Friday, August 31, 2007

Time To Head South

Newport, Rhode Island
41 28.8N 71 19.4W

Well tomorrow we will set sail for the Caribbean, technically this will consist of retracing our steps down the east coast and then heading to the Bahamas, but we leave tomorrow bound south for the first time in a while so why not make it sound grand!

Since the last entry we have been to Block Island which sits in the Atlantic and in summer is a resort paradise, but I imagine in winter is a bit cold and windy! We cycled right round the island admiring the views and at night tried to sleep but the sheer number of boats anchored in the harbour made that hard, as all night they were dragging and crashing into each other, thankfully no one hit us, but I did see one huge smash at 3am, almost worth being awake for!

From there we sailed to Newport, we left in clear blue skies, and then about an hour out, we were down to 50m visibility and in a huge bank of fog. It was the first time we had experienced this, and thankfully we have a radar on Matsu as it made life much less stressful. We had a couple of huge boats come up behind us blowing fog horns, and the lack of viz makes you disorientated and fear the worst, so it was a great relief to be able to go below and see on the radar that in fact they were a couple of miles away and missing us. Similarly when we arrived in Newport harbour, radar and electronic charts make life very easy - glad I didn't just have a compass and a chart.

Newport was excellent, we toured the Van Der Bilt mansion which is as near to a European Palace as you can get in the USA. Absolutely enormous and every room so ornate and imposing. Half the rooms were built in France in a factory and then shipped in pieces to Newport for assembly in the mansion. For those of you doing renovations at the moment think about the fact that they built the entire 70 room mansion in 2 years - and I bet the fireplace in your study isn't from an Italian palace and shipped in especially! But I suppose limitless wealth helps to get things done.

We now have a plan of sorts, we will head back to New York for a week or so, then a quick trip back to Annapolis where we will do the final preparation for the Caribbean, and then as soon as hurricane season is over dash back to Florida and then work our way through the Bahamas, Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands to the West Indies. It all seems quite close now as we hope to be in the Bahamas by the end of November.

Of course like all good plans it will change tomorrow!
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