Escape to the bay

The Cranston Herald ·

The bay beckons.

I saw it Saturday when powering out of Warwick Cove, and there was a parade of incoming vessels in the wake of a sailboat under power. It looked and felt like mid-July and all thoughts and worries of COVID-19 were blown away by the warm breeze.

“Is this for real?” questioned Claude Bergeron from the wheel of his Trophy powerboat.

While parks and beaches remained closed, the waterfront is coming alive. As we motored out of the cove, boaters washed down decks and polished up some of those points they’d missed in preparation for launching. Others were already into the summer swing, clad in shorts and bathing suits, stretched out on lawn chairs and soaking in the sun. Libations were close at hand.

As Claude powered up beyond the no wake buoy off Anglesea on Warwick Neck, Greenwich Bay came into full view. Its waters sparkled, inviting. A combination of power and sailboats, some as far off as Quonset complemented the scene. By no means was it in summer hype mode when the wakes thrown up by speeding boats transforms the seas into confusion. But it was alive. We powered past a sailboat – Sound Connections – a couple in sunhats at the helm as they lazily moved along under the power of the main sail. The jib was still bagged and at the bow. We passed fishermen, some casting from the transoms of their boats for the stripers that are back while others bottom fished.

No question the boats were properly distanced. As for the boaters? Well, unless they were occupants of the giant multiple deck “Magical Days” with a Florida homeport anchored off Chepiwanoxet Point, maintaining 6-foot separation would be difficult – unless, of course, you were water skiing. I didn’t see a single mask, not even one for diving, but then the water is still cold for swimming.

We rounded the light at Warwick Neck, heading north to Rocky Point. The fishing pier to have been opened last fall, appears to be in the stages of completion with the corner posts for a shelter at its end standing with piles of lumber stacked on the decking. Galvanized protective handrails run the length of the pier and the T at its end.

And although parking lots are closed in keeping with the governor’s executive order, Rocky Point had its share of visitors. People were walking their dogs. Kids ran up the hill where the Shore Diner Hall once stood.

The bay beckons.

The environs were even livelier in East Greenwich harbor. As we approached we spotted three powerboats rafted off Goddard Park.

Distancing? Well, not exactly.

We exchanged waves with those powering out of the harbor. There were smiles and a few pumped fists – like they’d broken out of prison.

The harbor was busy. A couple of kayakers weaved between moored craft and inflatables, occupants wearing life jackets (dogs, too) powered along. People sat on their boats. They talked with friends in neighboring vessels. We spotted a couple of boats tied up at Finn’s Harborside for takeout, a waiter wearing a mask with a tray of drinks.

Claude puffed on a cigar. He lights up when he gets on the water … now more than ever. And indeed, in these times, not only does the bay beckon, but it is also a great escape.