Blocked Again

Yes, I’m still catching up……………

Two weeks after the 4th, we went to Block again. Since we are on a short leash for most of the summer, we can only go places within a 4-5 day reach, mostly alternating between Watch Hill and Block. I don’t love Block as much as I once did. I can’t believe I said that out loud – please don’t scream at me if you are a full-fledged BI Lover. It has changed over the past 10 years, becoming less friendly to boaters who do not want to stay at a dock or a town mooring. The anchorage has shrunk considerably as the field of private moorings has grown.  Now, this year, only half of the dinghy dock at the Boat Basin in front of The Oar is dedicated for dinghies. The “half” designated for tie-up is the low tide side, literally unusable at low tide. To avoid the low tide and climbing over dinghies 3-4 deep, many people now beach their dinghy over by Payne’s or onto other side of the Boat Basin. Because I must wear expensive compression stockings for my lymphedema, that isn’t really a viable option for me. Al has to let me off at a dock, then take the dinghy over himself. Consequently, we never went into the town on either of these trips.  Block Island really needs to build a dedicated town dinghy dock. We rarely have this problem on any other island or port and feel much more welcome.

Long distance pics of Al taking the dinghy over to the beach.

OK, the whining and moaning is done. Get over it, Michele.

Some things don’t change. The next generation of Aldo is out and about bringing treats and goodies to boaters in New Harbor.

We found a good location in the anchorage by Breezy Point this time, one of our favorite spots. This is where Al put the little Snark through her paces for the first time (Three Little Boats). FYI – The Snark has been named Petunia, consistent with the flower theme for our “little boat” fleet.  Here’s a thought, do you name dinghies and kayaks? I have seen dinghies with names, usually something cute and related to the “big boat”.

I love the way his leg hangs over the side. The toys are out and playtime begins!

Foggy mornings, but sunny days.

Whenever we are at Block, we survey the anchorage looking for boats we might know. We found Summer Sun with Bonnie and Austin onboard in their usual spot. We met them waaay back, about 20 years ago, through the Long Island Sound Catalina Association (aka LISCA) when we had our Catalina 34, the first Kindred Spirit. We made a lot of friends over those years and had some great sailing times. Come to think of it, we own a Catalina again — little Marigold, our Capri 14.2.

Bonnie and Austin are dedicated clammers, so of course we joined them. Well, Al joined them. I don’t clam, but I do take photos!

Clamming’ and jammin’

The four of us enjoyed a multi-course dinner of stuffed clams and clam chowder.

We also had a chance to see Sally and Ted on Amici, Connecticut folks we met cruising who were at Block as well.

While playing around in the kayak and Snark, I spied a familiar looking boat pass by — Spindrift, from Branford. We had met Marge and Bob at the Dismal Swamp Center in September, 2015 (Doin’ the Dismal).

Flashback to September 2015 — Spindrift and Kindred Spirit at the Dismal Swamp Welcome Center.

Clearly, there was only one thing to be done. We must have a Happy Hour gathering on Kindred Spirit with our collection of boating friends.

Happy Hour on the flybridge

We had a very enjoyable 4 days at Block, peaceful and playful, with plenty of camaraderie.







A Block Island Fourth of July

Still trying to catch up…………

Our summer was destined to be one of mostly short trips. Al’s six immunotherapy treatments began on June 23rd and continued through July 28th, every Friday. By Sunday of each week he was ready to get going so we squeezed in trips to Watch Hill and Block Island between medical appointments and other commitments.

Here we are, ready for summer boating and what do we get in late June??? HAIL!

We never intended to go to Block Island, for July 4th. Been here, done that, and no longer wanted to be part of that crazy happening.  The anchorage is insane and moorings are hard to come by during a holiday. But…………..Mary Jo and Dean said “come on over…..raft with us”   Well……OK! They really didn’t have to work very hard to convince us. So much for our aversion to a Block Island 4th.

There were boats EVERYTHWERE, but these photos couldn’t capture it all.

In contrast to the photos above, is this one below. Our friend snapped this from her boat in the mooring field. There we are, rafted to Jallao in the front row just off Champlins dock (plenty of loud music). You would never guess it is the same place. It looks so peaceful. I guess it is all about one’s perspective and angle. 😉

Jallao and Kindred Spirit rafted in Block Island

July 3rd was a day for the outdoors, especially on the water. Al got his clamming license ($10 for the season for senior citizens on the Block.) Such a deal!

Riding out to the clamming area by dinghy, towing the kayaks so that MJ and I could also have some fun.

The best clamming is always in the deepest water you can handle. That means different depths for different people, depending on one’s height. It gives Al a real advantage.

You could say that Dean is up to his neck in clams. For Dean, that makes him happy as a clam.

MJ and I hitch a ride to cross to the other side of the channel for more kayaking.

Chef Dean creates his famous clam linguine for dinner. Yum!

Clam diggers and conch horn aficionados. What talented guys!! Al and Dean announce the setting sun.

If you go to Block for the Fourth of July, you might as well go all in. So we did.

We donned our patriotic apparel and dinghied around for a bit. Happy 4th!

If you are there on the Block, you also have to go to the parade. My memories of past parades were of a somewhat alcohol-infused strut, but I am pleased to say that Block has cleaned that image up. The parade was a nice small town event with lots of participation. And not too long.

Sitting in front of Dead Eye Dick’s, we had a good view of the holiday attire.

The little ones were the best dressed.

Here are the obligatory pics of the parade —

The parade begins with the grand marshal strutting. The theme for the parade was “Block island Memories.”

Plenty of flag waving!

Family floats with assorted themes.

Floats representing Block Island businesses – Killer Donuts, The Oceanview, Yellow Kittens, Block Island Fitness.

These “lemonade stands” were just too darn cute.

Here is the bottom line for our BI 4th — I didn’t want to go and I am really glad we did.

The sun sets on a fine Block Island Fourth of July celebration.






Maine in June

We made a road trip to Maine to visit our cruising friends in June. Yup, a land trip during boating season – that surely shows how important these folks are to us!

We met Sam and Kayda in Portland where their daughter, Sara, and her family live. Portland is a very, very cool little city. We enjoyed strolling around it – waterfront, shops, restaurants, transportation, and places to live. I looked back over my photos from this trip and can’t believe I have no photos! I must have enjoyed the Portland sights and ambience so much that I forgot???

Here is one – Sara, Kayda, and me. We had a pizza picnic in the park overlooking the water and islands. The pizza was delivered to us in the park!! Now that’s a great place to live, isn’t it?

One of the reasons we began the visit in Portland was to see Rob, Sara, and Cedar. Last year the three of them biked across the country from coast to coast through the middle, recording their experience in a terrific blog – Six Months, 6 Wheels, Lots of Ice Cream. With a title like that you can immediately see that they are “kindred spirits” (the ice cream part). I converted their blog into a two-volume printed record and really enjoyed “riding” along with them on their journey.

Al and me with Sara, Rob and Cedar, and the books.

Then off to Wiscasset to Sam and Kayda’s house.

Sam and Kayda’s charming little house.

The barn with gardens and stone paths. During our visit in June, Al and Sam discussed Sam’s plans for a greenhouse on the side of the barn. There it is (upper right), finished by September and ready for harboring plants in the cooler weather to come.

We made a visit to the Wiscasset Yacht Club.

How do these guys always find a boat under construction?

Sam and Kayda are avid gardeners – flowers, shrubs, and vegetables. They continually amaze me with their knowledge and expertise. No green thumbs there, no, not at all. More like green hands and feet! They took us to the Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens,  on 295 acres of tidal shoreland in Boothbay. Even brown thumbs like ours walked in awe among these gardens.

The concept of the Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens has born in 1991 through a collective grassroots effort of mid-coast Maine residents.  The mission of the Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens “… is to inspire meaningful connections among people, plants, and nature through horticulture, education and research.” The grand opening was celebrated in June, 2007. 

Although it wasn’t even mid-June yet,  we were surrounded by early colors.

Space saving vertical planters are packed with small flowering plants.

The Lerner Garden of the Five Senses was my favorite garden. Although sections were devoted to a particular sense, it was all a sensational experience.

Touch – finger maze sculpture and walking spiral path

Sound – water burbling over stones and a “sound stone.” Put your head in the hole and hum to experience the sound of stone.”

Sight and sound

Sam and Al relax on a tree limb bench.
Sam checking out the herbs, the “smell” part of the Lerner Garden of Five Senses.

A waterfall (without falling water on that day) among the rhododendron gardens.

We only spent a couple hours exploring the Coastal Maine Gardens. I could easily return for a longer visit to see more!

Next we were off to Camden to visit John and Carol who were both in Maine that weekend.

Carol’s new soy candle factory is nearly finished. “Salty Beach Studio” – check it out!

John grilled salmon on cedar planks for dinner. OMG – the marinade was soooo good. It’s the only way I am making salmon ever again. Even without the cedar planks, it is delicious!

From sea to land, friends cross it all.








Before the Summer

Here it is September, and I am writing a blog titled “Before the Summer.” Without a doubt, I am lagging behind. A strong urge to overcome my blog procrastination has finally compelled me to get this done before the time lag becomes truly ridiculous.  But first, there are gaps I am compelled to fill in because I’m a sequential person. 😉 So here is a flashback blog to fill in those gaps from February to June.

There are always boat projects. Endless boat projects. Some are necessary and some are hey, why not? A quick review of Al’s efforts —

The dinghy spent some significant time in our basement while Al fitted her with a new outfit – the chaps. A New England snowfall was a perfect way to move the dinghy form the basement back up to the garage. It was a one- way trip. No sledding with the dinghy.

The construction of the chaps was part of an earlier blog (“FALLing into Winter”) but here is a photo of the finished chaps. They look amazing. What a great job Al did!

Using the leftover fabric from the chaps, Al made a stowing “envelope” for the inflatable PFDs. You can also see it in the dinghy picture right beside him, secured to the side with snaps.

The flybridge helm seat got a new outfit, too.

Once he gets sewing he finds it hard to stop. Here are the flybridge curtains.

Our AIS became cranky again and had to be sent back to Great Britain for a tune-up. When it returned, Al wanted to check it out — See below. 😉

Al is in the car in the garage, using the car’s battery to power up both the AIS and the chart plotter to make sure they work together again.

The flybridge drips down onto the back curtains that AL made for the aft cockpit. This has always irritated him. He found this “drip guard” and installed one on each corner to divert the water farther away. It works most of the time.

Al used the garage for some painting projects. The rear door is now white and the helm side door will probably be done over the next winter. The boom on the little mast got a facelift as well. The mast will get one ……next winter.

Winter is a good time to get back into weaving. I made wool rugs for the cabins in the boat, and bought way too much cotton yarn on sale. Now that I have a mini-yarn shop in the house, I will be weaving dish towels for a long time. Weaving is also one reason why there have been no blogs for awhile. Can’t weave and blog at the same time. Yet.

Supplying Al (and “my boys”) with chocolate chip cookies is almost a full-time job. Probably bake a double batch every 2-3 weeks.

While Al was off with Colin on Tortuga in March, I had another round of “Complete Decongestive Therapy” for my lymphedema. It’s not a cure, but it helps to maintain it and delay the progression. CDT, from, is usually 2-3 weeks of daily wrapping in 7 layers of special bandages which stay on 23/7. It’s quite a charming fashion statement, isn’t it? Wash day fills the laundry room!

There was enough snowfall this winter to have some fun. When you have grandchildren, snow can be fun again, if you ignore the aches and pains afterwards!

I really did go sledding with Caleb. Sledding and hot cocoa makes you feel like a kid again.

Kerri (Mommy) with little Cecily who was far too young to sled.
Ryan (Daddy) with Caleb riding on top, which he seemed to enjoy more than sledding.

The Delaware grandkids came for a visit during one snowfall. Papa took Aaron and Ella just outside our house to sled down into the retention basin.

After sledding, Ella and Aaron made their favorite food —  pizza with LOTS of black olives.

We all went to Pennsylvania in April for my father’s memorial service. Weddings and funerals are the times when families gather. Although it was sad, I know that my Dad would be happy to know we were all together for him.

My mother enjoys holding her two great-granddaughters, Addison and Cecily, cousins.

My sister, Lisa, and me in the hammock with Addison and Caleb. My daughters-in-law, Kerri and Stephanie, with their little ones, Caleb, Cecily, and Addison.

Caleb entertains us all, and exhausts us!

April was birthday time for Ella who turned four. By June, she also became a big sister to Alivia. Welcome!

We met Alivia in person in July. Somehow I caught this photo of all three with big smiles, wearing the new shirts we brought. Ella (4 yrs old), Alivia, 1 month old), and Aaron (7 1/2 yrs old.)

Addison’s first birthday in June brought these three cousins (monkeys?) together. I tried a photo, but it was like, well, I am sure you can imagine.
Addison (1 yr old), Caleb (3 yrs old) and Cecily 7 months.)

Back to the boating scene – Shennecossett and Kindred Spirit weren’t quite ready when this photo was taken, but the season was quickly approaching!