Saturday, August 4, 2012

Kaving by Kayak?

It began apparent very early into my most recent vacation trip, that the focus should be on learning the ropes of kayaking and all the equipment. However, that certainly did not preclude the possibility of my usual 'norm' with the rocks and history to be explored.

Cave in quartz along the Rhode Island shoreline

All started off with a bit of a bang as I made my way across the Rhode Island border from Massachusetts and ended up in the water of the Mt. Hope Bay. A lead had surfaced on a cave there and here was the opportunity to check it out. Right in the neighborhood of King Philip's old seat of power! The cave is small. Barely able to hold one individual but its uniqueness is that it lays within a vein of quartz at an area once know as White Rocks.

The Profile @ Newport. Very early 1900's postcard

The second day I decided to dig deeper into the old research files. A project I had long tried to work unsuccessfully from the shore: Profile Rock around Newport Harbor. It had been established in the past that the location was really adjacent to the Harbor (or part of) at Brenton Cove. So a very through examination of the rocky ledges was made along the Cove's perimeter. Nothing really definitive showed itself although I'm confident the area of the postcards was covered. Probably not too surprising as this seemed to be a very marginal feature likely relying on a illusion that at least partially was accented by shadows. But a tour of Newport Harbor followed carefully checking the rocky shoreline areas. In a prelude of what was to come, many interesting 'cave-like' features were seen but nothing that anyone could call a cave. Farther out on the rolling seas, I passed by old Fort Adams and briefly turn down the coast before bringing myself back into Brenton Cove.

I made the trip out Conanicut Island and the Town of Jamestown on the third day to continue exploration of the rocks between the Dumplings and Southwest Point. Although this area is reported to have a (Captain) Kidd's Cave, nothing of significance was noted. But the cave was reported to be a small hole in the rocks and yes - something like that was seen near the reported location. Nearby is also the "White Streak" a significant vein of quartz within the cliffs. Difficult to gain access by land at low tide, the view from the ocean is close to astounding.

A fairly significant profile feature was seen near Southwest Point but I have learned how difficult photography can be (nearly impossible?) from a bouncing, moving boat. The southern tip of Beavertail is also a good place to spend some time. A couple 'quasi cave' formations in an arch, and adjacent cave with intact columns, are located here. A small sea cave up the western shoreline was investigated a few years back.

A large portion of my 'down time' was spent working various shorelines and setting up future access points. By day four that paid off handsomely as I set off from the southern shore of Newport, on some VERY choppy seas, to see what might be seen over at the old Spouting Cave/Rock. The voyage was anything but routine, however I finally did end bouncing up and down - and all around - off the shore of Spouting Rock. Nothing noteworthy was seen but perhaps the view from ocean level is not the best way to view it. There is another story floating around that it was dynamited in recent times because of the landowner's impatience with trespassers. Sadly, it may be that the best images are from the library of antique photographs that exists.

A break for lunch then it was back to the water. This time on the mainland to the East at the Sakonnet River. There was a past report of a cave in this vicinity and some significant outcrops of Purgatory Conglomerate do exist. But a cave - probably doubtful.

Outcrops of Purgatory Conglomerate along the Sakonnet River

The fifth - and final day - was shaping up to be brutally hot and humid. So I got an early start and dropped in to visit some of my all time favorite (Dighton) conglomerate rock formations just across the border into Massachusetts. Amongst these were Abram's, Lion, and Wildcat Rock. Just a bit further to the west, the geology now becomes the Rhode Island formation, which I definitely noticed while out at Devil's Rock.

Already beat up by the heat by noon, I made a hasty exit to my car for the long journey hone.