We have three of our Grandchildren on board with us and our plan is to cross Long Island Sound and stay in Greenport, NY for an evening with them. So with forecast for nice weather, we head south again on the Connecticut River with Blaine, Tara and Charlee on Thursday morning. The river is calm with very little wind and even less boat traffic. As we make our way to the railroad bridge in Old Saybrook the bridge is open. Just as we are passing under the bridge, the horn blares signifying it will be closing for an approaching train. This surprises the kids and they watch intently as it starts its descent. Once past the bridge, it’s a short run thru the Old Saybrook Breakwater and we’re in the sound. Crossing the sound was smooth with mostly commercial traffic as we approached Long Island. Right before entering Plum Gut there’s an area in the sound where the depths go from 100 feet to over 300 feet! This marks the start of some rip tides and the surface gets choppy, but shortly, we’re in Gardiner’s Bay and calm seas return. The run is approximately 8 miles across, then 8 miles in Gardiner’s Bay to Greenport. We pass the Orient Point Ferry dock, Orient Point beach, then into the Greenport area where we have a reservation at Mitchell Park Marina for the night. The dockhands meet us at our slip and help us with tie-ups and electrical/water connections. Once we’re tied up, the kids can take off their pfd’s and romp. We chose Greenport for its close-by attractions and the kids want to explore right away.
We make sure Kailani is secured, then head off to the carousel for some rides. The carousel is on land in Mitchell Park, so it’s nearly a part of the marina.
The carousel is real old fashioned with rings and the brass ring gets a free ride! On the first ride, Charlee gets the brass ring! After three consecutive rides we’re off to get ice creams, then a relatively long walk to the public beach at the end of Fifth Avenue. We walk past some very nicely restored houses with well-maintained lawns. Many people are sitting out on their porches waving as we walk by.
The air temperature is somewhat cooler than expected and when we reach the beach area, we end up with the entire beach to ourselves. The two lifeguards are wrapped in blankets to stay comfortable! The kids run for the water and jump in only to return to us and say “hey, that water is salty!” Guess we forgot to mention that to them.
After they romp in the surf and play on the playground toys for a while, we check with the Fire Fighter Boat Museum for their hours and they say that they’ll be open for another 2 hours, then they will open again Friday at noon. Since we have to leave the marina by 11 am, we decide to catch this afternoon’s opportunity. When we get to the Museum, there’s a group of people just starting the tour, so we join them. Two of the people in the group are current members of the United States Coast Guard stationed on the vessel docked nearby. They are Engineers onboard, so they must stay with the ship when docked. As we tour the retired vessel, the tour takes us into the engine room, the helm, the fire fighting apparatus and the crew quarters. Blaine is especially interested with this tour and the girls are enjoying the tour also.
After the tour, we walk back to the marina for dinner. Tracy makes a nice meal that the kids enjoy, they want to go back and use up the rest of the tickets for the carousel, so Tracy stays onboard and I take the three kids to the carousel. After a few more rides with no success catching the brass ring, Tara and Charlee want to walk down the pier and see the two megayachts docked at the marina. One is approximately 100 feet and the other is 140 feet. Blaine explains that his dream is to be able to build his own boat when he gets older and explains exactly how he will carry out his plan. I wish him luck.
When we return to Kailani, Tracy has the salon all clean and ready for the kids to watch a video before turning in for the night. I don’t know how their parents get by, but these three have found a way to stay up late (10 pm) and wake up early (6:30am) without getting cranky during the day.
Friday morning is sunny and pleasant. Tracy takes us off the dock and into Gardiner’s Bay. As we cruise the Bay with Orient Point Beach to our Port, we look ahead and cannot see Plum Island or the lighthouse! Fog has settled in for the morning. The marine weather says that Bridgeport and New Haven are clear, but Groton is foggy. We actually try to keep going forward into the fog for a short while. Tracy puts Blaine, Tara and Charlee on lookout in each direction and I try to navigate. As I know we’re right in the middle of the shipping lane for the ferries and I can’t see any vessels, we decide that this is not a safe situation to be travelling in. So we do an about face and return to the safety of Gardiner’s Bay behind us. We anchor in 14 feet of water right off Orient Point Beach and after throwing out a tag line, the kids jump in for a nice swim off the stern. Tracy jumps in to join them while I watch the weather ahead.
After a nice swim, it’s time for some fishing. Tracy breaks out the squid from the freezer and baits hooks for all three and one for herself. Charlee gets a hit and reels in a little baby sand shark (dogfish) that ends up swallowing the hook. Pictures are taken, Tracy cuts the line, and the catch is released. A short time later, I’m able to see all of Plum Island ahead, so we raise the anchor (Charlee and Tracy) and shove off for home.
As we approach Plum Gut, Tara is riding in her usual spot, the bow pulpit, and the Gut doesn’t disappoint. This time the waves are a bit higher and swirling more, so Tara carefully makes her way off the bow and wont return until Charlee will go up front with her. Once we’re out of the Gut, the sound again calms down and we have a nice crossing with Blaine as my lookout and Tracy belowdecks with the girls.
Once we’re into the Connecticut River again, I must go topside and lower the antennas again for the railroad bridge. Kailani can make it under the bridge in all tides when its closed, but the antennas must be down to clear when the bridge is closed. So Tracy takes us through the opened bridge again and sure as the previous day’s trip, the horn sounds just as we’re under the bridge. The reaction from all three kids is predictable as it mimics yesterday’s wonderment. The rest of the trip north is pleasant and Blaine handles the boat for the last mile on the river to our turn to Port for Chester Marina. Tracy takes the helm back and docks us with me handling the dock lines. A quiet Friday afternoon at the marina and there’s no help on the dock.
We make arrangements for Vic and Stephanie to come down for the evening to pick up the kids, then we spend the remainder of the afternoon washing Kailani from the salt water trip, then splashing in the marina pool until dinner. The whole trip was very interesting, fun for the kids and us, and a safe return is always the goal!