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Thursday, June 20, 2024

New London to Mystic ball

Our last day in New London was perhaps our most busy. Officially it was a holiday, Juneteenth, so we could take advantage of having the workday off. 

Around 9 am we got together and scooted to the Submarine Force Museum in Groton. Well, Hannah, David, and Russ scooted, I Uber-ed since my back was acting up. But that got me a great ride with a resident of New London that told me the town it on the cusp of booming. You can catch a bullet train to NYC from there, and given the sprawl, that's a big win.

On top of the Nautilus, about to 
start our tour below.
The sub museum is the home of Nautilus, one of the first nuclear powered submarines. You get to tour it, which was really cool. The museum also has an interested movie about how subs have played a part in history and (of course) the wars. To our surprise it was nearly 45 minutes long, and quite engaging.

From there was came back to the vessels and shoved off. We can stay for free on the city dock for 72 hours, and the folks there are really friendly. There are showers and laundry facilities, but Russ and I took our bulk items (big bedding, for example) to the local laundromat which was a 12 minute walk away.

It was only about an hour's ride to Mystic. In the past we've stayed at the museum. This time we took balls south of town at a local yacht club, Mason's Island Yacht Club. Once settled we piled our scooters in our dinghies and headed to Mystic. Originally we hoped to do an escape room, but the venue got sold out (silly us didn't reserved a spot). We bummed around the quaint town instead, doing a little shopping then eating dinner in the downtown area.

Russ took this while on the i-95 bridge that allows pedestrians, bikes, 
and scooters to cross the Thames. That's how they got to the sub museum.
I don't feel that I missed much...

At the moment the rest of the northeast is having a heat wave. It will be close to 100 degrees in Boston today. But here, our high is around 85. So, lucky us!

We always see or learn something new while boating. Like this
dinghy dock. You don't tie to the dock, but rather the clothesline they
provide, then you move your tender away to make space for the 
next dinghy. Very clever, but we'd never seen a dock managed that way before.





Monday, June 17, 2024

Essex to New London, city dock wall

We spent a few days anchored and around Essex. The Safe Harbor Marina new the anchor had free water and pumpouts (noted for fellow boaters), something we all took advantage of before heading to New London.

Our last day on the Connecticut River we traveled up to Haddam and anchored. We all piled into a dinghy and went to Gillette Castle. We got there around 2:30, knowing they closed at 4 pm. However, there only did tours (you couldn't walk through on your own) and those all sold out by 1 pm. Bummer! It looked like a nifty place. It wasn't until we were leaving that we read why folks go there -- it's the Connecticut home of William Gillette, a playwright and actor, most known for playing and developing the character of Sherlock Holmes. All the iconic images of Holmes (deerstalker cap, cape, pipe, and "It's elementary, my dear fellow") were due to him. Maybe we'll be back someday. I added a note to "RESERVE TICKETS!"

Gillette Castle, of which we did NOT visit.

How we got to Gillette Castle, landing a dinghy on a nearby beach.

But that all became a distant memory when, around 7:30 pm, we piled into the dinghy again and headed up river to the Goodspeed Opera House where we saw a production of South Pacific. For a small, local theater it was a great show. Excellent actors, great singer, impressive dancing, and all to live music.

The white building is the Goodspeed Opera House. Darling venue, great show.
The had a dock at the opera but it was reserved for members. A small town dock
was right next to it. It all worked perfectly.

Saturday we charged down the Connecticut River and headed just east to the Thames River. Here, in the USA they say THames, not "Temz". Our destination was, of course, London. New London, that is.

Highwind and inQuest on the CT river.
Very large, and very fast ferries come and go from New London, creating massive wakes as they do. When we came into the area we didn't like the look of the closest mooring field with all the boats there bobbing from the water. We continued beyond to another anchorage only to spy another, smaller buoy field... totally lacking in any boats. Russ called the numbers listed to reserve, we hailed on the radio, but no one responded. The buoys looked good so we grabbed one then dropped the dingy to make for the nearby dock in hopes to find someone who knew if we could stay a while.

I happened to see a couple of women go into an office nearby so I asked if they knew anything about the buoys. They didn't, but offered, "You can just dock here." They gestured to all the space around the pier restaurant. "It's free!" Magic words. So we went back to the boat, texted Highwind the plan, and sidled next to City Dock Restaurant and Oyster Bar.

Inside Fort Trumbull. Completed in 1852, it has 
a lot of aesthetics taken from Egyptian archeology.
From here we all went out to eat and then enjoyed Fort Trumbull.

Been a busy couple of days.




Friday, June 14, 2024

Saybrook to Essex, anchor

Just a couple miles up the Connecticut River was Essex. In addition to being a darling town there's a yacht club that Hannah and David have reciprocity to dine at.

Originally we were going to grab some balls at said yacht club. As we approached, however, they hailed as asked, "Are you the catamaran?" "Yes." "We don't allow catamarans on the mooring balls." Thus we anchored out, just across the way. Saved us $60 a night, too. The dinner, however, was quite good.

There's a museum we wanted to see in Essex but it's hours didn't work with the working folks on Highwind. So we're hanging out, enjoying the weather, and we'll all do the museum Saturday before getting underway to head up the river to Haddam, CT, where we'll catch a show that evening.

This promises to be a lazy summer of little boat rides. Kinda new for us!

Our anchored vessels across the river

Essex, like much of the north east coast, is big on its Revolutionary
patriotism. They build battleships here for the war, in fact. With
July 4th being just a few weeks away, everything is decorated
in red, white, and blue. Even the street divider is "in colors".





Wednesday, June 12, 2024

Mattituck to Old Saybrook, ball

Since we were rafted onto Highwind we needed to leave before them. It was quite calm when we woke, so we wasted no time to check engines and be on our way, right around 6 am. The winds prediction said today would be calm, so a good day to cross the sound to get to the north shore.

Calm inside the moorings. It doesn't read well
in the picture, but it's got little space to 
maneuver a vessel around in, say, getting to a ball.
Once we followed our track out of the twisty river (a little easier given a higher tide) we were met with rolling 1 footers on our quarter bow. As we crossed the sound the wind picked up, but we headed into it mostly. As a result, the closer we got to land the more calm the water became.

Highwind left after us, around 7:45. We received a text from them that once they hit the sound the water was 2-3 footers on their beam. I'm a total wimp on bad water -- so glad we left early.

This mooring field is crazy dense. They have tried to get as many balls in the area as they can. The current was really strong when we came in, nearly 2-3 knots against us. Add to that a very skinny depth (in places we had 2 feet beneath us), and that makes for an interesting mooring experience.




Tuesday, June 11, 2024

Port Wash -> Port Jeff -> Mattituck, anchor

Two days of travel and we mostly crossed the whole Long Island. 

June 9

We did about 4-5 hours Jun 9 to get to Port Jefferson. A bit windy but it was on our stern. We also has an outgoing tide to pull us along nicely.

The ferry is coming into Port Jefferson.
It crosses the sound, connecting Port Jeff
with Bridgeport, CT. Hourly. Seems busy
all the time, too.
We've been to Port Jefferson before, a couple times now. The town is quite cute and full of touristy eateries and shops. The Farmer's Market was still going on when we arrive, so we all checked it out first thing. Then we scooted to an escape room and played not just 1 but 2 rooms of theirs. Both were the most difficult they had. We escaped both in time, but the 2nd with only 7 seconds to spare.

Then we all grilled various proteins on Highwind's stern and enjoyed a lovely evening.


We escaped! Twice!

June 10

Up and out early today, though only for a 3 hour trip. The Highwind crew needed to start work at 11 am, so we all wanted to be anchored long before then. Not an issue for Russ and I much as we get up early.

Windy, but sunny and clear. 
Made for a good ride, all in all.
Very windy morning, but it remained from the west so the ride swishy but not uncomfortable.

Once at the inlet, we needed to snake up the river to get to the official anchorage. This was a fairly narrow, quite twisty, and at times a very skinny route -- brought back all the memories of the ICW and why we no longer enjoy doing that for a month, each way.

For some reason we believed this anchorage was larger. Comments about it said "room enough for 50 boats." Maybe they meant Jet Skis. Or kayaks. Rafted together, our two vessels take up most the room we can see here.

Sunset in Mattituck


Wednesday, June 5, 2024

Staten Island to Port Washington. ball

While in Staten Island we were able to visit NYC a couple of times. We saw 2 shows, Dungeons and Dragons, which included audience participation with our phones -- very clever -- as well as Back to the Future, the Musical. The music was period, so when the story was 1985, so was the style of music, and in 1955, very much 1955 sounding! Yep, it included a Delorian! Really well done.

Of course we ate out, went to a museum, and explored the city by subway. Gotta love getting around in New York.

We decided it was time to move towards Long Island Sound. Unlike past seasons we have no real agenda or goal this year. It's been things like "cruise all the rivers" or "get to Maine" or "do the Triangle Loop". This year it's "play on Long Island Sound", which is quite open ended. No real destination or time frame. So we'll wander for a bit until September, then start our way back to Baltimore.

Lots of commuting by bus between SI and NYC.

Dungeons and Dragons! Actors play roles
and the audience helps them. We vote and assist
by our phones.

We spent some time at the new Mercer Museum.
An amazing sound and light and tech experience.

We saw Back to the Future, a Musical.

Also, there was much subway travel.
Which I truly enjoy.

We rode the Staten Island Ferry and took this pic as we did.

Manhattan in the mist. Also the lady and a ferry.
The trip to Port Washington, while short (only 4 hours), always keeps us on our toes. First we needed to get under the Verrazano Bridge, which is the narrowest point getting into the New York Harbor, and stuffed with traffic big and small. We had to play "boat Frogger" crossing to the other side of the channel between a parade of container ships and freighters.

The next challenge it getting to and through Hell's Gate. If you don't time it right you can see currents up to 5 knots, and you don't want those against you. Moreover, you're dodging the constant flow of commuter ferries that cruise at 25 knots and zip across, or back and forth, or beside you.

The first of many lighthouses we'll
see on the sound.
But we timed the current, leaving Staten Island around 1 pm, and managed to keep out of everyone's way. All in all a good trip.