Kim arrived with her usual wheeled carry-on style suitcase for her three days on board. She can carry everything for three days up to three months in that single carry-on! It was beautiful weather and we didn’t waste any time preparing for shove off from our dock to head out to Mystic Seaport again. We had given Kim several choices for destination, but when we mentioned Mystic Seaport, she jumped right on that choice. For a cruise up the Mystic River, of course, you have to time the bridges carefully to avoid waiting as the Mystic Highway Bridge only opens once per hour between the hours of 9 am and 5 pm. The opening is at 40 minutes past the hour, so the plan is to reach the mouth of Mystic River at the top of an hour and you’ll get to the bridge in reasonable time for the scheduled opening. So we planned our departure for a 2 pm arrival at Mystic River. I couldn’t have been more off as we eventually reached the Mystic River at 1:35! We were 35 minutes late for the 1:40 pm opening and 25 minutes too early for the 2:40 pm opening. I figured that a slower than usual cruise up the Mystic River would help pass the time, but alas, we got to the bridge at 2:10 pm, so we ended up floating on the river for 30 minutes waiting for the 2:40 pm opening. Oh well!
After passing under the Mystic Highway Bridge, I called the Seaport Marina office on channel 68 and they were ready for us as usual. Manager, Greg Zabel and two of his staff were waiting for us at our dock as they competently secured our docklines, installed the fender board, and connected our utilities for us. This is business as usual for the Mystic Seaport Marina and its staff.
I took down the dinghy so Tracy and Kim could do some fishing and they actually went across the river to some rock outcroppings where Tracy caught a bunch of blue crabs. If we hadn’t made to plans to catch dinner at Latitude 41, she could have fed us a meal fit for a King! Upon their return, we freshened up and walked to Latitude 41, selected an outdoor table and settled in for a delicious meal. We were hoping to bump into the staff that had taken such good care of us when we had been there for the MTOA Rendezvous a few weeks earlier, but alas, they weren’t working outside, on this evening. With the sole exception of Kim’s salad (sort of stale and not crisp at all) the meal was delicious and the Manager took care of the salad issue promptly. During our meal, Tracy tried to get in touch with a playhouse in Westerly Rhode Island to get tickets for the following evening’s performance of “A Man and Two Guvners”, but we were not successful with that idea, so we went back to Kailani and turned in with plans to tour the Seaport on Thursday.
Thursday morning, we headed into the Seaport with plans to catch some interactive presentations, some theatrical type performances depicting life on a whaling vessel and the planetarium presentation, but first, we headed to the bakery for fresh muffins and coffee to start the day. We were able to fulfill all our plans at a leisurely pace because docking at the Seaport Marina allows for stops back at your “home base’ throughout the day to refresh and get back out to the exhibits. We toured all day until the exhibits closed at 5 pm and Tracy and Kim decided they had missed an entire exhibit so they would stop there Friday morning prior to our departure.
Dinner for Thursday night was salads on the boat. Tracy has gotten real professional with homemade salads and they taste especially delicious on board Kailani. We made sure Kim’s salad was crisp and delicious! The planetarium exhibit described the summer sky and all the stars and constellations that dot the summer skies, so that night, armed with our somewhat new information, we did some star-gazing and Tracy went back for more crabs.
Friday morning was breakfast on board and afterwards, Tracy and Kim went to the building they wanted to visit from the previous day, while I returned to dinghy to its safe and secure cradle on the roof in preparation for our departure. We had agreed that all parties would return to the boat by 10 am and we would retrieve our docklines and utilities and aim for the 10:40 bridge opening to head south on the Mystic River back to Long Island Sound.
All plans were met and we were off the dock by 10:20 and so making the Mystic Highway Bridge opening would not be a problem. However me at the helm would be a potential problem!!! While floating in the river waiting for the bridge to open, I spotted a vehicle driving down Main Street that looked identical to a friend’s Ford Raptor. So I watched to vehicle to see if it was my friend and lost my concentration on the channel. Next thing I knew, there was a small boat coming out to us yelling, “get out of there, you’ll get stuck in the mud!” I was in 4 feet of water and Kailani drafts 4’ of water, oops. I churned up some soft Mystic River mud and got us back into the channel just before the bridge opened. It happened so quickly, I must remember in the future to maintain concentration at all times for safe operation of the vessel, lesson learned.
The ride back to Old Saybrook and the mouth of the Connecticut River was relatively calm and when we approached the Saybrook Breakwater, the seas looked very inviting to the west of the breakwater and just off Fenwick Beach.
So we motored Kailani over to a nice anchorage spot, dropped anchor, and Kim and I took a swim while Tracy brought out her fishing rod. Frankie paced the transom swim platform while wearing his PFD. Soon, he’ll be jumping in the water with us, but not today.
After a nice swim, some fishing and snacks, we raised the anchor and turned up the river heading for home. As this was a Friday afternoon, there was lots of boat traffic coming up the river, but Tracy gave Kim a chance to pilot Kailani and she took her from the mouth of the river up to the start of the Essex Shoal in front of Brewer Dauntless. She was very alert and aware of surrounding traffic. I ran Kailani up to the dock and as usual, there was plenty of help at the dock to hand us the lines as directed. Kailani got a full bath from the salt water voyage while Tracy did some fishing and Kim started packing her wheeled carry-on. A very nice three days on the water for the three of us.