Prudence Island, Rhode Island

Potter Cove offers an entrance to this pristine island.

prudence island

Heading back to Newport on a beam reach. photo taken by steven huffSteven Huff

Of all the sailing we’ve done over the years in New England, both coastal and inland, aboard our O’Day 22, I’d say our hidden treasure lies in the geographical center of Narragansett Bay: Prudence Island. It’s the third largest in Rhode Island, measuring seven miles long by one mile at its widest point.

At the northern end of Prudence Island lie two coves, Potter, on the east, and Coggeshall, on the west. We sailed from Newport up the East Passage, taking advantage of the prevailing southerly breeze. We entered and anchored in Potter Cove. After a short trip to the island in our inflatable, we soon were walking the island’s trails.

The Prudence Island trails are maintained by the National Estuarine Research Reserve System. A visit to the island is truly a wilderness experience, from glimpses of circling ospreys to owls in hollowed-out trees, songbirds, and the roaming whitetail deer. The salt marsh to the west supports the habitat for egrets and heron.

The following day, we tacked across the bay and sailed back to Prudence, ending the day anchored in Coggeshall Cove, where we enjoyed swimming as well as watching the setting sun.

Steven Huff is from Plympton, Massachusetts.