Monday, July 23, 2007

Clay Head, Block Island, RI

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!

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Rain Day at Block Island

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

Monday, July 16, 2007

New London, CT

We attended 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 Logo

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Broadband Network Aboard

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)

Readings: (what is EVDO) (PCMCIA) Express Cards) (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) (Wilson Electronics the source for the antenna);HHOJSID=HcnJGWMJ1n38JT2Zb1F4v2vsHJRClfmgtbpf1qJ3GJmKTyYPsyrT!1752868021
(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 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 and pick a country.

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

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Crescent Beach via Great Salt Pond

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)

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Swans at Anchor, Block Island

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 our work in the AM and then head to the ocean side beach!

Sunday, July 8, 2007

Saturday, July 7, 2007

Block Island, RI at anchor

Living on the anchor at Block Island, RI is near paradise! We are currently at the BLISS Rendezvous and having a wonderful time. Last night we had a storm and I had to run the dinghy out into the storm to check on the boat. Of course we held tight but the boat next to us broke free and was washed up onto the rocks. They got off this AM and are now floating free again. Uploaded here is abeautiful sunset photo from last night of Radeen as we head back to the boat after dinner.

Also here is a 360 degree video of the anchorage. It may not be that clear due to me still working out the resolution and compressions, but it shows that harbor and where we are.

Thursday, July 5, 2007

Dealing with Water on anchor

Living on a boat at anchor without a watermaker or a rain collection system demands getting water in two ways. One pulling up anchor and motoring to a fuel dock and taking on water, or two going to shore with the dinghy and 5 gallon water jugs and carry the water back to the boat. We carry water back since that is a bit easier. Two people living on a boat will use 15 gallons per day on average. Our boat holds 90 gallons of water, so that will last 6 days. This water is used for showers, cooking, dishes, and washing down the boat. The toilet uses sea water to flush into the holding tank so no fresh water is used for flushing. So, the standard game plan is to everyday run to shore with your water jugs and bring back 15 to 20 gallons. Upon returning to the boat you lift these 5 gallon jugs onto the deck from the dinghy and then climb up onto deck and carry the jugs to the deck water fill fitting. Next you open the deck fill fitting and using a funnel you pour the 15 to 20 gallons of water into the boats water tank. This is our procedure everyday when living on the anchor. Here is a photo of "water boy" at work on day 1 at Block Island, RI. In the photo I am pouring the water into the deck fill and the additional 4 jugs are up on deck next to me. Imagine the next time that you use water, that you will have to go fetch and carry back all the water you use! Welcome aboard, conserve water!

30 Knots @ Anchor Block Island

We spent our first night at anchor in true Block Island style with the winds blowing 25 to 30 knots and boats dragging anchor other boats blown up onto the rocks, dinghies breaking feee and drifting by and white caps and wave in the pond. Of course this all happens at midnight to 2 am and the VHF radio is lively with all the hailing and distress calls being broadcasted. We did not have any trouble, lucky for us. We have out a 44 lb Bruce anchor and 175 feet of chain in about 30 feet of water so we held tight all night long. One of the beauties of Block is that in the AM, the pastry boat arrives hailing..."Andiamo....Andiamo" with fresh cinnamon rolls, cheese danishes, hot coffee, and fresh fruit. You have to love Block Island. Here are a few photos to enjoy.

Snubber Line on deck with back up snubber to port
No load is on the windlass
Snubber does not need to be over the bow

The Dinghy Dock where you park your "car"

Our first walk around the town with the Narragansett Hotel in the background

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Network Speed Test

We are 10-15 miles offshore near Montauk Point, NY and we just uploaded videos to YouTube! This made me check out our network speeds using or Here are our network speeds which I find unreal this far offshore! 1155 kbps download and 406 kbps upload speeds!

Sunrise Video off Montauk Point, NY

We are 25 miles from Montauk Point with current on the bow as the sound ebbs out to sea, ugh! The winds have been calm all night with 8-10 from the SW nearly dead astern so we ran a jib along with the engine all night making 6.5 knots. We do not have a spinnaker, but if we did, it would have been perfect for that. With the boat speed at 6 and the wind at 10 apparent wind is 4 and very light with the jib collapsing half the time. If we would sail with a full main the jib would be too blanketed so that we killed at sunset. Looks like we will arrive Montauk around 10am and Block around Noon.Happy July 4th everyone

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Sunrise sailing off Atlantic City

What a perfect day off Atlantic City as we sail our way to Block Island. Enjoy!

Depart Cape May July 3rd , 2007

Team Island Spirit pulled the anchor at 0100 and set the course for Block Island. Winds are currently from the west at 8 Kts. We are motor sailing with the jib alone at a SOG of 7 Kts. Entry being made via Blackberry over the Verison EVDO network. More updates to follow.

JRG's BlackBerry

Monday, July 2, 2007

WOW, what a ride! 27 knots, 7.5speed

Team Island Spirit had a fantastic run from Rock Hall, Md direct overnight to Cape May, NJ 110 miles. We left Rock Hall Sun at 1pm and with 10 knots of wind we ended up sailing over towards Baltimore hoping that the next tack onto Port would allow us to make turkey point. Not so due to current on the nose and a north wind making it a very close beat. After 1.5 hrs of having fun sailing, we decided we needed to make way towards the C&D. We had no plan other than to NOT get into the C&D before 5:45pm when the current would then turn east running into the Delaware Bay. Blasting through the C&D we tested out our broadband onboard Verizon network and place a Skype video call back to Jeff’s family and realized that we had one cool set up onboard! Laptop #2 was listening to AIS with Sea Clear displaying their info on our free ENC charts. Laptop # 3 was Jeff’s laptop and he was tapping into his email and checking weather and surfing the web. Yes, we are techno geeks and wanted to really hit this setup with all we had, sure enough, it is working very well. We exited the C&D at 2300 hrs and decided with this north wind of 15 and a full moon, we would not stop at Reedy but rather we would keep on the ebb tide and run this to Cape May. With 50 miles to go, we ran all night with 2 on deck at all times and one off watch taking 2 hrs to sleep. ( I sleep from 2am to 3:44am) The wind built to a high of 27 knots with an average of 18 to 20 knots from the port beam. We arrived at the Cape May Canal at 6am, and ran the canal pulling into Utches Marine fuel dock at 7am. After taking on fuel we motored over to the anchorage area next to the Coast Guard station and drop the hook and got to use my NEW Lofrans Tigress windlass. What a dream that machine is, it works great! Now we are testing out the network with 3 laptops online, and performing speed test and we have 800Kbps download speeds and 500Kbps upload speeds from the boat via the Verizon EV-DO broadband network. Check out your own speeds at: . OK, time to catch up on some sleep.

Sent via email blogging, cool!

PS: We took some videos that we will upload and of course tons of photos.

Chesapeake Bay / C& D Canal

We headed up the bay departing around 1pm and arrived at the head of the bay around 5 due to current on the nose. But, this put us into the C&D with the current flowing east to the Delaware Bay. Once in the Delaware Bay we had to push current for 1 hr till that bay turned and he sailed ourt Jib with 15 knots on the beam under FULL MOON all night! This is why we did not stop at Reedy Island, it was just too nice to stop, so here we are heading down the Delaware Bay around midnight. Here are a few photos of departure and the C&D.

The happy shot as we leave the dock. That is always the toughest part of any voyage

Jeff Gabor, our good friend and crew

The RL70C Plotter / Radar in the C&D

The view of the C&D Canal from the helm

OK, it is 1:30 AM and I am in the middle of the Delaware Bay, Radeen is on watch, Jeff is off watch, I need to go to the other laptop and check the AIS ship data in our area. I see a ship out the porthole. More fun later.

Watches tonight: 2200-0000 Hayden, 0000-0200 Radeen, 0200-0400 Jeff, The we start again. We keep two on deck at all times at night, except to do post like these. OK, off to help Radeen.

Sunday, July 1, 2007

Heading NORTH...departure

FYI all North East sailors, team Island Spirit has departed Rock Hall, MD for points NORTH. With the current high pressure and forecasted winds we may go for a non-stop passage to Block.  Otherwise the plan is Reedy Island or C&D tonight, Cape May Monday night, Block Wed by NOON. We are a mobile hot spot via Verizon broadband and my digital cell antenna out on the solar frame. More on the ship’s network later. We have Jeff Gabor aboard and since he missed Block Island last year, we hope to show him a better tour of Block this year. OK, time to get a power nap as we approach the top of the Chesapeake Bay.