One Week in Rhode Island – How Did We Get Here?

Stephanie and I are enjoying a quiet evening after spending the afternoon with Jessica and Steve for Mother’s Day. Steve drove our car to Rhode Island for us and is now on the train on the way back to Pennsylvania.

We’ve already had two special sleepovers with Nathan.  We are anxiously waiting for this cold, rainy weather to pass and a great summer ahead.

So how did we get here?

Since our last post about leaving Cape May, we’ve traveled over 325 nautical miles, dealt some high winds, big waves, and faced a few fears.

After a three day layover, due to high winds, we left Cape May, NJ.  We woke early with hopes of leaving at first light to catch as much calm water as we could.  However, when I started the engines to warm them up, the starboard engine alarm was going off with a message to check ‘gear oil’.

I hesitated to call our friend, Captain Buz, the highly-experienced skipper who surveyed our boat.  Thankfully, he took my early call and assured me he was also an early riser. He walked we through checking the transmission oil in the engine room and said alarm notwithstanding, we’d be safe to head north.

We then left Cape May harbor and headed north along the New Jersey coast. It was calm and we were doing 22 MPH as we passed one familiar place after another including Wildwood, Atlantic City and Long Beach Island with the familiar Barnegat lighthouse.  We cruised about 2 miles off shore and then approximately four hours later we approached Sandy Hook at the very top of New Jersey.

The hour or so from Sandy Hook into New York Harbor was some of the roughest water we’ve encountered. High winds, currents and waves beat us a bit but we pressed on for the hopefully calmer waters of New York harbor. You can see some of this on the videos that we posted here.

When we finally entered New York harbor we were very tired from the already long trip, but our spirits perked up when we spotted the Statue of Liberty to our port side. It was a site to behold, as were the big ships in the shipping lanes, water taxis and multiple ferries.

We found a marina just past Liberty Island and we tied up and took on 225 gallons of fuel. Being a week day, I talked the manager into letting us stay tied up for a half hour so we could have lunch and catch our breath. We enjoyed tuna sandwiches with Lady Liberty off to starboard (right) and the amazing skyline of the city to our port. It was quite a lunch.

We had gathered our strength and it was time to cast off of the security of the gas dock. We enjoyed a calmer ride and the scenery as we floated up the East River, seeing sights such as Rykers Island (mentioned on all those cop shows!), LaGuardia airport with the planes taking off right over the water and then we traversed the strong current known as Hell Gate – a place where multiple rivers come together and the currents are nothing to be messed with. Fortunately, with our size and powerful engines we moved through Hell Gate only seeing the swirling waters, not feeling it.

When we emerged from the East River into Long Island sound we had already traveled approximately 160 miles and decided to see if we could make a little more progress toward Rhode Island knowing another storm was coming Friday.

We went one more hour, about 22 miles, when the winds picked up to about 25 mph, which with a boat as tall as Floating Home makes it difficult to drive. We called 3 marinas looking for a skip for the night with no luck – uh oh!

Fortunately, our fourth call was to a friendly marina in Mamaroneck, NY and with the assistance of 3 dock hands we got into a slip and tied up. We had a quick dinner and collapsed in bed, with the alarm set for 5:00 am.

This would be another long day but we had to reach Rhode Island as the impending Friday storm was going to last for 3 days. We were back on Long Island sound by 6:15 am and the sun rising ahead of us, was directly in our eyes for an hour or two. Thankfully, the waters were calm and we enjoyed the scenery and million dollar (probably multi-million dollar) homes on the coast.

As we approached the Connecticut/Rhode Island border, both fuel tanks were reading about 1/4 full and that started to worry me. If they were accurate, I might have enough fuel for 1-2 hours, enough to get us to our destination (on fumes) but I did not relish the thought of floating in the Atlantic without fuel, so we started looking for a marina with diesel fuel, that was open on Thursday.

Good news, Stephanie found one and it was about 30 minutes away. We tied up in historic Point Judith Rhode Island and took on 300 gallons of diesel fuel. Tanks were full and we were about 90 minutes from our summer slip!

As we exited the marina, we were excited to see the lighthouse at Point Judith and begin our final journey up Narragansett Bay. This last leg of our journey was wonderful – not only pretty but the excitement was building for our arrival. As we did the last 20 miles, Stephanie and I started to reminisce about the last two days, not only how far we traveled by boat – but what we encountered along the way. The last two days were more outside of out comfort zone than we’ve been in a long time.

About 2:00 pm, we spotted Brewers Cowesett Marina, our home for the summer. We called ahead and asked for a dock hand to help us into the slip – always a challenge the first time.

Shortly after we tied up our daughter Jessica surprised us with a welcome visit.  You can also see this video on the playlist ‘Our Floating Home’ on my YouTube channel.

That evening Jess, Jamie and the kids came to the boat for our first of many dinners together.

We are enjoying familiarizing ourselves with the coast of Rhode Island, our home for the summer

Here are two screen shots of our trip from Northern Jersey into New York Harbor and also through the East River into Long Island Sound.

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