Tuesday, June 12, 2012

This is what we work all winter for

 After almost a whole month at the dock, on June 8, we finally untied the lines and headed down river. Our plan was to visit our old friend Ellen who lives in Southold, Long Island. We try to do this every year to celebrate her birthday.

Normally, we'd tie up at Greenport but there was some kind of boat show going on so we called Picozzi's Dering Harbor Marina on Shelter Island for a reservation. Shelter Island is just a short ferry trip to Greenport.

For once, we really got an early start. It was a beautiful day and we headed down river in a cool breeze from the south. As we approached the submarine base in Groton, one of the patrol boats that we always see on duty there, picked up speed and shadowed us all the way past the base. That's pretty unusual and of course, Frances had to get a picture of our escort.

Once our escort left us and we entered New London Harbor, we noticed three Coast Guard boats leaving Station New London and heading up river toward the sub base. We suspected that a sub was going to enter the harbor and we soon heard on the VHF radio the warning to maintain at least 500 yards distance from the incoming U.S. Navy warship.  We've seen this "event" several times and it is impressive but today, we cleared the harbor before the sub arrived.

Once out in the Sound, we turned to 220 degrees and began to enjoy what we can only dream about during the winter.

The Cross Sound ferry seemed like an old friend.

With absolutely calm seas and very little wind, we cruised along at about 16 mph so it wasn't long before we passed Plum Island and then Orient Point Light.

For those of you who don't know our area, Orient Point Light marks the channel between Plum Island and the north fork of Long Island. Here we exit Long Island Sound and enter Gardiner's Bay. Between Plum Island and the light can be a bumpy ride for about 500 yards since, depending on the tide, there can be a rapid current over a shallow, rocky bottom. But not today. In no time, we were again heading west now in Gardiner's Bay with Long Beach on our starboard side.  Frances took the opportunity to get some nice cloud shots.

The western end of Long Beach is marked by another lighthouse, this one called the Tea Pot by the locals. We've taken many pictures of this lighthouse but what's one or two more on such a nice day?

A couple of more turns and we were in Greenport Harbor but instead of going there, we turned left into Shelter Island's Dering Harbor. There, we tied up at Picozzi's Dering Harbor Marina. It was pretty quiet due, we suspect, to the fact that the school vacations hadn't started yet.

Here's where we were.

The view from our slip was really nice. In a couple of weeks, there will be lots of boats here. This is really sailboat country.

The view from our port side included a rather distinguished neighbor (if you are really into boats, as we are). That's a Huckins, perhaps 60 feet or so. It's made of wood and then sheathed in fiberglass. This one was probably made in the mid-1960s and was in impeccable shape. Huckins is still in business and if you Google the name, you can read the company's fascinating history that includes design work on World War II PT Boats. This particular boat was named "Moira" and if you look carefully, you can see just a little PT Boat in its lines. We'd never seen a Huckins before so it was particularly interesting for us.

It became a little cloudy Friday afternoon but that was fine since we didn't have to bake in the sun.  We treated ourselves to a very good (although expensive) lunch at the Pequit Inn.  Nothing like sitting outside under a big tree enjoying a view of the harbor with lunch.

Picozzi's doesn't have floating docks so we had to deal with exiting the boat onto a fixed pier. It took us a while to get the hang of it again, but we did.

Although we didn't know it at the time, this was to be our last cruise for almost  two months.