by then. Below is my 4 second clip of his/her tail. Wow.

Two still shots of the whale's tail.

Two still shots of the whale’s tail.

We arrived at Block in time to join the evening happy hour of the Shennecossett Rendezvous. We enjoyed time with other club members and met some newer folks. No photos…….. I realized I was spending less time behind the lens and more time in the moment.

Familiar sight - the entrance channel to the Salt Pond.

Familiar sight – the entrance channel to the Salt Pond.

Block was much more crowded than I expected. My illusion of quiet harbors in late August was just that, and illusion…. delusion? Oh well, we hung around Block longer than originally planned anyway, just relaxing. Nothing extraordinary, nothing unusual, just simple enjoyment.

After the weekend, we moved tot he SYC mooring with Mary Jo and Dean on Jallao.

After the weekend, we moved tot he SYC mooring with Mary Jo and Dean on Jallao.

It is nice to have a club mooring available, but there is one other mooring that likes to snuggle up a little too close to boats on the SYC mooring. It only happens when that "PJ" ball is empty. Lonely? Al uses brute force to drag it away.

It is nice to have a club mooring available, but there is one other mooring that likes to snuggle up a little too close to boats on the SYC mooring. It only happens when that “PJ” (Point Judith? Point Jefferson, Peanut Butter & Jelly???) ball is empty. Lonely? Al used brute force to drag it farther away.

The five turbines of the Block Island Wind Farm, off the southeastern shore of BI are visible from Crescent Beach. This is the first offshore wind farm int he U.S.

Sitting at Crescent Beach on the eastern shore, you can just see the new Block Island Wind Farm.

Sitting at Crescent Beach on the eastern shore, you can just see the new Block Island Wind Farm.

From the projects’ own website – “The first offshore wind farm in the United States, the 30 megawatt, 5 turbine Block Island Wind Farm is scheduled to be online in 2016. Soon, the Block Island Wind Farm will not only supply most of Block Island’s power, but also reduce air pollution across southern New England for years to come.”

From the Boston Globe (August 15, 2016) –  “To some, they’re engineering marvels, the ultimate solution to precarious energy prices and dangerous levels of carbon emissions. To others, they’re expensive, blinking monstrosities that mar the pristine horizon and will prove a boondoggle for electricity customers.”

Al and Dean went clamming so that we could pig out on clam dishes that evening.

Al and Dean are shuckin' their clams.

Al and Dean are shuckin’ their clams.

My clam chowder (no pic of Dean's awesome clams and pasta). A group selfie with Dean's new selfie stick. ;-)

My clam chowder (no pic of Dean’s awesome clams and pasta).
A group selfie (Dena, MJ, me, Al) with Dean’s new selfie stick. 😉

Sunset conch serenade with conch horns by Dean and me.

Sunset conch serenade with conch horns by Dean and me.

If you are Block, you have to stop at The Oar, at least once.

The oars at The Oar

The oars at The Oar – There seem to be many more than I remember and they seem to be newer.

The view of Salt Pond from The Oar.

The view of Salt Pond from The Oar. It was still pretty crowded out there.

After four days at Block, we headed east to Martha’s Vineyard. Once past the northern tip of BI, we looked south and could just barely see the wind farm.

The Block Island Wind Farm in the distance.

The Block Island Wind Farm in the distance. You have to hold it really close up to your eyes to just barely make out the turbines….. 20x zoom wasn’t enough.

 

 

Slip Sliding Away…..Summer

After 8 months aboard the boat, we weren’t in any rush to spend more time on the boat, at least not in June, at the beginning of the summer. We enjoyed our “dirt-dwelling time” and readjusting to life on land. It goes without saying that we were absorbed in grandchildren, family, and friends (see last blog!)

Can you ever have too many photos of your grandchildren? Addison (2 months old), Aaron and Ella (6 and 3 years old) and Caleb, (2 years old).

Can you ever have too many photos of your grandchildren? Addison (2 months old), Aaron and Ella (6 and 3 years old) and Caleb, (2 years old).

Returning to land life also means catching up on health issues, doctor and dentist appointments, etc. It was time for me to pay more attention to my lymphedema so I spent over 3 weeks in compression bandaging, 24/7 for a “tune-up.” Al had another melanoma removed from his forehead, a teeny tiny spot on his forehead. We had a good laugh at ourselves when we arrived at the hospital to meet our newest grandchild, Addison Rae.

What a pair we were in June - we look like the walking wounded! It was really not as bad as it looked.

What a pair we were in June – we look like the walking wounded! It was really not as bad as it looked.

 Summer isn’t summer without ice cream. Our local ice cream place changed hands and became Cromwell Creamery, still the best deal around and most the delicious ice cream around. For the ice cream aficionado out there – These are “kiddie size”, supposedly smaller than small.

"Kiddie-size" cups of ice cream at Cromwell Creamery. Al's favorite -"Amaretto Cherry." M favorite - "Eskimo Kisses."

“Kiddie-size” cups of ice cream at Cromwell Creamery. Al’s favorite -“Amaretto Cherry.” M favorite – “Eskimo Kisses.”

I decided to tackle weaving again on my rigid heddle loom, which meant that I had to get out the books and online sources to reteach myself all that I had forgotten in the two years since I last touched the wooden frame. It may not be like riding a bike, but I am figuring it out again.

Top - the loom has been re-warped with a new project. Bottom - Finally finished the old project of 3 dish towels. Very absorbent, and I do really use them!

Top – the loom has been re-warped with a new project.
Bottom – Finally finished the old dish towel project. Very absorbent, and I do really use them!

 One of my best cruising gal friends, Annette, gave me a “dish scrubbie” made from tulle. I loved it! Well, as much as you can love doing dishes…… It cleans the dishes and it never gets stinky or slimy. Just rinse it, bleach it, and it is good to go again. I decided to teach myself to crochet and give it a try. I even found an online site with inexpensive rolls of tulle in a rainbow array of colors. Now I have something to keep my hands busy, on the boat and on land (read that as long winter.) Annette is an amazing seamstress, her blog The Seamless Sailor is definitely worth checking out, especially if you are a sewing & boating. I feel honored to be included in her latest blog post on scrubbies.

My crochet scrubbies – I have my own haphazard way of doing this. I will never ever be a great crochet’er. I am sticking with single crochet in rectangular form.

My crochet scrubbies – I have my own haphazard way of doing this. I will never ever be a great crochet’er. I am sticking with single crochet in rectangular form.

Al is really the sailor/seamster in our duo. At the Essex SCCA Gam, he received a t-shirt and cap from SailRite, one of his favorite online places. His winter plans include sewing chaps for the dinghy.

The man in black.  Al is really the sailor/seamster in our duo. At the Essex SCCA GAM, the “goodie bag” included a t-shirt and cap from SailRite, one of his favorite online places. His winter plans include sewing chaps for the dinghy.

The blog kept me busy and occupied as we cruised, preserving memories of places and people. I began to wonder if it could be turned into print form, just for us. Sometimes it feels nicer to hold a real book in your hands. I did some research and found that there are sites that will suck your blog into them (that’s as technical as I can be) and then print it out as a book. When I experimented, the results were less than adequate, IMHO. I finally settled on Lulu.com, which does not do it automatically. I had to copy and paste every blog entry into a defined Word template and then PDF it before sending it off to Lulu electronically. Every page needed formatting and checking. It took a long time, but the book’s layout is much better than the more automatic and faster sites.

“The Prelude” was a trial run, covering the months leading up to our first Bahamas trip, 88 pages. The next attempt, Volume 1, begins on the day we left Connecticut in September, 2013 through mid-December 2013, just before we crossed the Gulf Stream. 328 pages. Yup, 328 pages. Looks like I will have plenty to keep me occupied during the coming winter months. Anyone want to predict how many volumes it will take??? ;-)

“The Prelude” was a trial run, covering the months leading up to our first Bahamas trip, 88 pages. The next attempt, Volume 1, begins on the day we left Connecticut in September, 2013 through mid-December 2013, just before we crossed the Gulf Stream. 328 pages. Yup, 328 pages. Looks like I will have plenty to keep me occupied during the coming winter months. Anyone want to predict how many volumes it will take??? 😉

The wildlife around here is somewhat tame -- Bunnies and birds. The bunny watched Al working in the driveway. We were thrilled to have a hummingbird visit our little (Ocean State Job Lot) feeder.

The wildlife around here is somewhat tame — Bunnies and birds. The bunny watched Al working in the driveway. We were thrilled to have a hummingbird visit our little (Ocean State Job Lot) feeder.

I love my new kayak!! A Marvel 100, 10 feet long , tracks nicely, easy to get in and out. Sometimes I let Al borrow it.

I love my new kayak!! A Marvel 100, 10 feet long , tracks nicely, easy to get in and out. Sometimes I let Al borrow it.

Al’s newest and latest obsession will require a blog post all on its own, sometime in the future. That’s all I am saying for now………………..

We have kept busy during these summer months with land and water activities. Our boating trips were short, 2-4 days, to Watch Hill, Montauk, and Fishers Island, but nothing more than that. Then July rolled into August. Time to go out for a little southern New England island-hopping. What a treat it would be to go away in late August-September! As an educator, I was never, ever able to vacation at that time.

A Sea of Friendships

friends and distance

Our cruising trips to the Bahamas  have enriched our lives in so many ways. The experience of living aboard a boat together and traveling to new places is an adventure that I will never forget and will always treasure. We may not be world travelers, and we haven’t abandoned land life altogether, but our own adventures have been truly meaningful to us. Visiting new places via boat is fun and exciting, but it is the people we have met along the way that adds a special dimension to our adventures. Some of these folks will just pass through our lives once, but others will remain in our hearts forever. The blog is peppered (seasoned? 😉 ) with the faces of people who have become very dear to us, if not always near to us.

Since we returned home to land in May, we have had the good fortune to visit with members of our “water family” – at our home, at others’ homes, on our mooring in Pine Island Bay, and on the water.

In early June, Jim and Bentley on their catamaran, Salty Paws, were sailing through New England on their way to the Sea Music Festival in Mystic and then continuing north to Provincetown. We offered our mooring as a stopover as they passed by. Back in 2013, on our trip south, Salty Paws was the first boat we had contact with, on our very first evening, in Port Jefferson. Little did we know then that our paths would cross now and again in assorted places. Al visited with them one afternoon out on our mooring, and then we all had dinner together at Marcia and Dan’s (Cutting Class) in Mystic. Scott and Kitty (Tamure) joined us. They also live in Connecticut and have circumnavigated the world twice, even with children (awesome, simply awesome.) We met them in Vero on our first trip and again in Hope Town on this last trip.

SingALong with SaltyPaws

Sing-a-long with Jim and Bentley – Kitty & Scott and Marcia & Dan

In June, Mary Marie of Eleanor Q, and Frank, arrived in Connecticut. We first met in September of 2013 at the SSCA Annapolis GAM (We Be Gammin’) and have stayed in touch over the years. We stop and visit with them in Annapolis when we pass through the Chesapeake Bay. (Chesapeake’ and Up the Chesapeake Bay). Ems stayed with us at our house while she co-organized and presented at the SSCA GAM in Essex.

Connecticut River Museum - a nice location for a gathering of boaters.

Connecticut River Museum – a nice location for a gathering of boaters.

We aren’t SSCA members any longer and had no intention of attending the GAM, but we were just thrilled to have Ems with us for a few days. On second thought, hey, why not go? And so we did. We enjoyed spending a few hours at the GAM over the weekend. Essex is a charming little town on the Connecticut River and a good location for a southern New England gathering.

Mary Marie doing her thing at the GAM, and with us.

Mary Marie is an amazing presenter who captivated her audience with a presentation tuned to cruising couples.

We saw a life raft deployed and a solar oven demonstration. AND, we heard a weather talk by the famous cruising weather guru, Chris Parker.

We saw a life raft deployed and a solar oven demonstration. Al sat in a wooden submersible in the museum, and, we heard a weather talk by the famous cruising weather guru, Chris Parker.

A cruising family of five were also there in Essex at the SSCA GAM on their boat, Totem. Behan, her husband, Jamie and their three children, Niall, Mairen, and Siobhan have been sailing around the world for 8 years. The children were 4, 6, and 9 in 2008 when they began. It was a treat to meet them. Their website Sailing Totem is fascinating.

A cruising family of five were also there in Essex at the SSCA GAM on their boat, Totem. Behan, her husband, Jamie and their three children, Niall, Mairen, and Siobhan have been sailing around the world for 8 years. The children were 4, 6, and 9 in 2008 when they began. It was a treat to meet them. Their website Sailing Totem is fascinating. Check it out – http://www.sailingtotem.com

Spending the summer at home in our New England waters, means that we can  spend time with Dean and Mary Jo on our boats at Shennecossett Yacht Club, Fishers Island, Watch Hill, and Block Island. Their son, David has a FAST boat with BIG engines and took us all to the DogWatch Café in Stonington. Not only was it fast, but it was at night –”night” meaning we didn’t get home until 10 pm. Very late for us!

Celebrating Dean’s birthday on the dock bar at the Dog Watch.

Celebrating Dean’s birthday on the dock bar at the Dog Watch.

Bruce and Gail (Orient Express), both Connecticut and Hope Town people, hosted a “Hope Town Summer Reunion” at their home in early July. We had met them during our first winter in Hope Town. They make beautiful sea glass jewelry; check out their website –Handmade Sea Glass Jewelry. I have several pieces of jewelry made by Bruce from sea glass that Al and I found ourselves in the Bahamas. Treasured pieces!

A gathering of Hope Town winter people, from near and far - Connecticut, New York, Canada......

A gathering of Hope Town winter people, from near and far – Connecticut, New York, Canada……

A few days later in July, Magnolia was heading north for the summer, leaving the Chesapeake Bay behind. Anthony and Annette were joined by Cheryl (Belle Bateau) for their offshore leg from Lewes, Delaware to Block Island. Cheryl has spent her summer fine-tuning her sailing skills and mechanical skills – she took a diesel engine course. From Block, Cheryl took the fast ferry to New London where we picked her up. We had a short, but sweet, evening together catching up since our last visit together at Cumberland Island in Georgia. The next morning we drove Cheryl to the New Haven train station for her last leg home to Baltimore. Trains, cars, boats, but no planes.

Cheryl arrives on the New London-Block Island fast ferry.

Cheryl arrives on the New London-Block Island fast ferry.

Enjoying our visit with Cheryl!

Enjoying our visit with Cheryl! We compared notes about blogging. Cheryl has a terrific blog about their first cruising adventure aboard Belle Bateau  – http://sailingbelle.com

In mid-July, we met Magnolia in Montauk, NY. We anchored in Lake Montauk and enjoyed showing the harbor to Anthony and Annette. It was four days of relaxing and peaceful times (except for one day of strong wind) with very good friends.

A view of Kindred Spirit and Magnolia up ahead while I enjoy early morning kayak trips around Lake Montauk.

A view of Kindred Spirit and Magnolia up ahead while I enjoy early morning kayak trips around Lake Montauk.

A beautiful moon over Montauk, known as "the end of the world."

A beautiful moon over Montauk, known as “the end of the world.”

We always have a delicious dinner at The Inlet.

We always have a delicious dinner at The Inlet.

From Montauk, both Magnolia and Kindred Spirit headed to Stonington, CT. Cutting Class joined us and we had another mini-reunion right there.

A group selfie - Kindred Spirit, Cutting Class, and Magnolia. Another happy hour(s) on the flybridge.

A group selfie – Kindred Spirit, Cutting Class, and Magnolia. Another happy hour(s) on the flybridge.

Once again, the guys have to end the evening with a trip to shore for ice cream.

Once again, the guys have to end the evening with a trip to shore for ice cream.

Magnolia was left behind on our mooring while her crew took a road trip to a family reunion in the mid-west. That UCONN harbor cam eased her Captain’s mind while away.

Al and ball wrap – Our mooring comes with amenities. Al takes care of “ball wrap” when it occurs. While we out kayaking, he noticed that Magnolia’s lines were tangled on the mooring, a condition we refer to as “ball wrap.” That chain and tackle is very heavy. He struggled with it and finally won, with only a single mishap. Yes, when he let go of the freed chain, the force tipped the kayak and into the water he went!

Our mooring comes with amenities. Al takes care of “ball wrap” when it occurs. While we were out kayaking, he noticed that Magnolia’s mooring pendant lines were tangled around the ball and the mooring chain, a condition we refer to as “ball wrap.” That chain and tackle is very heavy. Al struggled with it and finally won, with only a single mishap. Yes, when he let go of the freed chain, the force tipped the kayak and Al was dumped into he water backwards!

Early August and the camaraderie continues on! Four boats (Kindred Spirit, Cutting Class, Jallao, and Magnolia) met together in Watch Hill to show Magnolia more of our southern New England harbor gems.

Hanging out on the beach at Nanptree.

Hanging out on the beach at Napatree.

Dean & Mary Jo, Dan & Marcia, Annette & Anthony, Michele & Al - a beautiful beach day!

Dean & Mary Jo, Dan & Marcia, Annette & Anthony, Michele & Al – a beautiful beach day!

Kindred Spirit with the sun setting behind her.

Kindred Spirit with the sun setting behind her.

 We certainly have enjoyed seeing some of our cruising friends here at home in New England, and we haven’t forgotten he ones we haven’t seen.  We love it when folks stop by on their way north or south, especially since we won’t be going south this winter. It is the right year to stay home, but I know there will be many pangs over the coming months as we watch our friends enjoying the cruising life.

But we have reasons to stay home this winter, spread from Connecticut to New York to  Delaware—

My sons and their wives. Caleb, now 2 years old on Daddy's (Ryan) shoulders, with a sibling on the way in November! And Addison Rae, held by her Daddy (Adam), only one week old then.

My sons and their wives, Adam & Stephanie and Kerri & Ryan. Caleb, now 2 years old on Daddy’s (Ryan) shoulders, with a sibling on the way in November. 🙂 And Addison Rae, held by her Daddy (Adam), only one week old then.

Shawn and Alicia with Aaron, now 6 1/2 and Ella, 3 years old.

Shawn and Alicia with Aaron, now 6 1/2 and Ella, 3 years old.

Papa, Nana, Caleb, and Addison.

Papa, Nana, Caleb, and Addison.

The winter may get cold, but our hearts will be warmed.