Tuesday, August 21, 2012

From Port Jeff to Mystic, Across Long Island Sound

We traveled from Port Jeff, NY in the lower left hand column of this map, to Mystic River, CT across Long Island Sound today. Charting this path, as Skipper G does while I blog or keep myself otherwise occupied, always seems trickier than it turns out being. If we stay out of the shipping channel, and stay between the red and green markers, our only other challenge - and this really is a big one - is keeping our eyes peeled for lobster pots. They are potentially treacherous and it's so easy to get lulled into thinking they're not around until you're almost right on top of one.

The float is attached to a lobster trap 100' or more below the surface by a length of rope. If we got one of those ropes around our propeller shaft it could cause serious damage.

Imagine this is your view for hours on end

See the lobster pot float in the upper right?

In about two hours from this very minute I will have marked my 62nd birthday. As family lore has it, I didn't arrive until after 8 p.m. and it took months to get my days and nights in alignment with the rest of the world. This was my first, but certainly not the last, problem I gave my mother. 

I have now stepped into the twilight zone of life and can tell you younger folks 'they' were absolutely right about the need to wear sunscreen and save for retirement. The day actually does come when you will be either glad you did or regret you didn't.

There couldn't possibly be a better way to spend the milestone of becoming eligible for senior citizen discounts than what we are now doing. 

We left Port Jeff around 8:30 a.m. and arrived in Mystic around 4 p.m. Pretty uneventful day as you can see by the pix below. Naps were not taken simultaneously, of course.

The stops are getting better and better. We picked up a mooring ball in Port Jeff and a slip here at the Mystic Downtown Marina. 

I insisted on bringing the boat in myself today.  It's hard for my captain to let go of the helm in tight situations, but if I'm going to be equally competent - a necessity for a myriad of reasons - then I need to be confident and competent at docking. Of course, talk is cheap, and tempting as it was to chicken out when it was clear the current was running hard and we had some wind come up, I acted like I wasn't one bit scared and brought her in.

Easing a boat into a slip is a bit of physics and luck.  

Jack and June, the couple who run the Mystic Downtown Marina, bestowed upon me a docking award of 9.2 on a 10-point scale. They rate folks, mostly among themselves, on their docking prowess. After we were safely tied up I proudly reported this was my first non home-port docking job and they were duly impressed. 

"I'd give you a ten if you'd done it with one engine," said Jack.  Bel Sito has two engines so you steer  the boat from neutral by moving the port or starboard engines forward, neutral or reverse to guide the boat. It's not hard once you've done it a few times. I don't know how anyone could do it with one engine. 

Now, I must say, Capt. G and I had our headsets on and he was coaching me a bit, but I think I would've nailed it if he hadn't. The headsets, by the way, are the best investment a cruising couple can make. They are aptly called 'marriage savers' - well-named because it cuts down on the yelling back and forth when it comes to docking. 

This seaport town of Mystic is incredibly appealing. I regularly try on a town's livability when traveling through...what would it be like to live there? In that house? Mystic is one of those places I can picture doing so. 

Quaint. Great water flowing into the sound and sea, yet protected. With an Amtrak stop, a local independent book store and a restaurant called The Oyster Club that had the very best oysters (I had 30) we've ever had in our lives, Mystic ranks right up there in livability. 

A great day and a great finale. 

We'll stay here at least one more night. 

Mystic mystique

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