On 10th July we sailed – yes, sailed rather than motored – from Block Island to New Bedford. Maria had already arranged a mooring buoy with the New Bedford Port Authority, so all we had to do was to track down number nine buoy. Eventually, we found it, but someone was on it. After grassing him to the Port Authority, he soon moved. We then grabbed the ropes on the buoy, tied up, picked up Julian and Patricia and headed into town for dinner at the Cork Wine and Tapas Bar.
New Bedford delivers a stunning contrast to the dedicated tourist places such as Newport and Block Island. Although the ports heritage is whaling, long-ceased of course, this is still very much a fishing port. Large fishing trawlers line dominate the skyline, most of them fishing for scallops. And the scallops here are superb.
Up to 1859, New Bedford was the principal supplier of whale oil to Britain, where it was in popular use in oil lamps because it burns smoke-free. So, the next day, to find out more we joined the OCC crowd for a guided tour of the Whaling National Historical Park given by one of the volunteers. After watching a film describing the history of whaling, our guide took us around the town to help set the buildings into historical context. Huge wealth came from this industry. And one of the more interesting tales is that of Paul Cuffee, the son of a slave who became a Quaker businessman, sea captain, and abolitionist. Much of his story is told on Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paul_Cuffee.
Shopping, Beer and Barbecue
After the tour, we hiked to the shops to get some food to put on the barbecue planned for later in the evening. Then, as New Bedford is also the birthplace of Herman Melville, the writer of Moby Dick, Maria and I had lunch at the Moby Dick Brewery. Here we also watched England make an arse of things with their match against Croatia. The beer here is very good. It should be… the brewer has been at it for 20 years.
That night we took some pasta salad to share, and the comedy-sized sausages we bought earlier that day for entertainment, to the barbecue at Pope’s Island Marina. Everyone on the OCC cruise bar one couple, I think, was there. It was a good night, no doubt helped along with the sight of our sausages and a bottle of burn yo ass sauce.
On the way back to the boat, in the pitch black, we caught a sack around the outboard propeller. It stopped us dead in the water. Fortunately, after a few minutes wrangling, we were able to free it from the propellor and pull it onboard. While I wrestled with the sack, someone in a launch from the harbourmaster’s office kindly stood by while we sorted it out. Luckily though, nothing was broken and we were able to continue back to Lady Jane with no further incident.