Snippets of Southern New England

When I last left off we were debating whether we were going to head north for awhile or spend some time in Long Island before moving south.  Ultimately we decided to take the slow route though Long Island, but Mother Nature (also known as our desire not to motor everywhere) dictated that we first spend another 12 days in Fishers Island Sound.  

Criss-crossing the Sound, we spent some time in West Harbor before moving to Mystic.  Mystic personifies the growth in our confidence over the past year.  Before we went cruising we had talked about taking Pegu Club up the river into Mystic, but several things made us hesitate: the long motor up the river, having to time the openings for two bridges (the first of which doesn’t keep an opening schedule because it’s a busy Amtrak railroad bridge), and the fact that the charts indicated that the water above the Seaport was extremely shallow even though we had heard it had been dredged.

One year later the motor up the river at thirty minutes is actually pretty short (and very scenic);

we have no problem with circling or motoring in place while we wait for bridge openings;

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After watching the show over the years, this time we were part of it!

and we had confidence in the dredging reports and easily nosed our way past the Seaport within an hour of high tide, all the while keeping an eye on the depth sounder. 

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Our quiet anchorage by the cemetery.

The channel past the markers was 5’ at low tide and the anchorage was deep enough at 8’, but it was definitely narrow.  I discovered exactly how narrow when I tried to make a 180 degree turn into the wind and started pushing mud.  That’s also something that would have caused me great anxiety in the past, but now I knew that it was nothing that backing up couldn’t take care of.  

We were rewarded with several days in a scenic, protected anchorage within easy dinghy distance of downtown Mystic.    

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Motoring past Mystic Seaport.  On the left is the Roann which is being worked on, and to the right is the Drakan, an example of a Viking longship which spends the summers at the Seaport.  The Mayflower II is being restored under the white cover.
We went to the library to get a 50% off pass to the Seaport.  Gorgeous brick building!  They just don’t make them like this any more.

After Mystic we moved on to East Harbor for a night where we shared an anchorage with another Bristol 29.9.  This was our first time in East Harbor, and its beauty makes its popularity clear. 

The anchorage abuts the Fishers Island Club, with a golf course that consistently ranks in the top ten of Golf Digest’s list of America’s 100 Greatest Golf Courses.  There are water views of Fishers Island Sound and Block Island Sound from most of the holes. 

Next up was the anchorage in Stonington.  Although several Active Captain reviews mentioned that the anchorage had good holding, we really couldn’t seem to get a good set in there.  No matter how long we waited to let the anchor settle (I’m talking several hours), backing down at 2500 rpm caused us to slowly drag.  The forecast was for settled weather so we decided to set a tight anchor alarm and not worry about it, but we did leave a few days later when the winds were forecasted to pipe up.  

Our destination was Fishers Island again, but this time in West Harbor (which has fantastic holding) for several days, still waiting for a good wind direction to head to Three Mile Harbor on Long Island. 

We found a new art exhibit gallery in an abandoned gas station.

Even the instructions for the Compost Station are polite on Fishers Island.
There was a lot of submarine traffic during our visit.  We scurried over to the other side of the island to watch this one head to New London . . .
and saw a second one leaving New London at the same time!
On the left you can really see how the current rips through the Race off of Race Light.  There are always plenty of fishing boats maximizing their chances of getting a good catch.
We made a cairn before we left.  Wonder if it will still be there when we return?

After a few too many days waiting around, the forecast finally looked favorable so we decided to take advantage of our close proximity to Shenny and hop on a mooring for one night.  We emptied our trash, took our last unlimited hot water showers for at least a few weeks, and our friends on S/V Infinity kindly offered the use of their car so we were able to stock up at the grocery store.  After breakfast at our favorite diner – Norm’s – with our friend Chuck, it was finally time to start heading south in earnest.

In hindsight we should have gone northeast to Rhode Island and Massachusetts for awhile.  Had we known that the stretch of no wind/unfavorable wind was going to last for so long, we definitely would have.  It probably sounds sacrilegious to some, but I said to Jeff the other day that I’ve had enough of Fishers Island Sound for awhile.  Yes, it’s pretty, but at this point it feels like we’ve been to the same places too many times over the past six years.  

I don’t know.  Maybe I’m just antsy to start exploring the Chesapeake, and maybe I’ll feel differently next year, but right now if we head back to New England next summer I’d like it to be with the express purpose of going north to Maine and/or Nova Scotia.  Obviously we’ll need to go to Connecticut for doctors appointments, and we’ll want to see our friends, but I’d like it to be a quick stop.  After all, there’s so much out there to explore!

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