30 August 2023

On to Block Island

Our BBF got up twice in the night to look at the stars, but there weren’t any so he had a wee instead! Around 0700hrs he made some tee for everyone and some porridge for himself and Brec. Sandy stayed in bed. When they had breakfasted Brec hauled up the anchor and with Alan on the helm we motored out of the anchorage. 

As Vincent had asked the question on yesterdays Blog why were they not wearing life jackets, Alan replied that he would ensure he wore his from now on. The day was grey and chilly enough to require a jacket.

Later on after we had passed through the Wicopesset Passage it got foggy and wet enough for Alan to put on his full Oilies. We remained under engine the whole way as the wind was from dead ahead. At one stage the Fog got so thick Alan had the feeling we were motoring down hill. He said it really was an odd feeling and we think it may have had to do with the fact that there was no visible horizon! The day remained grey all the way to Block Island which after awhile we could see in the mist.

We hoped to pick up a CCA (Cruising Club of America) mooring within the Great Salt Pond, but sadly they were occupied so we had to motor around till we found a suitable one. 

Brec was on the helm and Alan picked up the mooring and made up to it.

Sandy then organised lunch, Brec gave our BBF an anchor beer, that and lunch he had in the cockpit. Brec went about his boat chores while Sandy read and our BBF had a nap below. He then had a wash and brush up ready to go ashore with Brec.

They got a water taxi to the shore and then had a long walk into town. Brec was fortunate in having had a celebration on the Island 20 years ago in May when he returned from his circumnavigation which was organised by his brother John. Some 80 people in all came. Our return by comparison was a damp squib, Alan had dressed our boat overall but there was no one on the jetty to great us or celebrate with.

They went to the veranda of the National Hotel and had a Guiness to celebrate, something Brec does whenever he is here.

Muscles were ordered and

Brec said they were finger licking good.

Afterwards they walked past the burnt out Harborside Inn to get a small ice cream before heading back to the boat and Sandy who had stayed aboard.

Our BBF then made the evening meal.

As cooks do not wash up Brec then did the necessary chores and so the day ended in harmony and a sense of well being.


29 August 2023

Back to Fisher’s Island

When we woke this morning we were uncertain as to what the day would bring. The main problem was the delivery of the life raft! Brec had been promised that it would be delivered  today, but there were no guarantees. Our BBF was woken early as Sandy needed to use the loo as Laura was taking a shower before going to work and so the downstairs bathroom was blocked. He had no idea what woke him until Sandy appeared from out of the loo.

Since he was up he might as well stay up. He had a stripped down wash got dressed and went looking for coffee. Sandy was asleep on the sofa in the front room and Brec was already in the shower. Our BBF found coffee and took it on the back porch to drink and slowly wake up. He had breakfast with Brec and when he went to the boat to stow stuff away Alan stayed behind. Sandy when she surfaced then made some salads to take aboard. Generally our BBF hates waiting so the morning was boring, after cutting up an onion for Sandy he read or played games on his iPad. For lunch he had a bowl of Sandy’s Bulgur salad which he said was quite tasty. 

John appeared at about 13:30 hrs with a trolly on which he had the life raft. Sandy informed Brec and then we waited some more till he came to collect us. Once he came the life raft was taken out of the delivery box which our BBF now cut into bite size pieces that would fit in the recycling bin. Brec loaded the car said farewell to his brother John then we were off.

At the boat yard we unloaded the car and loaded the boat. Brec gave our BBF the task of securing the raft on the centre hatch which he did, according to Brec in a seaman like manner.

They then cast off the lines and motored out of the marina.

The stress of land life falling off of Brec’s shoulders can be seen here, let the adventure begin.

The rail bridge was open so we motored on through it.

Passing the USCGC EAGLE on her mooring again on our way out. Brec then handed the helm over to our BBF who steered all the way back to the anchorage we had a few days again. The sky was now overcast again and the sun hidden behind grey clouds which made the afternoon cold enough for a jacket.


Sandy sat happily in the cockpit reading.  It took a little over two and half hours to get back and once the anchor was down Brec served out an anchor beer and our BBF set about cooking an evening meal.

Pasta with meatballs and Alan’s marinara sauce, washed down with a good red wine.

The plan now is to sail to Block Island and from there on through the Cape Cod Canal to Province Town, day sailing most of the way. What happens thereafter and where we go depends then on the weather.

The sun set over the anchorage, the humans sat in the cockpit until they were tired enough to go to bed.

Tomorrow is another day.

28 August 2023

The Picnic!

We are still on the Lane and one thing you have to understand is that the Lane is a Connecticut version of the “Waltons”!  A fantastic feeling of family and a sense of belonging to something exists here. Of the original 13 plots and houses nine are still family owned. We Bears consider ourselves lucky to have been included in this family event, now for the third time.

The day started with breakfast on the beach or at least at the head of the stairs leading to the beach.

Everyone brought something and Donald brought Bagels and for our BBF this was now a first he had never had Bagels with cream cheese before. Bruce brought coffee and Laura brought fruit and croissants. The day was clearly going to be a lovely one that starts like this.

Our BBF walked back from the beach with Roy who told him of his time after WWII when he worked in the Heifer  Project! In 1944 Dan West began a simple project to combat hunger by giving a cow to refugee farmers. These famers had to agree to pass on the gift when they could. Roy said that we worked in Austria and even remembered part of the German Speech he had learned by heart when presenting the heifer! Our BBF was most impressed and surprised at how well Roy pronounced the German that he remembered.

After breakfast the humans had to prepare for the picnic, so we bears sat on the porch with Donald and watched the world go by.

Brec had decided that he wanted to make a Rhode Island Clam Chowder for the picnic. Alan helped by acting as the Sous Chef chopping up most of the ingredients. Sandy helped by frying and stirring. Laura made meatballs with tomato sauce and a macaroni cheese for the vegetarians. Each family part brought  something so it was a great potluck party.

When everyone had arrived they were given name tags by Charlie which showed which branch of the family they came from. We Bears also got name tags. The humans then formed a circle and held hands, with us Bears  in the middle.

Roy as the oldest (91) rang the cow bell calling all to attention, then holding hands they bowed heads and remembered those who had departed since the last picnic.
They then sang the Doxology:

Praise God from whom all blessings flow
Praise Him, all creatures here below
Praise Him above, ye heavenly host
Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.

John who maintains the whole family tree then mentioned that his son Charlie had a friend at school who he discovered was a fourteenth cousin once removed and had brought him to the picnic! Brec also mentioned the demise of a special Aunt and the Buffet was then open.

The family tree maintained by John!

The food was good the atmosphere was welcoming and we and our BBF felt privileged to be part of it. There were about 30 people this year, but years ago many more attended.

This is a picture of the picnic in 1995!

After lunch traditionally the humans retire to the beach to soak up the sun and to swim.

The swim was to the Grass Rock which is just below the water. Only Brec and Charlie were brave enough to attempt it. Once there they had to stand on the rock and you can see in the picture Charlie standing and Brec sitting. All on the Beach cheered and clapped when they got there. Last time we were here in 2018 our BBF rowed out in a dinghy, but none was available this year.

The heroes return!

Our BBF had had enough sun then so returned to the house for a nap.

In the early evening Brec, Roy and John, Brec’s brother chatted to their cousin Elrod who was unable to attend.

Finger food was produced and wine drunk and the few family remaining sat on Laura’s front deck chatting into the night.

So ended another wonderful day on the Lane. So it’s “good night John Boy” from us Bears!

27 August 2023

The Lane

The humans slept well and were up early as Brec had things he wanted to do on the boat. Laura made everyone breakfast of scrambled eggs and toast with avocado and fruit.


Our BBF was surprised to see a jar of Frog Jam, but when you read the label it is easy to understand where the name came from. He said it was a quite tasty jam.

The men took the Love Bug (VW Beetle) to the boat moved it to the fuel dock, filled up and had the heads holding tanks emptied and flushed.

Back on their pontoon they filled up with water and then left the boat to go to a hardware store.

Brec took Alan then to the Waterford Public Library where he returned the Jack Aubrey tape they had been listening to and then showed him a couple of paintings hanging there done by his great grandfather Burtus Brooks. More on him later.

Back at Laura’s house Brec showed us some paintings done by his mother which decorate this lovely little house.

So we learned that Brec comes from a long line of artists, as painting is clearly in his blood. Laura made a finger food lunch which all enjoyed and then Brec went out again to do some shopping. Alan later went for a walk down the beach with Laura as the weather turned from grey to sunny and warm after lunch.

The Lane ends in a footpath and bridge to the beach at the end of it.

Both humans dipped their toes into the waters of Long Island Sound.

Where does a family tree start? Well for Brec it starts on the Lane. Here the first house belonged to his great grandfather Burtus Brooke. The original house was the small front part of the house on the left and is where Burtus A. and Emma Brooks had 15 children. 

The names of all 15 children are recorded on the walls of the dining room.

Two children died as young children and one later at 21. The plot of land which came with the house and went down to the sea was divided  up and given to each of their children when they were adults so that they could build summer cottages on it and so the larger family could come together again in the summer. As Burtus and Emma grew older they moved down the Lane into the house now owned by Laura. Brec’s grandfather rather than build a summer only residence built a permanent one in which now Brec’s brother John and his family live, right next door to Laura. At some stage approx 120 years ago the family decided to have an annual picnic on the Sunday of the weekend before Labour Day, Labour Day being 1 September in the USA.

The night before the Picnic one family member holds a bonfire where the cousins all gather and for quite a number of years Bruce has held the bonfire and Alan remembers coming in 2016 and 2018 and that there were many more cousins around the bonfire than there were today!

S’mores were made and our BBF said he made the best ever yet as not only were the marshmallows melted, but they melted the chocolate too.

Brec and his cousin Donald.

John, Brec’s brother gave Alan a bottle of Birch Beer which he had never had before, and look it had a Bear on the label! However, our BBF said, though this version was sugar free it was terribly sweet like drinking liquid marshmallows and it smelled like cough medicine! So ended our second day on the Lane.