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- Norfolk, VA to Mystic, CT - 2008
June 26 we left Norfolk headed for Cape May, NJ Winds were from the south and
southwest - right behind us - so we didn't get much help. The good news was that
we had mostly following seas so we weren't crashing into waves. It was a bit rolly
which made sleeping difficult and we were pretty tired when we arrived at Cape
May on the 28th. We found only a few boats in the anchorage off the Coast Guard
station giving us an easy time finding just the right spot. It was great to catch
up on much needed sleep.
trip north we were headed for Groton, CT to visit Neal's son Mark and his family.
Mark is career Navy and is currently an instructor at the submarine base in Groton.
Researching the area we'd found no good anchorages - they've all been turned into
mooring fields. The shock was that the daily charge for a mooring in CT is generally
what one pays for a slip with water and electricity farther south. We called for
advice and local knowledge to our friend Keith who sails on Camelot and lives
in CT in the summers. He confirmed that moorings in the north are expensive and
was able to offer us a free mooring next to his boat in Mystic, CT. One of his
neighbors is not using this mooring and gave Keith permission for us to use it.
was to meet us at Three Mile Harbor on the north shore of Long Island and would
lead us to Mystic.
July 2, well rested and with good weather we hauled in the anchor at 6:15 in the
morning to get a good start on the 219 mile passage to Long Island Sound. (That's
219 nautical miles which is 254 statute miles on land.) Winds were below 10 kts
until afternoon when they built to the high teens and topped out at about 20 kts.
Again the wind was at our back, so we didn't get as much speed out of it as we'd
always a surprise that we don't see more big ships when we cross the major shipping
lanes that go into New York City. This is the third time we've passed this way,
and the first time we've seen ships and then just a few. Other ports down the
coast seem to have much more traffic.
found ourselves dodging dozens of fishing boats as we rounded Montauk Point at
the tip of Long Island. They seemed to be clustered together in a couple of prime
fishing spots which made them easier to avoid.
the morning of the 3rd, winds had died down a little until we got into Long Island
Sound when we found ourselves heading into 25 - 30 kts of wind. Not what we wanted
going into an unfamiliar area.
3:30 in the afternoon we'd gotten through the long winding channel into Three
Mile Harbor, but we turned off the channel too soon and found ourselves aground
on a sand bar. Neal couldn't get us free; Keith came to help and couldn't get
us free. Sailors being what they are, several dinghies arrived to offer assistance.
One of them hauled our secondary anchor out and set it to keep us from blowing
further onto the bar when the tide rose. So we got some reading material and a
glass of wine and waited for the tide to come in and float us again. Eventually
we were able to bring in the anchor and move beyond the bar.
8:30 we were safely anchored. Three Mile Harbor gets its name because it is 3
miles from East Hampton on Long Island. It is a lovely place - very quiet even
on a holiday weekend. Keith had been working on Swept Away another Saga 43 getting
new fuel tanks installed. His project finished, we were invited with Keith aboard
Swept Away by owners Don and Judy for hors d'oeurves and then we all went to dinner
at a local restaurant and had a wonderful evening getting to know one another.
It was July 4 and we could hear fireworks, but couldn't see them from the anchorage.
The next day Keith towed our dinghy to a beach where Neal cleaned barnacles off
the bottom and fixed a leak. On July 5th we followed Keith out of the harbor,
across Long Island Sound; and up the Mystic River to his mooring field at Mystic.
boats were on the mooring he'd arranged for us so we tied up to another vacant
mooring. Monday, when the correct mooring became available, Keith towed us to
it. It was interesting to see our 10 ton boat being towed by a small dinghy with
a small 5 hp outboard motor.
saw more kayaks here than we'd seen anywhere else and racing sculls, too. It seems
that every time we look out, there's at least one kayak going by. We were near
a swing bridge for Amtrak on the nation's busiest rail corridor. Many passenger
trains daily on the Boston - New York City route plus those that come from as
far north as Portland, ME and go as far south as Washington, DC. The bridge tender
here is very busy opening for boats and closing for trains.
can take the dinghy into town from here - there's a nice dinghy dock. Mystic is
a touristy place but it is not tacky - mostly a pretty New England town. Although
there's not a supermarket within walking distance, there is a medium sized natural
food store, and convenience store and a CVS pharmacy that has some grocery items.
We rented a car for a few days to do some reprovisioning. Trips to Sam's Club,
West Marine, supermarkets and, of course, a used book store.
Our reason for coming here was to visit with Neal's son Mark and his family. We
had a short but great visit. Wow how the kids have grown!
is where we started on the project list. The water heater is now fixed! That's
a huge step forward.
perplexing project was trying to figure out why the 110 volt electrical outlets
on one side of the boat did not work. The original wiring diagram is not as helpful
as it should be and Neal was dreading the prospect of removing interior woodwork
to trace the wires. The plan he developed began with examining each outlet to
determine where the string begins. When he finally looked at the outlet in the
forward head it turned out that a ground fault interrupter had been triggered.
Keep in mind that the forward head is used strictly as a storage location so we
go in there only to retrieve needed items. It took a while to even remember where
that outlet was located. We were greatly relieved that we didn't have to tear
the boat apart. But that relief was short lived.
called the pump out boat to come to empty our sewage holding tank - a very routine
operation. But it wouldn't' pump out. This is a serious problem. The holding tank
is located under the bed in the aft cabin. This is one of our primary storage
areas and is always filled to the ceiling with stuff. When we have to empty this
area all the stuff gets loaded onto our bed. It's quite a project.
going into gruesome detail, we opened the holding tank from the top, determined
that it wasn't a vent problem and got it pumped via that opening. After several
unsuccessful experiments that didn't resolve the problem, we got Neal ready to
plunge his arm into the tank to examine the drain. With a rubber glove and then
a garbage bag over that and reaching to his armpit he found the clog in the drain.
Using a plumber's snake and several more gloves and garbage bags, the drain was
free. What an unpleasant task!. Even so, we were grateful that we didn't have
to remove and replace our sewage lines.
yes. Such is the carefree life of the cruiser! In the meantime, its about time
for us to head for Maine with a bunch of projects still waiting to be done. We've
got until we take off again for the islands to get the list finished.
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