On the job

We sailed off the hook from Dutch Harbor pretty hungry to devour the Western Narragansett one anchor-full at a time. It’s always so satisfying sailing off the anchor. It’s so quiet and gentle and it’s true that doing so gets me (James) absolutely starving for adventure! We weighed anchor early in the fog and reached all the way to Wickford, Rhode Island, with the freshening breeze. We put the hook down in the first gap we could find in the city mooring field. We dressed the boat ship-shape like we always do and set about figuring out how to navigate our way to the Wickford Marine Consignment store. (By far the only reason for a sailor to go to a bum-fuck town like Wickford.) Not 15 minutes after finishing the engine, we heard the familiar cop-horn sound of the local aquatic chesty authority figure, der Harbormaster. This fucking guy! I (Dena) had been doing some research into the anchoring rules of Wickford. We skipped it when we came through the area before, and I couldn’t remember why (other than it being a super-short sailing day from Dutch Harbor). Turns out, the mooring field we anchored in wasn’t supposed to be a mooring field. The Army Corp of Engineers (ACE) had notified the town in the 1990s…seriously…that they were in violation by filling what should be a turning basin into a mooring field. Of course, ACE has no ability to fine or tax or otherwise punish, so their only recourse is to refuse to dredge the area again until it’s clear. And shoaling isn’t a huge problem there. The town placidly claimed that they would not put new mooring balls in, but that they wouldn’t kick any out if properly permitted. Well, that meant to me that there should be gaps[…]

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