Once again we saw the Isles of Shoals as we headed out to sea. The rain was steady, but did not affect visibility. We hoped it would clear as the day wore on, and that the sun would work its way through the clouds. There was a mild wind coming from the west. Two hours into our trip the wind continued to increase in intensity. The water was choppy but it was still early so we continued to be hopeful for improved conditions. After another couple of hours the wind had increased again and so had the waves. By now they reached heights of six to eight feet and growing. By noon time a serious change of course was in order. We decided to head closer to shore to try and mitigate the deteriorating conditions. We were now south of Boston Harbor. Our thinking was that closer to shore there would be less “fetch”. I had learned that fetch is the area of open water over which the wind has to gather strength.
It wasn’t long before we realized it was time to find a place to pull in for the day. Fortunately we weren’t far from Plymouth, Massachusetts. I looked through the cruising guideto see our options. There was the Plymouth Yacht Club, a marina and the town’s mooring field, all very promising. We traveled close to shore until we reached Plymouth Harbor. Upon entering the harbor, the waves died down. Duxbury Pier Lighthouse greeted us and I began to see lighthouses in a whole new way. Instead of being a pretty landmark, it was a sign of safety. With the aid of the lighthouse and the channel markers we worked our way to the marina. Tim radioed for a slip. None were available. Next try was the town’s harbor master for a mooring. That yielded a positive result and so we were safe for the night.
It was a brisk 40° out but the sun had finally made an appearance. Next on the agenda was getting Tigger to shore. That meant using Rose, the dinghy. We carefully lowered it into the water, keeping it attached to Little Prince with the davits on the swim platform. Once it was in the water it was time to set up the outboard motor. Tim lifted it off its mount and onto Rose. He adjusted the controls, put it in neutral and gave it a pull, nothing. A few more tries netted the same result. It was time to look at the manual. Being the proper quartermaster, I was able to retri
eve it right away. Tim was in the dinghy (still attached to Little Prince) and I was on the deck, manual in hand, and reading instructions when the Harbor Master came by.
“I see you with the motor and your wife with the manual and I’m thinking this could get ugly. Let us know if you need a ride to shore.”With that, off he went.
We finally feel like we are making some progress. Along the way we’ve been hit with some pretty rough water. Buzzards Bay, on the other side of the Cape Cod Canal on the way from Sandwich, Massachusetts was fine for a while but as we went further along the waves started getting larger. Our plan was to go to Mystic, Connecticut. We didn’t make it. Instead we headed up the Sakonnet River in Rhode Island to escape what was becoming a very uncomfortable ride. Entering the river, the waves were pushing us along. It’s not quite as fun in a boat as it is on a boogie board.
We spent three days in Tiverton, RI. It was a rather rustic marina but the owner was very nice. We were docked near the fuel dock so there was a steady flow of activity. Most interesting was when the owner fell into the water when handling the lines for an incoming boat. Tim happened to be nearby and managed to push the boat off the dock so Ken could get up the ladder. Even though it was a very chilly day, Ken continued with his work fueling the boat, soaking wet. Just another one of those hearty New Englanders.
When we finally got a day that didn’t have gale force wind warnings, we set off for Mystic. Again, it was just a window of decent weather. We hugged the shore to ward off the larger waves but it was a bumpy ride. More bad weather was predicted. Mystic was a good place to be stuck so we were determined to get there. Also some dear friends live near there and it would be great fun to see them. Other friends were passing through the area at the time and we got top visit with them as well. Mystic was a great stay.
When the weather cleared we started making our way. Once again we were walloped by waves. The NOAA forecast had called for 1-2 foot waves. No such luck. It was more like 4-5 foot waves and not a lot of fun. We didn’t make it to our destination. We had thought once we entered Long Island Sound things would calm down a bit. We were wrong, at least on this leg. Regardless, we had a pleasant stay in Branford, CT.
Hurray! Good weather with calm seas, finally! We crossed over Long Island Sound and stayed close to shore until we arrived in Manhasset Bay, Port Washington, NY. It was such a treat to have a nice boat ride and not clinging on to grab bars for hours on end. We were now well positioned to hit Hell Gate in the morning. The wind started kicking up in the morning so we decided to wait another day before moving on. We were no longer in New England, that was a milestone. Hell Gate, where Long Island Sound meets the East River, was to be our next challenge.
When we left the marina it was about 11:00. A good time as far as the tides were concerned. It was going to be a little breezy, but not bad enough to cause another delay. Our first landmark was the Throgs Neck bridge. There weren’t a lot of boats going through when we did which helped. Wakes from other boats along with the currents makes for a bumpy ride. Going passed Rikers Island was interesting. It looked to be it’s own little city. We passed the United Nations building and then headed towards the battery. We went under several bridges along the way. The best part of the trip was passing by the Statue of Liberty.
Going back out into the ocean and down the New Jersey coast could be difficult. We wanted to be going in the morning when we were fresh so we needed to find a place to stay. Atlantic Highlands has a town marina and it’s close to where we wanted to leave from. The other wonderful side benefit was seeing two old friends. One friend was from grammar school and one from college. Renewing old friendships is such a heartwarming event. The perfect ending to a great day.
Today, we made it down to Point Pleasant, NJ, and into the Manasquan River. We have all our lines securely tied. Sometime around midnight a nor’easter is going to hit us. Never a dull moment on this adventure.