The Adventures on Dutch Island

In 1947, the reign of human terror ended on a tiny island in the Narragansett Bay.  Since then oblivious grasses, feral vines, and silver shale rule the once involuntarily populated 102 acre rock. We sailed to the island in Tinker on a close haul from our boat to the pebbled shores of Dutch Island.  I (James) got the slow tack to the island, taking approximately 20 minutes to cross the harbor.  We carried Tinker up the beach about 30 yards to get above the high-tide mark and made fast on an ancient steel ring built for that very purpose a hundred years ago. We went into our trip ignorant of detail, but knowing that we’d seen both a lighthouse and a tall brick wall with empty windows.  Without narrative, our experience was creative.  We told each other stories – what we thought we’d found, who we thought had created it. Rather than leave you in the same state…here’s a bit of history. The first European settlement on the island was established in 1636 by a Dutch West India Company trader, but all signs of that original settlement have long since been erased by the evils of war. The next and far more powerfully successful mark left was made by the original Dutch Island Light, built of stone collected from the island in 1827.  The original structure was replaced with brick in 1857 and a fog bell was added in 1878, but the needs of mariners have been met on the south point for almost 200 years. The very first thing I (James) noticed was the beach was sick with absolutely perfect skipping stones, carved by the salt water.  These smooth shale slabs were literally everywhere.  I was in heaven.  The size and feel and weight of a perfect skipping stone[…]

Read more