Hell Gate Prep

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We are in Manhasset Bay awaiting the tides and weather to make the fast run through Hells Gate on our way to New York City and Sandy Hook, NJ. At first we pulled into City Island and took a mooring ball there only to find the harbor a bit rough with the south winds. So we pulled out and moved over to protected Manhasset Bay and now we are going to explore Port Washington. From the write-up in the cruising guide, this town sounds fantastic! The town has 15 mooring balls and we can stay here for free for 2 nights on the town and after that it is $25.00/night. So for now, we will exlore the town and enjoy the beautiful harbor. This photo is a picture of the chart with Manhasset Bay on the bottom, City Island on the top and the entrance to the east river and Hells Gate on the bottom left. The train ride to Manhattan is only 45 minutes – that is tempting!

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10 Videos Added Today

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We have added 10 videos to YouTube today, attempting to catch up on our blogging. We have been having some really good sailing days as we sail into Long Island Sound from Block Island. We sailed around Shelter Island. We sailed CT river to Milford. We sailed Milford to Port Jefferson. We sailed Port Jeff to Oyster Bay. ALL UP WIND CLOSE HAULED.

These videos show how nice the sailing has been.


Currently hanging out in Oyster Bay, NY
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Block, Watch Hill, Shelter Island, Milford Ct

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Block Island to New London

We left Block in mostly clear conditions and were hit by fog the whole way to the Thames River. We tied up at IP Dealer Hellier Yachts dock in New London – what a great bunch of people. They made us feel very welcome. Congrats to Vin on his retirement. This was a whirlwind tour with a rental car (upgraded to a Cadillac!) for 24 hours. We shopped Defender and West Marine, where Radeen got a cute red folding bike and got the usual groceries. We saw the Coast Guard Academy museum and toured the beautiful campus by car.

New London to Watch Hill

The anchorage and ocean beach at Watch Hill are so great! The little town is charming, too. We enjoyed seeing the antique carousel and walking out to the Coast Guard Station. Sunday we had fun with Jim and Vanessa from IP-420 Windrunner. They met us for lunch at the Olympia Tea Room where Marilyn Monroe worked as a teenager. The St. Claire Annex has been in business for over 100 years and is fun for breakfast and made on the spot ice cream.

Watch Hill to Block Island

Let a new adventure begin! Radeen has not ridden a bike solo since she was 11, so Payne’s dock early on a weekday morning was a good place to get started. By day four, she rode the rough and hilly road to the Coast Guard Station and the next day we rode into busy Old Harbor and had breakfast at Aldo’s to celebrate. Another celebration was dinner with Craig and Debbie on IP440 Charmed in honor of the start of their southbound cruising adventures.

Fun on Block Island

Friends we met at the public library, Norm and Shelley, invited us to dinner at their beautiful home off Corn Neck Road and then took us to a concert sponsored by the Block Island Residents Association called “Blues on the Beach.” We are starting to feel like locals now! A restored Army vessel named “The General” flying a 4 star flag ,had a ceremony each nite at sunset, complete with 3 progressively louder cannons, a fly-by from some sort of fast airplane, a bugler playing “Taps” and a properly lowered flag. We “dressed” the dinghy in bunting and participated in the air horn salute.

Block Island to Dering Harbor, Long Island

A neighboring local boat shared his freshly caught clams with us and we made New England style chowder which seemed so appropriate for our last night in Block. What a dream to be here from July 4th to August 7th with just a few side trips. We departed on a favorable tide with the new Hylas 49 Black Diamond on her shakedown cruise. She is the beautiful new boat of former IP45 Time Bandit owners, Rich, Bonnie and daughter Alex. The sun turned to fog which made for a somewhat stressful trip across Block Island Sound. It lifted as arrived in Gardiner’s Bay and took a mooring ball in Dering Harbor. Jack’s Marine is a fascinating old hardware store with an amazing toy department – worth a tour!

Dering Harbor to Greenport

After a stormy morning, we crossed to Greenport and took a mooring ball in Stirling Basin. What a charming town! The BLISS Rendezvous will be held here next July and we look forward to exploring it more. Highlights included pizza with Black Diamond, a fascinating old department stored called The Arcade, a visit to a convenient and clean Laundromat and a tour of one of 6 wooden Yard Patrol training vessels on summer cruise with cadets from the Naval Academy in Annapolis.

Greenport to Sag Harbor

We had a fabulous sail around the western side of Shelter Island to Sag Harbor. A sudden change in the forecast dictated a mooring ball and then we dashed ashore for the Thursday nite Summer Concert series. When we were here in 2004, the local band played patriotic songs; this year “The Cascades” played 50’s and early 60’s. We admired the mega-mega-yachts “Bad Girl” and “ My Iris. ”The really dreadful weather didn’t arrive until Friday, but that didn’t stop us from sharing a lively hot lunch with Al from IP32 Half Moon aboard Black Diamond.

Sag Harbor to North Cove on the Connecticut River

We had a leisurely sail out of Gardiner’s Bay and enjoyed shooting some beautiful photos of IP 32 Half Moon before exiting at Plum Gut. We were looking forward to meeting our Rock Hall friends, Bob and Kathy of IP380 Drake’s Passage. They are amazing – so much energy! They got to their boat in Oyster Bay, Long Island, at midnite on Friday nite. Till they loaded everything and the 2 girls and the 7 month old baby aboard in the pouring rain and high winds, it was 1:30 a.m. They got up at 6:00, left at 7:00 and sailed against a foul tide for 10. 5 hours to meet us for dinner and mini-golf. We were ashore by 6:00 p.m., seated at 6:30 and dinner didn’t arrive till after 8:00. The children were soooo good! Kathy Ann read a book and Alley drew a nautical chart with grass, water, docks and boats. The round yellow object in the corner we all assumed was the sun, till she informed us that it was the compass rose on her chart! After we ate, we played mini-golf till 10:00 and THEN went for ice cream!! Unbelievable day!

North Cove to Milford, CT

We anchored in the Gulf south of Milford behind a curving, mile long sand bar that is bare at low tide and then covered 6 hours later by a 7 foot tide. It was a great place for a swim, a walk on the bar and a chat with the park ranger who drives out to Charles Island. The long harbor was tight with boats moored on floats in the middle, a fast current and lots of boat traffic on a sunny Sunday afternoon.

Milford, CT to Port Jefferson, NY

Another great sailing day, this one across the Sound. Port Jefferson is not a very cruiser-friendly place unless you take a mooring ball and use the launch. The fuel dock claimed to have no water, till we found a faucet and used our own hose. The door to the Harbormaster’s two story office is impossible to find. There is no sign to indicated that you are supposed to enter through the electrical closet! The town dock has no dinghy landing and we nearly got a ticket for tying up there since we couldn’t talk to anyone in the harbormaster’s office. Danford’s marina charges $7, not per day, but every time you come ashore. The best part of Port Jeff was meeting Kiwis, Roy and Doon, aboard Bold Endeavour. See their adventures at www.getjealous.com/gonecruizing

Port Jefferson to Oyster Bay, NY

The best sail of the entire summer! The videos show it all! Now we are In Oyster Bay for several days.

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Clay Head, Block Island, RI

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We discovered a new area of Block Island yesterday called Clay Head on the Northeast side of the island. Clay Head has a nature trail that leads to a rocky beach with tall eroding clay cliffs.

To reach this area we took the dinghy to the far NE side of the Great Salt Pond where we could land the dinghy on one of the many sandy beaches that line the pond. After securing the dinghy with an anchor tossed up on the beach we began our 2+ mile hike UPHILL to the clay head trail. We wondered our way through the trail arriving at the beach. Much to our suprise the beach was not a sandy beach but was covered with thousands of satin smooth polished rocks of various colors! These rocks would be rolled uphill onto the slooped beach and then with the receding tide they would tumble down the slope make a really interesting sound.
(see videos to hear this sound)

Clay Head is on the NE side of Block Island.
Great Salt Pond is just off the bottom left of this picture

On the beach there were two other families enjoying the day, one couple with a crazy black lab that loved to chase a tennis ball into the raging surf. He was a fantastic swimmer and would not stop chasing the ball.

We walked the rocky beach and listened to the tumbling rocks and simply enjoyed the day. Here are some photos and two videos of the adventure. Thanks for following our Island Spirit Adventures.

Video #1 of Clay Head w/ narration
(note: click video twice)

Video #2 of Clay Head, no narration
Listen to the rocks!

Photo: From the beach looking north at Clay Head

Radeen and Hayden on the beach (self portrait)

I Love to take photos and Radeen is getting use to me taking tons of photos
This is photo # 4, 350 taken with this Canon A700 and I have only had this camera for 1 yr!

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Rain Day at Block Island

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There are benefits to a rain day, you can catch up on your readings, watch a movie and fill your water tanks! Our boat holds 90 gallons of water and the fill point if on the deck about midships on the starborad side. When it rains the water runs right over the deck water fill cap. So all that is needed is a simple way to damn the water and direct it into the water tank. This picture show the water pouring into the tank and actually in this picture the tank is FULL and the water is backing up to the deck! Perfect. Before we take on water in this way, we allow the decks to be washed off first and I will even take a deck brush and scrub the deck during the start of the rain.

If it keeps raining and we have extra, then we pump that into our 5 gallon flexible water jugs to be used later. Sure we could pull up the anchor and move to a fuel dock to take on water, but that is more difficult than this. If we are at a fuel dock we will always take on water, but for the most part we collect water and we carry water back to the boat while at anchor.

Here is a video of our rain collection method on Island Spirit as we collect water from the decks via a damn at the deck fill plate.

Video of Rain Day

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New London, CT SailFest.org

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We attended http://sailfest.org/ in New London, CT thanks to the invite from Debbie and Craig owners of IP440 Charmed. We arrived Thursday from Block Island after going through “Lords Passage” and via Fisher’s Island Sound. The harbor mooring field was all full so we dropped our anchor in the harbor and rode out the party for Thur, Fri, and Sat nights rocking and rolling with all the other crazy people who were anchored out as well. SailFest puts on the largest fireworks display in the NE with 22,000 rockets launched from 3 barges in 22 minutes! We were anchored about 150 yards from one of the barges and it was truly spectacular. I will upload a video of the finale and you will see how impressive this was.

Friday IP440 “Team Charmed” invited us over for cocktails and then we strolled around the harbor and to the otherside of the creek to eat at SCOTTs Seafood Place which turned out to have the BEST LOBSTER BISQUE in the state. We enjoyed the sunset and good company and a cool 60 degree evening.

Saturday was the BIG SAILFEST day we invited Craig and Debbie out to Island Spirit in the rocking and rolling harbor for dinner aboard and fireworks from the anchor. After dinner we invited Venessa and Jim out to enjoy oven warmed homemade fresh fruit cobbler before the grand show. Sure enough at 9:25pm the fireworks began and it was absolutely incredible especially being so close AND on the water. (See video below)

22,ooo Fireworks in 22 Minutes!

Sunday we helped Windrunner who had to emergency anchor in the harbor as his engine oil pressure alarm went off as he left Shaw Cove railroad bridge. Jim called me as aske me to come over as a second pair of eyes and see what we could figure out. The entire engine bilge was full of oil. As we both inspected the engine room we discovered the oil filter gasket was forced out the side of the filter’s mount and that must have been the cause of the leak. We removed the oil fiter, inspected the o-ring and re-seated the filter. Jim had another gallon of oil so we filled her back up and she was good to go! Now the clean up. We helped sop up all the oil from the engine pan and due to the OUTSTANDING engine room access on the 420 this job was not too difficult. Jim and I worked on the clean up and Radeen and Vanessa had a chance to visit and talk and we were glad to help out. Seatow was cancelled and Windrunner was on her way home.

Sunday afternoon we moved into Shaw cove to take a dock so we could easily do grocery shopping and laundry. Craig and Debbie loaned us their car and we made one run to the store returning with 10 bags of groceries! It is so easy to do shopping when you have a car, thanks IP440 Charmed!

Monday, we departed New London and headed back to Block Island, our new summer home.

Photos From New London, CT & SailFest XXX

We were anchored about 50 yards off the pier

Debbie and Craig on their NEW IP440 Charmed The US Coast Guard Academy, New London, CT
we need to return to tour this

SailFest.org Logo

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Broadband Network Aboard

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The broadband network aboard Island Spirit:

What the goals were:
1. Have two or three laptops online on the boat.
2. Have access to a printer from the laptops.
3. Have broadband speeds via wireless in the boat to the network.
4. Use ONE Verizon broadband card! (no way)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Evdo (what is EVDO)
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pcmcia (PCMCIA)
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ExpressCard Express Cards)
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/USB (USB)

(great source for all info on EVDO)
(their store where I bought all the gear)
(my connection / ISP, look for PLANS…BROADBAND $59.00/mo)
(The EVDO router, FANTASTIC)
(The trucker antenna)
http://www.wilsonelectronics.com/ViewProductB.php?ID=1 (Wilson Electronics the source for the antenna)
(HPPhotosmart C5180 all All-in-one printer)

Speed Test for your Network:

How it works:
GREAT….nuff said!

OK, How it really works….
Since we have two laptops with different card slots I needed to buy the Verizon USB720 Broadband card. Card are available in PCMCIA (old school) PC Express (new school) and USB universal (all computers.) Since I needed the USB Verizon card, then I had to go with the Kyocera KR1 EVDO router since it is the only one that accepts a USB modem/broadband card. The KR1 will also accept a PCMCI card as well. FYI: Linksys also makes an EVDO / broadband router, but that one only takes PCMCIA cards. The problem is that we are stuck between a card slot computer change, changing from PCMCIA to PC Express slots. If you only have new laptops, then PC express is the answer.

With the Verizon USB720 broadband modem plugged into the KR1 EVDO router, you simply turn on your laptops and connect to the router which is connecting to Verizon’s broadband network. If you are in range of a cell tower and if you can make a phone call, then you will have internet delivered to the laptops via the KR1 router. The external antenna is not amplified (yet) and it is simply run to the USB720 Verizon card down in the router. Right now I have a range of about 15 miles, and if I amplify the antenna I will be able to get 25+ miles. Overall, this has worked out way better than expected. We seem to have speeds of 1100 kbps download and 500kbps uploads. Check your speed right now. Use http://www.speakeasy.net/speedtest/ and pick a large city nearby to check your speeds. I am on the east coast and I use Chicago as my speed tests. If you are international, then use http://speedtest.net/ and pick a country.

Thanks for reading about our network, it does work and we are proud of the setup!

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Crescent Beach via Great Salt Pond

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One of the many nice aspects of anchoring in Great Salt Pond is the fact that you can take the dinghy (the car) from your anchored boat to the edge of the pond, then walk across the road and over the sand dunes to the ocean beach! This beach is called Crescent Beach and looking at the Google Map on the left you will see where the name comes from. The total distance from the boat to the beach is less than 1/2 mile. I cannot think of too many places where you can live on your boat at anchor and have such great access to an ocean beach. Yesterday we enjoyed the beach for the first time this year and Radeen even went in the water (up to her knees) but the water temp is about 60 degrees so it is COLD.

Below is a video taken from the center of the access trail looking back over Great Salt Pond and then out to the beach. This video will show you why this is one of the greatest boating destinations in the northeast!

Video of Crescent Beach Access
From Great Salt Pond, Block Island
(note: click videos twice. once to select, 2nd to play)
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Swans at Anchor, Block Island

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While living on the anchor you never know when nature will present its beauty. Yesterday, Monday, 7-9-07, we were presented with one of the best experiences we have ever seen, SWANS. Now we have had swans swimming around the boat many times before, but never have we had a swan with a cygnet or young swan resting on her back! These swans could reach the deck of the Island Packet 35 easily as they stretched out their necks. The baby would turn its neck and rest its head on its back as the parent swan swam for the small pieces of bread we tossed into the water. After feeding them one piece of bread, we boarded the dinghy and headed off to shore to visit with Cary and Bobby of IP380 Catspaw. Enjoy the photos….
Close up of the Cygnet
How beautiful is this!

The little swan would hold on as the parent swan!

OK, time for a rest….this is tough!

Thank you for taking a look at our blog, Radeen and I are sincerely enjoying living on the boat. Life slows down, life takes on basic tasks and it is amazing how buzy you can be simply keeping up with the boat, water, electricity, and the weather. Today’s plan….do our work in the AM and then head to the ocean side beach!

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