Two nights prior the crew of Highwind and we sat outside the Stonington Ice Cream shop eating their lobster rolls (yes, you read that right -- everything sells lobster rolls here, even the ice cream store). Both David and Russ were pawing through their cells comparing information about Aragosta. This was a highly rated restaurant right in the area. Both tried making reservations but the place was booked out until September. David sat upright and announced they did have availability on Thursday for the tasting menu. 8:15 pm. That's usually bedtime for Russ and me, but that seemed like serendipity. He booked it on the spot.
|Last time through Stonington|
However. A storm front was coming in. Weather was predicted around 9 pm until 11 pm, bringing high winds (heh... like their boat's name).
|By the pricking|
of my thumbs...
So. We were sticking with plan A.
Everyone prepared for this. I brought a change of clothes, Hannah and David wore cover garments so their fancier clothes stayed dry. We even had shoes to change out of since beaching a dinghy means stepping into water.
By the time we headed over, around 7:15 pm, the wind had already come up. We managed to get a couple of waves into the tender, starting the soaking early. But, again, we were prepared for that. It was fine.
|Dinghy on the loney beach, the log is our moor.|
Taken for insurance purposes...
That accomplished we went inside, changed our clothes, washed our feet (sssssh! Don't tell the restaurant), then waited for our seating. Which was short, since all that took a lot of time.
The tasting was wonderful. We had about 10 items served to us throughout the night. They even accommodated Russ and my being pescatarians. The service was great, the drinks were great (we didn't have many, just in case you were wondering), and the food was outstanding. And no, none of us, none of us, had the presence of mind to take pictures of the meal. Boaters!
When the alarm went off at 9 Russ and David went to inspect the dinghy. The water line had already gotten to a few inches up on the mooring log. They adjusted it, moving it more onto land and resetting it, and, as they were returning to the restaurant, the rain started.
It rained on and off throughout the dinner.
By 10:45 our meal wrapped up. We all donned our rain gear or still wet clothes from the ride over, and headed, now in the total darkness, down to the dinghy.
The water level had risen a lot, but the makeshift anchor moor still held. The first task was to get the dinghy to shore. Keep in mind, there's an anchor way out in the water (which did it's job of keeping the dinghy off the beach so it didn't get beat up). Recall the waterline had moved a lot since we tossed it off the back. So chore number one was dragging the boat in, trying to overpower the bunged and anchor, which was an effort for both Russ and David.
They managed, we climbed into the already soaked boat (sitting in the rain, getting pummeled by waves). The engine started without flaw. We backed up, pulling up the bungee, and released the anchor. That all sounds very matter of fact, but keep in mind, it's night, it's raining, and we're being bashed by waves. I got out a huge, bright flashlight (we did plan ahead!) and scanned around to find land to get some idea of what direction we needed to go. And we were off.
Immediately it became clear everyone had to help. Russ drove the dinghy. David, using Navionics on his phone, gave Russ directions. I held the large flashlight high to scan the water since lobster traps abounded and needed to be avoided. Poor Hannah, at the bow of the dinghy and on hands and knees, shouted directions to avoid said lobster traps, using her arms to point left or right. I say "poor Hannah" because we were inundated, wave after wave, with cold, salty water. We all got covered and soaked, but Hannah had them right in her face. In case that sounds dreadful to you, she was laughing the entire time.
From my vantage this was like some wild Disney ride. It was pitch dark. While I'm holding a light high so Hannah can see but I cannot. And every few seconds someone threw heavy buckets of water at us. I couldn't see the sea, or the chop, or the land, or the waves, just Hannah pointing, David huddled over his phone trying to keep it dry so it would continue to work, and huge water spray in the light as it smacked our bow and arched over us
|Hannah, safely back on Highwind.|
inQuest is the distance light...
Getting the dinghy affixed to the boat and raised was a bit of a challenge in the 2-3 foot chop. Once that was done, once all the wet clothes were removed, once we quickly rinsed off the sea water, we went to bed, which bounced for hours from the storm. Needless to say, bellies full, brains buzzing from the adventure, and bodies bouncing on the boat, we didn't sleep all that well.
|The morning after... Highwind through the fog.|
We headed north to Bucks Harbor. The water were a little churned, swells with quicker periods, but not bad. The further north we went the calmer they got. Bucks Harbor has tons of mooring balls which we navigated to get to our assigned one. Then we passed out doing laundry intermittently. After two nights of fantastic meals, we're due for a humble one.
That was a night for the books.
|Lovely voyage in the morning.|
You'd never know.
|The trip in the morning.|