Nick & Dede arrive at 12:15 on Friday, Aug 4th with Natalie and Brianna ready for a weekend on Kailani. We’ve made reservations for Mystic River Marina on Mason’s Island for the weekend, so we load up their personal gear, verify food and supplies aboard, fill the fresh water tank and prepare to shove off with pre-departure engine checks. I take her off the dock and start down the river. From our previous cruise, we know the synchronizer is not working, but immediately upon giving some throttle, I notice that the starboard tachometer is not working properly. It shows the increase in RPM’s, then falls off as the RPM’s increase making it appear as if the starboard engine is not responding. However, the engine is fine, just the tachometer is off, possibly a ground issue, etc. Once that situation is under control, we make for Old Lyme City Docks for fuel. We put 70 gallons into the port tank and 29 gallons into the starboard tank to top off both of them. Starboard fuel gauge still shows one quarter full in spite of being fully topped off! We leave the dock and head for Long Island Sound. Out of the Saybrook Breakwater, we turn east and head for the Mystic River. There is a light chop and very little boat traffic for a Friday afternoon. Mostly ferry traffic as we approach and cross New London Harbor. After motoring for a while in the sound I turn the helm over to Nick so he can get some experience behind the wheel. He takes us to the mouth of the Mystic River where I take over for the narrow run up to Mason’s Island. The Mystic River Marina dock staff meets us at the fuel dock and directs us to our slip – C8, which is a nice slip.
Our seasonal slip neighbor is Captain Ron (not the one with the eye patch!) and his son, Jace helps the dockhand secure us and hook up our utilities. He ends up being very friendly and helpful and I make sure to add him to the tip when I tip the dockhand. Jace, who was about 11 years old, taught the girls how to “go crabbing” with a chicken leg and they were hooked (excuse the pun. They would have hung around him all weekend but the poor kid had a birthday party to go to the next day. I really think he would have prefered to help and hang out with us. -tc His Dad, Captain Ron is very grateful and ends up being an excellent neighbor for the entire weekend. Nick & I have to drop the tender down from the roof after pulling into the slip which is not the proper procedure (since we’re stern-in) and it takes us a little extra time to finally get the tender into the water. We’ll remember that in the future.
After getting fully settled, and looking to take a dinghy ride back down-river to one of the restaurants (Ford’s, Costello’s or Abbott’s) it’s already after 6 pm. But we head out anyway with 6 aboard our tender! We pull into Ford’s and walk up to the hostess table where they tell us it’s an hour wait! Looking at the overcast sky, we decide to head back to Kailani for dinner aboard the vessel and be safe. That’s okay with us because we know that Saturday’s breakfast will be cooked for us at famous Kitchen Little, which is on-site at our marina! Kitchen Little has been in Mystic for many, many years, started by Flo Klewin in a small facility just north of Mystic Seaport. We used to go there by car and you had to put your name on a blackboard to get in line for a scrumptious breakfast. Now they have a slightly larger facility and we’re able to watch the line and show up when the line is the shortest. This is a nice advantage to selecting this marina.
This trip is our first adventure with our newest addition to the Kailani crew. Earlier in the week, Tracy & I adopted Frankie, a nearly 4 year old black Schnoodle. He’s been a gem so far and living on the boat has not been any issues whatsoever to date. We tested him with the engine sounds earlier in the week and he was completely comfortable with all the boat noises we exposed him to prior to the weekend trip, so we didn’t expect any issues, but you never know. As it turned out, Frankie was very comfortable with the trip, while Natalie and Brianna helped out with walking Frankie whenever necessary. He’ll really be an asset to the Kailani crew!
After Saturday’s breakfast at Kitchen Little, we had rain in the forecast that was supposed to taper off by mid afternoon, so we decided to call for an Uber ride and go to Olde Mystic Village where the kids could go to a movie and we could walk the village shops. When Tracy and I took the kids to prepurchase the tickets for the movie, there was a Mother and daughter right behind us that asked for two tickets and were told that there was only one ticket left. So Tracy and I discussed it and decided to let them have my ticket so the Mother and daughter could see the movie together. The two were so appreciative and Tracy just told the little girl that she would have to pay it forward as the cost for the ticket. The ticket collector was so moved, that she offered me free popcorn! I was fine and it was nice to be able to do it for them. So Tracy and the girls watched the movie while Nick, Dede & I went off into the shops for some window shopping. Turned out Nick and Dede were able to find a chef’s knife that they had been looking for and I was able to find new river sandals. We walked into the Scandinavian Village Shop where everything was supposedly from the Netherlands and I bought a pair of Keen River Sandals that were made in Mexico! They were my size, and since they were the last pair in stock I got them for 25% off! So I can’t complain much.
Once we were back to the Marina, we fired up one of the complimentary gas grills and had a cookout with hot dogs, cheeseburgers, and macaroni and cheese. Tracy took the kids crabbing and fishing while Nick & I cooked up the food. Tracy caught some nice crabs using Jace’s gear that he had graciously offered to them for use. Tracy, Dede and the girls turned in for the night at a reasonable time, while Nick & I ended up on the bridge until midnight trying to figure out the autopilot which we have not yet been able to get running. As with all electronics in my life, Nick ends up doing most of the work and I do a lot of observing. This case was no different, and Nick was able to get the autopilot to control the rudders (which made a noise that the sleeping members of the crew were able to hear), but he couldn’t get it to pick up a specific heading. We’ll have to keep working on that.
Sunday morning was an early walking the dog day for me as I took Frankie out for his morning routine, then it was back to Kitchen Little for a Sunday breakfast to start the day. After breakfast, we walked thru the ship’s store and Tracy selected a new set of loading stairs for safety and convenience. They’re really strong and stable and their feet are securely set with no slip due to the newer rubber tips on them. They really make boarding Kailani much safer.
After that we decided to start prepping Kailani for departure. First order of business was to plan for a safer loading strategy for the tender. I checked out the fuel dock and there was plenty of dock space there, so with the dock hand’s permission, our plan was to get Kailani completely ready for departure, then motor over to the fuel dock where we would tie up again, while Nick went over to the dinghy dock and brought our tender around to us and we would load her up there where there was plenty of room. This turned out to be a very good plan, even though there was some current and winds.
After securing the Kailani tender and pulling out into the Mystic River flotilla, we headed for home.
Long Island Sound was not very kind to us as she gave us a 10 knot headwind and 3-4 foot seas all the way back to the Saybrook Breakwater inlet. We had three of our guests lose some breakfast during the choppy ride and there would be additional cleanup required when we got back to our home dock at Chester Marina. Gross, I know, but I just had to add this picture of reality. -tc
With the seas bouncing us around and the strong headwind, we were not making good time on this journey, when we were around the Niantic River inlet area, I needed a break from the helm, so Tracy took over. The seas seemed to calm down a bit, so she ran Kailani up to 2,000 RPM’s and about 17 knots. This additional speed seemed to eliminate some of the bouncing, however it was calmer seas, so maybe it was a combination of factors. At any rate, it was a very expected pleasure to enter the Saybrook Breakwater and the relative calm of the Connecticut River. However, the calm was short lived as the normal Sunday afternoon crazies were out in full force cruising up the Connecticut River back to their homeports. The river was smooth, but the wakes were ridiculous! Anyway, Nick took us most of the way back up the river, then I took over as we turned to port to enter the Chester Inlet at dead low tide. As usual, when we came around the bend in the inlet, four fellow boaters appeared on our dock to help with lines and as always, it was much appreciated.
After securing to the dock, and hooking up shore power and city water, Tracy and the girls fished while Nick & I cleaned the boat from the salt pounding she took. Dede went out for some ice cream for all and by 6 pm they were loading up to leave after a really nice weekend on the water.