Sunday, July 17, 2016

Long, Longer, Longest Long Island Sound (extended)

June 24 - July 1 (And still trying to catch up)

Port Washington, New York - June 24-26

The trip through New York City was just awesome. Although it was a relatively short travel day, it seems like you have traveled to a very different place when you turn the corner into Long Island Sound. Both Junie and I have, in our past travels, spent time around either the island or the north shore but, now, here we were sailing it. Given that these were some of the longest daylight days of the year, we had plenty of time to make it to Port Washington for our overnight stop.

Port Washington is very friendly to transient sailors. In fact, they have mooring balls throughout the harbor and they are available, free for two days, on a first-come-first-served basis. There were several still empty when we arrived and we slid right up to one and Junie grabbed it like a pro. As we were settling in, I commented that I thought the boat next to us, Kismet, looked familiar. A few minutes later, Jim and Laurie showed up in their dinghy. We had met them two years ago in Oriental, NC as we were preparing to leave for the Virgin Islands! They, too, are on their way to Maine after they take care of some personal business. I am sure that we will cross paths again. Such a small world.

Sunset at Port Washington
Port Washington has two separate public dinghy docks at opposite sides of the harbor. One of them is right across the street from a Stop and Shop (big grocery chain store). Even though we didn't need much, we had to go buy some stuff just because it was so convenient. We also walked Tilly around for a while and then took her back to the boat. She needed some quiet time and we needed to walk around town without a crazy puppy for a few minutes.

We got some lunch and ice cream - no surprise there - and took in the town. It is obvious that you are still right next to New York. A local person summarized one particular restaurant as appealing to the  'Bridge and Ferry Crowd'. We found Port Washington to be a pretty nice place to spend a couple of days. On a free mooring ball, no less.

Port Jefferson, New York - June 26 - 28

Port Jeff is a busy place. They have ferrries - BIG ferries - that run all day and go fast. They also have smaller ferries, dinner cruise boats and general boat traffic. Once again, you can anchor here but it can be far out beyond all of the mooring balls. So we took a mooring ball again.

They did have a launch service included but we also had our dinghy available  because they have a dog beach. We have to make a concerted effort to find enough exercise for Tilly. Anytime we can let her run and swim, we have to make it happen. She has a lot of Lab puppy energy to let out. So, if a town is good enough to provide a beach to let dogs run free, we are there. We ran her around until she was showing some sign of slowing down and then took her back to the boat for a quick shower for everybody.

One of Junie's friends from back in working days lives very close by. We appreciated Mark making time to come see us while we were there and we were supposed to meet at a pizza place in town. Unfortunately, a fire at the restaurant next door closed down Main Street and hosed our plans (sorry for that word play. I couldn't pass it up). We ended up grabbing  a stromboli and an eggplant parm at Vincenzo's instead and met up with Mark later. We stopped, predictably, for Italian Ice before heading back to the boat to make preparations to move on.

Saybrook Point Marina, Connecticut - June 28 - 29

One of the things we have learned through our travels - if you are going to go pay for a marina, plan to get there as early as you can to take advantage of it. In keeping with that logic, we were off of our Port Jeff mooring ball very early the next day to make a quick run across the Sound to Saybrook. We needed fuel and water but figured we could scope out the marina and see if they had a slip available. This is actually a resort and marina. It is way beyond what we needed and expensive.

We went into the fuel dock just as they were opening up. The dockhand, who turned out to be the marina manager, was a nice young lady that answered all of our many questions as she helped us fill up with diesel and water. Yes, they had slips available. Yes, there were some T-head slips. Yes, that one right behind the fuel dock with the easy access was empty and we could get it for the night. This marina is a top-notch facility. Outstanding docks and equipment that are on par with the beautiful resort and grounds. Judging by the cleats on the slip we were looking at, it probably normally berthed a very big mega-yacht that happened to be out of town for a few days.

We decided to take it. We moved SeaClearly around, tied up and plugged into shore power for the first time since we left York River Yacht Haven a few weeks back and cranked up the AC. We took Tilly out for a walk and then back to the boat. That still left us enough time to walk up to the resort restaurant for breakfast. It does pay to get an early start.

As always, grocery and laundry are two main concerns. They had laundry facilities at the resort hotel. The resort had a free shuttle that would drive you all around. By evening, we were all stocked up, Tilly had a good long walk, and we were doing laundry while eating Cioppino at an outdoor table by the water. A long day but very productive and enjoyable.

The next morning, Junie discovered that there was a Dollar Tree nearby. She left me to organize the boat for leaving while she took the shuttle to go get some cleaner that would prove critical in a few days. By the time she got back, the tide was turning on the Connecticut River and it was time to go.

Fishers Island, Connecticut - June 29 - 30

I have to admit that Fisher Island was a stop of convenience. It happened to be a short trip from the marina and in the right direction. We got in fairly early, anchored out on the edge of the channel (after dodging a few sailing dinghy lessons in progress) and spent an uneventful night with a couple of other sailboats. It is a beautiful place that we just passed through.

Third Beach, Rhode Island - June 30 - July 1

It would have been nice to visit Newport, Rhode Island. We have been there by car but it is a sailing mecca and it would have been cool. But, it is now Fourth of July week. There are no mooring balls to be had. We can hear people calling the Harbormaster in vain. Anchoring would be insane. So, we opted to pass that by. Maybe another time or on the way back south. Instead, we ended up around the corner at a place called Third Beach. The weather was supposed to take a nasty turn in the evening - thunderstorms, high winds - as a front passed. Third Beach had the right protection. They had cheap (relatively) mooring balls so we good make a quick exit the following day when we wanted to head toward, and through, the Cape Cod Canal. 

The Harbormaster met us as we approached a mooring and recommended that we take a different ball based on the predicted weather. It turned out to be a better looking ball with heavier tackle so that was good. I managed to get a boat-hook tangled up in the mooring lines and bent the crap out of it. Something else to fix later.

The Harbormaster also pointed out an area where we could take Tilly to the beach. It turned out to be not nice. The beach was all broken shells embedded in mud. Every time she jumped into the water, a cloud of mud would swirl around her. We were all filthy by the time we loaded back in the dinghy and returned to SeaClearly. Frankly, the area of the beach that the people were using didn't look much better. More sand on top.

While we were dirty and in the dinghy, we decided to clean some of the brown Chesapeake and Delaware Bay stains off the hull. We did one side at the marina so we looked good from one direction. As we worked around SeaClearly, the dinghy repeatedly stalled. The weather started kicking up so we half-ass finished cleaning the hull and lifted the dinghy onto the davits for travel the next day. We sat through some thunder and lightning but it was not as bad as the dire warnings had indicated. The next morning, we dropped the mooring ball and headed off to the east and the end of Long Island Sound.

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