Point Judith Pond, Rhode Island

Phil & Nikki Hoskins
Tue 24 Aug 2010 20:23
We had an uneventful trip from Provincetown to Cuttyhunk although the waters in the Cape Cod Canal are capable of being extremely unpleasant if strong tides and winds are opposed. There were moments when Ajaya reared up and slammed into the next wave as we motored through with 3-4 knots of favourable current. This was caused by large powerful motorboats going in the opposite direction their wash hitting the tide stream causing standing waves which we then hit. Not pleasant but it didn't last long.
Cape Cod Canal - no fog this time though                                                                        The ornate raised railroad bridge
The other side of the canal in Buzzards Bay was a melee of sports boats whizzing in all directions making it tedious. Some take a perverted delight in heading for you at speed before deciding which side to pass on - like playing 'chicken'. The fishing wasn't good either and Skip eventually tired of removing handfuls of weed from the two trailing lures. It wasn't to be our day.
The forecast was for stronger winds in the coming days so we made for Cuttyhunk the last island in a small chain just north of Martha's Vineyard. The forecast for the next day was favourable for us to push onwards towards Long Island Sound with New York guarding the other end some 130 miles away - it is a long island!
The night at Cuttyhunk was pleasant enough and quite crowded. The southeast breeze was steady and the anchorage outside was secure from that direction. Given a couple of days and the northeasterlies would make the anchorage untenable. A fun-loving boater had stealthily placed a large figurine on top of the No 6 red buoy at the entrance to Cuttyhunk harbour which was photographed by many - including us.
View from our anchorage towards Cuttyhunk entrance                                                                    Red buoy 6 has a new addition
Having sailed from Cuttyhunk in deteriorating weather with the forecast being a little conservative on wind strengths we made it into the Harbour of Refuge at Point Judith with 20 knots gusting 25 and building seas. This is a major system coming through that will last for 3-4 days with the centre of a low-pressure cell passing virtually overhead. As we anchored behind the breakwater we could see small boats battling through large seas trying to get back to their home ports from their weekend cruise. The Coastguard was taking lots of calls and was kept busy throughout the rest of the day. We were safe but it was unpleasant and winds were forecast on Monday to go through the 35 knot range but veering into the northeast so staying where we were wasn't an option although there were other possibilities within the breakwater area. Another plan was to enter Point Judith Pond where shelter would be much better in shallow water and behind land. In the Harbour of Refuge we were getting blasted by winds with nothing to break them up. Some boats came, anchored then ploughed out into the steep breaking seas and headed to windward - rather them than us we said.
The anchorage behind the breakwater in the Port of Refuge - Judith Point. Not the prettiest place but ok for a while
Late afternoon we entered the Pond passing between Galilee and Jerusalem - a very narrow entrance with lots of tide helping us into the area of shallows with narrow channels - one of the reasons we stayed out in the breakwater was to wait for more depth getting into the Pond area.
                                                               Entering Point Judith Pond - Jerusalem on the port aft quarter
We motored a couple of miles up and anchored in strong winds in a small cove with moorings and a private marina. The anchor held first time which was just as well as by morning the winds were constantly into the late 20s but with massive gusts to 40 knots. Nearby Block Island which is more exposed reported gusts to 60 knots. At times we felt the boat lift as the wind blasted beneath our bridge deck but the anchor has now held for two nights and whilst a run ashore would be desirable we are just sitting this system out until it moves further north. We can then get underway once again.
This morning we heard a thud overhead on the coach roof and saw a massive seagull with a very mean looking beak which just happened to have an eel in its mouth - yuk! As Skip went outside and shouted at the gull - words roughly translated to implore it to 'go away' the gull duly did as told but failed to take its freshly caught meal with it which then slithered down the coach roof, then over the forward windows and onto the foredeck at which time the gull returned for a second attempt at having lunch. This time the Admiral banged the forward hatch (her knuckles hurt afterwards) and screeched in a gull-like manor (quite convincing and useful  as a paid bird scarer if we run short of money). The gull took off again, at which time she won the on-board vote for going forward with a boat hook to shove the blasted eel back into the water where it would hopefully swim back down to the bottom. This achieved - watched closely by the gull and some of its friends, with Skip safe inside the boat she quickly retreated inside as the Admiral still had recent recollections of a close encounter with gulls at Block Island and didn't want any repetition as these were gulls of a larger and nastier variety.
The brave 'Admiral' playing deck shove-eel                                                                     On its way back to from whence it came!
The wind is forecast to lay down tomorrow when we can plan an escape before we become a high class gull dining platform covered in guano and fish bits! A sign that we have become too much part of the local scenery.