Wednesday it was 72º and sunny in Port Washington so some chores were finally performed. The cabin is in work mode now with most of the cushions shoved forward into the v-berth and tools scattered everywhere. Where’s that bolt! Mostly I’m making attempts to reduce the leaking into the bilge by re-bedding some stanchions and other hardwares. Laura promised she’d help this weekend since I need someone on top sides while I’m down below on the other end of the fastener. I’ll believe it when I see it!
Here are a few photos from a couple weeks ago. They have me in a good spot this year and I seem to be getting closer and closer to the water. Maybe next year we’ll just stay there.
The heaviest decision weighing at the moment is wether to scrape the many years of bottom paint which now form the topography of some hull shaped planet. It would not be enjoyable.
New Camera! Sony RX100 V. Now I just need to figure out how to use it.
We sadly departed Block and headed West. With the winds being indecisive for much of the day, we alternated between sailing, motor sailing, and plain old motoring.
We first thought of heading to Gardiners Bay and paying a visit to Greenport, but with the SW winds, heading up to CT would allow for more sailing and less motoring. Rocky had a failed balloon rescue attempt but he made up for it later on by sailing me over to this macdaddy score.
We were making pretty good time and despite the rain, decided to head all the way to the mouth of the Connecticut River. My fearless Captain kept his spirits high. And I stayed dry down below.
Up the River we went. Rocky had been here before but it was a first for me. Essex, CT was our goal. Soon after entering the river we approached Old Lyme Drawbridge which supports thousands of Amtrak passengers every day. Shortly after hailing the bridgetender on VHF he granted us permission to pass and up the bridge went!
Then the real fun began. We’ve noticed a trend throughout this trip. Every time we’re getting close to our destination for the night, conditions take a turn for the worse or something happens that creates a lot of last minute excitement. Usually it’s in the form of crazy wind. This time it was an opposing current that ran much stronger than the charts predicted and thunderstorms that were much closer than we would’ve liked ⚡️. We prefer our dark ‘n stormys in a glass over ice, thanks.
A good hour later than expected we made it to Essex and grabbed a mooring at Brewers Marina with the anticipation of some serious gusts. We took them up on their free launch service and unexpectedly went ashore with a little less than two hours to get back to the launch in time. Essex is rich in maritime and American history and it’s obvious the moment you step foot on the dock.
Happy to be dry and warm we shared the worlds most perfect french onion soup and seared tuna at the cozy Black Seal. Afterwards we hit up an old salts paradise, the Griswold Inn. The Gris. We were greeted by a talented crooner band and a huge gin and tonic.
With a few minutes to spare we made our way through the dark rainy old Essex and back to the ship.
A mariner can get almost everything he/she needs delivered right to the boat in the Great Salt Pond here on Block Island, but
we figured the food would be better and cheaper on shore AND we get to use our dinghy. Weeee!
I don’t know what I expected Block Island to be. Maybe that’s why it was so much better than I hadn’t imagined. We traversed it’s wonder by dinghy, foot and moped.
To me the island was sort of a cross between Ireland, the Caribbean and obviously New England. Maybe I haven’t seen much of New England. We zipped thru it’s lush hills topped tastefully with fine architecture this morning in awe. Even the smell is awesome.
We ventured over to dinghy beach, dropped anchor and walked over to Crescent beach where the Atlantic meets the Sound. There was a seal popping around only a few yards from the swimmers. Before I could blink Laura was down there getting uncomfortably close.
Being able to go anywhere, anytime on our little inflatable is a unique freedom. Laura loved driving it around but as I was about to take a picture of her we ran out of gas. Your humble narrator rowed us in. Almost. The wind picked up something wicked and our new neighbor friend Ian with a sailboat named Blue from NC offered to tow us over to Celeste with his dinghy. I probably should not be telling that story so most likely I will delete this.
Why are light houses so cool? Because of their resident ghosts duh.
2.5 days isn’t nearly enough time here but we should start heading back to real life. Or should we? There were many options tossed around and we’re still not sure of our next destination but we’re probably heading back west early. We’ll leave the rest up to the wind. Friday looks to have favorable winds but a lot of not so favorable rain.
It was a much shorter sail over to Fishers Island. We set a variety of sail trim attempting to exploit the 2+ knot magic carpet ride to it’s fullest. Timing the tides and currents here is crucial. We mostly sailed on a broad reach so it was a fast, comfortable sail although we did have some swells tossing us around. Top speed of 8.8 knots over the bottom. The ebbing current slid us right through The Race and into view of Fishers Island and the nation of North Dumpling.
Lord Dumpling, a.k.a. “Dean Kamen” presides over this very interesting entity. Laura had me slowly creep by for a closer look, though with the large white mainsail up we probably weren’t too stealthy. After surely being discovered, we hoped he’d call us over to join for a cocktail and discuss taking a sightseeing excursion in his helicopter (North Dumpling’s Airforce). For 10,000,000 dumplings (the nation’s currency at 1,000: 1 USD), maybe he would’ve. Cool NYT article in hyperlink.
We had plenty of space in the anchorage being it was Sunday night and it was a bright one lit up by a full moon. We started to watch the film White Squall which I thought I’d seen but apparently had not. We didn’t make it through the entire film so we have that to look forward to! I think…
Mondays’s departure to Block Island will be delayed till around 1pm as we wait for our ebbing magic carpet to begin. Laura found YouTube videos of dolphins frolicking in the Block Island Sound so she’s excited and expecting to join them.
Back at the picturesque Thimble Islands in Connecticut. Laura’s breaking out the ginger beers. The last time I was here I arrived on a perfectly calm day and departed the next morning in 30 knot winds which was quite exciting. Celeste achieved her fastest speed yet surfing down waves at 9.6 knots.
After 4-5 hours of motoring out of home base Port Washington we finally got some decent westerlies right on the stern. The noisy engine goes to sleep and we take flight wing on wing dead down wind. The wind died a bit and we wanted to make the Thimbles by sunset so we motorsailed for a moment until the wind came back with an urgency.
8 knots over ground under main alone as 28.8 kn gusts bring us in to the cute little islands each with their own 10 million dollar home perched on top. Some islands have several including my favorite island to anchor by not surprisingly called Money Island.
Laura got bored motoring so I ended up with this.
We have decided ALL of the balloons that escape from their party end up in the Long Island Sound. We decided to pluck them out when we could and are planning an extensive dead balloon montage in the future. Here are the first two. We missed a couple…
Our goal is Block Island and have no idea after that but for now we’re at anchor and the grill is heating up. Dark ‘n stormys taste so good here.