Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Rainy & Cloudy Day at the Beach

Today's forecast was rainy and cloudy.  The girls started the day with a bit of summer homework.
 Then we all played a few hands of UNO.
 We rounded out our morning with a game of Skip-Bo.
 It only rained in the morning, so after lunch we headed into town to do some shopping.  Julia wanted (and found) a Block Island sweatshirt.  Evelyn needed (and found) a swim shirt.  We also found some postcards and a magnet - the usual souvenirs for us Lusters.
 After shopping, we headed over to Ballard's Beach, on the south side of the Old Harbor ferry dock.
 The wind and stormy weather made for some incredible waves.  If it hadn't been so chilly, we would have stayed until the sun went down, watching the tremendous waves crash against the jetty.
 After eating out for supper, we took a stroll along Kid Beach, to see what the waves looked like there.  Not as impressive as along the jetty, but certainly bigger than what they were a couple days ago.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Mohegan Bluffs Beach

We decided to be adventurous to get to today's beach.  At first, it didn't look so bad.  The Block Island guide book had said there were 150 steps to get from the parking lot to the beach.  Yup.  We found the steps. 
 Something the guide book forgot to mention was scrambling down rocks for the last 30 feet of the descent.  Not a good idea to access this beach wearing flip flops, but we all survived.
 This morning, with our visit coinciding with low tide, the beach was absolutely perfect.
 The sand was so soft, and there were several places along the beach where we could venture out into the ocean without bruising our feet on rocks and boulders.
 But before braving the waves, Julia and Troy built some rock sculptures.  The goal of a rock sculpture is to carefully balance the rocks and make as tall a sculpture as possible.
 Naturally, we saw birds.  This time an osprey graced us with its presence.
 Wanting to take advantage of the large waves on this south side of the island, Troy and Evelyn headed into the water.  There were many large waves that crashed over them.  In the picture below, Troy stayed above while Evelyn ducked under the wave.
 A tradition at Mohegan Bluffs is to cover your skin with the healing Mohegan mud.  I'm sure it's wonderful for your skin and complexion, but Evelyn was the only one who gave herself a treatment (and only on her hands).
 One final shot of our picture-perfect morning at Mohegan -

Monday, August 11, 2014

Evening Kayak Ride

On Monday evenings, "Pond and Beyond" offers evening family kayak tours.  That means a slower pace for us (somewhat) newbies.
 These girls couldn't wait to hop into a kayak.  Since Troy is a very capable kayaker and Julia is the least experienced (and smallest), we tried to convince Julia to ride in Troy's boat.
 Nothing doing.
 Julia was my kayak buddy.  That was fine - what she lacked in paddling abilities, she made up for with her play-by-play explanations of everything we saw.
 We kayaked around the southern section of Great Salt Pond, seeing fish and oysters.  We also paddled by our rental (in the picture below).  As the sun set, we were fortunate to see the silhouettes of several night herons, waiting to catch some fish for dinner.  It was a very informative 2-hour kayak tour.

West Beach

We found out that today, Monday, August 11th, is a state holiday for Rhode Island (observance of V-Day).  That meant the beaches on the east side of the island - the beaches within walking distance of the ferry docks - would probably be busy.  Since we had our own car on the island, we decided to drive as far from the ferry docks as we could.  That took us to West Beach.  All day, the beach looked like the picture below, with nobody else there.  (Mission accomplished in avoiding the crowds!)
 The girls were so happy to have an entire day at the beach.
 It's what they love to do - hang out at the beach all day.  Literally.  We were at West Beach for over six hours today.
 We saw several beach birds, including this fascinating egret.
 In between building things in the sand and eating snacks (and lunch), the girls liked walking around the beach, looking for shells and rocks.
 Or doing gymnastics in the soft sand.
 Or finding dead crabs.
 Or planting the little sister in the sand.  All in all, it was a fun, secluded day.

Killer Donuts

We took a 15-minute, 3/4-mile walk from our rental house to find breakfast this morning.
 What kind of breakfast?  Killer donuts.  And these guys truly are killer.  You can get the donuts three ways - plain, sugar or cinnamon.
 And the best part?  They melt in your mouth.  I'm sure we'll be back for more donuts later this week!

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Kid Beach

We got to our rental house around 2:30.  After an hour of unpacking the car, we were ready for the beach.  We had been told our rental was within walking distance to Kid Beach.  We also knew that the closest shore was east of our rental.  We packed up our beach gear and started walking.  When we saw this sign, we knew we hadn't gotten lost.
Kid Beach, on the southern tip of Crescent Beach, is sheltered from the big waves, which is how it got its name.  You can see in the pictures below how small the waves were this afternoon.
 Julia couldn't wait to be reunited with her big red bucket, requesting that it be filled with ocean water.  She got right to work, digging and playing with her bucket of water.
 Evelyn hopped the waves as best she could.  They were small, which was a good way for Evelyn to re-introduce herself to the ocean.  After all, it has been two years since the girls have swum in the ocean!  (The big boat in the background is similar to the ferry we road earlier this afternoon.)
 This is as close as Julia got to getting wet.  Which, again, is why this beach is appropriately named - it's perfect for timid ones.

Block Island Ferry Ride

Today we disembarked on our second (and final) summer trip.  Destination:  Block Island.
 The girls loved the hour-long ferry ride.  They were both over-the-moon excited to be traveling to an actual island, in the middle of the ocean, for this summer's beach vacation.
 I left my "real" camera in the car, which was buried in the belly of the ferry, and practically impossible to access during the ferry ride.  So I made the most of using my phone's camera by playing around with some special effects . . .

 When the northeastern tip of Block Island came into view, it was time to head down to where our car was.  But before leaving the observation deck, I snapped a picture of the eastern shoreline.