September 2012 - Massachusetts to Chesapeake - Page 2

8 September 2012   Mystic Seaport to Fishers Island, Connecticut  
We were planning to spend the morning looking at more of the museum, but the weather forecast was for a very strong front to pass over later in the day, so we spent an hour reviewing our options for anchorages.  The wind was forecast to be south 15-20, gusting 25 knots in the afternoon and then veering to south west, gusting over 30 knots with squalls up to midnight and then veering further to north-west after midnight.  We eventually decided to head for West Harbour on Fishers Island, which should give good protection from south to west, but might be bouncy from the north-west.

Demonstrating how whales were harpooned, Mystic Seaport, Connecticut

The bascule bridge at Mystic only opens at 40 minutes past each hour, so I was like a cat on hot bricks and couldn’t settle until we slipped our lines at half past nine.   The trip down the river was uneventful and I was relieved to discover that the anchorage in West Harbour is a little more protected than it appears on the charts.  I was also relieved that the anchor slammed into the seabed and it seems to be very good holding.

It was a very pleasant, if windy afternoon with sunny periods, so we pottered about waiting for the really strong winds to appear - I really hate waiting for bad weather to arrive.  In a way, there is too much weather information available in the USA.  There are marine forecasts available on the internet and the VHF radio; numerous weather sites giving hour by hour forecasts; satellite pictures; graphical charts showing the movement of fronts and pressure systems and even weather radar animations showing the movement of squalls and thunderstorms. 

I managed to get an intermittent internet connection, so we whiled away some time surfing the internet.  I’ve been agonising about whether I should buy a bigger chart plotter.  Our current chart plotter only has a tiny 3½” screen, which is OK until we get into complicated waters where a bigger picture would be better.  We can also view charts on my laptop as well, but a larger specialised chart plotter is tempting.  Unfortuntely, it will cost $2000 for the chart plotter and then I’d need to buy $800 worth of electronic charts.  

I researched an alternative which is an iPad with the Navionics chart app, which seems to be a good solution.  It’ll only cost $1000 to buy an iPad and enough charts to take us around the world.  It has a built in GPS which will give us a third backup device with GPS and charts – and we can play games on it…

During the day, I kept being drawn to looking at the various weather sites - they had reports of small tornadoes in New York and winds over 60 miles per hour in some places inland.  By six o’clock, the wind had picked up to 25 knots and the cloud was rolling in - I was a nervous wreck. 

We had dinner down below, rocking and rolling in the gusts of wind and watched a film on the laptop.  By ten o’clock, the wind had dropped and we went to bed – what an anti-climax…

9 September 2012   Fishers Island to Joshua Cove, Connecticut  
The cold, cold wind was from the north when we woke up, but we could see clear blue skies to the north-west, so we decided to head that way.  We had a lovely sail for a couple of hours until the well-defined cloud line of the front went over, after which the wind dropped and we motored.

We anchored in Joshua Cove, which is a pleasant enough anchorage, but it was a bit exposed to the swell coming from the south west.   A couple of hours after we anchored, “Eye Candy” arrived and we had them over for a beer or two.

Raking Oysters, Oyster Bay, Long Island

10 September 2012   Joshua Cove to Oyster Bay, Long Island
After a quick breakfast, we upped anchor, hoisted the main sail and sailed off westwards.  The wind was from the north, so we had a nice close reach in the light winds.  After a couple of hours, the wind had picked up enough that I had to put a reef in the main and roll away some of the genoa.  I was pleased to catch three blue fish within the space of an hour and then reluctantly pulled in the lures as we’ve now got enough fish to last a few days. 

The wind picked up to 20–30 knots, so we ended up with two reefs in the main and just the staysail, which was comfortable and still pushed us along at 6½ knots.  Despite the bouncy conditions, Glenys rustled up roast pork sandwiches with sage stuffing and apple sauce for lunch – very nice.

The wind dropped slightly as we rounded the headland into Oyster Bay and it was quite exciting to see the skyline of New York, 30 miles in the distance.  It was still blowing 15-20 knots as we anchored in the slightly exposed anchorage outside the huge mooring field.  The holding seems to be decent, which is a good thing because we are on a lee shore.  We collapsed - knackered after the bouncy, windy eight hour passage.

11 September 2012   Oyster Bay, Long Island
The wind dropped off overnight, but it was pretty cold in the morning – fleeces and a nice cup of tea were the order of the day.  We lurked around until ten o’clock checking out what we should do in New York in a few days’ time.

Once it had warmed up a bit, we jumped in the dinghy and motored the ¾ mile to the yacht club.  It’s very painful with only a 2.5hp outboard, I really miss our fast 15hp outboard and I’m praying that the service kit is delivered to the next port in time.

New York & Yellow Cabs

Oyster Bay is just another American small town. Their claim to fame is that President Roosevelt lived here and his house is a national monument about three miles from here that is unfortunately closed for renovations.  Other than that there’s not much else going on.  We wandered around for an hour; ended up in a supermarket and lugged home two big bags of shopping & two cases of beer.  The bay lives up to its name and there are many small fishing boats out harvesting oysters.  This is done by gathering them from their beds using rakes on a long pole. 

A Hallberg Rassey 42 called “Saltwhistle” arrived in the afternoon.  I went over, said hello to Tony & Rachelle and invited ourselves over to their boat for a beer or two.

12 September 2012   Oyster Bay to Port Washington, Long Island
There was no wind at all, so we motored around the corner to Port Washington where we picked up a mooring.  They’re free for two days and then $25 per day after that, which is a pretty good deal.

After lunch, we followed our usual routine and wandered around the local area, finding out the location of the railway station, the supermarket and the launderette.  The bracket for the movie projector has arrived, so all I need to do now is buy the projector when we go into New York tomorrow.

13 September 2012   Port Washington, Long Island
We caught the train into New York which was pleasant even though we caught a busy commuter train.  Our first stop was the B&H electronic store which is the largest electronics and camera shop that I’ve ever seen.  The amount of equipment on display is astounding.  The place is obviously owned by Orthodox Jews as most of the hundreds of staff are dressed in black, with yarmulkes and beards and long side burns.   We bought an iPad, an LED projector and some leads – another big dent in the credit card.  Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to buy a projector screen today so I’ll have to order one from the internet.

We then wandered around Manhattan, visiting Times Square on our way to Central Park, where we had our lunch sat on the grass in the warm sunshine.  We were very impressed with Central Park - it’s more rugged than we thought that it would be.  There are some very manicured sections, but a large part consists of paths in natural woodland with big rock outcrops.  I’m a fan of the film “Highlander” and it was great to walk across Bow Bridge where Macleod meets up with Kastagir in the film – sad isn’t it…

In the afternoon, we wandered back down 5th Avenue looking at the posh shops, stared at the impressive Grand Central Station, the Chrysler Building and took in the sights of the huge skyscrapers of Manhattan. 

Street Art, High Line Park, New York

We collapsed back on the boat at around six o’clock and I opened our new toys.  Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to play with our new iPad because it’s locked until it can register itself and to do that it needs an internet connection, which we don’t have – I hate Apple. However,  I connected our new projector to the media player and we watched a film.  Having no projector screen, I improvised by using the insert from our bed – it was only an image of about 30 inches, but it’s very bright and seems to do the job. 

14 September 2012   Port Washington, Long Island
It was supposed to be a chill-out day, but I was up at seven o’clock fitting the projector to the ceiling and figuring out where I’m going to run the cables.  While I was doing this, I had a frustrating time trying to download iTunes and register the bloody iPad – it took two hours of cursing and swearing because the internet connection kept dropping out.  

Once I’d achieved this major milestone, I bought the Navionics chart app for the USA coast from iTunes for $50.  Having spent half an hour downloading the small application, I found out that the Navionics program has to download the detailed charts.  Unfortunately, our internet connection is so rubbish that I couldn’t download any charts at all – I wanted to scream.

We’d agreed to take “Eye Candy” ashore at eleven o’clock, so we carried onto the launderette and then went shopping.  While Glenys wandered around the supermarket, I dinghied back to the town dock and sat on a park bench to get a decent internet signal – I was able to download the Navionics charts for the local area (and a copy of the game “Angry Birds”) so I’m now a bit happier with the iPad, but I suspect that the reliance on having an internet connection is going to be trying.

It was nearly four o’clock by the time that we’d finished our chores, so I didn’t get very far with wiring in the LED projector, but at least it’s mounted to the ceiling.  I draped a bed sheet where the projector screen is going to go and we watched a film with a 50 inch diagonal image which was fantastic.  I’m really pleased with the projector.