New York to Newport, Rhode Island

 15th June - 9th July 2005

As we left the East River at New York and headed out into Long Island Sound something exceptional happened!   Not only did we find we had enough wind to sail without the assistance of the motor, a rare event for Anju on the East Coast of the USA, but the wind was also warm, reminding us of our time in the Caribbean trade winds.  This time the sea was flat too!    We had a great trip, sheltered by Long Island from the Atlantic swell and before we knew it Anju was safely anchored in a pretty bay behind Fish Islands, Connecticut. Later aboard Troubadour, we shared the fish they'd caught on the way.

Next day we said au revoir to Troubadour, as Kate and David were heading home for a couple of weeks and we made our way alone eastwards up Long Island Sound to Block Island.    We made  two stops in Connecticut on the way there, one in the islands near Norwalk to recover from the shock of the cost of re-fueling there, the second in a small bay where we sought refuge from miserable weather and bizarrely found ourselves anchored next to a replica of Stonehenge.

Our visit to Block Island was only an overnight stop, but we did get chance to take a short walk to the island's main town before returning to Anju, who was anchored in the Great Salt Pond, an anchorage almost completely surrounded by land, within the island.   We were still planning to head up north (or as its called hereabouts "down east") quickly and spend more time visiting the places we'd passed on our way south (or west!).   The next day when we arrived at Newport, Rhode Island we didn't realise we'd be anchored there for three whole weeks!  Of course there could be much worse ways to spend three weeks.

During our first week we had wonderful weather and spent our time exploring on our trusty, rusty bikes, cycling around the Fort Adams State Park and past some of the towns many mansions.    The town was very friendly to visiting cruisers and we were able to dock the dinghy for free at Bowen's Wharf, leave our bikes ashore and make use of the facilities of the Seamen's Church Institute, which included free internet access, excellent bathrooms with hot showers, a laundry, good quality, reasonably priced food and a warm welcome for visitors.   The visitors' book at the Institute had already been signed by many of our appreciative cruising friends.

After a week we had the charts we needed to head further north, courtesy of the friendly folks at the excellent Armchair Sailor Chart Shop in town and had psyched ourselves up to move on but decided to wait until the fog lifted.   A week of fog was followed by a week of miserable rain as the remnants of tropical storm Cindy passed over us, amongst other things.   Finally we decided we may as well stay put until after the 4th of July and enjoy the Independence Day celebrations in Newport.  This gave us the chance to buy supplies in Newport and carry out some home improvements and maintenance jobs aboard.    There wasn't much point in sightseeing in any case, it was too foggy to see anything much of the time.

Whilst we were in Newport, a time we'd been dreading since our first visit to the USA finally arrived.   We'd run out of propane gas and couldn't find anybody who could or would fill our British gas bottles, despite George from Trumpeter kindly chauffeuring us around town in our search.   It seemed that since last year the type of connectors used to refill gas bottles had been changed, to ensure that only the American type bottle with the overfill protection device could be refilled.   Despite our bottles having a similar type of device, the connector just wouldn't fit.   Finally we were forced to buy new American style bottles.  However, the only ones we could find which would fit in our gas lockers (which had been built around the size of the British bottles) were much smaller, meaning in future we'd been searching for propane gas refills much more often.   The two new bottles between them only held a third of the normal amount of gas we carry aboard. 

Our extended stay did give us the opportunity to finally meet Roger and Francoise of the yacht Starship Annie.   Anju and Starship Annie had literally been ships which passed in the night for many months and it was great to finally get together.    

As the 4th July approached the crowd in the anchorage increased and for our celebrations with Roger and Francoise, we were joined by Roger and Bonnie from Kokomo and Dave and Sandy from Alexus.   Later in the evening we were also joined by the cruise ship Queen Mary, which anchored nearby for the fireworks display amongst many security patrol boats.  Despite the fact that only half of our party were actually Americans, we managed to celebrate in style with everybody bringing some food to share.   The Welsh and English men did a great job of barbecuing the traditional American fare of hot dogs and hamburgers. 

Roger and Francoise enjoying Anju's cocktail deck!

Anju dressed ready for the 4th July celebrations,

when she was joined by the Queen Mary......

Dave, Francoise, Sandy, Roger and Bonnie await the chefs' offerings.

"So if they are made of beef, why do you Americans call them hamburgers?"

Finally the weather improved enough to allow us to take the seven mile cliff walk past many of Newport's mansions.   Fortunately there was a trolley bus to take us to the start of the walk.    The scenery on the cliffs was stunning, much more rocky and rugged landscapes than we've seen on the coast for a long time, a taste of things to come in Maine.  The walk did have a few challenging moments.  We enjoyed the summer wildflowers but at the start of the walk, we were almost in need of a machete to hack our way through the undergrowth and later there were a few precipitous moments to keep the heart rate up.

Some of Newport's smaller houses on the shore.

Path, what path?

Finally, when we were able to see the nearby bridge from our boat, we decided it was time to move on before the fog returned again and we headed for Massachusetts.
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