Thursday, September 18, 2014

Back to our Aviva Home

After a wonderful summer at camp and a couple of weeks at home due to a gap between house tenants, on September 11 we moved back aboard s/v Aviva for another 9 month stint of living aboard and traveling.  We have been busy preparing the boat and ourselves, particularly for the 7-12 day passage we will be making to the British Virgin Islands in November.  But ... we'll get to that, all in good time.

Here is the inside of s/v Aviva the evening of September 11, after we put the cushions back on, re-covered the bilge, closed cabinet doors, etc.  We were thrilled that she was dry and odor-free inside!

s/v Aviva at the end of a summer on the hard -- dry and clean
Night-time arrival.  Up the ladder to our boat home.
Before launching Friday morning, we had a couple of things we HAD to do -- put a new impeller in the engine, replace the zincs on the prop and prop shaft, and remove the material we had stuffed in the through-hulls from the outside to prevent critters from going in and blocking them.  We got those things done just in time for our 11 am launch.

Time's up -- here comes the travel lift!
Travel lift arriving to carry s/v Aviva over to the water
How do they know where to align the straps?  Well, when the boat is on the hard, they can see the keel, so it's easy.  But when the boat is in the water, it's not so easy ... so we put on these LIFT stickers.  The straps go there!
LIFT -- strap here!
 Ready, set, LIFT!
Travel lift picking s/v Aviva
 Here she goes ... being carried!
s/v Aviva being carried overland
Lowering her into the water at high tide.
Being lowered into the water
Fred took the helm to get her to her slip, and did a great job.  It's a tight space!   We spent about 4 days in the slip, putting the sails on, installing a replacement hatch cover, installing beautifully refinished cockpit tables (thank you, Fred!), stowing provisions and gear, cleaning, putting up the bimini and dodger, etc.  On Monday, Dorothy drove Fred's car to Sage and Sam's new house in Malden, then returned to Apponaug Harbor Marina via T, rail, and bus.  It is amazing and wonderful that you can make that trip entirely using public transportation!
Aviva in her slip
Finally on Tuesday we were ready to go.  Dorothy drove out of the slip, which involved some forward, then reverse, turning the wheel, no not that way, the other way ... more gas! ... turn hard ... forward!  reverse!  now turn the wheel again ... no, the other way ... well ... more practice needed!

There was wind, but it couldn't have been more directly on the nose, so we motored.  As our desired course changed, so did the wind!  But no matter, that's just how it is sometimes ... anyway, the engine ran well, and we tested out the auto-pilot and our new VHF radio with AIS, and Dorothy did some knitting.

AIS (Automatic Identification System) shows you the location, name, speed, bearing, closest point of approach, and time until that closest point, for boats within a range you specify, if they are transmitting.  It is particularly useful for determining if you are on a collision course.  As we came out of Narragansett Bay, a tug with a tow was approaching, and we were able to see that it would cross our stern.
leaving Narraganset Bay -- Beavertail Point
As we got within a few miles of Block Island, we finally turned so we were about 40 degrees off the wind and were able to sail -- hurray!  We pulled out the jib only, as it was such a short time.  We sailed to the entrance to the Great Salt Pond, and sailed right on in.  It was not too crowded, and we easily found a shallow patch over near the east side.  The anchor dug well ... this anchoring was one of our smoothest ever!

We simply hung out on the boat doing this 'n' that for one day, but by Thursday we were quite ready to go visit Block Island.  Last year when we were here, we walked to town, a long, hot walk.  This time we took our folding bikes.  What a difference!  The dinghy dock is on the southwest side of the Great Salt Pond.  From there, we rode all the way to the north end of the island on Corn Neck Rd.
Block Island
We passed Sachem Pond ...
Sachem Pond
When we got to the end of the road, we walked along the National Wildlife Refuge.  The beach there was rocky:
Rocky beach
 And when the waves that washed over it receded, it made the most interesting sound -- a rattly sound -- as the rocks rolled over each other.
Receding wave over rocks
 We walked on up to the north lighthouse -- here is Fred standing in front of it:
Block Island North Lighthouse
 On the way back, we stopped at one of the swimming beach accesses -- beautiful!  A guy was body-surfing.  The water was refreshing and not too cold.  Not many people!  It was really a beautiful day!!
Block Island Beach
We went into town to do a little shopping, new crocs for Fred and groceries, then headed back.  At the dock, a little girl's hat had blown into the water, and she was crying her eyes out.  A couple who owned a golden retriever sent their dog into the water after it.  Eventually the dog brought the hat out of the water, then made a game out of keeping it away from its owner.  Eventually the little girl got her hat back, and the dog was a hero!

As we got back to the boat, a sailboat race was underway, with one of the marks close enough to our boat to give us a good view of the race.  Here are a few of the boats, in the late afternoon sun.  They were very colorful -- red, orange, yellow, dark blue, white.

Fred did almost all of the work of taking the engine off the dinghy and moving the dinghy back up onto the foredeck, in preparation for our 24-hour passage to Sandy Hook beginning tomorrow (Friday).  Thank you, Fred!

So far our route has not taken us too far.  We have taken our time getting going ... and why not.  There is no need to rush the journey.  Here is a Spot map of our route to date:
Warwick to Block Island