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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Into the Narragansett

…The fog  went away but, like a promise kept, it ultimately becomes a part of the background of life. That morning we rose salty (still, again) from our beds and made coffee. The pot was not yet empty when restlessness overtook us and we weighed anchor. Like all bays and estuaries of the world the Narragansett breathes with the moon in cycles driven by billions of years. When the moon is full, it brings the tide in with it at night meaning the mighty ebb rages as the moon sets in the morning. It also means that there is one time of the month that it’s just no good to take off in the morning if headed into any given body of water. But the fog had lifted and there was a promise of a freshening breeze to drive us into the Narragansett Bay to one of our favorite places on the Eastern Seaboard, Dutch Harbor. That promised breeze didn’t get to us until we got right up into the Dutch Harbor anchorage so we just motored up the bay from Point Judith. We genuinely hate motoring, we really do, especially when we can’t even raise the main lest it slat-n-flap and try to tear itself to pieces. And, check this out, when the wind is slightly off the port quarter the diesel fumes flow into the cockpit and down into the cabin, meaning, there’s no good place to hang out away from the fumes. Against the current, without any wind-assist, we ranged from 1.7 to 2.5 knots for the first hour or so, breathing death and riding the awkward three-legged-pony motion on the significant swell. But, we were going to Dutch Harbor! Swimming has been one of our major pleasures, and the main way we’re keeping clean. From the[…]

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