After several weekends at Shenny, it was time for a change of scenery. We tossed around different anchorages we could try as the weekend of the 27th drew closer, but by the time Friday rolled around it was clear that winds would be light. Still wanting to go someplace, we decided to head off to West Harbor on Fishers Island. At only four nm we could ghost there if possible, and at least if we had to turn on Thumper it wouldn’t be for too long.
We left Shenny by 8:30 a.m. on Saturday morning, trying to catch the last of the light north wind before it died. We made it about halfway there before we were becalmed, so we fired Thumper up and motored the rest of the way to West Harbor. After finding a good spot in the anchorage, we relaxed for the rest of the morning and watched boat tv. We even got lucky enough to watch Aphrodite come into the harbor.
Originally built in 1937, Aphrodite is a 74 foot long motor boat that has hosted people from Fred Astaire to Harry Hopkins. She was used by the Navy during WWII as a Coast Guard Auxiliary vessel, and to ferry FDR to and from Hyde Park on the Hudson. Eventually she passed through various owners and was rotting away in Florida before being saved by her current owner. After over two years and 45,000 man hours, every piece of wood was replaced on her. Her owner says that now she’s basically a replication rather than a restoration, but she turns heads wherever she goes.
Jeff said that we saw her at a dock once (I don’t remember that), but this was the first time we saw her in action. It was very cool.
In the afternoon we decided to head into “town”, a word that’s used very loosely when it comes to Fishers Island given that it only has approximately 200 year-round residents (but the population swells to a few thousand in the summer). You don’t go there for the shops. You go there for the sheer tranquility of it. Regardless, we do enjoy walking around and browsing in the few businesses that exist.
Although we’ve been to West Harbor a few times this season, this was our first time venturing onto shore. Up until a few weeks ago we didn’t have an outboard for Pegu-teeny (we sold the previous lemon that we owned last year), and it’s quite a long row to the dinghy dock from the anchorage. We flirted with the idea of going without an outboard, testing it out for the final half of last year’s season and the first three and a half months of this year’s season. After our vacation in July though, we decided that – for us – it was simply too limiting, so we sucked it up and bought a small, air-cooled 2.3 hp Honda at Defender. Pegu-teeny doesn’t look nearly as charming with an outboard on the back of her, and she really does row like a dream, so we’ve decided to keep the Honda on the stern rail of Pegu Club and only use it when it’s a very long row – like from the West Harbor anchorage to the dinghy dock.
Buzzing along to the dinghy dock, we quickly found ourselves on shore where we enjoyed stretching our legs on a nice walk into town.
That evening we had a nice sunset with our dinner, enjoyed the stars and the Milky Way for a bit, and then spent the calmest night we’ve ever had in West Harbor. There wasn’t a speck of wind and we had apparently tucked ourselves into a spot in the anchorage that wasn’t impacted by the current. At one point I woke up in the middle of the night and it was so still it was as if we were on land. I peeked out the port, confirmed that we were still floating where we were supposed to be, and promptly fell asleep again.
Sunday was a beautiful sunny day. I was hoping to do some swimming off of the boat until I spied this:
I wasn’t entirely surprised. It seems like there have been a lot more jellyfish this year than normal. We’ve seen them at our mooring, out in Long Island Sound, floating in West Harbor, etc. Swimming season is definitely over for me until it cools off and they die out.
Since there was no way I was going in the water, we spent some time doing boat chores and hoping the wind would pick up so we could sail back. I polished the now-uncovered lifelines and the stanchions, while Jeff worked on straightening the dodger. One of the pieces that holds the dodger up had slid down, many years ago based on how stuck it was, so it tilted a bit to the right. After some hammering Jeff was able to get get the piece to release, and now the dodger doesn’t list. We also replaced a zipper pull that was missing from the sailcover.
Unfortunately the wind never really did pick up so just like the previous day, we ended up half-sailing and half-motoring our way back to Shenny. Oh well. It wasn’t much of a weekend for sailing, but we still had a great time enjoying the quiet pleasures of Fishers Island.