Rose Island

The Newport boat show is underway so there’s no sense in trying to hang out in Newport for the next few days. Instead, we took the water taxi from Jamestown to Rose Island to check out the lighthouse and the island. It’s a flat island between Jamestown and Newport and directly below the Newport Bridge.

The lighthouse, besides serving as a navigation aid, also is a B&B. Comfy rooms right out of the 1890s. Bring your own food. There are few amenities…unless you want to scavenge seagull eggs in the brush. Still, it might make for an interesting writer’s retreat. Just remember: BYOB.

During WWII the island was a military base for making torpedoes. Back then, Rose Island was stripped of vegetation to make way for buildings, barracks, and 500 people. The people, and presumably the torpedoes, are long gone and the foliage has returned with a vengeance. To find and reach some of the old, abandoned buildings, you need a tank or a flame thrower. One of the caretakers showing us around said he had a tractor and a chainsaw. He’s making progress rediscovering bunkers and buildings, old walkways, and long overgrown railway tracks. Cool place. I need to go back for a longer walk around the island.


Armada de Molucca

I was just onboard a replica of Magellan’s 500-year-old flagship, Nao Trinidad. It was one of five ships in the 1519 Armada de Molucca sailing around the world. Magellan made it as far as the Philippines. I may have to re-read Bergreen’s Over the Edge of the World.

Magellan and his crew were not 21st-century men. They were cruel, violent, superstitious, incredibly ignorant about everything, greedy, zealously ideological and theological, and they smelled really bad. But they had nerve. Nerve enough to say across unknown oceans with little more than a compass, bad food, and a rat-infested wooden boat that leaked and depended on the vagaries of the wind to get from point A to the next unknown point. Or maybe they were just idiots.


A Friend’s Review

“I just finished reading “Shadow Of The Moon” and must say that it was an interesting read.  I had a tough time starting it, likely due to knowing the author and I found I was constantly asking, “Where did that come from?”  You had to have done some quite voluminous research for this one.

That said, the further I got into it, the more I became invested in the story and the characters.  You touched on so many things other than the science – the geography of the area at that time, the dress of the characters, the women’s suffrage movement and the general treatment of women (especially female scientists), the competition of the railway companies, and on, and on.

I read late into the night last night and finished up at the pool today (greatly reducing my time in the water).  As with all good literature, I found my reading pace quickening as I read further into the book, wondering from about 100 pages to go, how will he end it?  What will become of everyone?

…you ended with a wonderful section of author’s notes which I not only found fascinating; but it also piqued my curiosity – I shall be doing some character googling later tonight.”