Saturday, July 28, 2012

Block Island, Rhode Island

Somehow summer seems incomplete without a visit to the Block. Yet in all reality very few native born Rhode Islanders have ever been there. A perfect example is Joe. His first trip to Block Island was when we along with a few other intrepid multihull ( Hobie Cat) sailors pushed off the beach at Point Judith and sailed our 16 foot " flying carpets" to the North Light at Block Island.

It was the 80's and we were much younger and certainly more naive ( my nice word for stupid.) Of course now we are much more mature (my nice word for old) and have experienced the dangers that didn't happen but could have, like fog. In those days we didn't own a compass. When I think back to what could have happened I realize that pure unadulterated luck was on our side.
These days a sail aboard Simple Life to Block is the norm. Although somehow even when it seems that we have been everywhere and done everything there is to do on the island something will surprise us. The sun had just set when we arrived and settled into our anchoring spot. Joe prefered to anchor close to the shoreline in the shallow section of the basin. Shortly thereafter I began hearing what appeared to be the sound of a woodpecker! Within minutes the sound came from the west. A short time later the sound came from the east. We thought about what it could have been. Perhaps it was one of the cormorants or some type of egret settling down in the marsh grass. After about an hour the sounds began in earnest. Whatever it was it became a chorus almost a competition of sounds. One seemed to be answering the other from different locations in the basin and it was at times reverberating from under our boat. The chatter went on all night and subsided at dawn. At sunrise we remarked about the odd chattering sounds that persisted all night. I figured there must be something about these birds, fish, sea monsters on Google. But, there was no information. Google had failed me. Joe recalled reading an article somewhere about something called a chatter fish. Google that! Again no luck. Joe was persistent and came up with an article that had been published in Points East magazine. Our mystery monster had a name along with one of those scientific looking illustrations. It's called a Cusk eel. Apparently, the male Cusk eel feeling a bit randy emerges from its burrow at dusk in search of a mate. The chattering sounds coax the female out of her burrow and that's when sparks begin to fly. With the IPad and Google to the rescue our mystery was solved. How did we ever travel without these new-fangled electronic devices?

The following day my friend Anna and her sister Desire'e came to Block for a visit. They arrived on the 10:30 ferry out of Point Judith. I had been wracking my brain all week concerning how they could best experience the Block. Joe tried to reassure me that we should ask what they wanted to do. I thought mopeds, bikes, maybe kayak rentals, a ride to the Southeast Light, maybe lunch at the Oar...I wanted them to experience the island. Joe said, "Why don't you wait to see what they want to do." Brilliant!" I called Anna and asked. She said, "Are you kidding Block Island is on my bucket list! Anything we do is fine. We can sit on your boat. It will be new and wonderful!"
We met them at the ferry. On the way back to the anchorage we stopped at the market to buy some mozzarella and prosciutto. Then we took the scenic walk along Crescent Beach. Twenty minutes later we arrived at New Harbor. Anna and Desire'e experienced their first dinghy ride out to the boat. We chatted about their ferry ride and some of the characters that were onboard.They also had their first look at New Harbor, the anchorage and the Simple Life. As the afternoon progressed we shared quite a few laughs, some tapas of olives, tomatoes, mozzarella, wine and best of all the feeling of good friendship.

While they marveled at the surroundings my perception of our life style was renewed. I saw everything through their eyes and enjoyed. Once again Block Island had provided a refreshing experience along with a tinge of mystery that keeps us all coming back for more.
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