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.
Newburyport, Massachusetts is home to a lively old town
Day two of bringing Little Prince home to Maine was a very pleasant outing. Having figured out the automatic pilot, we were one step closer to enjoying our new boat. This was especially true during the last leg of our trip because it was farther out to sea with no obstructions. Before we got to that point, we needed to get back down the Merrimack River. It’s one of those places where local knowledge is key and instinct deceives. The middle of the river is not the deepest section.
We’d gotten out of bed and had some muffins we’d purchased the night before for breakfast. We were concerned about what tide it was and when we should leave. Did we need the extra water from a higher tide? There wasn’t much activity on the river at first but then we saw a couple of boats start to head out. One was a rather large pleasure boat going at a fairly good clip. Tim turned on the engine and headed out after them. Clearly, they knew the way and would be drawing more water than Little Prince.
Six miles off the coast of Portsmouth, New Hampshire is a small group of islands called the Isles of Shoals.
Once we cleared the mouth of the river and headed out to sea we set our course for the Isles of Shoals. That was another place I’d often heard about but had never been. It’s several small islands off the coast of New Hampshire and Maine, six miles out to sea from Portsmouth. We weren’t planning on stopping there but we could at least get a look. The islands are no longer inhabited for the most part except for visitors during the summer staying in the hotel on Star Island. Before the days of air conditioning, it was a popular vacation spot for people from Boston and New York.
Two Lights State Park in Cape Elizabeth, Maine is home to two lighthouses, this being one of them.
In clearing the islands we were then in Maine. We still had a ways to go, but just having made it to Maine was an accomplishment. Our other accomplishment for the day was riding in the flying bridge. We had stayed in the cabin the day before but we were going to be a little braver on day two. We had some trouble figuring how to shift all the controls up there, but we could steer so that was enough. Occasionally we had to do a little steering to avoid a lobster buoy but by and large, we just sat back and enjoyed the ride.
This trip was clearly a good starting point in seeing what we needed to think about and prepare for when making our way down to Florida.