Day # 40: Jamestown, RI to Bourne, MA

20140802-171239-61959878.jpg

Our final day of the final leg of our 1,752 mile passage from Key Largo, Florida to Bourne, Mass was cold and rainy, but it didn’t dampen the thrill in completing our year-long journey. We bought the Periwinkle down south last July and started motoring north in March.

To borrow a phrase from Dr. Seuss: Oh, the places we have been!
I asked Ken this morning if he had a favorite harbor, a coastal city or town he’d call his favorite from the endless list of so many ‘greats,’ and without hesitation he said, “Annapolis.” Maybe it was the welcoming harbor. Maybe the Naval Academy. Maybe the 4th of July parade. Whatever the reason, the experience was unforgettable.

Long ago I heard this fabulous quote: ‘Pleasure not known beforehand is half wasted; to anticipate it is to double it’. And, though there is truth to these words, I have found the other side of that coin to be true. That is, in revisiting past experiences through memories and photographs the pleasure is doubled yet again.

To family and friends who followed our blog, or accompanied us on one of our legs, or supported us through interest or prayer: Your fellowship has heightened our pleasure. Thank you.

Standard

Day # 39: Mystic, Ct to Jamestown, RI

20140801-204239-74559843.jpg

It’s called a stern gland, aka ‘stuffing box,’ and when the stuffing is worn water leaks into the engine area and if the water gets high enough in the pan under the engine it ruins the starter. Replacing that stuffing (which is actually a glorified cording) was Ken’s early morning project and thanks to help from Paul and a mechanic from the marina we managed to shove off by 10.

It was a cloudy-sunny-cloudy day with lots of rock and roll, high boat traffic, (we decided all the courteous boaters live down south!) with two close-by ‘May day’ calls: one, a 50 foot cruiser with a hole in the hull, taking in water 5 miles out, and two, a 48-footer on fire. We observed Tow Boat US and the Coast Guard escorting the cruiser safely to shore, but lost track of the burning boat.

En route to Jamestown we turned starboard to Newport to check out the anchorage outside Fort Adams. This is Jazz Fest weekend and the music carried across the water. With occasional wind shifts we could still hear it from our mooring across the bay.

It’s a spectacular evening. The nearby suspension bridge is lit like a Ferris wheel, the water is glass, and the moon subdued behind a cloud takes second seat to the array of tiny lights dotting the sea and the shore.

Standard

Day # 38: Guilford to Mystic

20140731-204830-74910971.jpg

After all these miles and all this water, we saw jellyfish right here in downtown Mystic.

It’s great to be in New England waters, but I didn’t really know why until I asked Ken tonight if there was anything special about today’s journey. He immediately replied, “yes”, and then added ‘the water was deeper, and cleaner, and the shoreline was different. More homes, more life. It just feels different. It’s a rocky shoreline making the land appear clean and bright.

Speaking of life, it’s happy hour. The streets. The restaurants. They’re all happy and full. We ate dinner at the Engine Room, a converted brick factory where decades ago the Lathrop boat engine was built. It seems that the prohibition rum-runners preferred the Lathrop because of its mega power. Imagine a bootlegger being chased by boat up the Mystic River. (Try saying that 5 times fast).

I’ve decided that any town worth it’s salt should have a river or an inlet, and a train going through it. This will be the third night in a row we’re docked at a marina next to a railroad bridge passing through the heart of the town. There’s good energy around the movement of water, the movement of boats, and the movement of trains.

Standard

Day # 37: South Norwalk to Guilford

20140730-210716-76036573.jpg

The definition of a perfect nautical day includes motoring 43 sunny, but pleasantly cool miles over barely bumpy seas, with good friends, good food, and solitude enough to revise a few haiku.

Guilford Town Marina offers friendly dockage at the edge of another historic village. This year marks the town’s 375th anniversary which features many well preserved 18th and 19th century homes as well as the 1639 Henry Whitfield State Museum, the oldest stone house In New England. Our 1.5 mile walk to town proved educational with date and event placards posted throughout the district. We enjoyed dinner at the Whitfield, overlooking the common, and walked back to the docks just before sunset. The place was booming. Both restaurants on the water appeared to be full, and folks were jogging, fishing, and enjoying the view from a long row of beachside benches. As we settle in at 10 p.m., the seas are calm, the stars are out, and there’s a nip in the air promising a comfortable night. Pleasant dreams!

Standard

Visitor’s Dock, South Norwalk, CT

20140729-224116-81676634.jpg

An early start yesterday morning brought us back to port due to rough seas and small craft warnings. So, we traded today’s plans for yesterday and rented a car to drive back to Western Mass. My sister returned to work today, and I did food shopping and laundry while Ken checked in on Norpin. Early evening, our friends Paul and Jenny drove back to the boat with us. It was a nice 24 hour break, with the boat waiting in turn-key condition for tomorrow’s travel. Hard to believe we bought the Periwinkle last August in Key Largo, and we’re just a few days away from bringing her home. Cape Cod…here we come!

Standard

Day # 36: Flushing NY To So. Norwalk, Ct

20140727-225953-82793558.jpg

We had plenty of chop today but with a following sea, and the wind and current working together it wasn’t much of a problem. Storms were reported for mid-afternoon so we started motoring early and quit early, docking at the Norwalk Visitor’s Dock in South Norwalk. This town is a boater’s dream: easy access from Long Island Sound, and the main part of town is a hop, skip, and a jump from the Dock. Once a booming oyster fishery, the city took a nosedive 50 years ago, but has made an impressive comeback. Today, Sono is an upscale neighborhood with something for everyone: galleries, restaurants, antiques, bookstores, boutiques, and even a supermarket, and a West Marine all within walking distance of the marina.
(I highly recommend the Burger Bar Bistro!)

Someone asked me recently how we know where to stop along the way. As we anticipate how far we’ll travel each day, I refer to a cruising guide to check for anchorages, marinas, mooring fields, access to towns, water depths in and outside of channels, and time /distance off our main route. They also provide some historical information about ports and they include shoreside and emergency service info. (I also call the Chamber of Commerce to ask about walk-ability to town if the guide is unclear, and when I call ahead most dock masters, if asked the right questions, are helpful and informative. Google is another excellent resource). The cruising guides, published by Maptech, are softcover, spiral bound and each one is approximately 500 pages covering a particular section of water. You might say they’re the nautical version of a AAA guide. The Maptech guide I’m currently using covers Cape May to Long Island Sound, but doesn’t include Buzzard’s Bay. I’m confident we can manage our way back to our home port of Bourne when we reach the end of Long Island Sound.

The birds all along this journey have been delightful as well as entertaining. This evening as we dined on our back deck, a great egret fished from the adjoining pier. She perched patiently for well over an hour, watching the water directly in front of her. Just before the kill, she’d crouch for a few seconds readying her take-off…then a quick dive, and a quicker exit boasting a small silver fish flapping from her beak. We witnessed three helpings before we went below to clean our dishes. It appears to be a bird’s life: off to bed with a full belly with no purchase, no prep, and no clean up!

Standard